I began my CFO career working for an established manufacturing company that had been in business for many years. Manufacturing practices and financial analysis related to operations were pretty standard.
Soon our company made the commitment to become Lean. We hired people with Lean experience. Talk about continuous improvement, flow, and eliminating waste all seemed foreign to me, something that “the Lean people” would work on. But pretty soon these “Lean people” were coming to me and asking for different kinds of financial work, such as performance measures and financial analysis not using standard costs. Boy was I out of my comfort zone.
Over time, and with the help and support of the “Lean people” I figured out how Lean could make us a lot of money. Then I was all in on Lean. Every improvement I had to make, every new type of analysis I had to do, suddenly all made sense. I began thinking of myself as one of the “Lean people”: the Lean CFO.
And in my work with our customers in BMA, Inc., I’ve consistently talked about the unique role the CFO has in leading a company down its Lean journey by becoming a Lean CFO. The more I talked about the role and responsibilities of the Lean CFO, the more I developed a coherent message.
Then my colleague, Brian Maskell, suggested that I write a book. That got me out of my comfort zone, just like Lean did many years ago. Talking about it is one thing, but having to sit down and write about it is another. To write this book, I’ve had to adjust my thinking and break down my internal paradigms of not being able to write a book. It was no different for me than figuring out how Lean makes money.
Even though the book is titled The Lean CFO, it is really intended for both financial people, business executives and Lean leaders. It doesn’t matter if your company is just getting started with Lean or has been Lean for years. There is something in it for everybody.
This book is not about debits, credits, or accounting theory. It’s about how a CFO becomes a Lean CFO by leading a company in developing and deploying a Lean Management System.