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kaizen on the Lean Post
Jishuken, Part Two: The Power of Self-Learning
Consider Jishuken to be an intensive effort to drive individuals and the organization to a higher level, says Mark Reich, noting that if done right, this practice should push everyone to do more and more, improving in cycles of intense, focused effort with something that leaves a strong residue of kaizen spirit behind and allows the company to sustain.… More »
The Value of Sharpening Skills Through 'Jishuken'
Jishuken, or self-learning, is a wet stone that grinds a worker's brain down to a start point, says Matt Savas--and is key to a disciplined management system of learning and improvement.… More »
Ask Art: What's Wrong with Organizing By Function?
While you might be able to survive and be profitable using a traditional functional structure the fact is that you will be leaving a lot of money on the table. Moving to lean and flow eliminates structural problems, lowers cost, improves quality, shortens lead times and is more responsive to the customer.… More »
Cardboard, Duct Tape, and String: The Do-First Mindset
Whatever field you work in, if you are responsible for kaizen in your company, strive for quick change in your workplace by finding your cardboard, duct tape, and string, says lean coach Mark Reich.… More »
React Less and Improve More by Using SPC More Effectively
When we stop reacting to “noise” in a metric, we can better focus our improvement efforts, waste less time, and improve more, says Mark Graban. That should all be a core principle of Lean management that can help leaders in any setting.… More »
As Toast Kaizen Turns 20, Bruce Hamilton Shares How This Famous Video Came About
Watch this "director's cut" video by Bruce Hamilton sharing the backstory behind what has become a classic lean resource: Toast Kaizen.… More »
The Cascade of Hoshin
Toyota President Akio Toyoda and the senior leadership team have decided that the simultaneous emergence of autonomy, alternative energy, shared assets, and hyper-connectivity are collectively creating a “once-in-a-century disruption” in the auto industry as it transitions to a mobility industry, commonly termed Mobility 2.0. Jim Womack shares how they are using hoshin to tackle this.… More »
Operator #1
Getting around the lean community more is the summer job of Eric Buehrens, LEI’s CEO, including a stint as Operator #1, which turned out to be the season’s highlight.… More »
Build Awareness Through Seeing How Eliminating Waste Reduces Costs
As we grow our people we must continue to add new dimensions of thinking to engage them in their work and to empower them to always be looking for or trying new ideas, says Tracey Richardson. Building awareness of how to reduce costs forms a foundation for continued improvement.… More »
Lesson From Japan: Day Five
On this final set of shared lessons from Japan, our lean learners reflect on the spirit of kaizen and the notion of employees as assets. They learn more about why "To Toyota, kaizen is the same as breathing."… More »
Practical, Actionable Tips for Re-Engaging People with a Suggestion System, Part 2
Companies, responding to surveys showing that a troubling number of people are disengaged at work, respond with perks like nap pods, rock walls, and free food. Suggestions systems get overlooked. That’s too bad because the whole point of a system done correctly is engagement. Here are some real-world tips on starting and sustaining a system from an experienced lean practitioner.… More »
Practical Tips for Re-Engaging People with a Suggestion System
Companies, responding to surveys showing that a troubling number of people are disengaged at work, respond with perks like nap pods, rock walls, and free food. Suggestions systems get overlooked. That’s too bad because the whole point of a system done correctly is higher engagement. Here are some real-world tips on starting and sustaining a system from an experienced lean practitioner.… More »
What Are the Most Valuable Ways You Learned Lean?
Each approach to learning lean brings value into my work and improves my capabilities. There isn’t one way (for me) to get there. Each situation called for a different approach, and each approach to learning showed me a different dimension, making lean thinking more accessible, deepening my understanding and developing my practice, says Deb McGee.… More »
Are You Managing By The Right Numbers?
Knowing the key metrics to track will help you and your team start your learning journey, says Tracey Richardson. She shares the key figures that provide a foundation for growth and discovery.… More »
Stability Before Innovation
Given its foundational strengths of stable and robust product development, production, supplier development, and general management system, Toyota is well poised to deliver innovative solutions to primary challenges facing all automakers. It's a lesson for any company seeking innovation, says Jim Womack.… More »
Finding a Lean Cure that Respects the Health of Healthcare Workers
In his prognosis of the health care system, LEI CEO Eric Buehrens says we need to improve the work to remove waste and create value; and be advocates for enough “social heijunka” to ensure that resources going to that sector don’t impoverish frontline workers across our society.… More »
Ask Art: Am I Showing Respect for People by Asking for Fast Action?
Lean is a “learn by doing” exercise not a classroom training approach. The best method I know to achieve this is through a sustained high level of kaizen activity. You are trying to create a learning environment where everyone is constantly learning and contributing to the organization. Every time an improvement is made, learning occurs. The faster you go the more learning can occur.… More »
The Magnificent 7 of Lean Manufacturing
How do you establish stability on a shop floor that’s chaotic? Andrew Quibell recommends “7 manufacturing basics,” his personal selection of lean improvement tools, methodologies, and techniques. And they also boost people’s confidence, helping them sustain improvements.… More »
Ask Art: Why do you say the CEO needs to become a lean expert?
A key first step for any CEO leading a lean conversion is to call 1-800-lean-consultant to find an expert to train the VP of operations and keep the boss informed. While this makes perfect sense in traditional management thinking, lean thinking is virtually the exact opposite, writes former CEO Art Byrne. That’s why the CEO must become a lean expert to successfully lead the transformation. Here, Art describes how he came to deeply understand and lead lean transformations.… More »
Is there a crack in the model of continuous improvement?
Is this a case of déjà vu all over again? The Wall Street Journal says the sterling reputation of “Japanese manufacturing” or kaizen, is tarnished in the wake of several quality inspection scandals. But is this a kaizen crisis or a kaizen kerfuffle that we’ve experienced before? Editor Tom Ehrenfeld sorts it out.… More »
ASK ART: Can poetry be used as a tool for implementing lean?
“Inventory is evil,” said King Arthur of kaizen. So he came to Dame Barbie with his plan. “You must make these horrid racks go away Or February 25 is your banishment day.”… More »
A Week of Kaizen in Just One Day
"Often when I hear people talk about kaizen, they are under the impression that this is some huge event with dozens of people fixing loads of things over a week," writes Andrew Quibell. But the reality is much simpler - find out how in the latest installment in his visual-lean series.… 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 »
Ask Art: Why do you say the CEO needs to become a lean expert?
I realize that this is probably a shocking idea to most CEO’s since they are taught to manage in a traditional way—and are generally rewarded to do so.… 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 »
“Simple Ain’t Easy”
The essence of lean is simplicity, argues Orry Fiume, a theme that applies not only to great organizations, but great music and anything else important.… More »
Why Yoda Was Wrong
Aspects of lean can be found almost anywhere - even in a galaxy far, far away. Inspired by a new trailer for the upcoming Star Wars film "Rogue One," Aaron Hunt uses a lean mindset to debunk a very famous quote from the original trilogy.… 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 »
Succeeding by Failing
People often wonder what exactly constitutes "success" in a lean journey - it's a longstanding question. Cam Ford has a different thought entirely. Inspired by two recent articles and a takeaway from visiting a manufacturing plant, Cam shares his take on the true measure of lean success.… More »
Kaizen Means You Care
"Lean leaders, and lean consultants (like me), often talk about the organizational benefits of kaizen: lower costs, bigger profits, shorter lead times, higher quality, etc.," writes Dan Markovitz. But at the same time, we never want to forget that there is a human element of kaizen. In his latest piece for the Lean Post, Dan shares a touching real-life story of this oft-overlooked side of kaizen.… 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 »
Kaizen Learning vs. Traditional Problem-Solving
"Lean offers a fundamentally different approach to problem-solving than most traditional companies practice," writes Art Byrne. "Most [traditional] companies delegate important problems to teams of experts that take months to create a plan and even longer to get lasting improvements." What would a problem-solving process look like at a lean company? Read this article and find out.… 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 »
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 »
Narrowing the Scope of Kaizen Activities
Are you having trouble implementing kaizen activities? If so, the solution could be as simple as narrowing down your targets for improvement. Andy Quibell shares his thoughts on what should be the real focus, plus his favorite sketch for planning and executing kaizen activities.… More »
How to Know If Your Team is Ready for Kaizen
"Do we even know what the Kaizen aim of “engaged employees” means, beyond the clichés?" asks lean coach Lesa Nichols. Read Lesa's tips for getting a read on your team and then genuinely involving all team members in meaningful work.… More »
Just-in-Time Roundup: Great Lean Reads Across the Web (Vol.10)
Our latest picks for great lean reads across the web, this time from 99u, strategy + business, a hotel app company's blog, Stanford Social Innovation Review, and The ThedaCare Center for Healthcare Value.… More »
Lean Thinking for Quicker Police Emergency Response Time
Bob Downing and Erin Magee reflect on the results of a collaborative project they worked on last year when their company was asked by the Newport News City Council to run a process improvement (kaizen) event for the Newport News Police Department.… 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 »
Everyday Kaizen
"With the right teaching and guidance, a good process, and a target of one kaizen activity per day, team leaders should develop [problem solving] skills fast," writes Emmanuel Jallas. Team leaders then encourage these same problem skills in operators, Jallas says, which creates a culture of steady, everyday improvement that can make a big difference for your business.… More »
Lessons Learned from My Lean Sensei about “Customer Service”
"To 'get' Lean we have to change our specs, and no longer see processes as sequences of dependent tasks, but as sequences of dependent CHOICES," writes Michael Ballé. Read more.… More »
Too Busy to Improve
"The number of people I meet who tell me, 'I don’t have time to make improvements to my work,' amazes me," writes Mike Orzen. But staying under water, always behind on work, doesn’t work either. Learn more about how to think differently about overwhelm and get ahead of the game.… More »
You Can't Kaizen Chaos
LEI coach Danielle Blais shares why she believes lean thinking means little without practice, explains the importance of stable work processes, and offers guidance on how to keep your improvement efforts focused on what really matters.… 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 »
Ask Art: How Much Lean Training Should We Be Doing?
Why aren't more companies successful at Lean? Art Byrne says it has to do with an over-focus on planning and not enough learning-by-doing. "They don’t trust that a rapid kaizen approach is still the most effective way to become a lean enterprise," he writes.… More »
Short Stories and Quick Kaizens
Lean coach Danielle Blais continues to see opportunities for lean thinking just about everywhere she goes.… More »
Ask Art: How Do We Prevent Backsliding?
Backsliding is inevitable. "The key is to anticipate the backslide and take early, aggressive, organized steps to prevent it from happening before it starts," writes former Wiremold executive Art Byrne.… More »
Food Bank For New York City and Toyota: Unlikely Partners in Innovation
Margarette Purvis, President and CEO of Food Bank For New York City, will tell the story about Food Bank's partnership with TSSC at next week's Lean Transformation Summit in Orlando!… 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 »
Ask Art: How Should We Staff and Run Kaizen?
"Unless you have some lean knowledge before you launch any kaizen, your traditional ('batch' rather than 'flow') thinking will overwhelm you at every turn," writes lean leadership expert Art Byrne. So just how do run an effective kaizen? Read more.… More »
Lean Labor Relations and The Customer First Principle
Here’s the scene: A production line at a car and truck manufacturing plant is stalling several times a day resulting in serious workflow issues. Read the true story about how a union rep, labor rep, line worker, and team member from production control worked together to get to the bottom of the issue.… More »
kaizen on Lean.org
The Roots of Lean: Training Within Industry and the Origin of Japanese Management and Kaizen
LEI CEO John Shook, the first American employee to work at Toyota’s headquarters in Japan, tells a story about struggling to adapt Toyota training materials for use by Americans who would soon b… More »
Value-Stream Mapping for Manufacturing
Learn how to use this fundamental initial step in a lean transformation to create the "blueprints" for applying other tools and targeting kaizen events most effectively.… More »
Managing Kaizen Events
The workshop is comprised of instruction, discussion, gemba tales (a.k.a. war stories), as well as forensic review of recently completed kaizen events, and small group exercises around pre-event plann… More »
Lean Lexicon 5th Edition (eBook)
The fifth edition of the Lexicon, first published in January 2003, is 140 pages, containing 60+ illustrations and 207 key terms from A3 Report to Yokoten. The Lexicon already covers such key lean ente… More »
Kaizen Express
Kaizen Express is a concise but precise illustrated guide to the fundamentals of the Toyota Production System (TPS) and how to implement them. It is ideal for individuals or teams starting a lean tran… More »
Succeeding by Failing
People often wonder what exactly constitutes "success" in a lean journey - it's a longstanding question. Cam Ford has a different thought entirely. Inspired by two recent articles and a takeaway from visiting a manufacturing plant, Cam shares his take on the true measure of lean success.… More »
Kaizen Means You Care
"Lean leaders, and lean consultants (like me), often talk about the organizational benefits of kaizen: lower costs, bigger profits, shorter lead times, higher quality, etc.," writes Dan Markovitz. But at the same time, we never want to forget that there is a human element of kaizen. In his latest piece for the Lean Post, Dan shares a touching real-life story of this oft-overlooked side of kaizen.… 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 »
Kaizen Learning vs. Traditional Problem-Solving
"Lean offers a fundamentally different approach to problem-solving than most traditional companies practice," writes Art Byrne. "Most [traditional] companies delegate important problems to teams of experts that take months to create a plan and even longer to get lasting improvements." What would a problem-solving process look like at a lean company? Read this article and find out.… 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 »
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 »
Narrowing the Scope of Kaizen Activities
Are you having trouble implementing kaizen activities? If so, the solution could be as simple as narrowing down your targets for improvement. Andy Quibell shares his thoughts on what should be the real focus, plus his favorite sketch for planning and executing kaizen activities.… More »
How to Know If Your Team is Ready for Kaizen
"Do we even know what the Kaizen aim of “engaged employees” means, beyond the clichés?" asks lean coach Lesa Nichols. Read Lesa's tips for getting a read on your team and then genuinely involving all team members in meaningful work.… More »
Just-in-Time Roundup: Great Lean Reads Across the Web (Vol.10)
Our latest picks for great lean reads across the web, this time from 99u, strategy + business, a hotel app company's blog, Stanford Social Innovation Review, and The ThedaCare Center for Healthcare Value.… More »
Lean Thinking for Quicker Police Emergency Response Time
Bob Downing and Erin Magee reflect on the results of a collaborative project they worked on last year when their company was asked by the Newport News City Council to run a process improvement (kaizen) event for the Newport News Police Department.… 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 »
Everyday Kaizen
"With the right teaching and guidance, a good process, and a target of one kaizen activity per day, team leaders should develop [problem solving] skills fast," writes Emmanuel Jallas. Team leaders then encourage these same problem skills in operators, Jallas says, which creates a culture of steady, everyday improvement that can make a big difference for your business.… More »
Lessons Learned from My Lean Sensei about “Customer Service”
"To 'get' Lean we have to change our specs, and no longer see processes as sequences of dependent tasks, but as sequences of dependent CHOICES," writes Michael Ballé. Read more.… More »
Too Busy to Improve
"The number of people I meet who tell me, 'I don’t have time to make improvements to my work,' amazes me," writes Mike Orzen. But staying under water, always behind on work, doesn’t work either. Learn more about how to think differently about overwhelm and get ahead of the game.… More »
You Can't Kaizen Chaos
LEI coach Danielle Blais shares why she believes lean thinking means little without practice, explains the importance of stable work processes, and offers guidance on how to keep your improvement efforts focused on what really matters.… 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 »
Ask Art: How Much Lean Training Should We Be Doing?
Why aren't more companies successful at Lean? Art Byrne says it has to do with an over-focus on planning and not enough learning-by-doing. "They don’t trust that a rapid kaizen approach is still the most effective way to become a lean enterprise," he writes.… More »
Short Stories and Quick Kaizens
Lean coach Danielle Blais continues to see opportunities for lean thinking just about everywhere she goes.… More »
Ask Art: How Do We Prevent Backsliding?
Backsliding is inevitable. "The key is to anticipate the backslide and take early, aggressive, organized steps to prevent it from happening before it starts," writes former Wiremold executive Art Byrne.… More »
Food Bank For New York City and Toyota: Unlikely Partners in Innovation
Margarette Purvis, President and CEO of Food Bank For New York City, will tell the story about Food Bank's partnership with TSSC at next week's Lean Transformation Summit in Orlando!… 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 »
Ask Art: How Should We Staff and Run Kaizen?
"Unless you have some lean knowledge before you launch any kaizen, your traditional ('batch' rather than 'flow') thinking will overwhelm you at every turn," writes lean leadership expert Art Byrne. So just how do run an effective kaizen? Read more.… More »
Lean Labor Relations and The Customer First Principle
Here’s the scene: A production line at a car and truck manufacturing plant is stalling several times a day resulting in serious workflow issues. Read the true story about how a union rep, labor rep, line worker, and team member from production control worked together to get to the bottom of the issue.… More »