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HR Strategies for Successful and Sustainable Lean Transformations
By: Cheryl Jekiel | March 21, 2018
The interest in strengthening employee engagement is sometimes considered a separate topic from lean transformations. Cheryl Jekiel, who has over 25 years of experience in HR and lean implementations, offers practical tips on how to create engagement with lean activities. More »
The Magnificent 7 of Lean Manufacturing
By: Andrew Quibell | March 20, 2018
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 »
Is kanban relevant to office work?
By: Michael Balle | March 19, 2018
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,I understand that kanban is an important part of lean, but I work in an office environment, and it’s hard to see how production orders on cardboard cards relate to improving project management – what am I missing? More »
The Battle for the Soul of Lean
By: Michael Ballé | March 16, 2018
When elements of lean management began to infiltrate management ranks decades ago, a “great divide” quickly formed, according to author and lean practitioner Michael Ballé. Some managers looked at it as a radically different, disruptive, but complete business system. Others saw it as a set of tools for operational excellence. The gulf endures and determines what results you get. More »
Lean Principles Apply to Fuzzy R&D Too
By: Norbert Majerus | March 15, 2018
Lean principles work not only for incremental innovation and repetitive R&D work but for the “fuzzy” or disruptive part of developing new products and services, where the biggest benefits reside. Here are some tips for venturing into the fuzzy side of innovation from Norbert Majerus, a former lean champion in research and development at Goodyear. More »
Andon Cues Service Center to Respond to Customer Queue
By: Chet Marchwinski | March 13, 2018
An Ohio Mutual service center has no andon cord to stop a production line but the principal is the same as in a factory -- an abnormality has occurred, take corrective action. More »
I read everywhere that in lean we should focus on process over results – does that mean we ignore budgets?
By: Michael Balle | March 12, 2018
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,I read everywhere that in lean we should focus on process over results – does that mean that we need to ignore budgets altogether More »
Human Resources and Lean; It Really Is About People
By: Joe Murli | March 8, 2018
Despite an expert’s exhortations to “do more kaizen, develop kaizen mind” this lean transformation failed. Find out why from someone who saw it happen and the lessons he never forgot. More »
Moving People Around as Key to Unlocking Financial Outcomes of Lean
By: Jean Cunningham | March 6, 2018
As lean accounting pioneer Jean Cunningham will tell you, there’s much more to understanding lean’s financial benefits than looking at a balance sheet. In this Lean Talk, she takes a deeper dive into one of the ways you can use to reap the financial outcomes of lean. More »
If lean is all about people, why are the discussions impersonally cold and rational?
By: Michael Ballé | March 5, 2018
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba CoachLean thinkers say it’s all about people, but the debates are then all so cold and rational. Where are the emotions and the effects that real people have at work? More »
Tesla vs. TPS: Seeking the Soul in the New Machine
By: Jeffrey Liker | March 2, 2018
While Tesla has excited customers and drawn praise for innovative design and bold thinking, author Jeff Liker believes that it faces tough challenges in its approach to ramping up production that challenge its mechanistic vision of manufacturing. More »
Your Consultant Doesn’t Have the Answers
By: Mark Reich | February 27, 2018
Inspired by a true story from his tenure at the Toyota Production System Support Center, LEI Senior Coach Mark in a Lean Talks video explains a critical misconception about the roles of consultants and leaders. More »
Any advice for someone (me) in sales who fails to see how lean can help?
By: Balle, Michael | February 26, 2018
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,Our company has a long history of lean in manufacturing, but I work in the sales department. We have our own sales improvement method, and I fail to see how lean could help, but I’m under pressure to comply and participate in the lean program. Any advice? More »
A Reflection on Competition
By: Lynn Kelley | February 22, 2018
A meta-analysis of research shows that among the three main ways of achieving business goals, collaboration beats competition and individualism a little more than 50% of the time. Lynn Kelley, PhD, and a continuous improvement VP, discusses the research on achieving goals and personal career reflections about intense competition with co-workers. More »
Tips for Proving the Financial Value of Lean to Leadership
By: Jean Cunningham | February 20, 2018
Of the many aspects of lean accounting, one that has proven especially useful is the principle of “cost avoidance.  ” Today on the Lean Post, lean accounting pioneer Jean Cunningham explains what this is and why it’s a must-know for any finance professional. More »
How do I fix our main delivery processes -- again?
By: Michael Balle | February 19, 2018
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,I’m part of a large logistics organization and our on-time-delivery is simply disastrous. We’ve done a first value-stream map to improve our main delivery processes, and it surfaced so many issues. We had projects to fix some, but things seem worse. We’re about to start again – any ideas on how to get it right? More »
Ask Art: Why do you say the CEO needs to become a lean expert?
By: Art Byrne | February 15, 2018
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 »
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways – on a Valentine’s Day A3
By: Ernie Richardson and Tracey Richardson | February 14, 2018
The question lean practitioners Tracy and Ernie Richardson get more than any other isn’t about problem-solving, takt time, standardization, or their book. It’s about their “lean” marriage. More »
But when should we use design thinking or lean thinking?
By: Michael Balle | February 12, 2018
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba CoachI read your latest and very interesting Gemba Coach column comparing design thinking and lean thinking. But when should we use each? More »
Is there a crack in the model of continuous improvement?
By: Tom Ehrenfeld | February 9, 2018
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 »
Doing Versus Being – How Mindfulness Supports Better Lean Thinking, Part 2
By: Mike Orzen | February 8, 2018
Most companies don’t get the desired results from lean transformations, according to Mike Orzen, lean practitioner and LEI faculty member. Their people get stuck in stages 1, 2, or 3 of awareness, failing to reach level 4, "being.  " Learn how to go from "doing" lean to the more creative, less stressful state of "being" in the second of Mike's two posts on mindfulness. More »
Unique Industries Continue to Share and Learn from their Common Challenges: Fall 2017 LPPD Learning Group Activity
By: Matt Zayko | February 8, 2018
The Lean Enterprise Institute (LEI) organized the second Lean Product and Process Development (LPPD) Learning Group event of 2017, which brought together the diverse industries of sub-sea robotics, appliances, consumer electronics, automotive research, contemporary furniture and medicine. Here are some of their learnings. More »
3 Therapies to Purge the Healthcare “Tapeworm”
By: Eric Buehrens | February 7, 2018
LEI CEO Eric Buehrens, former COO and interim CEO of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, has three suggestions for Amazon and its recently announced healthcare partners: focus on creating better value, use technology to improve quality and the experience of care, listen to the people doing the work. More »
The Lean Farm: Better Food, Productivity, and Profits -- with Less Work
By: Ben Hartman | February 6, 2018
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 »
Be a Better Coach; Learn to “Force” Reflection Part 2: Forcing Managers and Execs to Reflect
By: David Verble | February 1, 2018
Most of the people on your team don’t learn from practicing continuous improvement. The reason is that their brains are programmed by nature to skip the most important part of the PDCA method– reflection. It’s so important that you have to “force” people to reflect, according to David Verble, who learned to coach as a Toyota HR manager. In this two-part story, he shows you want to do and what to say to force reflection. More »
Be a Better Coach; Learn to “Force” Reflection, Part 1
By: David Verble | January 30, 2018
Most of the people on your team don’t learn from practicing continuous improvement. The reason is that their brains are programmed by nature to skip the most important part of the PDCA method– reflection. It’s so important that you have to “force” people to reflect, according to David Verble, who learned to coach as a Toyota HR manager. In this two-part story, he shows you want to do and what to say to force reflection. More »
Are Design Thinking and Lean Thinking the Same?
By: Michael Ballé | January 29, 2018
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,As a practitioner and advocate of design thinking, I’ve been curious about lean, but it seems to me we’re talking about the same thing: essentially developing a PDCA mindset in people. Isn’t that the case? More »
Thinking Fast and Slow and Lean with John Shook
By: John Y. Shook | January 25, 2018
On the 20th anniversary of Lean Thinking, John Shook delivered this Lean Talk on the principles the book introduced, how they developed over time, and the invaluable lessons the book still holds today. He also explores the concept of lean as a mindset and connects it to the models of thinking introduced by Daniel Kahneman in his book, "Thinking, Fast and Slow.  " More »
Fixing Lean’s “Sales” Problem
By: Jacob Stoller | January 23, 2018
When companies begin lean transformations, IT systems too often are viewed as obstacles. So, some lean thinkers may view Jacob Stoller, author of The Lean CEO, as having a checkered past. He used to sell IT systems. But the experience of selling to CEOs gave him a valuable skill that lean practitioners can borrow: how to sell to senior management. Here, perhaps as a way of making amends for his past life, he shares practical tips for selling lean. More »
Learning to Lead, Leading to Learn
By: Eric Buehrens and Alice Lee | January 18, 2018
Hear how a personal lean transformation supported a crucial organizational transformation following a financial crisis at a large medical center. In this unique Lean Talk, Alice Lee and Eric Buehrens revisit Eric’s lean journey to discuss its challenges and successes. More »
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