Harish, a reader of LSS Academy, recently sent the following question via email.
Dear Mr. Pereira,
I have been reading your insightful posts on TPS. I also came across your post on VSM. I have a quick question, of all the books I have read on TPS by Japanese authors, I have never come across VSM nor Value Stream Managers. I have seen similar methodologies like arrow mapping or process mapping in a few Japanese books.
I am curious as to the origin of VSM. I have read in Learning to See about it. Do you believe that there is Japanese version of lean (TPS) and there is US version (Jim Womack’s Lean Manufacturing)? Do you think these two differ a lot or are they the same?
Looking forward to hear your thoughts,
Regarding VSM… Toyota actually refers to value stream maps as material and information flow diagrams which probably explains why Harish has never read about them in any old Japanese books.
While the VSM question was excellent… I am totally intrigued by the last question:
“Do you believe that there is Japanese version of lean (TPS) and there is US version (Jim Womack’s Lean Manufacturing)? Do you think these two differ a lot or are they the same?”
First of all, I am very appreciative of all the good work people like James Womack and Jeff Liker have put out through the years. Womack’s Machine that Changed the World was the first “lean” book I ever read and I’ve often referenced Liker’s work over the years.
And while I have some strong opinions as to whether there is a difference between Womack’s “lean” (one of his research assistants actually coined the phrase lean) and the vaunted “TPS” I am more interested in your thoughts. What do think? Is there are a difference?