So Many Tools

3 November 2003

Joe Ely just returned from attending Productivity, Inc.’s 2003 conference on Lean Management. His first report about the conference is up.

I’m only now digging into the essence of lean thinking and its relationship to other methodologies for improvement. Needless to say I was a little stunned to learn that one of the companies highlighted prominently in the book filed for bankruptcy in 1999.

I believe this has been the case with participants in many of the faddish methods including some that Tom Peters and others highlighted. Running a business that is successful across many decades is tough work. If you doubt this, I encourage you to locate even a handful of companies that can show even thirty years of uninterrupted return on shareholders’ equity. They are rare indeed. Take it out to fifty years and you’ll find less than a handful of truly enduring businesses.

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