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What is the worst mistake you’ve made on the gemba?
Author: Ballé, Michael
Summary
Media Format: eLetters
Publish Date: 4/10/2014

Dear Gemba Coach,

What is the worst mistake you’ve made on the gemba?

We’re being audited on five levels on fifteen topics. I feel that if we actually worked on all these items, the plant would just stop working. Am I missing anything?
Author: Ballé, Michael
Summary
Media Format: eLetters
Publish Date: 3/27/2014

Dear Gemba Coach,

Our facility is being rated on a “lean maturity” audit. We’re being audited on five levels on fifteen topics, each having multiple sub-topics. I feel that if we actually worked on all these items, the plant would just stop working. Am I missing anything?

Why do the characters in your books struggle a lot with lean?
Author: Ballé, Michael
Summary
Media Format: eLetters
Publish Date: 3/18/2014

Dear Gemba Coach,

I’m new to lean and I’ve just finished reading The Gold Mine and The Lean Manager and enjoyed them thoroughly – thank you. I do have a question: the characters seem to struggle a lot, and there’s a lot of conflict. Is that always the case or is it in there to make the books more interesting?

I’ve heard you say the quality department is the worst enemy of quality. I find this offensive.
Author: Ballé, Michael
Summary
Media Format: eLetters
Publish Date: 3/3/2014

Dear Gemba Coach,

I’m in the quality department of a large company and I’ve heard you say quality is the worst enemy of quality. I find this offensive, but I’m willing to keep an open mind. How would you back up such an outrageous statement?

If I turn off MRP in favor of kanban, will the factory collapse around us?
Author: Ballé, Michael
Summary
Media Format: eLetters
Publish Date: 2/24/2014

Our sensei wants us to turn off MRP and work with kanban cards. I’m really nervous about this. We’ve been doing a lot of problem solving, but I’m not sure we’re ready. Any insights?

I don’t find much about lean strategy in the literature. Where should I look?
Author: Ballé, Michael
Summary
Media Format: eLetters
Publish Date: 2/10/2014

Dear Gemba Coach,

I’ve been tasked to come up with a presentation on what is a “lean” strategy to our Strategic Planning Group. I don’t find much about lean strategy in the literature and am stumped. Where should I look?

In TPM, Isn't it needlessly costly to replace parts that are working fine? What do you think?
Author: Ballé, Michael
Summary
Media Format: eLetters
Publish Date: 1/28/2014

Dear Gemba Coach,

I have a question about Total Productive Maintenance. My management has hired a TPM consultant who makes us systematically replace certain parts in our equipment even though they’re working fine. This seems needlessly costly. What do you think?

Transforming Transformation
Author: Shook, John
Summary
Media Format: eLetters
Publish Date: 1/22/2014

We are all trying to transform. That's what lean thinking and practice are all about: challenging us to reflect deeply on how we can improve this situation, improve my organization, or improve myself (and of course, all three.) Each of us knows from experience that this work is never easy. Whether you are toiling at the gemba, struggling with your mid-level team, or fighting to transform your organization, this is tough work.

Why do you lean experts still revere the Toyota Production System? Hasn't any one come up with something better?
Author: Ballé, Michael
Summary
Media Format: eLetters
Publish Date: 1/22/2014

Dear Gemba Coach,

Since Toyota formulated TPS 50 years ago, many other companies have come up with their own business systems – I have been taught the Nissan Production Way. Why do you lean experts still revere the Toyota Production System? Hasn't any one come up with something better? Is this just conservatism or ideology or do you actually have a reason to stick with TPS?

We struggle to set target conditions. Is there a system to do so?
Author: Ballé, Michael
Summary
Media Format: eLetters
Publish Date: 1/14/2014

Dear Gemba Coach,

We work with Toyota Kata, which we find very helpful, but we struggle to set target conditions. Is there a system to do so?