Steve Fonseca asks an interesting question on The Whiteboard.
Are lean companies really transparent with their customers and suppliers as to cost/profits. Is this a lean principle or not, or to what extent?
I am going to offer an opinion, then perhaps other readers can chip in.
First, there is no real definition of what is, or is not a “lean principle.”
Second, there are infinite shades of the term “financial transparency.”
Thus, there is no definitive answer to the question.
So, in my view, I don’t really see a correlation. Nor do I see a significantly greater degree of openness as a prerequisite to success with infusing a culture of continuous improvement.
Toyota is publicly traded, and as such, is really restricted by insider trading laws on how much financial information they can share with customers / suppliers short of sharing it with everyone.
Anyone else? What have you seen out there? Does a degree of financial transparency, above and beyond what is normal in business relationships, offer a significant competitive advantage, or drive continuous improvement faster?