Developing a Lean Culture in Your Metal Service Center

June 5, 2014 / , , , , ,

As the manufacturing industry evolves and the dynamics of the market change, many companies are adjusting their lean strategies. Metal service centers that “got lean” years ago are focusing on continuous improvement, and a growing number of high-mix, low-volume operations are tweaking traditional lean methodologies to fit their specific situation. In fact, this article from the Harvard Business Review actually criticizes traditional lean methods and suggests that today’s companies should be nuancing their approaches.

While lean strategies are shifting, most experts agree that creating a lean culture is a critical aspect of any successful implementation. Unfortunately, many companies fail to understand this basic principle. Oftentimes, manufacturers treat a lean initiative as a one-time project, and as a result, aren’t able to achieve sustainable results. As most experts would attest, lean is not an event; it’s a culture change.

Of course, creating culture change within an organization is not nearly as simple as it sounds. According to, a peer-to-peer network of companies focused on operational excellence, “most lean implementation failures are not due to failure to grasp lean tools and techniques, but a failure of change management.”

Below are a few resources we’ve gathered to get you thinking about what makes up a lean culture and, even more so, how you can create it: