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The Lean Post
Sharing how the world is making things better through lean.
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Learning the Social and Technical Aspects of Lean on the Kentucky Lean Leadership Tour
Why join the upcoming US Learning Tour in Kentucky? This interview between Josh Howell, John Shook and Jamie Bonini discusses why this tour will help people understand the Toyota Production System as an organizational culture of highly engaged people, solving problems or innovating to drive performance.… More »
Why We Believe Lean is Worth Our Unwavering Commitment
Lean provides a powerful alternative to short-term enterprise driven solely by the goal of maximizing profits while externalizing human and environmental costs, argues these leading Lean thinkings, who reveal why Lean promises a more humane, productive, meaningful, and ultimately, sustainable path forward.… More »
The Power of Ma in Creating Cognitive Space
When we lead with respect for people, we need to truly understand that people work in different ways, argues Jim Benson in this piece about the power of… More »
Thoughts on the Birth of Lean
There is much to be learned from the history of Lean that applies powerfully today in every aspect of the business. In this summary of key points from The Birth of Lean, LEI Chair Jean Cunningham shares insights from her reading of the book, and invites you to share thoughts as well.… More »
Go and See: Where The Magic Is
To reconnect with the reality of your business, go to the gemba, advises CEO Nicolas Chartier of Aramisauto. But to really experience the magic that happens, be sure to ask your people to display and visualize their flow, and you will discover unexpected opportunities for growth.… More »
Can Smart Manufacturing Replace the Art of Go and See?
Continuous improvement in a manufacturing environment has to happen at the spot where the work took place, shares Dave Westphal, whose mentor, Mr. Harada, once said: “No improvement can be made in the office...One must go to the job to see what is really happening—to see, to touch, and to investigate the problem first hand.”… More »
How Accounting “Squirrels” Can Ferret Out Waste
While other functions are busy as beavers looking for waste during a lean transformation, your accounting staff is like a squirrel with its head stuck in a yogurt cup. They only see the traditional work right in front of them instead of digging into data for buried “nuts” of waste, says Jean Cunningham, LEI’s new executive chairman.… More »
No Mani Pedi, But Keepers Improve Elephant Foot Washing
Supporting process owners includes stepping in for zoo keepers when their better idea for washing an elephant’s foot gets rejected as this Lean Talks video explains.… More »
Lean Without Limits
We come up with many different types of answers that sort Lean conveniently into categories for easy understanding and storage, says Renee Smith; but what if we were to embrace Lean as a human centered philosophy, the biggest category of all?… More »
Why We Believe that Lean is About Changing Our Own Behaviors, and Not Just Accumulating New Knowledge
Lean repeatedly pushes us to develop new competences (or recover lost know-hows) through kaizen and problem solving. This collection of short articles from seven leading lean sensei women from around the world expand on this topic, arguing that Lean requires a major shift in our behaviors.… More »
A Small Amount of Time Can Yield Big Results
Four minutes, well focused, can be a long time, notes Jean Cunningham. Without competing distractions, many words can be spoken, absorption of new info happens, and a good deal can be accomplished. We found we actually got more done by getting clear on our focus and our timeframe.… More »
The Art of Work
A visit to the Grohmann Museum helped remind Jean Cunningham that when done correctly and consistently, lean starts to reconnect people to work and work to people. Using lean principles and tools helps recreate worker ownership of the work, connection to the customer need, and value creation.… More »
"We Are Unique"
While many people see Lean as applicable only in limited industries and situations and therefore can’t work in their unique situation, Darril Wilburn argues that through experience we know that Lean concepts are applicable in every organization that produces something that is valued by others.… More »
Can Lean Succeed in a Strong Labor Environment?
Lean is all about people, says Art Byrne, regarding the question of making lean succeed in a union environment. He argues that if you treat people like people not union members and you will greatly increase your chances of success.… 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 »
Ask Art: Does Lean Really Work in A Non-manufacturing Company?
All companies and organizations, whether manufacturing or not, are nothing more than a group of people and a bunch of processes trying to deliver value to a set of customers, says Art Byrne. And lean principles apply to each. To become lean, every company must focus on removing the waste in their current processes in order to deliver more value to the customers.… More »
From Port to Plate: How Legal Sea Foods Is Improving Through Lean
Legal Sea Foods is working with LEI to help launch a movement to change everything about the way traditional restaurants work. Legal, a family business founded in 1950, with more than 30 locations, has been working with LEI for the past four years to change the way restaurants work. In everything from greeting and seating guests to re-thinking how they organize their walk-in coolers and schedule shifts, lean is having a huge impact on everything it does.… More »
PD C+ A+ In the Classroom
Looking back on her time as a teacher through a lean lens, Allison O'Neill suggests way in which the process of education might be improved by examining topics such as rework and "reteaching"… More »
Yes, Lean is About Cost Reduction
Why focus on cost reduction? Because many of the cost-saving kaizens of are simpler and require less engineering resources, and this type of kaizen motivates the production teams to try things on their own and develops their capability. This is an outcome of cost reduction activity, says Mark Reich… More »
Tending the Roots of Lean with Lean Farmer Ben Hartman
Matt Savas shares the Lean roots found at Ben Hartman's Clay Bottom Farm in Goshen, Indiana, illustrating the many ways that lean has eliminated waste… More »
Lessons from Japan: Day Two
A group of lean learners are touring world-class enterprises in Japan; here are postcards capturing their daily lessons gleaned from what they observed.… More »
Lean Lessons from Japan: Day One
This week, LEI is in Japan with 19 eager learners. The purpose of this trip is not just to see Just-In-Time. The purpose is to understand the social and technical context that gave birth to and continues to develop lean. Please visit the Post for a daily selection of postcards that share what we are learning.… More »
Value Stream Walk, Management Walk or….Just Walking Around?
Gemba Walks can raise consciousness about problems and the possibilities for dramatic improvements, says Jim Womack. Or they can serve as a means of reinforcing the existing systems. He shares thoughts on how to walk--and see--with a lean mindset.… More »
Why 'Yes Chef!' Is No Longer the Answer
In order to meet the changing demands of today's restaurants, chefs must learn to evolve from old-school methods of the "brigade system" and learn to be more mindful, holistic, and ask better questions, say Legal Sea Foods Executive Chef Rich Vellante… More »
Postcard from Nashville
John Shook looks back at the key theme of LEI's Nashville summit on the theme of how to be better employees.… More »
The Quiet Factory
Could noise be considered another waste to be reduced in the system? Matt Savas ponders the implications of a Toyota factory that has set a goal of lowering the decibel level to help with a key strategic goal.… More »
Eric Buehrens Keynote at the 2018 Lean Transformation Summit
LEI CEO Eric Buehrens looks at ways that lean thinkers can help contribute to the future of work.… More »
The Lean Farm: Better Food, Productivity, and Profits -- with Less Work
Farming may be the next industry ripe for disruption. For example, Ben Hartman grew up on a 500-acre corn and soybean farm where success meant getting bigger every year – buy a bigger tractor, rent more land, build another grain bin. Today, applying lean principles, Hartman has a one-acre farm that is more productive and profitable than a five-acre spread.… More »
work on Lean.org
Implementing Standardized Work at ThyssenKrupp in Brazil
A case study prepared by the Lean Enterprise Institute Brazil focuses on implementing standardized work at two work stations in a ThyssenKrupp, Brazil, auto parts plant. The article includes an overvi… More »
Even in a Topsy-Turvy World, Just-in-Time Supply Works
By James P. Womack and Daniel T. Jones. Reprinted with permission from Automotive News, October 29, 2001. Read commentary by Jim Womack and Dan Jones about how to make just-in-time supply chains work … More »
100 Years of Innovation in the Work Animation
Learn how innovating the work is the cornerstone of lean. … More »
Continuous Improvement Using Personal Kanban
A simple, effective management system for digging out of work -- and staying dug out -- to achieve higher quality, better productivity, greater job satisfaction, and peace of mind.… More »
Integrating Visual Management Tools and Leader Standard Work
This course deals with designing and executing an implementation plan to migrate your company from one of “gather data, synthesize, meet, and react” to one of “see waste, manage exceptions, and improv… More »
Making Hospitals Work
For the first time, Making Hospitals Work provides a practical road map for healthcare leaders seeking to create truly lean hospitals. It outlines a clear framework for focusing improvement activities… More »
Making Hospitals Work
The Work of Management
Lancaster tells an inspiring and practical business story in his new book, The Work of Management (2017, Lean Enterprise Institute). It’s a close-up, candid look at Lancaster’s personal transformation… More »
Yes, Lean is About Cost Reduction
Why focus on cost reduction? Because many of the cost-saving kaizens of are simpler and require less engineering resources, and this type of kaizen motivates the production teams to try things on their own and develops their capability. This is an outcome of cost reduction activity, says Mark Reich… More »
Tending the Roots of Lean with Lean Farmer Ben Hartman
Matt Savas shares the Lean roots found at Ben Hartman's Clay Bottom Farm in Goshen, Indiana, illustrating the many ways that lean has eliminated waste… More »
Lessons from Japan: Day Two
A group of lean learners are touring world-class enterprises in Japan; here are postcards capturing their daily lessons gleaned from what they observed.… More »
Lean Lessons from Japan: Day One
This week, LEI is in Japan with 19 eager learners. The purpose of this trip is not just to see Just-In-Time. The purpose is to understand the social and technical context that gave birth to and continues to develop lean. Please visit the Post for a daily selection of postcards that share what we are learning.… More »
Value Stream Walk, Management Walk or….Just Walking Around?
Gemba Walks can raise consciousness about problems and the possibilities for dramatic improvements, says Jim Womack. Or they can serve as a means of reinforcing the existing systems. He shares thoughts on how to walk--and see--with a lean mindset.… More »
Why 'Yes Chef!' Is No Longer the Answer
In order to meet the changing demands of today's restaurants, chefs must learn to evolve from old-school methods of the "brigade system" and learn to be more mindful, holistic, and ask better questions, say Legal Sea Foods Executive Chef Rich Vellante… More »
Postcard from Nashville
John Shook looks back at the key theme of LEI's Nashville summit on the theme of how to be better employees.… More »
The Quiet Factory
Could noise be considered another waste to be reduced in the system? Matt Savas ponders the implications of a Toyota factory that has set a goal of lowering the decibel level to help with a key strategic goal.… More »
Eric Buehrens Keynote at the 2018 Lean Transformation Summit
LEI CEO Eric Buehrens looks at ways that lean thinkers can help contribute to the future of work.… More »
The Lean Farm: Better Food, Productivity, and Profits -- with Less Work
Farming may be the next industry ripe for disruption. For example, Ben Hartman grew up on a 500-acre corn and soybean farm where success meant getting bigger every year – buy a bigger tractor, rent more land, build another grain bin. Today, applying lean principles, Hartman has a one-acre farm that is more productive and profitable than a five-acre spread.… More »