Inventory is a fact of manufacturing life. It is accumulated and maintained for raw materials, work in-progress (or WIP), and finished goods. We like inventory when it means we can be highly responsive when the customer needs us to be.
As any manufacturing leader who has attempted to implement Lean, Six Sigma, Agile Manufacturing or any other Continuous Improvement initiative can tell you, it's not quite as "plug and play" as it seems in all the books and websites. It's now being estimated that as many as 70% of American Continuous Improvement initiatives fail. This video provides some insight to this phenomena and sheds some light on some of the prevailing reasons:
It has been estimated that 70% of Continuous Improvement efforts such as Lean, Six Sigma, Agile Manufacturing and others fail to meet expectations. This happens for two primary reasons:
1) The Factory’s Operating Systems lack sufficient structure and are not conducive for Continuous Improvement. The Operating System is the array of policies, processes, people, and technology that are used to execute operations.
2) CI requires a high degree of Operational Discipline that, in the absence of a well-structured Operating System, is nearly impossible to cultivate.