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Are the principles of Lean manufacturing and software development complementary? For an increasing number of organizations, the answer to that question is yes. Software and automation can bring great efficiency to a business but the value that software brings is directly proportional to the efficiency of the underlying processes and data. As Lean practitioners know, it's no good automating your process "waste" as it’s a lot more difficult to get rid of when it’s coded into your IT infrastructure.
In this Process Perspectives interview, Laura Jackson, Product Data manager at Phifer Incorporated, a textile company based in the US-state of Alabama, describes how Phifer has applied the principles of Kaizen to align processes and information technology systems. She also details how the company applied the approach in something called their product data development process and reduced product lead time by 98%.