Follow the Leader

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011 : 0 Comments

follow the leader

As kids, we played a lot of games. One that sticks out in my mind is “Follow the Leader.” One person was picked as the leader. Everyone else would line up behind and mimic the leader’s actions. Failing to copy the leader’s moves meant you were out of the game. When only one person remained, the game had a new leader. The message of this game resonates with me, especially in the business world.

Think about it, in your industry there are Leaders, Competitors, and Followers. Many companies follow the leader – just like in the kids’ game. In a study, ARC identified leading manufacturers with a set of common characteristics.


  • involve more internal and external individuals in their program
  • use more methodologies (Kanban, 5S) and more often
  • embed their processes in their IT systems and use the systems to ensure consistency across shifts, buildings, and departments
  • empower employees by sharing information
  • utilize MES, ERP, Automation & custom systems for their business processes

In this same study, organizations identified as Followers responded far less favorably in the above areas.

How is your organization doing? Are you leading or following?

Source: Best Practices for the Intersection of Lean Manufacturing and MES. ARC Advisory Group 2007

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