Book exposes challenges of sustaining lean initiatives

RP news wires, Noria Corporation
Tags: lean manufacturing

Increasing profitability and eliminating waste isn't easy – and it's even more difficult to do on a sustainable basis if you haven’t built Lean Thinking into all of your organization’s values and processes. Consultants from S A Partners, Europe’s longest established lean enterprise consultancy, and researchers from Cardiff University have received a Shingo Prize for their newest title, Staying Lean: Thriving, Not Just Surviving.


Using Cogent Power’s lean journey to illustrate the path to success, and potential pitfalls along the way, the book tells the story of how the multi-national manufacturing organization successfully implemented and sustained lean enterprise operational improvements to help turn around the group’s financial performance. The book is based around the Lean Iceberg Model of sustainable change and addresses the often invisible, and hard to copy, enabling elements of successful Lean management.


Known as the “Nobel Prize of Manufacturing,” the Shingo Prize is an award administered by the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University to recognize organizations and research projects from around the globe that promote awareness of lean concepts and achieve world-class operational excellence status.


The first entirely European project to receive a Shingo Prize for excellence in Lean research, Staying Lean was co-authored by three S A Partners consultants – chairman Professor Peter Hines, and managing consultants Richard Harrison and Gary Griffiths – and Dr. Pauline Found, a senior researcher at Cardiff University’s Innovative Manufacturing Research Center.


Hines comments on the insights Staying Lean can offer businesses interested in creating a sustainable culture of continuous improvement: "Despite often promising early results, the research shows that at least 50 percent of business improvement programs are deemed to fail over the longer term and up to 70 percent fail to achieve all of their intended benefits. We wrote Staying Lean to illustrate how without improving the ‘below the waterline’ company culture and behaviors, no amount of lean tools and techniques will be able to achieve sustainable performance improvements. Cogent’s story is a surprisingly common one – which I see play itself out across a variety of industries and disciplines. In Staying Lean, we address the often invisible, and hard to copy, elements common to all successful lean organizations: Strategy and Alignment, Leadership, Behavior and Engagement.”


Staying Lean is a practical workbook to help business managers consider all the elements they need to address when implementing lean thinking in their organizations.


Key topics (available to publish as excerpts) include:

  • Going Lean and Staying Lean
  • Strategy and Alignment
  • Lean Leadership
  • Behavior and Engagement
  • Route to Lean

Hines concludes: “We wrote Staying Lean to guide managers along their lean journey, so lean becomes embedded throughout the organization – sustaining the performance improvements over the long-term. As Cogent’s story demonstrates, achieving sustainable lean processes is the only way to outperform low-cost economies, and position your company to compete in a global marketplace.”


Published by Cardiff University’s Lean Enterprise Research Center, Staying Lean is available through S A Partners’ Web site at:,/.

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