Lean Blitz received more attention from manufacturers of sporting goods and other items (such as mascot costumes!) than sports teams at the Baseball Trade Show, which is understandable. Most manufacturers of goods, sports-related or not, have at least had a cursory introduction to lean and continuous improvement.
That said, one encounter with a bat manufacturer sticks with me more than others. A sales representative came by the Lean Blitz booth and indicated he was with an unnamed-here bat manufacturer. When I explained what Lean Blitz can provide for his company, he said his company didn’t need lean because “we’re the best.”
(I found this to be an interesting comment, seeing how I’ve never even heard of his company.)
This indicates a key fact about lean – it’s not always about making the products better. This man may be right – his products might be the best – but that doesn’t mean his company can’t do it better. Lean is about removing non-value-added activities from processes, whether it makes the manufactured products better or not.
Lean can help with logistics, demand planning, standardized work, standardized layouts, material handling, packaging, reduced setup times, waste reduction – lots of things that have nothing to do with the manufacture, fit, form, or function of the product!
So this company’s bats could be the best, but there’s always room for improvement within the product and outside of it as well.