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Articles (556) Show All »
Not a High-Volume Widget Manufacturer? Lean Still Makes Sense for High-Mix, Low-Volume Production
By: Greg Lane | November 12, 2014
If your organization deals with a wide variety of products that incur fluctuating demand and your customers are ever increasing the product range while demanding shorter lead times, you need to continuously experiment and adapt lean methodologies. But if you’ve read the lean management literature, most of which is based on high-volume production examples, you’ve probably decided lean principles don’t fit.  Actually they do. Principals, such as pull production, remain the same, though the methods are adjusted to fit high-mix, low-volume environments. Here’s an example.  Let’s assume you have fluctuating demand across a wide range of products, (displayed by the More »
For Distribution Managers, Lean Means a Sea Change in Roles
By: Graham, David | October 29, 2014
Making the leap to lean management in the warehouse or the supply chain requires the same kind of cultural shift and change in management behaviors as other operational areas. For a successful lean transformation, distribution management needs to take the lead in creating a strong sense of ownership at the operational level, and then provide people on the warehouse floor with the need for change, strategy, and support. Here's how to do it from lean thinker and distribution professional Dave Graham. More »
Columns (309) Show All »
GTS6 + E3 = DNA (Break the Code for Standardization, Sustainability, and Kaizen)
By: Tracey Richardson | November 21, 2014
There's no "formula" for doing Lean well, but there are principles and practices that keep you on track. Read Tracey Richardson's (memorable) advice for leading effectively at work. More »
Why Creating Products Customers Actually Want Requires a Great Process
By: Matt Zayko | November 20, 2014
80% of the cost (and hence, waste) is committed for a new product or service by the time product designs get locked-in during development. Still, most PD leaders focus their improvement efforts where 80% of cost is incurred—the operational value stream, post-launch. Learn why your focus should be on lean process design. More »
Forms and Templates (18) Show All »
Problem Definition Worksheet
By: Lean Transformations Group | June 17, 2013
In order to continuously improve, you must be able to find problems in order to solve them.  Once you have found a problem, the first step you must take is to make sure you have properly defined the problem.  One way to look at problems (i.  e.  , gaps) is to think in terms of standards. A gap can exist between current performance and an established standard or a new standard that you are attempting to achieve. A problem also can be unwanted variation in performance even when average performance appears acceptable. When even a single out-of-specification event is a More »
Root Cause Template
By: Shook, John and David Verble | June 13, 2013
When trying to solve a problem, you want to identify underlying causes, which will help you to prevent fires rather than just extinguish them. By identifying the underlying causes down to the root causes, you can reduce the likelihood that a given problem will recur.  The most common root-cause analysis technique in lean is the "Five Why's.  " This is practice of asking why repeatedly whenever a problem is encountered in order to get beyond the obvious symptoms to discover the root cause.  For instance, Taiichi Ohno gives this example about a machine that stopped working (Ohno 1988, p. 17):Why did More »
Case Studies (40) Show All »
Lean Management Case Studies
By: Marchwinski, Chet | May 16, 2014
The following examples of lean management principles in action show how a variety of businesses and organizations applied lean principles to solve real business problems under diverse business conditions. We’ve arranged them in 16 categories to help you find the examples you need.  Be sure to read LEI’s complementary Senior Executive Series on Lean Leadership to find out how many of the executives who took part in these case studies changed who they managed and led. More »
Sustain Your Lean Business System with a “Golden Triangle”
By: Marchwinski, Chet | April 1, 2014
When medical device maker Phase 2 fought off an overseas challenge by meeting the global price, margins took a big hit. With help from customer Medtronic Advanced Energy, the company rebuilt margins by lifting its lean operating system to a higher level and keeping it there with a "golden triangle" of sustainability. More »
eLetters (350) Show All »
How do we solicit feedback from the shop floor without being overwhelmed by the enormous amount of ideas?
By: Ballé, Michael | November 19, 2014
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,My company is trying to implement a system for collecting, organizing, and maintaining visibility of employee suggestions and ideas.    I think we all know that the "suggestion box" has gone by the wayside.    How do we solicit feedback from the shop floor without being overwhelmed by the enormous amount of amazing ideas that we're asking for? More »
Can creative people, like product developers, follow such a structured method such as lean?
By: Ballé, Michael | November 7, 2014
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,For product development you need creative (maybe even chaotic) people. Are those people suited to follow such a structured method as lean? Like trying to achieve one-piece-flow in product development? More »
Videos and Webinars (35) Show All »
Webinar: How to Lead With Respect
September 9, 2014
How to Lead With Respect webinar featuring Michael Ballé More »
Webinar: The Two Basic Forms of Coaching for Lean
May 22, 2014
The Two Basic Forms of Coaching for Lean with David Verble More »