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Quotations for Lean Manufacturing
and Continuous Improvement in Business



Welcome to my page of lean manufacturing and continuous improvement quotations. I've been assigned to a 5S value stream mapping team at my job, and so of course now the quote addict in me must start a page for these topics. –Terri, 2006


There are so many men who can figure costs, and so few who can measure values. ~Author unknown


A corporation is a living organism; it has to continue to shed its skin. Methods have to change. Focus has to change. Values have to change. The sum total of those changes is transformation. ~Andrew Grove, unverified


Anybody who recognizes waste will try to eliminate it. The real problem is when people do not recognize waste when they see it. ~Shigeo Shingo, Non-Stock Production: The Shingo System of Continuous Improvement, 1987


Your lean process should be a lean process. ~Author unknown


And nothing is less productive than to make more efficient what should not be done at all. ~Peter F. Drucker


Continuous improvement is not about the things you do well — that's work. Continuous improvement is about removing the things that get in the way of your work. The headaches, the things that slow you down, that's what continuous improvement is all about. ~Bruce Hamilton


Willful waste brings woeful want. ~Proverb


There are many experts on how things have been done up to now. If you think something could use a little improvement, you are the expert. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


Waste is a tax on the whole people. ~Albert W. Atwood, How To Get Ahead: Saving Money and Making It Work, 1917


...even the best worker cannot beat a bad system... ~W. Edwards Deming


We are too busy mopping the floor to turn off the faucet. ~Author unknown


Some of our greatest industrial organizations have learned their A, B, C's in waste elimination and have found themselves well repaid, but they are still at the beginning, and the time is coming when every man who lays any claim to business ability will have to keep the question of waste before him constantly as now he does those of credit and collections, buying and selling. ~Thomas A. Edison, as quoted in Business and The Book-Keeper, 1911


Waste is worse than loss. The time is coming when every person who lays claim to ability will keep the question of waste before him constantly. The scope of Thrift is limitless. ~Thomas A. Edison, as quoted in T. D. MacGregor, The Book of Thrift, 1915


...it is more than probable that the average man could, with no injury to his health, increase his efficiency fifty per cent. ~Walter Dill Scott, Increasing Human Efficiency in Business, 1911


It is not enough to be industrious; so are the ants. What are you industrious about? ~Henry David Thoreau, 1857


A relentless barrage of "why's" is the best way to prepare your mind to pierce the clouded veil of thinking caused by the status quo. Use it often. ~Shigeo Shingo, Kaizen and the Art of Creative Thinking, 1959


The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency. ~Bill Gates, The Road Ahead, 1995


Become addicted to constant and never-ending self improvement. ~Anthony J. D'Angelo, The College Blue Book, 1995, collegiate-empowerment.org


I don't spend more than 20 minutes a day in my office. I'm out in the plant. The people need to know why they are doing the things they do. And I need to know if they've got a better way to do it. ~Karsten Solheim (1911–2000), in Tri-City Herald, 1991, as quoted in Jeffrey B. Ellis, And the Putter Went… PING, 2017  [engineer, inventor, golf club designer, and founder of PING, www.ping.com —tg]


For he who rejects change is the architect of decay. ~Harold Wilson, 1967


Almost all quality improvement comes via simplification of design, manufacturing, layout, processes and procedures. ~Tom Peters


Improvement usually means doing something that we have never done before. ~Shigeo Shingo, Kaizen and the Art of Creative Thinking, 1959


The modern business man is the true heir of the old magicians. Every thing he touches seems to increase ten or a hundredfold in value and usefulness. All the old methods, old tools, old instruments have yielded to his transforming spell or else been discarded for new and more effective substitutes. In a thousand industries the profits of to-day are wrung from the wastes or unconsidered trifles of yesterday. ~Walter Dill Scott, Increasing Human Efficiency in Business, 1911


The moral of this fable is that if you're not sure where you're going, you're liable to end up someplace else. ~Robert F. Mager, Preparing Objectives for Programmed Instruction, 1961


The introduction of physics and chemistry have led to marvelous results in methods of manufacture and transportation.... by the proper application of psychology the efficiency of men is to be increased beyond the idle dream of the optimist of the past. ~Walter Dill Scott, Increasing Human Efficiency in Business, 1911


...not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted. ~William Bruce Cameron


Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. ~C. Northcote Parkinson, 1958


But, besides this and including this, she had trained herself to the utmost — she was always training herself... ~Florence Nightingale, "Una and the Lion," in Good Words, 1868


Amateurs work until they get it right. Professionals work until they can't get it wrong. ~Author unknown


If you don't have time to do it right you must have time to do it over. ~Author unknown


Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital. ~Aaron Levenstein, unverified


Different isn't always better, but better is always different. ~Author unknown


Invest a few moments in thinking. It will pay good interest. ~Author unknown


You must have long-range goals to keep you from being frustrated by short-range failures. ~Charles C. Noble


Never confuse movement with action. ~Ernest Hemingway


I shall try to correct errors when shown to be errors; and I shall adopt new views so fast as they shall appear to be true views. ~Abraham Lincoln, 1862


Here was a lesson in economics. And economics is simply the science of business, and business is the science of human service. ~Elbert Hubbard, "Let Thrift Be Your Ruling Habit," Loyalty in Business and One and Twenty Other Good Things, 1921


Where you find quality, you will find a craftsman, not a quality-control expert. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


When developing and designing products that invite people to use them, just do it right from the start and put your heart into it. It's harder and it takes longer, but everyone wins in the end. ~Michael D. Harris





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Page Information:
Original post date 2006 Jul 19
1st major revision 2021 Sep 30
Last saved 2021 Sep 30 Thu 17:06 PDT
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