Lean manufacturing is well-known as an effective means toward cost savings, but to convince management to support a culture shift to implement a lean manufacturing program there must be confidence in understanding what real effective and measurable lean savings are. This case study analyzes data from one specific lean event and points out areas of deficiency and shows how misreporting cost savings can hurt the lean program and the creditability of the lean practitioners. Often, lean practitioners are so anxious to show what benefit their lean projects have attained, they cite everything they can think of to justify their lean project, some of which can be questionable cost savings and can negatively impact the long term credibility of the lean program. This case study from Boeing’s Ground-Based Missile Defense (GMD) program will evaluate and confirm what constitutes real cost savings as a result of a continuous improvement project to reduce the cycle time of interceptor integration. This evaluation includes professional perceptions of lean cost savings as part of the conclusion of what constitutes real cost savings in a lean program. This case study evaluates one particular event of many events done by companies every day. Another area of research could focus on instances of lean programs not capturing and reporting all the effective cost savings from a lean project which can have some of the same negative effects as reporting more costs saving than are truly being realized as this study addresses.
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