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continuous improvement on the Lean Post
When A3s Get Personal
Think A3s are just for organizational problems? Think again. Katie Anderson discusses how to adapt A3 thinking to guide our personal development.… More »
Back to Basics: Jim Womack on Why Managers Need a "Lean State of Mind"
In this classic eletter from 2009, Jim Womack explains the crucial importance of a "lean state of mind" if a lean manager is going to be able to achieve sustainable improvements.… More »
Riding the Goodyear Wheel to Innovation Excellence
Norbert Majerus of Goodyear shares the Womack and Jones-inspired model that helped his company overhaul its product development operations.… More »
When Do You Stop Learning?
Lean is about learning continuously and asking the right questions, not just providing answers. But, Orry Fiume wonders, does the learning ever stop? Do we ever reach a point in our development where we transition from a learner to a decision-maker? Find out the answer.… More »
Looking for split seconds, it can mean a NASCAR race WIN!
Tracey and Ernie Richardson explore how NASCAR pit crews use visuals for safety and speed.… More »
Lean in One Drawing
LEI faculty member, Dave Lahote, shares his concept of thinking about lean as a system and to demonstrate the linkage between lean tools and how the system can create organizational advantage.… More »
Lean Roundup: Continuous Problem-Solving
Continuing his popular Lean Roundup series, LEI Senior Editor Tom Ehrenfeld covers a key topic in lean circles that also happens to be a key theme at the 2017 Lean Transformation Summit: continuous problem solving.… More »
Ask Art: How high is up with lean?
Art Byrne explains that continuous improvement really is continuous and that there is no limit to the “up” in lean.… More »
Getting to Sustainability
Sustaining gains from kaizen thinking is one of the hardest, and certainly most misunderstood, aspects of this work. It’s misunderstood because the actual change takes place at the beginning of the journey. Learn one of the best ways to Get to Sustainability from LEI faculty members Tracey and Ernie Richardson.… More »
From Chaos to Kaizen: The Visual Way
In another of his visual depictions of the fundamentals of lean, Andrew Quibell illustrates the process of transforming a chaos-plagued organization into one of continuous improvement.… More »
Bringing Lean to Your Sales Team
LEI faculty member Brent Wahba discusses the importance of bringing lean into your sales department as well as where to start.… More »
Ask Art: How is lean the opposite of everything people have been trained to do?
Art Byrne explains why, and how, lean practice is the opposite of what most people have learned about work in any setting… More »
Problem-Solving: One Size Does Not Fit All, Part 1
Problem solving is at the core of any lean transformation. But both beginners and experts will tell you that it isn't easy to do it efficiently and effectively. In fact you might even end up making it harder than it has to be! In this exclusive interview, Art Smalley dishes on an all-too-common hurdle he sees people struggle with in their problem solving and shares his best tips for getting past it.… More »
You Can't Know If You Don't Know
Recently LEI Chairman and CEO John Shook found an interesting blog by Dr. Helen Kales of the University of Michigan, musing on a powerful set of words that can mean everything in lean thinking. The set of words resonated with John too, and he now shares his thoughts on the value it holds in his latest piece for the Lean Post.… More »
CLean and Green: How SunPower Used Lean to Address Sustainability
After years of lean practice, solar-device manufacturer SunPower wanted something more. They wanted to continue their journey of continuous improvement and become a more sustainable company, like the the products they sold. Their approach didn't just involve lean - it incorporated a sustainable economy model, creating a hybrid approach that they called "CLean." Read more.… More »
It’s About the Tools, Not the Terms
"I’ve never been a big fan of lean lingo," says John McCullough of Crayola. "It may sound expert-like, but I’ve always found its use to do more harm than good." Read more to learn John's experiences with the pitfalls of lean lingo and what his preferred approach is now.… More »
Ask Art: Is There More to Becoming Lean than Conducting Kaizen Events?
Kaizen events may be a key part of lean transformation, but they're certainly not the only aspect of it. They're just one step on the stairway to a culture of continuous improvement - but only if you build upon them. Art Byrne shares some great tips for getting the most out of your kaizen events.… More »
Lean Transformation: Have You Hit the “Lean Plateau?”
After realizing that that their five-year track record of continuous improvement was leveling out, Craig Stritar and his team knew they would have to get creative. Find out the methods they used to fight their way off the "lean plateau."… More »
Change Management: Is it Necessary?
"There are varying views on the role of change management in a lean transformation," writes Katrina Appell. In her latest blog, she evaluates the opposing viewpoints and offers a viewpoint of her own for good measure. Read more.… More »
The Value of Key Performance Indicators in a Lean Transformation
We all know to watch out for key performance indicators (KPIs) in the workplace - but are you tracking the RIGHT KPIs? Ernie and Tracey Richardson share their thoughts on the two categories of KPIs, how they can help you, and how to identify them.… More »
The Lean Management System: The Key to Sustainability and CI. An Interview with Joe Murli
Achieving wins is only half the battle in a lean transformation - you also need a way to sustain those wins and foster a culture of continuous improvement. In his first piece for the Lean Post, Joe Murli shares his favorite way of doing just that - his signature "Lean Management System," already being used by the likes of GE and Moog Aircraft Group. Read more.… More »
The Terrible Quest for Best
It seems like everyone strives to be the best at what they do. But, Josh Rapoza wonders, why would you even want to be best? Isn't it better to always be improving, rather than settling for what we perceive as "best?" Read more.… More »
Mapping Out Your Gemba Walks
"Gemba walks may sound like Lean 101 but they still require 110% of your undivided attention," writes Andrew Quibell. "And even then the problems that sent you on the gemba walk may go unnoticed if you don’t know what exactly you’re looking for." Check out Quibell's favorite sketch for mapping and honing the focus of his gemba walks.… More »
Towards a More Perfect (i.e. Lean) Union
"Over the past few years, we have seen an upward trend in the number of government agencies and states beginning to explore and practice the “true” meaning of lean and lean transformation," writes Dr. Darlene Dumont. Learn why she suggests that the practitioners leading these efforts should network and share ideas amongst each other.… More »
Coaches Need Improvement Too
"Whether you are a coaching client or a coach yourself," writes Brent Wahba, "you both have decided to pursue the world of continuous improvement, so why wouldn’t continuous improvement apply to continuous improvement itself? Just like everyone else, coaches need improvement too."… More »
Leading with Respect is Not a Soft Skill: An interview with Mike Orzen
By definition, a hard skill is a skill that can be defined, measured, and taught. Does that sound like it describes leadership? Probably not, but Mike Orzen explains why it's time to stop thinking of leadership, specifically leadership employing the lead with respect model, as a soft skill.… More »
Visualize the Invisible: Connect Improvement Work to Real Business Needs
Reflecting on one of her most powerful learning experiences, Lesa Nichols writes, "It struck me that I hadn’t coached my team explicitly on how to visualize our work. Why was that, anyway? I realized that making a good visual story of improvement work is not something most people want to do or know how to do."… More »
The Chief Cause of Problems is Solutions
"In complex organizations, we [oversimplify] problems, try to fix them as painlessly as possible, cross our fingers, and move on to the next fire," writes Brent Wahba. "Unfortunately, things rarely turn out quite as perfectly as we had hoped." Learn how to avoid this trap and plan better as you lead your team in continuous improvement.… More »
Kaizen Event “Malpractice” and What to Do About It
Performed properly, kaizen events create the technical and cultural foundation for daily continuous improvement. Performed improperly, they can get you nowhere fast. Learn more about the real purpose of kaizen events (and how to run effective ones) in this video interview with Chet Marchwinski and LEI faculty member Mark Hamel.… More »
Continuous Improvement is Good, But Is It Lean?
Take a look at your organization. Is Lean clearly directed and connected to strategy? Are senior leaders directly involved in specifying the process improvements needed? Will the process improvements you are focused on improve help you provide value to your end customers?… More »
5 Ways to Help Every Team Member Contribute Ideas for Improving Work
"Engaging staff in problem identification and suggestions for improvement is essential for any organization," writes Dan Fleming, Continuous Improvement Manager at GBMP (Greater Boston Manufacturing Partnership). "Yet most organizations don’t have a system that effectively encourages staff involvement." Learn how to create such a system with this short, helpful post.… More »
The Lean Thinker Who is Capable of Creating Other Lean Thinkers
LEI faculty member David Verble explains what it means to be an effective manager or lean coach and why it's so important to practice something called "humble inquiry" if you want to develop team members who are problem solvers. Watch the full video interview or read excerpts.… More »
Why Effective Problem Solving Begins With a Good Problem Statement
"Let’s solve world peace" or "let’s state our predetermined solution as a problem" aren't real problem statements, says Dave LaHote. Read why a good problem statement is so important, why it's harder than you think to come up with one, and learn how to write a better one.… More »
Are You Training People to Think or to Follow a Checklist?
"Without attention to why continuous improvement is important, the purpose behind [PDCA], when tools should be used, and when to apply ideas," Erin Urban writes, "we're training change agents to do nothing more than follow a checklist." Urban offers recommendations for how to improve training programs and invites your ideas, too.… More »
How to Make Your Supplier Your Lean Partner
Lean practitioner Randy Dobbs says working with suppliers to improve the extended value stream of his company has been one of the most rewarding aspects of his career. Read Dobbs' advice on how to work effectively with suppliers.… More »
How to Create a Culture of Accountability
"Over time, accountability has developed a negative connotation," writes Erin Urban. "But the truth is: we want accountable, responsible employees that have our company’s best interests in mind and are committed to continuous improvement." So, how do you do it?… More »
The Relentless Pursuit of Perfection
"I began to notice that there was a sharp contrast between well-made, crafted products and poorly made ones, and an even greater distinction between the people who made them," writes Jim Morgan. "I immediately and instinctively knew which one I wanted to make, and be."… More »
Kaizen Power
In his latest piece for the Post, Michael Ballé explains why "humble 100x1% is better than 1x100% kaizen." This kind of kaizen impacts the bottom line of your company and can even change its strategic trajectory.… More »
What To Do When Executives Think Continuous Improvement Smells Fishy
Top executives are smart, but they don't always see the value of continuous improvement efforts. And continuous improvement professionals don't always communicate that value well to senior executives.… More »
continuous improvement on Lean.org
C.J. Buck, CEO of Buck Knives
When sales of a key product cratered, Buck Knives CEO C.J. Buck realized that he had to cut costs by 30% to stay in business. He moved the company from California to Idaho and lauched a lean transform… More »
The Value Stream Manager
Read about and discuss the role of this cross-functional manager.… More »
Leadership Q&A: Dan Ariens, CEO of Ariens Co.
From the LEI senior executive series on lean leadership: In the late 1990s, Ariens Co.faced a blizzard of problems. The iconic maker of snow blowers, mowers, and string trimmers faced a cash-flow cri… More »
The Beginner’s Guide To Lean
Dan Jones, chairman of the Lean Enterprise Academy and coauthor of Lean Thinking, explains that the challenge of lean is to advance beyond eliminating waste in broken processes to creating brilliant p… More »
Lean Thinking: A Look Back and a Look Forward
The meaning of lean thinking, how lean got its name, and an example of how it improved a grinding process By LEI President Jim Womack.… More »
Forward to Fundamentals Webinar with Jim Womack and John Shook
In recent years, most discussions around lean transformation have understandably evolved toward more managerial and strategic matters. Yet there remains an alarming lack of solid implementation of the… More »
Forward to Fundamentals Webinar with John Shook and Jim Womack, Written Transcript
In recent years, most discussions around lean transformation have understandably evolved toward more managerial and strategic matters. Yet there remains an alarming lack of solid implementation of the… More »
Lean Accounting
To sustain a lean transformation, top executive and financial managers must know how to transform routine accounting practices to a new system that not only is lean itself but also supports lean pract… More »
Managing to Learn: The Use of the A3 Management Process
This workshop introduces the A3 management process and the way of thinking represented in the A3 format that capture the heart of lean management. Participants will be provided an overview of various … More »
Gemba Walks, 2nd Edition (audiobook)
A collection of essays read aloud by author Jim Womack, based on the many gemba walks he has taken around the world. The 2nd edition contains 12 new essays, including thoughts on lean in healthcare an… More »
Gemba Walks, 2nd Edition (eBook)
A collection of essays by Jim Womack based on the many gemba walks he has taken around the world. The 2nd edition contains 12 new essays in sectors such as healthcare and government.… More »
Gemba Walks, 2nd Edition
A collection of essays by Jim Womack based on the many gemba walks he has taken around the world. The 2nd edition contains 12 new essays in sectors such as healthcare and government. … More »
Visualize the Invisible: Connect Improvement Work to Real Business Needs
Reflecting on one of her most powerful learning experiences, Lesa Nichols writes, "It struck me that I hadn’t coached my team explicitly on how to visualize our work. Why was that, anyway? I realized that making a good visual story of improvement work is not something most people want to do or know how to do."… More »
The Chief Cause of Problems is Solutions
"In complex organizations, we [oversimplify] problems, try to fix them as painlessly as possible, cross our fingers, and move on to the next fire," writes Brent Wahba. "Unfortunately, things rarely turn out quite as perfectly as we had hoped." Learn how to avoid this trap and plan better as you lead your team in continuous improvement.… More »
Kaizen Event “Malpractice” and What to Do About It
Performed properly, kaizen events create the technical and cultural foundation for daily continuous improvement. Performed improperly, they can get you nowhere fast. Learn more about the real purpose of kaizen events (and how to run effective ones) in this video interview with Chet Marchwinski and LEI faculty member Mark Hamel.… More »
Continuous Improvement is Good, But Is It Lean?
Take a look at your organization. Is Lean clearly directed and connected to strategy? Are senior leaders directly involved in specifying the process improvements needed? Will the process improvements you are focused on improve help you provide value to your end customers?… More »
5 Ways to Help Every Team Member Contribute Ideas for Improving Work
"Engaging staff in problem identification and suggestions for improvement is essential for any organization," writes Dan Fleming, Continuous Improvement Manager at GBMP (Greater Boston Manufacturing Partnership). "Yet most organizations don’t have a system that effectively encourages staff involvement." Learn how to create such a system with this short, helpful post.… More »
The Lean Thinker Who is Capable of Creating Other Lean Thinkers
LEI faculty member David Verble explains what it means to be an effective manager or lean coach and why it's so important to practice something called "humble inquiry" if you want to develop team members who are problem solvers. Watch the full video interview or read excerpts.… More »
Why Effective Problem Solving Begins With a Good Problem Statement
"Let’s solve world peace" or "let’s state our predetermined solution as a problem" aren't real problem statements, says Dave LaHote. Read why a good problem statement is so important, why it's harder than you think to come up with one, and learn how to write a better one.… More »
Are You Training People to Think or to Follow a Checklist?
"Without attention to why continuous improvement is important, the purpose behind [PDCA], when tools should be used, and when to apply ideas," Erin Urban writes, "we're training change agents to do nothing more than follow a checklist." Urban offers recommendations for how to improve training programs and invites your ideas, too.… More »
How to Make Your Supplier Your Lean Partner
Lean practitioner Randy Dobbs says working with suppliers to improve the extended value stream of his company has been one of the most rewarding aspects of his career. Read Dobbs' advice on how to work effectively with suppliers.… More »
How to Create a Culture of Accountability
"Over time, accountability has developed a negative connotation," writes Erin Urban. "But the truth is: we want accountable, responsible employees that have our company’s best interests in mind and are committed to continuous improvement." So, how do you do it?… More »
The Relentless Pursuit of Perfection
"I began to notice that there was a sharp contrast between well-made, crafted products and poorly made ones, and an even greater distinction between the people who made them," writes Jim Morgan. "I immediately and instinctively knew which one I wanted to make, and be."… More »
Kaizen Power
In his latest piece for the Post, Michael Ballé explains why "humble 100x1% is better than 1x100% kaizen." This kind of kaizen impacts the bottom line of your company and can even change its strategic trajectory.… More »
What To Do When Executives Think Continuous Improvement Smells Fishy
Top executives are smart, but they don't always see the value of continuous improvement efforts. And continuous improvement professionals don't always communicate that value well to senior executives.… More »