I read an article recently which suggested that forward-thinking companies need to merge their ‘traditional’ Lean practices with newer approaches such as AI.

Whilst accepting the principle behind this comment, I think it is a little unfair on ‘Lem’ to suggest that the Lean approach to performance development does not readily accept new ways of thinking or new technologies.

Lean is based on increasing value to customers and making processes flow more efficiently, through constant review and continuous improvement. Where technology can help do either of these,. It should be adopted – as part of Lean thinking, not as an addition.

So, you ‘gurus’ out there … by all means promote the benefits of new technologies or new approachers, but don’t denigrate existing approaches that have been used, over the years, on projects that have successfully incorporated new ideas and new technologies as and when appropriate.  One advantage of the Lean approach is that it adopts technology but recognises the need to change other aspects of a process to enable that technology to be optimised, and it recognises the need to ensure those affected by the introduction of the technology are involved in its adoption.  Introducing technology should, as far as possible, be done by or with those affected, rather than be something done to them.

Lean is an underlying basis of, and for, improvement.  Stick with it!