A guy named Chris Anderson wrote a book called “The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More” that is well worth the ten bucks it costs to get the Kindle version because it gets right at the heart of the reason lean manufacturers thrive and mass producers are as dead as Marley’s ghost – even though many are still dead men walking and haven’t figured it out yet.
There isn’t much would-be lean manufacturers can learn from lawyers. The old joke … What is the difference between a lawyer and a carp? One of them is a scum sucking bottom feeder, while the other one is a fish … is based at least partly on the truth and the lawyer culture is about as far as one can get from the lean culture. But you can learn something very important from the economics of lawyering.
Now would be a great time for a Canadian with a few bucks looking for a good business idea to start peddling coffee and doughnuts, and to put up the first store directly across the street from the busiest Tim Horton’s he can find. A year ago that would have been a very, very bad idea. A year from now it will be a license to print money. The reason is simple: Timmy’s (as the Canucks affectionately call it) has become more profitable than Burger King and Dunkin Donuts combined on the strength of a laser focus on value. It is being acquired by folks with no clue.
The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) is looking at inventory accounting and contemplating changes in the rules. For those who don’t know the FASB sets the rules that essentially become law for how accounting has to operate. Inventory accounting and the accounting community’s sheep-like faith in whatever FASB has to say about it (and everything else) are the number one obstacles to manufacturing excellence – don’t hold your breath waiting for the FASB to reverse 62 years of wholly misunderstanding manufacturing, or for the accounting community to see the light.
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