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process improvement on the Lean Post
I Got 99 Problems and This Is How I'll Tackle Type One
After an unintentional sending a mass email with an error from LEI, Lory Moniz reflects on the source of the defect and commits to a way of preventing this from recurring; and commits to applying the subject of the letter (ways of tackling problems) to the approach by her team.… More »
Book Review: Four Types of Problems
If you are developing a problem solver in your personal life or on your team, or if you’re continuously developing as a problem solver yourself, the new book Four Types of Problems will guide and support growth through active reading, application and reflection, says lean thinker Deb McGee.… More »
Double Loop Learning at Kongsberg Maritime
Kongsberg Maritime, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Norwegian-based Kongsberg Group, tapped into a Kyoryokukai, or network for supplier innovation, to create a space for single--and double--loop learning for its members.… More »
Deploying Improvement Habits: From Starter Kata to Meta-Habits
Learners using the Kata routine approach every problem with the “skeleton” of the Kata routine, and understand that they are not experimenting to the solution, says Brandon Brown. They use experiments to find obstacles that prevent them from operating in the target condition.… More »
The Escalator of Issues
A daily management system with daily performance metrics gives caregivers the sense that managers are really paying attention, that problems really are being addressed, and that over time this will mean stability and a lower level of stress for all staff, says Jim Womack.… More »
Are You Learning to Learn Faster? A Conversation with Steve Spear
Learning to close the gap in our learning cycle is critical to keeping our promises and achieving our goals, argues Steve Spear in the recent WLEI podcast. Read more here and listen to the full conversation.… 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 »
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 »
Lean Lessons from Tesla
This piece throws no shade at Tesla, a company that serves as a highly-charged conduit for many a heated debate about the future of manufacturing, mobility, innovation, modern business models, and, what, space travel. Rather, here are a few lean principles that Tesla's tale calls to mind.… 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 »
The Lean Bakery: A Q&A with 365's Staff
In their first interview with The Lean Post, Leo and Agus Tena, children of the authors of the new LEI book "The Lean Bakery," describe some of the finer points of the transformation of their family's company Cafe365.… More »
The "Playbook" of Sustaining Change
In a world where most lean transformations fail, what can we do to learn from others' mistakes and help our own transformations succeed? After 30 years of firsthand experience in change implementations, Lynn Kelley has a few tips to share. Read more.… More »
Advice from the Gemba: The Most Frustrating Types of Waste (and How to Eliminate Them!) II
If you've ever lost sleep over a particularly frustrating source of waste in your organization, you're not alone. Today we feature two experienced lean educators with the most frustrating types of waste they've encountered, plus their favorite tips for eliminating them.… 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 »
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 »
The Story of an Error
As a followup to his popular article from earlier this summer about lean profit-sharing plans, Orry Fiume delves deeper. He shares a booklet that McKesson & Robbins Inc. once used to educate its employees on practices that hurt profits (and by extension, the sharing plans that distribute said profits). Read more.… More »
Book Value: The Mental ABC's of Pitching
"With both the All-Star Game and our Lean Coaching Summit approaching, I got to thinking about ways that non-lean books offer insights into coaching and mastery," writes LEI Chairman and CEO John Shook. Read more… More »
Manager-Employee Communication: What Neuroscience Tells Us
In yesterday's Post, David Verble introduced us to the importance of proper, tactful communication from leaders to employees. Today he delves a bit deeper into the topic, focusing on the neuroscience behind this critical element of lean organizations.… More »
I'll Follow You into the Dark...
We all know that lean transformations can happen in any industry or environment. But have you ever thought about a photography darkroom as the site of a lean transformation? That was where Leslie Barker first experience lean in action - here's her story of what she learned.… More »
Managing to Win: The Remarkable Lean Transformation of Phase 2
Revisit the enlightening case study of Phase 2's lean transformation in the face of losing its biggest customer, plus insider info from an interview with CEO Adam Prime.… More »
How Lean Changed My Work: Lean Without Knowing It
Last month LEI sent out an email asking the lean community how lean changed their work. For Jeremy Venable of Shell Chemical, lean not only helped him redefine his work, but helped him get recognition and a new job too. Read more.… More »
Technology-Driven Improvement Initiatives (and Other Amazing Magic Tricks)
"In my experience, projects based on the scientific method are more likely to succeed than projects focused primarily on Information Technology (IT) improvements," writes Tim Kane. Why is this so? Kane cites two real-life scenarios that led him to this conclusion. Read more.… More »
Ask Art: Why do so few companies that implement lean do it successfully?
We've all heard the stories of failed lean implementations, as well as the hotly debated question of "Why did it fail?" In his many years as a lean leader, Art Byrne has seen quite a few possible reasons for a lean failure - read more.… More »
Enabling Fast and Innovative Product Development at Bose
Bringing products to market as quickly as possible is a key cornerstone of lean product and process development. With this in mind, Massachusetts-based audio-equipment maker Bose Corporation created a Rapid Prototype Development Center to improve collaboration, creativity, engagement, and ideation-to-market times. LPPD coach Katrina Appell now shares the secrets of the RPDC in this new case study… 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 »
What are the key traits I should look for in a potential Chief Engineer? A Q&A with Katrina Appell
The Chief Engineer is a key cornerstone of lean product and process development. Katrina Appell has been asked many times what traits a potential CE should have in order to ensure the best chance of success. Her answer may surprise you - read more and find out what you should really ask yourself before accepting applications.… More »
Accelerating Justice with Lean Forensics
One of our most popular subjects on The Lean Post is the use of lean in unorthodox places. But one gemba that we have yet to discuss on the Post is crime laboratories. You might be surprised to learn that they are prime candidates for lean transformations, being the process-heavy environments they are. Heather Jamieson explains.… More »
Muda Corporation: The Pitfalls of 5S
In the latest installment of his "Muda Corporation" series, Marius Gil shares nine common mistakes he has seen people make with 5S.… More »
What's a good "small step" to start off my LPPD transformation? A Q&A with Katrina Appell
A lean product and process development transformation may seem daunting, but all you really need to get started is a series of simple yet effective "small steps." Here's Katrina Appell on her favorite.… More »
A Sweeter Type of Lean
In one memorable lean project, Carlos Moretti found himself assisting a Brazilian sugar-cane supplier for the ethanol industry with a number of efficiency and quality problems. This is his story.… 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 »
Are Your Processes REALLY People-Centric?
A process might look people-centric on paper, but the reality is often much different. Inspired by a half funny, half bemusing experience at an airport, Kelly Moore reflects on how to ensure that your processes are people-centric from the get-go.… More »
Innovative Companies Continue to Learn from Each Other: Fall 2016 LPPD Learning Group Event
Find out what learnings took place at the Fall 2016 LPPD Partners' Meeting in Davis, California.… More »
Advice from the Gemba: The Most Frustrating Types of Waste (and How to Eliminate Them!)
If you've ever lost sleep over a particularly frustrating source of waste in your organization, you're not alone. Some forms of waste are easier to eliminate - others are so hard that they start to blur the line between "challenging" and "enraging." Today we feature three experienced lean practitioners with the most frustrating types of waste they've encountered, plus their favorite tips for eliminating them.… More »
When Lean Gets Personal
Lean is not simply about making things better; Jim Morgan shares how his experience with lean healthcare taught him how lean helps make people better.… 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 »
Green from the Start
LEI faculty member Jim Morgan shares his insights with Kelly Singer, managing editor of the Lean Green Institute, on how companies can increase their environmental stewardship with a truly green value stream.… 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 »
Making Things Better - 5S-ing the Community
Do you use any lean tools to make your community a better place? Tony Heath has, ever since he was first sold on 5S many years ago. Here's his story.… More »
Making Things Better - Lean Streets: Improving Road Maintenance in Washington State
Ever feel like your home city or town needs to step up its game in maintaining road conditions? People in Washington State certainly have - and for them, lean turned out to be the way to efficient and effective road maintenance. Steve Gorcester played a major role in this lean transformation - here's his story.… More »
Innovation in the Work
"Innovation is a popular – and important – concept," writes LEI Chairman and CEO John Shook. "So, here are three questions. What is it? What does lean thinking have to say about it? So what?" Check out John's responses, and don't forget to follow his link to a new animation on innovation and lean.… More »
Problem-Solving: One Size Does Not Fit All, Part 2
Just as different types of tires are needed for different road conditions, different types of problem-solving are needed to tackle different problems. Watch this video to hear Art Smalley continue yesterday's video's discussion on problem solving and talk about his forthcoming book, "The Four Types of Problem-Solving."… 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 »
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 »
Orchestrating Your Product Development Process with Milestones
"Effective milestones are an important part of a company’s development process, especially in today’s era of team-based sprints and stand-ups," writes Jim Morgan. "Yet many companies struggle to successfully create and employ milestones; and some don’t even understand their relevance beyond updating senior leadership." Read more.… 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 »
How the A3 Came to Be Toyota’s Go-To Management Process for Knowledge Work (intro by John Shook)
A3 thinking is synonymous with Toyota. Yet many often wonder how exactly this happened. Even if we know A3 thinking was created at Toyota, how did it become so firmly entrenched in the organization’s culture? Retired Toyota leader Mr. Isao Yoshino spearheaded a special program that made A3s Toyota’s foremost means of problem-solving. Read more.… More »
Waste in Process: Squeeze Before You Lean
"It seems intuitive to start applying lean to our processes, right?" writes Andrew Quibell. "Maybe so, but all that says to me is that we're short-sighted when applying lean." How so, you ask? Read more.… More »
Take Your Product Testing to the Extreme
Many of the principles of lean product and process development can seem counterproductive at first glance. For example, what if someone told you that the best way to see if a product will truly work...is to break it? That's exactly what Professor Larry Navarre of Kettering University tells his students, as part of his unlikely yet invaluable "Extreme Testing" concept. Read more.… More »
Standard Work Roundup
Several terrific articles have appeared recently, emphasizing the importance and complexity of a key lean practice: standard (or standardized) work, which we’ll call SW. So we decided to bundle them into a broader roundup of key pieces about this essential practice.… 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 »
The Role of Strategic Design Events in Lean Healthcare: An Interview with Mindy Hangsleben
Faced with a new incoming healthcare policy, Mindy Hangsleben and her team at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services knew a transformation was needed. Their solution to learning what they needed to become involved a strategic design event incorporating both lean and design thinking to gain the input they needed to adapt to the new policy. Read more.… More »
Focus: Process or Results?
"We cannot improve results “directly," writes LEI faculty member Orry Fiume. "It can only be achieved by improving those processes (production, product development, support, etc.) that produce results." Read more.… More »
The Joy of Lean Innovation: A Case Study of Menlo Innovations
Richard Sheridan and James Goebel of Menlo Innovations set out to create a joyful enterprise, one that they, their team, and their customers would love. Nevertheless, Menlo Innovations’ practices are grounded in the central principles of product and process development. Read more.… More »
Lean Product and Process Development – Stories from the Field
Jim Morgan shares stories of his field work and research for LPPD at LEI.… More »
process improvement on Lean.org
Creating a Sustainable Lean Culture: Connecting the “Product” and the “People” Value Streams
Process-improvement tools are important, but their ultimate effectiveness depends on the ability to develop the underlying culture of problem solving to support continuous growth and improvement. This… More »
Improvement Kata Experience
This interactive experiential workshop offers the content and activities from Day 1 of our three-day Improvement Kata/Coaching Kata program with the intent to demonstrate two core Kata routines throug… More »
Toyota Kata
What's a good "small step" to start off my LPPD transformation? A Q&A with Katrina Appell
A lean product and process development transformation may seem daunting, but all you really need to get started is a series of simple yet effective "small steps." Here's Katrina Appell on her favorite.… More »
A Sweeter Type of Lean
In one memorable lean project, Carlos Moretti found himself assisting a Brazilian sugar-cane supplier for the ethanol industry with a number of efficiency and quality problems. This is his story.… 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 »
Are Your Processes REALLY People-Centric?
A process might look people-centric on paper, but the reality is often much different. Inspired by a half funny, half bemusing experience at an airport, Kelly Moore reflects on how to ensure that your processes are people-centric from the get-go.… More »
Innovative Companies Continue to Learn from Each Other: Fall 2016 LPPD Learning Group Event
Find out what learnings took place at the Fall 2016 LPPD Partners' Meeting in Davis, California.… More »
Advice from the Gemba: The Most Frustrating Types of Waste (and How to Eliminate Them!)
If you've ever lost sleep over a particularly frustrating source of waste in your organization, you're not alone. Some forms of waste are easier to eliminate - others are so hard that they start to blur the line between "challenging" and "enraging." Today we feature three experienced lean practitioners with the most frustrating types of waste they've encountered, plus their favorite tips for eliminating them.… More »
When Lean Gets Personal
Lean is not simply about making things better; Jim Morgan shares how his experience with lean healthcare taught him how lean helps make people better.… 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 »
Green from the Start
LEI faculty member Jim Morgan shares his insights with Kelly Singer, managing editor of the Lean Green Institute, on how companies can increase their environmental stewardship with a truly green value stream.… 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 »
Making Things Better - 5S-ing the Community
Do you use any lean tools to make your community a better place? Tony Heath has, ever since he was first sold on 5S many years ago. Here's his story.… More »
Making Things Better - Lean Streets: Improving Road Maintenance in Washington State
Ever feel like your home city or town needs to step up its game in maintaining road conditions? People in Washington State certainly have - and for them, lean turned out to be the way to efficient and effective road maintenance. Steve Gorcester played a major role in this lean transformation - here's his story.… More »
Innovation in the Work
"Innovation is a popular – and important – concept," writes LEI Chairman and CEO John Shook. "So, here are three questions. What is it? What does lean thinking have to say about it? So what?" Check out John's responses, and don't forget to follow his link to a new animation on innovation and lean.… More »
Problem-Solving: One Size Does Not Fit All, Part 2
Just as different types of tires are needed for different road conditions, different types of problem-solving are needed to tackle different problems. Watch this video to hear Art Smalley continue yesterday's video's discussion on problem solving and talk about his forthcoming book, "The Four Types of Problem-Solving."… 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 »
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 »
Orchestrating Your Product Development Process with Milestones
"Effective milestones are an important part of a company’s development process, especially in today’s era of team-based sprints and stand-ups," writes Jim Morgan. "Yet many companies struggle to successfully create and employ milestones; and some don’t even understand their relevance beyond updating senior leadership." Read more.… 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 »
How the A3 Came to Be Toyota’s Go-To Management Process for Knowledge Work (intro by John Shook)
A3 thinking is synonymous with Toyota. Yet many often wonder how exactly this happened. Even if we know A3 thinking was created at Toyota, how did it become so firmly entrenched in the organization’s culture? Retired Toyota leader Mr. Isao Yoshino spearheaded a special program that made A3s Toyota’s foremost means of problem-solving. Read more.… More »
Waste in Process: Squeeze Before You Lean
"It seems intuitive to start applying lean to our processes, right?" writes Andrew Quibell. "Maybe so, but all that says to me is that we're short-sighted when applying lean." How so, you ask? Read more.… More »
Take Your Product Testing to the Extreme
Many of the principles of lean product and process development can seem counterproductive at first glance. For example, what if someone told you that the best way to see if a product will truly work...is to break it? That's exactly what Professor Larry Navarre of Kettering University tells his students, as part of his unlikely yet invaluable "Extreme Testing" concept. Read more.… More »
Standard Work Roundup
Several terrific articles have appeared recently, emphasizing the importance and complexity of a key lean practice: standard (or standardized) work, which we’ll call SW. So we decided to bundle them into a broader roundup of key pieces about this essential practice.… 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 »
The Role of Strategic Design Events in Lean Healthcare: An Interview with Mindy Hangsleben
Faced with a new incoming healthcare policy, Mindy Hangsleben and her team at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services knew a transformation was needed. Their solution to learning what they needed to become involved a strategic design event incorporating both lean and design thinking to gain the input they needed to adapt to the new policy. Read more.… More »
Focus: Process or Results?
"We cannot improve results “directly," writes LEI faculty member Orry Fiume. "It can only be achieved by improving those processes (production, product development, support, etc.) that produce results." Read more.… More »
The Joy of Lean Innovation: A Case Study of Menlo Innovations
Richard Sheridan and James Goebel of Menlo Innovations set out to create a joyful enterprise, one that they, their team, and their customers would love. Nevertheless, Menlo Innovations’ practices are grounded in the central principles of product and process development. Read more.… More »
Lean Product and Process Development – Stories from the Field
Jim Morgan shares stories of his field work and research for LPPD at LEI.… More »