I despise, from the deepest pit of my being, the blame game that occurs within so many companies that manufacture products – any product. This problem is sadly amplified in western companies.
It typically goes something like this, “If those darn (normally another expletive is used) supply chain guys could ever get me my material things would be perfect.”
These supply chain guys usually reply, “If sales could ever give me a decent forecast I would never be out of material!”
Well not to be left undone the sales staff replies, “I get the orders and then the factory and supply chain idiots don’t deliver and I have to explain it to the customer who commences to chew my (insert expletive).” I could go on a on with this little game. And guess what, a game it is!
The truth of the matter is that people would be much better served figuring out a way to work together instead of against one another.
For example, if the factory, supply chain, and sales guys would leverage their strengths they could figure out the best way to smooth production (heijunka) which would help alleviate the bad forecasts that impact so many mass producers. They could also work together to set up finished goods supermarkets, and even buffer and safety stock. This would enable them to pull material through the value stream instead of blindly pushing it like so many do. Even before all of this they could actually listen to each other and define “value” from the perspective of the customer – a novel idea, eh? I haven’t even mentioned making things flow or improving quality in a collaborative manner!
It’s our Job
It is our job as Lean and Six Sigma practitioners to drive this change in our organizations. And when we meet resistance, and we will, we must persevere and continue to fight for what is right. And make no mistake friends; there are no business principles more right than those of Lean and Six Sigma used together (together is the key to achieving revolutionary change).