Monday, July 1, 2013

Can Knowledge Workers Learn from Manufacturing?

By Pascal Dennis

Splendid piece in HBR recently.

Jordan Cohen, a knowledge worker, reflects on his dad's clothing factory, where he learned visual management, standardized work, flow & pull.

He reflects that all the lessons apply in knowledge work.

Reminds me of The Imperial Grill, my dad's joint on Queen Street East in Toronto, where I learned the fundamentals.

The Imperial Grill & crew -- Dad, Mama, Uncles Angie & Louie et al -- live on in my heart & books.

I believe in apprenticeship in all its forms. Coop placements, for example, are a splendid way to teach kids the fundamentals.

(Only a few of us are lucky enough to grow up in a business.)

I used to complain when I was a kid. "Why do I have to work in the restaurant?"

I now realize it was one of my best schools. It gave me rich stories & experiences.

I apply its lessons every day in Design, Engineering, HR, Finance and the like.

The basics are the basics. We just have to translate them.

Jordan Cohen's piece does a fine job doing so.



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