Yes, the difference between the Toyota system and the Lean Management of the 1980/2000s is nothing comparable when comparing the philosophy of the two systems.
The Toyota system is based on the spirit of a mediocre Japanese car manufacturer whose manager is not satisfied with his market position of the 50s/60s and wants to ensure the success of its company in order to become one of the best worldwide in order to position its industrial grip over the long term, and therefore ensure an industrial, social and financial trickle-down effect on his company & employees. As a result, Toyota ensures the lifetime employment of its employees and is known for its ability to allow its executives to start from the bottom up in order to reach the top for some of them. As for the rest of the workers, social trickle-down occurs through the famous “job for life”.
In conclusion of the Toyota system, the income from the efforts of the participation of workers (or adherence to the objectives of the Company) is shared throughout their career, ensure their retirement or even allow the employment of their children.
So let’s clarify what the new Lean Management is.
The new LM is attached to the finance of some financial investors including KKR to name only the best known with its famous & rich DG Kravis to allow a simple plan:
- Invest massively with borrowed money (or LBO, technique of the 80’s) in a sleeping beauty (a Group or Company whose profitability is less than 15%) in order to boost its productivity in order to resell it as quickly as possible. We will see it in another Blitz, resell it in pieces or even outsource it to iso optimized procedures to a low-cost country.
If we take the example of Fenwick France, which was the subsidiary of the German group KION bought by the Private Equity fund, the industrial conclusion of the improvements of the New LM in a French factory leads to an increase in trampling on the workstations as well as 25% more accidents at work and a redundancy plan of a hundred positions since the LM definition allows to produce more with fewer resources (including human). As for the sales people, Excellence is required & the objectives are ambitious to allow to occupy the increase of the released production capacities. Great system and not so complicated to build!
A psychiatrist analyzed the situation in the following way: like slaves, serfs, workers under Taylor/Ford & its consequences of working on the line, the new LM perpetuates the negation of intelligence & self accomplishment at work. This obviously leads to the burn-out of middle managers or even suicides or unemployment of others.