Lean Executives Shop at WALMART

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Lean Executives 
Shop at Wal-Mart®

by Enrique Mora 

What does this mean? 

The current trend towards Lean Manufacturing that Manufacturers better jump on board of, requires some simplification in the traditional way of managing businesses. 

Power has changed its meaning and the definition that once Dale Carnegie gave is taking over. About time! Power is no longer the strength to command but the Human Relations skill required to provide admiration and respect to all of our people so we get the same in return. That is the real “earned” power. 

Still, I can see many important organizations where top management rarely or never visit the floor of their plants. They wear fine formal clothing and when asked, they show total disconnect with the reality of their process. 

On the other side, we are finding very important managers like Norio Ohno, the VP of Toyota in Georgetown, KY, who wears work clothes just as any of the plant workers, drives his golf cart all over the extensive plant and talks to his people. He knows the names of most of them and commends their good performance on a daily basis. 

Executives like these are ready to bring their companies to World Class Success and keep them right there. The employees call them by their first name, they are liked and respected and get spontaneous cooperation from everyone. 

The Lean Manufacturing environment requires of these leaders to succeed. 

Gone are the times for luxurious offices, which are never visited by the operators. Gone are the times of Top-Down management. Down to Earth people are required to establish a better relationship between the different positions in a factory. Titles must relate only to the responsibility that each person has in the process, and not indicate supremacy or submission. 

Total respect for each other is the best rule for a Real Leadership environment. That way these leaders keep the most productive people on their side. Satisfied people are loyal to their employers and produce quality products and services. They do not need a Union to force anyone to keep them working. 

There are several examples of this, and it is about time for businesses to realize that Change is now mandatory.   

Your company can have the
services and continuous support
of a Lean Manufacturing Expert
without having to pay for one!

This is also true in the commercial arena: 

Customers are constantly more demanding and eager to compare. As a result, people are now weary of those “upper level” or “high-end” stores that all of a sudden have “specials” of 50% discount! They have been abusing and overcharging their loyal everyday customers more than 100% with the “normal price”. Can’t these directors analyze the evident switch in the preference of the customers? Can’t they see how Wal-Mart is beating its competitors up each and every single day with a fixed reasonable profit margin?  I actually try to avoid shopping in any of those markup-champions stores.

“High-End” will always exist, especially in a free market society like ours. What needs to happen is a change of attitude in the management of the stores serving that niche. Fine stuff does not necessarily demand 200+% markups and some people can resent that practice. 

The current trend of Management Change applies to Manufacturing, and Retail Services. Awareness is critical to survive. By moving larger volumes, we lower the effect of our overhead costs per unit, so the bottom line will give us a higher profit. When you enter a store with wide spaces, lots of lighting and employees, and carpeted floors, think of all those costs being shared by the customers. The more customers, the lower the overhead cost. In manufacturing, the same is true, the higher volumes of products the lower the effect of overhead cost per unit, and the larger the profit.


The questions we should ask ourselves are:

  • How can I expand my market to take advantage of my capacity?

  • How can I get my customers to be more satisfied and loyal?

  • How will I get my team to support these efforts?

Remember that all of your associates (formerly called employees), are your customers and also are customers of each other.

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This page last updated on

08/01/08 17:31











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