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Art Smalley

Art Smalley

Author and Consultant, Art of Lean

Art has immersed himself into the intricacies of problem solving since 1988, when he joined Toyota at its Kamigo Engine Plant in Toyota City, Japan. Taiichi Ohno was plant manager at Kamigo and conducted many of his famous experiments there that led to the development of the Toyota Production System. Art learned directly about problem solving from Tomoo Harada, who led the maintenance activities that created the stability that enabled Ohno’s innovations in flow to succeed. After leaving Toyota, Art became director of lean production operations at Donnelly Corp.  At McKinsey & Company, he was the firm’s leading expert in lean production. He currently aids companies implementing lean through Art of Lean.

Art is the author of the new book The Four Types of Problem Solving and theworkbook Creating Level Pull, which received a 2005 Shingo Research Award. He is coauthor with Durward Sobek of Understanding A3 Thinking, winner of a 2009 Shingo Research Award.He was inducted into the Shingo Prize Academy in 2006.

Articles by Art Smalley
Problem-Solving: One Size Does Not Fit All, Part 2
Just as different types of tires are needed for different road conditions, different types of problem-solving are needed to tackle different problems. Watch this video to hear Art Smalley continue yesterday's video's discussion on problem solving and talk about his forthcoming book, "The Four Types of Problem-Solving.  " More »
Problem-Solving: One Size Does Not Fit All, Part 1
Problem solving is at the core of any lean transformation. But both beginners and experts will tell you that it isn't easy to do it efficiently and effectively. In fact you might even end up making it harder than it has to be! In this exclusive interview, Art Smalley dishes on an all-too-common hurdle he sees people struggle with in their problem solving and shares his best tips for getting past it. More »
Jidoka, Part 1
LEI author Art Smalley found 1.  8 billion hits for “just in time” and just 38,300 for “jidoka,” the Toyota concept of giving machines and people the ability to detect when an abnormality occurs. The search results should be reversed, according to Toyota veteran Smalley, who recalled his former boss saying, “Just-in-Time is just an extension of the U.  S. supermarket concept and the German aerospace concept of takt time. Jidoka however is one of our company strengths and something to be proud of. It is what makes us unique and successful.  ” More »
5 Levels of Mastery
Art Smalley, author of Creating Level Pull, recalls asking his mentor at Toyota in Japan how long it would take to complete his basic education of TPS on the machining lines at the Kamigo plant. His mentor estimated about seven years. "I asked him how long it took him to really understand TPS and he replied about seven years," Smalley recalled. "I asked how long it took to get really good at it and he thought that he was proficient at all the tasks required of him as an engineer and a manager in about 20 years. To explain his sensei's answer, Smalley outlines the "five levels More »
Interview with Minoru Haga on Tooling Engineering at Toyota
LEI author Art Smalley interviewed Toyota machining tool expert Minoru Haga. More »
Interview with Tomo Harada
LEI author and faculty member Art Smalley interviewed Tomo Harada on Toyota's approach to equipment maintenance. More »
Books by Art Smalley
Creating Level Pull Creating Level Pull
Creating Level Pull shows you how to advance a lean manufacturing transformation from a focus on isolated improvements to improving the entire plantwide production system by implementing a lean production control system. "The workbook is unique because it is a step-by-step case study on how to implement a level, pull-based production control system,” says author Art Smalley. "This is a new step towards ‘system kaizen that is not yet well understood outside of Toyota.  " More »
Workshops Taught by Art Smalley
Standardized Work: The Foundation for Kaizen Standardized work is one of the most powerful but least used lean tool. Learn how documenting the current best practice (standardized work) forms the baseline for kaizen or continuous improvement. More »
Value-Stream Mapping for Manufacturing Learn how to use this fundamental initial step in a lean transformation to create the "blueprints" for applying other tools and targeting kaizen events most effectively. More »