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Live Blog - The 2016 Lean Transformation Summit, Day 1

by Cameron Ford
March 17, 2016

Live Blog - The 2016 Lean Transformation Summit, Day 1

by Cameron Ford
March 17, 2016 | Comments (1)

The big event is here! Join us on the Lean Post where we'll be live-blogging the happenings here at the Red Rock Casino, Resort and Spa in Las Vegas all day long! Just keep this page open in a web browser and keep clicking "refresh" to find out the latest. (Please note that all time stamps are in PDT).


[3:59pm] Two teams get the answer: 0%, because there's never a "failure" in lean transformation - if you don't win, you've just found a way that won't work!

[3:54pm] Final Jeopardy question: What percentage of lean transformations fail?

[3:50pm] Score: 2900 - 1000 - 900

[3:45pm] All contestants got tripped up for a moment on "Where is Toyota's global headquarters?" Answer: What is Toyota City!

[3:42pm] The game is heating up! Score is 1300 - 500 - 400! Winning team has a wide margin thanks to a winning streak in the category "Visual Lean."

[3:34pm] We're just about ready to start! Three teams of two, one Summit attendee and one lean coach per team. 


[12:01pm] Ernie: Kinross never focused on the profits - they focused on the development of people. And the engagement they got was amazing.

[11:53am] Ramirez: Some common pitfalls in our lean transformation:

  • Ensuring clear expectations
  • Achieving proper alignment - how do you know when you're there?
  • Not one size fits all, esp. in terms of diversity and and adaptibility
  • Establishing accountability through organizational communication and commitment
  • Soliciting feedback - What does success look like? Where can we improve?

[11:44am] Tracey: "Don't sell, tell and convince people on lean training. Focus on the fact that you're developing the people and you'll see the results. We did that at Kinross and now every lean class has a waiting list!"

[11:34am] Ramirez: To sustain our gains we had to identify key performance indicators that would reveal any missed targets or red flags.

[11:30am] Video interview of Kinross employee: "What I love about the suggestions system is even when my idea doesn't work out, I get feedback on it. Somebody will always follow up with me to thank me for the suggestion and tell me WHY my suggestion wasn't implemented. That's a great feeling, knowing that you're being noticed." 

[11:27am] Hall: "We deal with suggestions using a Continuous Improvement Board. Every idea is crucial."

[11:22am] Hall: "I was SUPPOSED to go to nursing school. Now, nine years later, I'm still at Kinross and I love it."

[11:13am] Wagener: "We found out that trucking the product was a major expense. Creating not-too-big, not-too-small, just-right load standards helped us reduce Cost Per Ton Moved by 10% right away."

[11:10am] Wagener: "A big focus was breaking through silos and creating cross-functional teams. We also had to focus on value streams (how do we get more product?) and breaking down paradigms like, 'We've always done it this way!' Bringing in a CI facilitator helped - now a lot of teams don't even need the facilitator's help to function together."

[11:05am] Ramirez: "Just like any business, a gold mine has value streams and silos."

[11:00am] Tracey R: "For Kinross, results weren't first and foremost for them. It was their people and how they could best train them in lean and protect them from financial problems due to the price of gold."

[10:55am] Ramirez: Kinross Gold Mine is in the middle of the Nevada desert, 270mi from Las Vegas. Our financial success is directly tied to the price of gold. We started this lean transformation to help us weather any declines in the price of gold. We knew we couldn't control the price of gold, but we could control overhead costs.

[10:48am] Vicente Ramirez starts us off with an introduction about why Kinross's lean transformation succeeded. Do your lean transformations have all of these too?

[10:45am] Getting started with Vicente Ramirez, Frank Wagener, and Deanna Hall of Kinross Gold Mine in Nevada with LEI faculty members Tracey and Ernie Richardson.



[10:11am] Audience Question: "How do you empower small-scale improvements from staff?"

Neese: "We encourage and praise bright ideas from everyone - no matter what department, level, or area of expertise."

[10:09am] Neese on building a great culture: "If you don't back up EVERYTHING you say, people think you're BSing. Your culture is either real or BS."

[10:00am] Sunpower's Circular Economy transformation (see any parallels with a lean transformation?):

[9:51am] Neese: Sunpower follows the "Circular Economy Model": the current paradigm of energy thinking is the "Linear Economy" which involves taking more and more resources with the knowledge that eventually you'll run out. Circular Economy is about taking and reusing, recycling and replenishing whenever you can.

[9:45am] Sunpower CEO Marty Neese is up next!



[9:42am]: Audience Question: "As CEO, how do you improve your own work with lean?"

Berkowitz: "I keep lean thinking in mind at all times. I'm constantly asking myself if what I'm doing or plan to do adds value to the customer." 

[9:30am]: Audience Question: "What does a lean restaurant look like?"

Berkowitz: "I don't know yet. We're learning as we go. But it will be a much more efficient operation in all aspects, getting the fish from the ocean to the plate."

[9:28am] Berkowitz: Legal Sea Foods is striving for a 100% lean operation in all aspects of the business, from the warehouse to the kitchen to the dining room. Food service is a perfect industry for a lean transformation - it's a labor-intensive business. And it's getting complex with all the new laws on wages, tipping, reporting, taxes, etc.

[9:20am] At the beginning of Legal's lean movement, Berkowitz thought their fish processing plant needed to be exapnded. Until, that is, Jim Womack visited the gemba and said, "Roger, this plant could process enough fish to feed the free world!"

[9:15am] Legal Sea Foods President & CEO Roger Berkowitz takes the stage to talk about his company's lean journey.



[9:08am] Womack: "I'm not telling you what might happen in lean - I'm telling you what will happen if we do everything together."

[9:07am] Womack: "There's no forecasting on the next 25 years for lean. Lean thinkers don't believe in forecasting - if forecasting worked, Jeb Bush would be the Republican presidential nominee."

[9:00am] Womack: To sustain lean thinking in every value-creating activity for another 25 years, we need to maintain our breadth while building the oft-ignored foundations for sustainable lean enterprises that we have usually neglected. The Lean Transformation Framework is your guide.

[8:56am] Womack: In the past 25 years we have covered the entire range of human activities. There are no more frontiers of this sort remaining.

[8:52am] Womack: "The idea of lean is not just to deal with the work but also enable it."

[8:45am] It's the 25th anniversary of the publication of The Machine That Changed the World, and Jim Womack has taken the stage.


[8:40am] Rapoza: Last year, the Lean Transformation Summit's hashtag made Twitter's "trending" list. Let's try and make it again this year! Search #lean16 to join the conversation.


[8:35am] What a turnout! Nearly 650 live and 130 virtual attendees are joining us from 23 countries and virtually every industry.

[8:34am] And so it begins! LEI Customer Strategy Officer Josh Rapoza and Director of Finance and Administration Tabitha Dubois kick off the event.


The views expressed in this post do not necessarily represent the views or policies of The Lean Enterprise Institute.
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1 Comment | Post a Comment
Mark Graban March 20, 2016

I saw this phrase tweeted and thought it was interesting:

"Two teams get the answer: 0%, because there's never a "failure" in lean transformation - if you don't win, you've just found a way that won't work!"

Was the question about "failure in Lean" or "failure OF Lean?"

That might be true at a micro level within an organization that's really practicing Lean. If we try to improve something (a small Kaizen), and it "didn't work," that's a learning opportunity. We practice PDSA.

However, at a more macro level... it's quite possible that an organization can "fail" with Lean. And that failure can be so harmful that there's no opportunity to Study and Adjust... it's just the end of Lean or Lean gets a bad name.

Scenario: An organization trains a bunch of people in Lean and focuses only on efficiency improvement instead of a broader set of goals. Then, then the organization lays off a bunch of people... which kills any desire for people to participate in Lean. The culture goes south... results get worse. An executive declares that "Lean isn't a good fit here" and they kill the Lean program and fire the internal consultants.

I hope we'd agree that's a "failure" and it's the type of disaster that's not worth the "learning." 

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