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Transformative Steering
By: Eric Ethington | December 14, 2018
Columns
After three years of working with learning partner companies, LEI’s Lean Product and Process Development group observed that the companies most successful in starting and sustaining lean principles in product development all had one thing in common – an effective steering team. Program Manager Eric Ethington reports on four foundational elements your steering team must have. More »
Standardized Work or Kaizen? Yes
By: John Y. Shook | December 12, 2018
Columns
Some lean folks LOVE to quote the Taiichi Ohno observation that “there is no kaizen without standards," notes John Shook, adding that it is less noted but equally true that “there is no maintenance of standards without kaizen.  ” More »
Ask Art: How Do I Get the Senior Management Team On Board with Lean?
By: Art Byrne | December 10, 2018
Columns
Lean requires teamwork, and so getting your senior management team on board requires a great deal of work, including new mindsets, exposure to lean practice, and shifts in everything from how sales are conducted to how team leaders lead at the gemba, says Art Byrne. More »
How can I make sure my teams do kaizen the right way?
By: Michael Ballé | December 10, 2018
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,  How can I make sure my teams do kaizen the right way? More »
"What Did I Transform Today?"
By: Josh Howell | December 7, 2018
Columns
A lean approach to coaching is incomplete if nothing has changed for the better, says Josh Howell, who shares how he learned that it is not enough to only think, talk, write, and draw. Best to conclude each day by asking yourself, "What did I transform today?" More »
Seafood Restaurant Fishes for Problems Customers Really Care About
By: Richard Vellante | December 5, 2018
Columns
The executive chef at Legal Sea Foods explains how the restaurants are cutting lead times from fishing boat to your belly. More »
LPPD Under the Sea: Efficient Product Design with Subsea 2.0
By: Jeffrey Liker and Jim Morgan | December 4, 2018
Columns
In this excerpt from the new book Designing the Future, authors Jim Morgan and Jeff Liker share the case study of TechnipFMC's work on a new seafloor production system that realized tremendous gains through applying LPPD principles More »
An Innovative Framework for Designing Better Products and Services – and a Better Future
By: Chet Marchwinski and Jim Morgan | December 3, 2018
Columns
Because of the enormous “shadow” it casts over the entire enterprise for years, product development literally designs the future of companies, employees, customers, and suppliers. In this Q&A, product development expert Jim Morgan, co-author of Designing the Future, describes a fundamentally different – and much better – way to develop new products and services. More »
How do you apply takt time to service work?
By: Michael Ballé | December 3, 2018
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,How do you apply takt time in fields like services where customer demand is not known? More »
"Roll"-ing Out Lean at Kura Sushi
By: Katie Anderson | November 29, 2018
Columns
Self-professed "lean geek" Katie Anderson has eaten several meals at Kura Sushi restaurants and shares her observations on what she sees as lean principles at play More »
Putting Passion on Your Dashboard
By: Lean Leaper | November 27, 2018
Columns
Understanding what customers value requires more than a marketing approach, says Dave Pericak, explaining how he learned about customer value from the Mustang owners who More »
Review: Designing the Future
By: Michael Ballé | November 27, 2018
Columns; eLetters
In his review of the new book Designing The Future, Michael Ballé points out that it “makes clear the central lean concept in product development: distinguishing what is fixed and what is flexible in new product design.  ” More »
Review: Designing the Future
By: Michael Ballé | November 26, 2018
Columns
Forget frameworks, processes, rote step methods. Read this book and think back to the “Why?” before the “What?” and “How?”: companies live or die on whether their products and services better help customers to do whatever they want to get done, at a better value-for-money deal. More »
Lean Gratitude
By: Thomas Richert | November 21, 2018
Columns
As Thanksgiving approaches, Tom Richert notes that powering the TPS scientific mindset is a great deal of emotional energy. At this time of year, he reminds us of Sakichi Toyoda's precept: Be reverent, and show gratitude for things great and small in thought and deed. More »
What Problems Do You See?
By: Joshua Rapoza | November 20, 2018
Columns
Take a minute or two think about the problems you see everyday at your work. It can be quite daunting when you think about everything that needs attention. But knowing what type of problem you are dealing with makes countermeasures much easier to figure out. What problems do you see most? More »
The Art of Work
By: Jean Cunningham | November 16, 2018
Columns
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"
By: Darril Wilburn | November 15, 2018
Columns
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?
By: Art Byrne | November 13, 2018
Columns
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 »
I have years of experience in operational excellence but if I were to start lean where should I start?
By: Michael Ballé | November 12, 2018
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,  I have years of experience in operational excellence and have always assumed that lean is just a more gemba-focused way of improving processes. You seem to think that lean and operational excellence differ widely. If I were to start lean, in your sense, where should I start? More »
Getting Started with Lean Product and Process Development
By: Andy Houk | November 9, 2018
Columns
Learning and applying the concepts of LPPD is no different than learning any other new skill in life, says Andy Houk. In this article he shares his personal learning cycle of three steps (repeated many times, over many years): self-study, getting a coach, and practicing. More »
How to Rehab Colleagues With Status Quo “Addiction”
By: Ron Oslin | November 7, 2018
Columns
If you work with leaders or colleagues who resist changing their behaviors -- maybe they literally can’t change. They could be “addicted” to the status quo, a non-chemical compulsion similar to addictions to running or playing video games. Listen as Ron Oslin explains how to rehab your boss or colleagues. More »
How do we get our boss to stop confusing inventory management with lean?
By: Michael Ballé | November 5, 2018
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,Our new boss is a lean supporter and had us reduce drastically all inventories. Now we have missing parts all over the place and are late on delivering to our clients. I fail to see how this is going to make us more productive. More »
I Got 99 Problems and This Is How I'll Tackle Type One
By: Lory Moniz | November 5, 2018
Columns
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 »
Thinking About the Why of the What of Problem-Solving
By: John Y. Shook | November 2, 2018
Columns
When we talk about problem-solving, what we’re really talking about here is creating adaptive capacity, the deep capability of an organization to tackle anything that comes its way, any obstacle that comes between you and where you want to go. Tackling problems one by one is what gives an organization capability for deep adaptability. More »
Ripe for Change: How a Half-Acre Farm Built on Lean Principles May Be Sowing Seeds of Disruption
By: Ben Hartman | October 31, 2018
Columns
Uber disrupted the taxi business. Netflix disrupted entertainment. Amazon disrupted retail. Ben Hartman disrupted farming. Granted, not on the scale of the first three industries but the Indiana farmer, author of The Lean Farm, has planted the seeds of a radical transformation in our food system. More »
What's your problem
By: John Shook | October 31, 2018
Columns; eLetters
There may be nothing more fundamental to lean thinking and practice than problem solving.   For that matter, there may be nothing more fundamental to being human than problem solving. We breathe, we eat, we create civilizations – we deal with (solve, tackle) problems every step of the way. More »
Did Red Sox Lean on Lean for World Series Victory?
By: Tom Ehrenfeld | October 30, 2018
Columns
For starters (and for that matter, for relievers), this World-Series-winning Red Sox team was simply an outstanding and absurdly talented team from top to bottom. And yet talent only gets you so far. Great teams make one another better, and I think this applied to this group of athletes whose success underscore a few simple Lean principles More »
Should we do lean maturity audits?
By: Michael Ballé | October 29, 2018
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,  Should we continue with lean maturity audits and, if so, how often? More »
Don't Retire Your Knowledge--Reuse It
By: Norbert Majerus | October 25, 2018
Columns
Companies can tackle the problem of the surge of retiring baby boomers by adopting the lean principle of knowledge reuse, says recently retired lean thinker Norbert Majerus. He identifies common barriers to share and leverage this invaluable resource. More »
Book Review: Four Types of Problems
By: Deborah McGee | October 24, 2018
Columns
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 »
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