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Your Favorite Lean Posts of 2017: A Lean Post Holiday Special
2017 has seen another terrific year of content on the Lean Post. Over the past 12 months we've released dozens of articles on the latest news, research, stories and tips from all of you, the members of the lean community. Today we share the top 10 most popular.… More »
Advice from the Gemba: Top Mistakes Lean Leaders Make III
Mistakes are just a part of lean, even for leaders. Luckily they're also a great opportunity for improvement. Today three lean practitioners share mistakes they often see lean leaders make, plus the countermeasures to correct them.… More »
The Art of Productive Inquiry
Last month Andrew Quibell released a sketch outlining a process for effective silent observation. His new sketch shares what to do next -- productive inquiry! Read more.… More »
It's All About the Mindset on Gemba Walks
Darren Walsh believes that there are few things more critical to a successful gemba walk than the right mindset. Do you have the right one when you Go and See? Read more and find out.… More »
From the Forums: SHOULD You Sweat the Small Stuff on Gemba Walks?
It's inevitable that as we Go and See, we'll notice many small, barely-noticeable mistakes happening in the work. But how to handle those mistakes? They may be small, but they're still mistakes - and you don't want to be seen as ignoring them. Join the discussion in the comments section!… More »
The Art of Silent Observation
Silent observation is not as intuitive as it may sound. Andrew Quibell often meets people who think it's as simple as standing and watching the work in silence. But there's much more to it than that - learn more in his new sketch and animation.… More »
You can do a lot by doing a few things
"Developing a good strategy and actually executing it is really hard," writes Leslie Barker. "What I didn’t fully realize was how powerful just a little knowledge is along with a commitment to do things differently." Read Leslie's gripping story of the role these two things play in her day-to-day work.… More »
Engagement and Elephants: How Lean Changed the San Diego Zoo
In this exclusive video from the 2017 Lean Transformation Summit, Director of Performance Improvement Jeff Foster dishes on some of his experiences implementing lean at the San Diego Zoo.… More »
Daily Management, Daily Sustainment: The Remarkable Story of Lean Transformation at Lantech
Jim Lancaster attended the 2017 Lean Transformation Summit in Carlsbad, California to speak about Lantech's journey to create a daily management system. Today on the Lean Post we feature a video of his talk on the role of management in sustaining the gains of lean.… More »
Your Gemba Isn't the Only Gemba to Walk
We all know the critical importance of gemba walks in our organization. But what many of us forget is that sometimes visiting OTHER gembas can be just as value add as visiting our own. Aaron Hunt knows this well - in his latest Post, he shares two stories of how visiting someone else's gemba inspired him to improve his own.… More »
"Too Busy to Walk the Gemba"
Chris Weisbrod of Catalysis explains why healthcare leaders often claim they're too busy to walk the gemba and shares a strategy for reversing that mindset.… More »
Advice from the Gemba: Top Mistakes Lean Leaders Make I
Making mistakes is a natural part of lean thinking and practice. Here, three LEI faculty members share some common, yet easily avoidable mistakes made by lean leaders, as well as the countermeasures that can help resolve them.… More »
What Too Many Lean Leaders Forget about Gemba Walks
Lean Coach Darren Walsh of the UK's Lean Enterprise Academy has seen many lean leaders make a troubling, yet highly avoidable, mistake on their gemba walks. Are you making that same mistake? Read his article and find out what it is and how to avoid it!… More »
Do You Own Your Lean Learning?
LEI COO and Toyota veteran Mark Reich is back with a new series on the role of consultants and OpEx groups in a lean transformation. Today he shares a story of coaching a young coffee-plant manager facing a major challenge -- and what it taught him about lean leadership and problem-solving.… More »
Ask Art: Is “We are customer-driven” a good lean strategy?
Art Byrne is often asked if "customer-driven" is a good lean strategy. The answer is yes - as long as it's done right. Read more.… More »
Advice from the Gemba: TPS Mythbusting
Despite its fundamental role in a lean transformation, the Toyota Production System is not an easy thing for many to grasp. In this special installment of Advice from the Gemba, three of LEI's accomplished faculty discuss the most common misconceptions they hear about TPS from their workshop participants.… More »
Advice from the Gemba: Best Tips for Designing a Work Experience
When designing a work experience, the benefits of having an experienced coach to guide you cannot be overstated. In this installment of Advice from the Gemba, three of the Lean Global Network's best coaches offer their favorite tips for designing a work experience.… More »
"What Do I Need to Know?"
"What do I need to know?" A simple, but powerful, question to ask at the gemba and beyond. Kelly Moore muses on how this question has helped her do her job better, and also shares a fun story of how she was recently reminded of the power of this question at - of all places - a bowling alley.… More »
The Hidden Waste in Inspection
When looking for areas of muda, your inspection department probably isn't the first place that comes to mind. But you may be surprised to find out that inspection is waste by its very nature. In his third installment of his series on areas of waste in manufacturing, Andrew Quibell breaks down this problem and illustrates the true solution to eliminating defects.… More »
How do I keep visual management from becoming “wallpaper?" A Q&A with John Drogosz
"Many managers try to convince everyone (including themselves) that they are visually managing their projects or departments," writes John Drogosz, "but during the gemba walk we see static, outdated displays. Are we just communicating information or really working with what is in front of us?" Read more.… More »
It's Not All About the Data on Value-Stream Maps: An Interview with Judy Worth
Data is a critical component of value-stream mapping. But it's not the only component you should be concerned about. All too often we find mappers getting caught up in their efforts to gather data, which can lead to overload and inaccurate mapping. LEI faculty member Judy Worth has seen this many times - here are her perspectives on the root causes and possible countermeasures.… More »
Are You Fixing the System or Just a Person?
"How often do our solutions fix a person (or single event) rather than a system?" wonders Kelly Moore. Hopefully not too often at your organization, because only system fixes will solve problems in the long term. Read more to read Kelly's reflection on this dilemma, and how two recent experiences made her look at it in a new light.… More »
Conveyance: The Perfect Place for Waste
In the latest installment of his series of sketches and animations covering areas of waste in manufacturing, Andrew Quibell gives us a look at conveyance. "We all know that moving materials provides zero value to the customer or ourselves," he writes. "It's the perfect place for waste to hide." Read more.… More »
Inventory Waste: The "Hidden Killer" in Manufacturing
Andrew Quibell is back with the next sketch in his series on the four main areas of waste in manufacturing. Today's area: Inventory, the "hidden killer." Check out the sketch plus a fun animated video Andrew made to help illustrate the concept.… More »
Even Visual Management Starts from Need
Have you ever implement a visual management tool at your gemba after seeing it used successfully somewhere else? If so, according to Mark Hamel, you "probably violated a major tenet of lean. [You] did not start from need. [You] started by copying someone else’s stuff." Every visual management tool needs to be situational to address your specific needs. Read more.… More »
The Manufacturing Waste Series: Introduction
In the first installment of his new series on waste, Andrew Quibell's latest sketch introduces his take on why kaizen efforts often fail to achieve anything long-term. Read more to find out what he pegs as the culprit, and get a preview of the series to come!… More »
No Shortcuts: Creating a Lean Environment the Right Way
As much as we may wish there was a way to pull off a lean transformation with only a basic knowledge of its ideals, there isn't one. Michael Ballé explains why investing the time it takes to fully learn lean is worth every second you put into it. It may take a while, but the benefits will speak for themselves.… More »
It's the Productivity, Not the People
In one memorable lean project, Craig Stritar found himself on a large fish-processing vessel in the Bering Sea that was plagued by poor productivity levels. The supervisors insisted that inadequate staffing was the problem - Craig begged to differ. His transformation would require a specialized approach, in which he would not be able to use any lean terminology. Find out how he did it.… More »
I'm Michael Ballé, Ask Me Anything
Ask author and lean coach Michael Ballé anything you wish on lean thinking and practice! He'll be here all day answering YOUR questions!… 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 »
Gemba Walking on Mars
Lean is all around us in our daily lives - including at the movies, as Lean Institute Brasil president Jose R. Ferro found out during a recent screening of "The Martian," starring Matt Damon. Find out what he noticed.… More »
Lean in Japan: The Benefit of an Outsider's View
"Sometimes when we know a process, culture, or organization too deeply, we struggle to view things as they actually are..." writes Katie Anderson who is currently observing lean companies in Japan. "When we are a near complete outsider as I’ve been... we are able to see things without as many preconceived notions of 'how it should be done.'"… More »
Safety Through Gemba
"When I do a gemba walk, I don’t necessarily ask questions about safety," writes Brian Fitzpatrick (a director of Health & Safety), "I engage in conversations with staff members, and ask staff to teach me about how they do their work and what concerns them... They must feel they have the power to change what is wrong, and believe that we care."… More »
What “Co-Learning” Across Industries Looks Like in Practice
"In April, as part of a 2-day capstone learning event for Cardinal Health, we brought the newest wave of Lean Leader graduates together to visit various gembas to see examples of other companies undergoing lean transformations," writes McGuiness. "With proximity to Ohio and some key relationships in mind, the team headed for southern Michigan."… More »
GTS6 + E3 = DNA (Break the Code for Standardization, Sustainability, and Kaizen)
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 »
Keep It Simple: Value Stream Map at the Gemba
Sometimes we build value stream mapping up to be a much bigger process than it needs to be, forgetting to include key people in the mapping process. Dave LaHote shares a story of how powerful value stream mapping can be when it's used well.… More »
Gemba Walks: Are You Going To See or To Be Seen?
"Supervisors talked about the significant improvements they were making as a result of kaizen events," writes Dave LaHote, "But all I noticed was workers trying to keep up with a production process that looked out of sync, plagued by problems that got in the way of them being able to perform their jobs well." Read more.… More »
Challenge: Understand and Adapt for Sales Pace Growth
It's our first Lean Challenge post! Come up with a plan to help a machining business deal with the technical and social challenges posed by increasing customer demand.… More »
Greening Up the Gemba
Lean practitioner Tim Kane shares a story of lean-meets-green thinking and collaborative problem solving... with a little help from the Muppets.… More »
Improvement for the Sake of Improvement Means Nothing
"We need to dig deep to understand why we do what we do and question whether it really provides value to anyone." Read the story of how one company found itself trying to improve a process that shouldn't have existed in the first place.… More »
Observe Without Expectations
What does it really mean to go to the gemba and closely observe the work that takes place there? Are you aware of your own biases when it comes to "going and seeing"?… More »
Managing By Not Wandering Around
“We’re still very early in our journey,” says Dan McDonnell, VP of Operational Excellence at Ingersoll Rand. “But we’re following a transformation model that lets us learn through ideation and experimentation what works and what doesn’t."… More »
Thinking Outside the Pyramid
Machiavelli said it's better to be feared than loved. Lean practitioner Daniel Fisher rejects this idea and argues it’s better to respect people and be respected. Read why.… More »
Adding Flavor to the Gemba Using SALT
Dr. Grant Greenberg, Associate Medical Director for Quality for the University of Michigan Faculty Group Practice, has come up with a quick method for making the most of his gemba visits.… More »
No Really, Go to the Gemba
LEI coach Danielle Blais explains why it's so important for lean coaches, leaders, and all managers to regularly visit the gemba (the place where the value-creating work actually gets done).… More »
What do effective leaders actually do every day? GTS4
So many of us know the value of lean thinking and practice, but what do lean leaders actually do every day? Tracey Richardson offers a simple formula to help leaders and change agents stay disciplined about where they dedicate their attention, time, and energy.… More »
Clear Mind, Better Work
Like lean, mindfulness meditation is all about practice and discipline. Mark Donovan, owner of the knitwear company Wooden Ships, reflects on how a ten day silent meditation retreat has changed his approach to work and strengthened his lean efforts.… More »
gemba on Lean.org
Leadership Q&A: Dr. Jack Billi, associate dean and associate vice president for medical affairs
From the LEI senior executive series on lean leadership: Jack Billi, M.D., associate dean for clinical affairs, University of Michigan Medical School, professor of Internal Medicine and Medical Educa… More »
Lean Transformational Leadership Webinar - Follow-up Q & A and Reading List
During the Transformational Leadership webinar, many of you asked for the list of related books and articles that presenter Jim Luckman cited. He has provided the list as a chart at the end of his ans… 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 »
Lead with Respect: Practicing Respect for People to Enable Engagement, Teamwork & Accountability
Building a great organization requires effective leadership. It turns out that leadership skills can be learned. A key element that is often misunderstood is what it means to lead with respect. This l… More »
Lean Leadership: Through the Transformation and Beyond
The purpose of this interactive one-day program is to facilitate a discussion with senior leaders about the challenges and obstacles they face implementing change relative to the lean transformation. … More »
eVSM v8 - Electronic Value-Stream Mapping
Walking the shop or office floor with a paper and pencil to collect data and observe actual conditions is how value-stream mapping (VSM) is done. But for a long time, members of the Lean Community hav… 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 »
I'm Michael Ballé, Ask Me Anything
Ask author and lean coach Michael Ballé anything you wish on lean thinking and practice! He'll be here all day answering YOUR questions!… 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 »
Gemba Walking on Mars
Lean is all around us in our daily lives - including at the movies, as Lean Institute Brasil president Jose R. Ferro found out during a recent screening of "The Martian," starring Matt Damon. Find out what he noticed.… More »
Lean in Japan: The Benefit of an Outsider's View
"Sometimes when we know a process, culture, or organization too deeply, we struggle to view things as they actually are..." writes Katie Anderson who is currently observing lean companies in Japan. "When we are a near complete outsider as I’ve been... we are able to see things without as many preconceived notions of 'how it should be done.'"… More »
Safety Through Gemba
"When I do a gemba walk, I don’t necessarily ask questions about safety," writes Brian Fitzpatrick (a director of Health & Safety), "I engage in conversations with staff members, and ask staff to teach me about how they do their work and what concerns them... They must feel they have the power to change what is wrong, and believe that we care."… More »
What “Co-Learning” Across Industries Looks Like in Practice
"In April, as part of a 2-day capstone learning event for Cardinal Health, we brought the newest wave of Lean Leader graduates together to visit various gembas to see examples of other companies undergoing lean transformations," writes McGuiness. "With proximity to Ohio and some key relationships in mind, the team headed for southern Michigan."… More »
GTS6 + E3 = DNA (Break the Code for Standardization, Sustainability, and Kaizen)
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 »
Keep It Simple: Value Stream Map at the Gemba
Sometimes we build value stream mapping up to be a much bigger process than it needs to be, forgetting to include key people in the mapping process. Dave LaHote shares a story of how powerful value stream mapping can be when it's used well.… More »
Gemba Walks: Are You Going To See or To Be Seen?
"Supervisors talked about the significant improvements they were making as a result of kaizen events," writes Dave LaHote, "But all I noticed was workers trying to keep up with a production process that looked out of sync, plagued by problems that got in the way of them being able to perform their jobs well." Read more.… More »
Challenge: Understand and Adapt for Sales Pace Growth
It's our first Lean Challenge post! Come up with a plan to help a machining business deal with the technical and social challenges posed by increasing customer demand.… More »
Greening Up the Gemba
Lean practitioner Tim Kane shares a story of lean-meets-green thinking and collaborative problem solving... with a little help from the Muppets.… More »
Improvement for the Sake of Improvement Means Nothing
"We need to dig deep to understand why we do what we do and question whether it really provides value to anyone." Read the story of how one company found itself trying to improve a process that shouldn't have existed in the first place.… More »
Observe Without Expectations
What does it really mean to go to the gemba and closely observe the work that takes place there? Are you aware of your own biases when it comes to "going and seeing"?… More »
Managing By Not Wandering Around
“We’re still very early in our journey,” says Dan McDonnell, VP of Operational Excellence at Ingersoll Rand. “But we’re following a transformation model that lets us learn through ideation and experimentation what works and what doesn’t."… More »
Thinking Outside the Pyramid
Machiavelli said it's better to be feared than loved. Lean practitioner Daniel Fisher rejects this idea and argues it’s better to respect people and be respected. Read why.… More »
Adding Flavor to the Gemba Using SALT
Dr. Grant Greenberg, Associate Medical Director for Quality for the University of Michigan Faculty Group Practice, has come up with a quick method for making the most of his gemba visits.… More »
No Really, Go to the Gemba
LEI coach Danielle Blais explains why it's so important for lean coaches, leaders, and all managers to regularly visit the gemba (the place where the value-creating work actually gets done).… More »
What do effective leaders actually do every day? GTS4
So many of us know the value of lean thinking and practice, but what do lean leaders actually do every day? Tracey Richardson offers a simple formula to help leaders and change agents stay disciplined about where they dedicate their attention, time, and energy.… More »
Clear Mind, Better Work
Like lean, mindfulness meditation is all about practice and discipline. Mark Donovan, owner of the knitwear company Wooden Ships, reflects on how a ten day silent meditation retreat has changed his approach to work and strengthened his lean efforts.… More »
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