Lean Manufacturing: Thriving or Dying in Today's Automotive Supply Chain

Lean Manufacturing: Thriving or Dying in Today's Automotive Supply Chain

At the heart of The Prophets’ vision are “The 24 Essential Supply Chain Processes.” What are they? Find out, and see the future yourself. Click here

Explore the transformative impact of Lean principles on automotive supply chains with Beth Crowley, President of The Crowley Group. Gain a clear understanding of Lean's philosophy, practical applications, and its profound impact on operational excellence.

In this episode, Beth covered the following:

  • Defining Lean: Beth explains Lean as both a philosophy and a set of tactical tools emphasizing the elimination of waste.
  • Lean and Leadership: The integral connection between authentic leadership and successful Lean implementation.
  • Challenges in Lean Implementation: Explore the common challenges faced during Lean adoption, ranging from resistance to misconceptions.
  • Lean in Different Functions: How Lean principles extend beyond manufacturing, impacting various functions like accounting and human resources.
  • Kanban systems: Success factors, pitfalls, and optimizing push vs. pull dynamics.
  • Addressing the Lean Mindset: Beth's path to gaining a Lean mindset and implementing Lean in automotive supply chain processes.
  • Practical Advice for Inventory Management: Valuable advice on utilizing inventory as a diagnostic tool and addressing root causes for optimal efficiency.

Whether you're a supply chain professional or a curious mind, this episode unravels the core of Lean principles and their significance in shaping resilient and efficient supply chains. Tune in, absorb, and reimagine the possibilities that Lean offers to elevate your industry standing.

Themes discussed in this episode:

  • Lean philosophy and mindset
  • The role of leadership in successful Lean implementation
  • Practical advice on setting up successful Kanban systems
  • Breaking down silos through cross-functional teams
  • Understanding the intersection between technology and Lean 
  • Automotive supply chain disruptions
  • Strategic planning and operational efficiency

Featured on this episode: 

Name: Beth Crowley

Title:  President, The Crowley Group

About: Beth is a passionate advocate for coaching organizations through Lean transformations. With her expertise, Beth collaborates with companies to enhance the effectiveness of people and processes. She believes in leading by example, fostering engaged teams, and eliminating waste in leadership and culture. 

Connect: LinkedIn

Mentioned in this episode:

Episode Highlights:

[02:57] What is Lean? Beth defines Lean as a philosophy and tactical approach to eliminating waste in time, energy, material, or transportation.

[05:20] Leadership's role in Lean: Explore the essential link between authentic leadership and the successful implementation of Lean practices.

[07:30] Lean and Just-in-Time (JIT): Beth addresses the misconception surrounding the death of Lean and Just-in-Time due to supply chain disruptions. She emphasized the importance of a mindset shift, continuous improvement, and resilient processes.

[10:05] Challenges in Lean implementation: Common challenges faced during Lean adoption, including resistance and misconceptions. 

[22:18] Beth's leadership advice: Beth advises leaders on how to gain a Lean mindset and implement Lean in automotive supply chain processes. She stressed that by involving the people doing the job in discussions, leaders can address root causes and enhance efficiency.

Top Quotes:

[03:28] Beth: “Lean is really a lot of different things, and I agree with you; it's really misunderstood. But the basic premise of everyone who's trying to get leaner is the elimination of waste.”

[05:38] Beth: “Lean, there really are two parts to it. There are the physical materials, getting something from A to B as effectively and efficiently as you can, but then there's the whole people aspect of it. And you're really coming in, and you're challenging conventional wisdom on things like how to run a shop floor at the basic level, how to do production planning, how to deal with your supply base.”

[09:09] Beth: “Who's perfect? Nobody. But in Lean, or whatever you want to call it, If you make a mistake, you learn from it, you put something in to make sure it doesn't happen again, and that becomes like your new normal.”

[10:29] Beth: “What's also interesting and maybe misunderstood about Lean is that I'm not trying to go inside the black box of how you process things to manufacture it, right? I'm not going to go in and tell you how to cut metal or what material to use. That's not what we do. We're looking outside those process boxes where all the transportation's happening, where all the "we got to go find our stuff" is happening, where all the warehousing is happening”

[20:57] Beth: “Everybody has to know how to do the new process. Otherwise, they will revert to the old process because that's the one that they understand. People don't want to look stupid.”

[24:45] Beth: “The bottom line of Lean is to get the people in the room who do the job to tell you how to improve it.”


Delivering on the Promise of Delivery: Automotive Sustainability and Profitability

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White Paper for Leveraging Risk Management in Automotive

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Operational Restart Readiness

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The 24 Essential Supply Chain

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Keep in touch with Auto Supply Chain Prophet's co-hosts Terry Onica and Jan Griffiths on LinkedIn.


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