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Mark Reich

Mark Reich

Senior Coach, Lean Enterprise Institute

Mark supports new product development and the Co-Learning Partners program, assisting companies engaged in lean transformation.

Before coming to LEI, he spent 23 years at Toyota in Japan and North America, most recently as general manager of the Toyota Production System Support Center (TSSC). As a hands-on GM, Mark directly implemented the Toyota Production System (TPS) or managed its implementation in a variety of industries, including automotive, food, furniture, and healthcare, among others.

Mark doubled the number of companies supported by TSSC from 20 to 40. He transitioned it from for-profit to nonprofit status so it could better support its original mission to strengthen North American manufacturing and help any organization interested in implementing TPS. He expanded the client base beyond manufacturing to hospitals, schools, low-income food distribution, and nationally prominent nonprofits

Previously, he was assistant general manager of the corporate strategy division where he managed and implemented Toyota's North American strategic (hoshin) process, designed jointly with Toyota’s Japan headquarters. He launched efforts to strengthen Toyota Way principles in administrative areas in North America, and facilitated the integration of its design and manufacturing organizations.

Reich has a bachelor's degree from Ohio Wesleyan University and specialized in Japanese studies at Nanzan University. He is fluent in written and spoken Japanese.

Articles by Mark Reich
The Hard Work of Making Hard Work Easier
We persevere by struggling to overcome the challenges of hard work, argues Mark Reich. And, he says it is also our responsibility to challenge individuals, to “invoke struggle” so people think about how to change how the company views frontline work. It is our job to ensure that the lead person struggles to change the culture. More »
How Hoshin Kanri Aligns Your Key Organizational Systems
Think of hoshin (strategy alignment) like the human body, argues Mark Reich: The body needs a strong skeletal structure (hoshin) to hold it together (just like an organization). But a body can’t move effectively if its muscles (continuous improvement) are not kept active and developed as well. More »
Calling a Time-Out for Coaches
What's the most effective approach to coaching? Lean coaches Mark Reich and Laura Mottola share practical approaches that include methods such as invoking struggle, providing support, and giving direction; while suggesting ways to consider when each approach might be optimal for the situation. More »
Coaching to the Challenge
When coaching there is no black and white answer – everything depends on the criticality of the business situation, the level of the challenge, and the capability of the Team Member, says Mark Reich. This article shares his experience in challenging someone to learn at the gemba. More »
Jishuken, Part Two: The Power of Self-Learning
Consider Jishuken to be an intensive effort to drive individuals and the organization to a higher level, says Mark Reich, noting that if done right, this practice should push everyone to do more and more, improving in cycles of intense, focused effort with something that leaves a strong residue of kaizen spirit behind and allows the company to sustain. 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 »
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 »
JoePa and Other Biases to Avoid
A recent viewing of the biographical film Paterno led LEI Senior Coach Mark Reich to reflect on the way many of us let biases filter our view of the facts More »
Respect the Customer By Respecting Your Worker
Lean provides us with a different approach to this vicious cycle. Build a management system in your company that allows employees to make the best decisions for the customer (end user and next process). This shows respect for your people. More »
Your Consultant Doesn’t Have the Answers
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 »
Do You Own Your Lean Learning?
LEI COO and Toyota veteran Mark Reich is back with a new series on the role of consultants and OpEx groups in a lean transformation. Today he shares a story of coaching a young coffee-plant manager facing a major challenge -- and what it taught him about lean leadership and problem-solving. More »
Personal PDCA and How I Learned It
"In 23 years at Toyota, I had many assignments and different bosses, I managed many people," writes Mark Reich, "but a constant part of the culture was what I’ve come to call 'personal PDCA' – a kind of mentored self-development cycle.  " Read how Reich came to understand this principle himself and how he teaches it to others. More »
Hoshin at LEI: Connecting More Closely with Our Customer
Whether you’re deploying hoshin in a small nonprofit or a huge organization, the struggles are the same," writes LEI COO Mark Reich. "How do you create alignment? How do you get team members more actively engaged with the work? How do you people to think about the customer and the 'why' behind the problems he/she is trying to solve?" More »
A Body Needs Skeleton and Muscle to Work
How do you create alignment across the organization when you have separate departments, value streams, and executives with conflicting priorities? Hoshin kanri. Mark Reich explains. More »
It's Your Career, Own the Work
If an employee doesn’t have a vision for his or her own career, strengths and weaknesses, and development needs, why should a manager feel an obligation to “push” development on this employee? Mark Reich draws from his many years of experience at Toyota and explains why it's so important for employees to "own" their work. More »
The Challenge in Providing Challenging Work
LEI's Mark Reich chimes in on the discussion of how to most effectively manage and coach the young generation of leaders and team members known as "millennials.  " More »
Workshops Taught by Mark Reich
Coaching to the Challenge How to respond, as a coach, in high-stress situations? How to develop capability in workers and keep the company afloat in a crisis? How to take action without taking away responsibility? What different coaching methods exist and when is it appropriate to use them? Facilitators Laura and Mark will guide you through these questions as you experience an immersive simulation in which managers and workers are confronted with a crisis situation and need to determine which type of coaching to use when. More »
Hoshin Kanri - Aligning Your Organizational Objectives This workshop will help leaders understand Policy Deployment as a process for "de-selecting" initiatives down to the ones the organization can really achieve while aligning them with company strategic objectives and deploying them down through the organizational ranks. More »
Managing to Learn: Gaining Agreement This workshop introduces the A3 management process and the way of thinking represented in the A3 format that capture the heart of lean management. Participants will be provided an overview of various forms and uses of the A3 format and will have an opportunity to create their own A3. Working in small groups, they will be able to read, discuss, and evaluate each another’s A3s. More »
Managing to Learn: The Use of the A3 Management Process This workshop introduces the A3 management process and the way of thinking represented in the A3 format that capture the heart of lean management. Participants will be provided an overview of various forms and uses of the A3 format and will have an opportunity to create their own A3. Working in small groups, they will be able to read, discuss, and evaluate each another’s A3s. More »
Understanding Lean Transformation Come explore the components of the Lean Transformation Model, see examples of what others are doing and reflect upon some potential gaps to close within your own organization. More »