Welcome to: First issue of the New ATJ eLetter Let the knowledge exchanges begin!
In the past, the future was better than the now!
Let’s start at the beginning: ATJ welcomes everyone – and especially the several hundred new folks who are joining our mailing list. Hence, this issue will get us all a glimpse of how this newsletter came to be and how it will be driven by its readers in the future – and a very interesting and unsure it appears to be. But one thing is for certain. A future filled with collaboration, frank exchanges, and opportunities to see many different perspectives is a future filled with innovation and excitement. And it has been this way for 25 years.
The Historical Underpinnings It has been over 25 years since the first Weekly Fax-Update began circulating among manufacturers who were concerned about a possible approaching recession. The purpose of the Update was to inform, align and unite Lean manufacturing consortium members to learn & leverage valuable know-how from each other’s practices and thinking. The lean journey was only just beginning.
Consortium thinking began before Lean in the mid ‘80’s when CME brought Niels Nielson from Denmark to share his experience as a facilitator for their 503 consortia involving some 3,000 SME companies who were united in taking on the world together. His impact on Dave was the beginning of the North American Consortium movement.
Timing is everything. Following the previous major recession in 1981–1982 came stimulus money to build the Ontario Centre for Advanced Manufacturing (OCAM) with its 5 Centres that focused on: Electronics, Robotics, Auto-Parts, CAD/ CAM, and Resource Machinery. It operated from 1983–1988 when it was ended by a government change. The US Manufacturing Extension Partnership Centres began shortly thereafter and continue to this day. But it was Allen Bradley (now Rockwell Automation) who took the lead from OCAM to seed the first Network circa 1990. That was the formation of the first Lean Consortium named as the High Performance Manufacturing (HPM) Consortium – with Dave Hogg as its facilitator.
Early in the 1990’s HPM members began searching for protection from a new recessionary threat and began talking in earnest about accelerating their own rate of improvement. Twelve companies (Rockwell suppliers) came together and committed to employ new ‘Lean Thinking’ which had appeared in Womack and Jones’ book The Machine that Changed the World in 1990. This book gave birth to their next book in 1996 - Lean Thinking, which went viral and Lean took off. [Ref: MIT Sloan Mgmt. Review: “Leveraged Learning Networks” Summer 1998].
In due course the Weekly Fax Update added email technology to became the HPM Weekly Update in 2000 and continuing to 2010. In 2011 it became the Accelerating the Journey Bi-Weekly eLetter.
ATJ Today The ATJ eLetter will continue to share and enhance the same mission-critical thinking and practices it had before drawing its wisdom from those already ‘doing it’. There will be no change in the simplicity of expression; the practicality of knowledge shared; and the unlimited access to practitioners who are passionate and deeply committed to accelerating their journey to world cdlass competitiveness and want to learn from others.
Since the days of Ontario Centre for Advanced Manufacturing, whose ‘battle cry’ is still valid and resonant today. After interaction with hundreds of companies and many trips to Japan, the Hanover Fair, Europe and throughout the US they emphatically stated:
“Continuous Improvement and adaptive/innovation are the most formidable competitive weapons any organization can possess.”
In 2016 this emphatic statement is still true – but is now even more urgent and relevant. There will be much discussion in the ATJ eLetter around these factors, drawn from the experience of others who have elevated their bar.
ATJ’s Vision To make a difference that matters. ATJ is committed to the first principle of lean and believes value is determined from the standpoint of the customer (our readers). Mission ATJ is a voluntary operation that respects, supports, and seeks input from all sources including our readers through an open trust-and-integrity based process that acknowledges all contributions, while always seeking to provide increasing value. Designed by: M&O Lean Communications 2016