Sayings of the Lean Fathers

Sayings of the Lean Fathers

By Discovery Lean Six Sigma

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Within the body of Jewish literature,  there is a book called "Pirke Avot", which means 'Sayings of the Fathers'. It is a collection of wisdom and quotes handed down from the ancient rabbis and the Jewish tradition. Taking that reference as a model, I decided to produce this "Sayings of the Lean Fathers." Enjoy!

Taiichi Ohno

(February 29, 1912 – May 28, 1990) was a Japanese industrial engineer and businessman. He is considered to be the father of the Toyota Production System, which became Lean Manufacturing in the U.S. He devised the seven wastes (or muda in Japanese) as part of this system. He wrote several books about the system, including Toyota Production System: Beyond Large-Scale Production.   https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taiichi_Ohno 


We are doomed to failure without a daily destruction of our various preconceptions.

Progress cannot be generated when we are satisfied with existing situations.

Start from need.

Having no problems is the biggest problem of all.

If you assume that things are all right the way they are, you can’t do Kaizen. So change something!

Ask 'why' five times about every matter.

Why not make work easier and more interesting, so people do not have to sweat? The Toyota style is not to create results by working hard. It is a system that says there is no limit to people’s creativity. People don’t go to Toyota to ‘work’, they go there to ‘think’.

Without standards, there can be no improvement.

Where there is no Standard there can be no Kaizen.

Standards should not be forced down from above but rather set by the production workers themselves.

Make your workplace into showcase that can be understood by everyone at a glance. In terms of quality, it means to make the defects immediately apparent. In terms of quantity, it means that progress or delay, measured against the plan, is made immediately apparent. When this is done, problems can be discovered immediately, and everyone can initiate improvement plans.

The slower but consistent tortoise causes less waste and is more desirable than the speedy hare that races ahead and then stops occasionally to doze. The Toyota Production System can be realized only when all the workers become tortoises.

All we are doing is looking at the time line, from the moment a customer gives us an order to the point we collect the cash. And, we are reducing the time line by reducing the non-value-added wastes.

Something is wrong if workers do not look around each day, find things that are tedious or boring, and then rewrite the procedures. Even last month's manual should be out of date.

The more inventory a company has, the less likely they will have what they need.
We are doomed to failure without a daily destruction of our various preconceptions.

The key to the Toyota Way and what makes Toyota stand out is not any of the individual elements…But what is important is having all the elements together as a system. It must be practiced every day in a very consistent manner, not in spurts.

If you are going to do TPS you must do it all the way. You also need to change the way you think. You need to change how you look at things.

The only place that work and motion are the same thing is the zoo where people pay to see the animals move around.

People who can’t understand numbers are useless. The gemba where numbers are not visible is also bad. However,  people who only look at numbers are the worst of all.


Taiichi Ohno. (n.d.). AZQuotes.com. Retrieved June 16, 2017, from AZQuotes.com Web site: http://www.azquotes.com/quote/731341
https://www.slideshare.net/mobile/optimaltransformation/a-collection-of-quotes-from-taiichi-ohno
Https//www.inspiringquotes.us/author/2150-taaichi-ohno


W. Edwards Deming

(October 14, 1900 – December 20, 1993) was an American engineer, statistician, professor, author, lecturer, and management consultant. Educated initially as an electrical engineer and later specializing in mathematical physics, he helped develop the sampling techniques still used by the U.S. Department of the Census and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In his book, The New Economics for Industry, Government, and Education, Deming championed the work of Walter Shewhart, including statistical process control, operational definitions, and what Deming called the "Shewhart Cycle" which had evolved into PDSA (Plan-Do-Study-Act). This was in response to the growing popularity of PDCA, which Deming viewed as tampering with the meaning of Shewhart's original work. Deming is best known for his work in Japan after WWII, particularly his work with the leaders of Japanese industry.    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W._Edwards_Deming


People are entitled to joy in work.

Management by results -- like driving a car by looking in rear view mirror.

It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.

The greatest waste in America is failure to use the abilities of people.

The moral is that it is necessary to innovate, to predict needs of the customer, give him more. He that innovates and is lucky will take the market.

The consumer is the most important point on the production-line.

Export anything to a friendly country except American management.

Whenever there is fear, you will get wrong figures.

A bad system will beat a good person every time.

To manage one must lead. To lead, one must understand the work that he and his people are responsible for.

Does experience help? No! Not if we are doing the wrong things.

The supposition is prevalent the world over that there would be no problems in production or service if only our production workers would do their jobs in the way that they were taught. Pleasant dreams. The workers are handicapped by the system, and the system belongs to the management.

Defects are not free. Somebody makes them, and gets paid for making them.

Every system is perfectly designed to get the results it gets.

A leader is a coach, not a judge.

Pay is not a motivator.

The merit rating nourishes short-term performance, annihilates long-term planning, builds fear, demolishes teamwork, [and] nourishes rivalry and politics. It leaves people bitter, crushed, bruised, battered, desolate, despondent, dejected, feeling inferior, some even depressed, unfit for work for weeks after receipt of rating, unable to comprehend why they are inferior. It is unfair, as it ascribes to the people in a group differences that may be caused totally by the system that they work in.

Quality is made in the board room. A worker can deliver lower quality, but she cannot deliver quality better than the system allows.

http://quotes.deming.org/authors/W._Edwards_Deming



Shigeo Shingo

 (1909 - 1990), born in Saga CityJapan, was a Japanese industrial engineer who is considered as the world’s leading expert on manufacturing practices and the Toyota Production System.      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shigeo_Shingo


Lean is a way of thinking- not a list of things to do.

The most dangerous kind of waste is the waste we do not recognize.

Are you too busy for improvement? Frequently, I am rebuffed by people who say they are too busy and have no time for such activities. I make it a point to respond by telling people, look, you’ll stop being busy either when you die or when the company goes bankrupt.

Unless you change direction, you will end up where you are headed.

We have to grasp not only the Know-How but also 'Know Why', if we want to master the Toyota Production System.

Those who are not dissatisfied will never make any progress.

There are four purposes of improvement: easier, better, faster, and cheaper. These four goals appear in the order of priority.

A relentless barrage of 'why’s' is the best way to prepare your mind to pierce the clouded veil of thinking caused by the status quo. Use it often.

Shigeo Shingo. (n.d.). AZQuotes.com. Retrieved June 18, 2017, from AZQuotes.com Web site: http://www.azquotes.com/quote/731329



Masaaki Imai

(born, 1930) is a Japanese organizational theorist and management consultant, known for his work on quality management, specifically on Kaizen.     https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masaaki_Imai


The message of the Kaizen strategy is that not a day should go by without some kind of improvement being made somewhere in the company.


The Kaizen Philosophy assumes that our way of life - be it our working life, our social life, or our home life - deserves to be constantly improved.

It is impossible to improve any process until it is standardized. If the process is shifting from here to there, then any improvement will just be one more variation that is occasionally used and mostly ignored. One must standardize, and thus stabilize the process, before continuous improvement can be made.

Progress is impossible without the ability to admit mistakes.

The standard is not written on the stone. The definition of the standard is that it is the best way to do the job for now. It should be regarded as a next step to make further improvement.

Where there is no standard, there can be no improvement. For these reasons, standards are the basis for both maintenance and improvement.

Kaizen means ongoing improvement involving everybody, without spending much money.

I believe that management should focus on two particular areas. One is Gemba (shop floor) and the other is customer (not the shareholder).

You can't do kaizen just once or twice and expect immediate results. You have to be in it for the long haul.

All of management's efforts for Kaizen boil down to two words: customer satisfaction.

I have a theory that among the large Western companies (mostly American) the higher an executive is promoted, the more wisdom is lost and by the time he or she reaches the top becomes a complete idiot. Certainly they do not deserve the outrageous salary.

Japanese management practices succeed simply because they are good management practices. This success has little to do with cultural factors. And the lack of cultural bias means that these practices can be - and are - just as successfully employed elsewhere.

Kaizen is like a hotbed that nurtures small and ongoing changes, while innovation is like magma that appears in abrupt eruptions from time to time.

Under the lean system, any tools which are required for solving problems are used.

Masaaki Imai. (n.d.). AZQuotes.com. Retrieved June 18, 2017, from AZQuotes.com Web site: http://www.azquotes.com/quote/1555116

Final Thoughts



Can you recognize some themes here? Do any of this quotes resonate with you? Maybe one or more hits a little closer to home?! Which ones are you going to take with you and/or share with others? Did any challenge your previous mindset?


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Posted: June 29, 2017, 8:47 pm

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