As the lean movement evolved from learning about quality in the 1980s to learning about the Toyota Production System in the 1990s to the last decade’s trend of Lean Six Sigma, it seemed to lose some things along the way. To put it simply, it lost people and it lost purpose. Certainly within Toyota, there have not been tool sets like lean and Six Sigma to “deploy,” and there has not even been a continuous improvement culture to “implement.” Within Toyota, if a young, ambitious professional proposes implementing kanban, using design of experiments, or using any of a number of other tools, a senior leader will ask the difficult question: What is your purpose? By asking the question, the leader is forcing the young professional to think: ...

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