Paolo Marinovich Professional Coaching

A ship in port is safe, but that's not what ships are built for.

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Tecnici in fabbrica


There are enormous advantages in running operations under lean principles.

However, there is a discipline associated to that. The discipline consists in respecting the work plans and flows of the lean organization. Precisely because it is "lean", any deviations from the standard flow can generate inventory disruptions, rework, accumulation of work-in-process, possibly workforce overtime and extended lead-time; all equivalent to waste – and unsatisfied customers.

Normally Operations are in charge of the production process and accountable for industrial cost variances vis-à-vis the top management. Sales, Marketing, R&D or Purchasing have no authority to go to the production lines and try to change priorities, dictate modifications, skip tests (!), edit drawings or alter standard designs. Customer dictated changes must be negotiated, validated and implemented by Operations.

Operations may not hold the full truth about the market, but they do about the production process. Interference from Sales or Engineering may still happen in production plants, in some cases due to misconceived internal competition, in some other cases (supposedly) because they belong to a “tradition” where everybody drives for customer satisfaction. This may have brought one-off advantages in the past, either to obtain specific sales orders or force results in one sector or another - but certainly not one that has helped reducing costs. 

The truth is that even minor changes or adaptations “forced” on the spot will disrupt operations significantly – the more so in a non-lean environment. They are difficult to trace. They do not offer any guarantee that quality - or even safety - will be preserved. Their costs cannot be evaluated; they simply appear and tend to proliferate as inefficiency. In this era of strict cost control!


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Paolo Marinovich Professional Coaching - Via Antonio Gramsci 8 - 20097 San Donato Milanese (MI) - ITALY - P.IVA 07548850960