Copying is not enough.

It is pretty easy copying the machines, layouts, and the physical things that go towards producing something, and there are consultants by the thousand who will help if you need it.

What you cannot duplicate easily are the management systems that are deployed. You might get some, or even most of them, but  copying their deployment in your circumstances, they will not work the same way. All the connections will not be the same, this is why you can read all you like about Toyota, or 3M, or Google, go  and see the way they do things, and copy all you can, but it will  not work the same way when you get it home.

Time and time again, I am asked to assist deploying the tools of Lean, 6 Sigma, TPS processes, and other tools, and to an extent it will deliver positive outcomes, but never as much as there is potential so long as it is an outsider driving the delivery. 

This stuff has to be internalized and modified to suit the culture and processes in a business, and by the modification, carve your own path. Therefore, I find that most times, when there is a genuine wish to change, and thereby improve, rather than just a financial imperative to reduce costs, which is often the starting point, I find myself digging around in the bowels of organizations, looking at accounting systems, performance measurement, customer facing processes, and innovation processes, in an effort to modify behavior to accommodate the philosophies of improvement, and deploy the appropriate tools in a manner tailored to the needs of the organisation.

About strategyaudit

StrategyAudit is a boutique strategy and marketing consultancy concentrating on the challenges of the medium sized manufacturing businesses that make up the backbone of our economy. The particular focus is on their strategic and marketing development. as well as the business and operational efficiency improvements necessary for day to day commercial survival. We not only give advice, we go down "into the weeds" to ensure and enable implementation.
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