Can we accept Mura, Muri, Muda in a zero growth world?


The jury is in: economic growth is a thing of the past, as shown here by Dambisa Moyo and Olivier Scalabre, and our economies continue to underperform.


Truth is, economic growth throughout the XXth century has been based on 1) exploiting captured resources without concern for externalities and 2) forcing products, often through sheer political pressure on lesser developed markets.

Capitalism has been a great engine for equipment: installing a new train line is exciting. But now most large equipment drives are over as every one has every thing. Capitalism has to adapt on making things work.

And they only do so-so as we experience every day. So many things around us only almost work. Waste is obvious and all around us. And costly.

In a zero growth environment, there is still plenty of growth to be found by taking the waste out – as well as beating the competition by working faster. This challenge is not going to go away.

And we now know the root causes:

  • Mura, unlevelness: batch thinking that creates massive stop-and-go scheduling, where nothing is done and then a huge campaign is engaged
  • Muri, overburden: which creates overburden of specific point either through stop (something not done) or then through go (the massive campaign cannot be absorbed).
  • Muda, waste: both create endemic waste in the way everything is done.

Growth can still be found, but no longer by the slash and burn and move on techniques of finding new markets to flog standardized goods, but by a closer relationship with customers and a deeper understanding of how our own offering creates mura, muri and muda in their lives.

Which means training every manager to see mura, muri and muda in the decisions they make every day, and teach everybody the problem solving skills to both take responsibility for avoiding mura, muri, muda and the know-how to find solutions minimizing them. Today, right now, to prepare for tomorrow.


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