Chapter 3Lean Means Speed

Henry Ford was the first person to understand the impact of process speed on cost, the first to understand that inventory slowed down his process, and that slow processes are wasteful processes. He said:

Ordinarily, money put into inventory is thought of as live money, … but it is waste—which, like every other form of waste, turns up in high prices. We do not own or use a single warehouse! Time waste differs from material waste in that there can be no salvage.

This insight is counterintuitive; after all, isn't inventory an asset? In this chapter we will replace Ford's intuitive grasp with a logical description of why slow processes are expensive ...

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