“Chief of the Watch, verify boat is ready to submerge”
“Aye aye sir … Straight Board”
“Very well Chief, Diving officer, Submerge the ship”
“Aye Aye sir, Chief of the Watch, sound two blasts of the
diving alarm and open all main vents”
“On the 1MC… Dive Dive”
The boat slides beneath the waves and begins a typical submarine
patrol. For over a hundred years, US Navy submarines have been sailing the
oceans of the world. My brief history as a submariner encompassed over twenty
years on five different boats. My career since then has mainly focused on the
world of manufacturing as a lean manager, consultant and change agent. Several
years ago, I started noticing the relationship between what makes lean such a
powerful tool and what makee submarines work so well.
As I learned more and more about lean principles over the past
fifteen years (based on the Toyota Production System) I realized that our
submarine fleet had adopted every single principle and tool over the past 100
In the coming days and months, I will share some of those thoughts
What does it take for an organization to be successful at
What lessons can be learned from submarines that can help someone
on a lean journey to overcome the obstacles associated with change?
Why is execution and commitment such a huge part of a lean
What are the barriers to success?
My experiences in business and industry are the source of many
hard learned lessons. My hope is that some of that experience can help others
to navigate through the three main phases that make up a lean journey:
Implementation, Integration, and Innovation
Over the coming months, I will share some sea stories, some shore stories, and some lessons from a combined total of almost forty years of lean experience. I will welcome feedback and hope that we can learn something together.
Oh, yeah, Helmsman, ring up all ahead full, make your depth 150 Feet Steady on Course 020