Lean Blog Audio — Be Careful With “No Waiting Rooms” Just Like “Zero Inventories”

For decades, manufacturers have been tripped up by the simplistic idea that Lean is about “zero inventories.” It probably didn’t help that one of the earliest and most prominent books about what many used to call “Japanese manufacturing practices” had that exact title: Zero Inventories. It was published in 1983, well before “Lean” was a term used for this.Not even Toyota has zero inventories. They don’t have zero raw materials. They have non-zero buffer inventories in between parts of their assembly lines. And it’s not hard to see INVENTORY of unsold cars at Toyota dealers (realizing those are independent businesses and the inventory’s not on Toyota’s book, but still…)

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