I believe there is a synergy between the two methodologies of Crisis Management and Lean Technology. I practice Lean techniques for 26 years in the USAF, but we did not call it lean. We also learned and practices disaster preparedness skills. When I was in the Vietnam War and peacetime, we applied a simplified methodology to shorten process cycle times, were held to a very high-quality standard, and still managed to not burn out the workers. Living and working through tornadoes, typhoons, hurricanes, sandstorms, earthquakes, flu epidemics, and war requires that we have standardized work procedures and have the discipline to follow them. In a crisis, good leaders care about the welfare of the workers and the long-term survival of the organization.
My crucial career turning point came when I realized as the leader, if I take care of the people, the people will take care of the process. Adapting to the changing work environments and different customer demands take “creative idea generation” from Lean teams that are more than brainstorming and meet the strict standards of FDA and other regulatory bodies. All of these things we want to do today and hope to carry forward into the future take good Leadership.
Without Leaders at the top who make data-based decisions combined with empathy for the people they lead, I do not believe that many companies will combine Lean technology with crisis management. Those that do it successfully will last for a long time and become the industry leaders.