Jon Miller over at Gemba Panta Rei has published a summary of chapter 14 from Gemba Keiei by Taiichi Ohno. If you’re not familiar with this book, it is highly readable and down to earth -although this book has been long out of print much to the dismay of many in the lean manufacturing community (is anybody at Productivity Press listening?) and Jon is translating from the original Japanese text, so you’d have to be able to read Japanese like he does at this point. A blurb from his current posting, Do Kaizen When Times Are Good:
Taiichi Ohno says that if you wait to do kaizen until business is slow, then you are forced to spend money just to reduce costs and become competitive. You spend money on your Lean manufacturing efforts when your margins are getting smaller and this takes your attention and cash at a time when you need it most to run the business…Taiichi Ohno says that companies have a responsibility to maintain employment and make a profit. The only way to do this is to reduce cost. Costs are reduced by scientifically reducing waste from every process…Taiichi Ohno uses a Japanese proverb similar to “An empty sack cannot stand upright” to express that it is very difficult to make good decisions and do kaizen to cut costs the right way when your business is struggling…When you are poor and struggling to make ends meet it is hard to think beyond today.
You can catch up on all the previous chapter summaries here.