The 7 Wastes are so closely aligned with entropy generation that Lean is the manufacturing extension of thermodynamic law.

.and I have not found a Lean Manufacturing system, even relics of the principles, anywhere on WSU’s campus.

..but modern industry requires knowledge of these core tenets.

…so it was only natural for HYPER to go Lean.

To adopt Kaizen (continuous improvement) as a core mantra.

To poka-yoke (error-proof) production processes for repetition by many others (Learn one. Do one. Teach one.).

To 6S systems until we achieve the level of safety maximized when the 7 Wastes are minimized.

To fiercely add value in the pursuit of quality.

To pull products through to achieve flow.

To develop katas to hone our daily practices.

No surprise, just like the Thermodynamic laws forming the underpinning, Lean has limits.

Lean may have a process for interviewing project stakeholders, but Lean cannot tell you what input matters most.

Lean may have a process for defining a problem, but Lean cannot show you what the problem really is.

Lean may have a process for listing what is known, and what unknowns are known, but Lean cannot teach you what unknowns remain unknown.

Lean may have a process for identifying potential solution paradigms, but Lean cannot show you the paradigms that haven’t been invented yet.

Lean may help you collect statistics on a design or process, but Lean cannot prevent you from misinterpretation.

Lean may help through iteration for improvement, but Lean statistics and continuous improvement cannot get it right the first time, every time.

Lean may show the need for research, but Lean doesn’t actually do the research.

Lean may be a design heuristic, but Lean cannot guarantee original or clever designs.

Lean may be a process to help you make something, but Lean cannot force you to like Lean.

Lean may help simplify what needs to be done, but Lean cannot communicate that to others.

Lean may help you to make something better, but Lean cannot force you to care about it.

Lean may help you to make something new, but Lean cannot tell you the bounds on what can be new.

Lean may help you to automate the efficient production of parts, but Lean should not automate the production of people.


Mentors. Coaches. Creators. Artists. Dreamers. Carers. Believers. Empaths. Communicators. Researchers. Fans. Originators. Inventors. Skeptics. Questioners.


Lean is a tool to be used by a person during manufacture. That is the limit of Lean.