Matt Hrivnak

Kaizen: There's always another future state


Over the years I have collected several quotes from various Lean and Six Sigma professionals, historians and trainers.  I have listed most of them below and will continue to expand the list as time goes on.  Enjoy!

“A bad system will defeat a good person every time.” – Deming 

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but habit.” – Aristotle 

“Tell me and I will forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I’ll understand.” – Chinese Proverb

“Quick and Crude is better than Slow and Elegant” – John R. Black, William F. Christopher, from A World Class Production System: Lessons of 20 Years in Pursuit of World Class

“We will win and you will lose. You cannot do anything because your failure is an internal disease. Your companies are based on Taylor’s principles. Worse, your heads are Taylorized too. You firmly believe that sound management means executives on the one side and workers on the other, on the one side men who think and on the other side men who only work.” – Konusuke Matsushita

“Lean is not a program, it is a total strategy.” – Alex Miller, Professor of Management at The University of Tennessee

“Due to the set-up times, the tendency is to produce in batches that are larger than the order quantities. This supposedly utilizes the equipment more efficiently, reduces set-up costs, and reduces unit product cost. But any production in excess of immediate market demand ends up as finished-goods inventory. The result of producing these large batches in today’s competitive marketplace is poor customer service despite high levels of inventory.” – M. Michael Umble and Mokshagundam L. Srikanth. Synchronous Management: Profit-Based Manufacturing for the 21st Century. Spectrum Publishing: 1997.

“Finished goods are products that we have made that no one wants.” “Raw materials are products that we have bought that we don’t need.” – Tom Greenwood, Director of the University of Tennessee Lean Enterprise Forum

“Implementing Lean concepts and principles is not a technological issue, it is primarily a management and human resource issue.” – Kenneth E. Kirby, Associate Professor in the Department of Industrial Engineering at The University of Tennessee

“We do not suggest that you throw your MRP systems away. MRP should be used for purposes of planning and pull mechanisms should be used as much as possible for purposes of execution.” – Kenneth E. Kirby, Associate Professor in the Department of Industrial Engineering at The University of Tennessee

“Many people think that Lean is about cutting heads, reducing the work force or cutting inventory. Lean is really a growth strategy. It is about gaining market share and being prepared to enter in or create new markets.” – Ernie Smith, Lean Event Facilitator in the Lean Enterprise Forum at the University of Tennessee

“Kanban is like the milkman. Mom didn’t give the milkman a schedule. Mom didn’t use MRP. She simply put the empties on the front steps and the milkman replenished them. That is the essence of a pull system” – Ernie Smith, Lean Event Facilitator in the Lean Enterprise Forum at the University of Tennessee

“If you do what you always did, you get what you always got.” – Gerhard Plenert and Bill Kirchmier. Finite Capacity Scheduling: Management, Selection, and Implementation. John Wiley & Sons, Inc: 2000.

“Failure to change is a vice” – Hiroshi Okuda

“There are three kinds of leaders.  Those that tell you what to do.  Those that allow you to do what you want.  And Lean leaders that come down to the work and help you figure it out.” – John Shook

Again, with any of the lean quotes I present, I try to be as accurate as possible.  If you see any discrepancies, please email me.

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