Systems Thinking – The Ideal State

I want to offer a challenge to people involved in product development. When we begin a Lean initiative we consider current situation and define an ideal state. The distance between the current and ideal situation is the space where you should focus improvement efforts.

When the Toyota production system was studied and converted into Lean Manufacturing they could clearly define the ideal state. The ideal state in Lean Manufacturing/The Toyota Production System is defined by the following:

  • Can produce defect free
  • Able to produce a batch of one
  • Can produce on demand
  • Can be delivered immediately
  • Can operate in a process with no waste
  • Can operate in an environment safe for the people involved physically, psychologically, and professionally

These all have been generalized into the Lean Manufacturing concepts:

  • Zero defects
  • Single piece flow
  • Pull
  • Lead time
  • Value added processes
  • Human factors

I’m challenging you to consider your product development system. Can you define your ideal state? If you can’t define the ideal state then what is the direction of your continuous improvement efforts? So please, seriously, give thought to and consider this – what is the ideal state of your product development system?

If have ideas and you’d like to turn this into a dialogue please email them to us or put your thoughts in the comments below and we’ll be happy to dialogue with you about defining the ideal state of your product development.


Contact us to learn more about how Systems Thinking and the application of our Product Development Operating System can help your organization become more efficient, productive, innovative, and competitive.

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