Home > Knowledge Center> Jean Cunningham's eLetters

Jean Cunningham's eLetters

Jean Cunningham has been a frequent LEI contributor and will continue in the future with a monthly eletter on all things lean. Her special interest is lean business management. Continue to follow her letters and writing to learn more.
  • Do you find yourself surrounded by uneven workflows?
    February 11, 2020

    Do you find yourself surrounded by uneven workflows? Of course you do, it is natural. Almost everything has ebbs and flows. And when it comes to customer demand, it is impossible to completely control the real rate of demand.  read more »

  • The Eight Wastes of Lean
    January 28, 2020

    Originally there were seven wastes identified by Taiichi Ohno for the Toyota Production System. As lean evolved into the rest of the enterprise and around the world, an eighth waste, non-utilized talent, was identified. I and others use an acronym, “DOWNTIME”, to help remember the wastes. read more »

  • Reflections
    December 24, 2019

    I hope 2019 has been a wonderful year for you. I am very thankful for good health, family, friends, and—not to be overlooked—that I was appointed LEI’s Chairman this year. Through my LEI role I’ve been able to meet so many new and wonderful people in the lean community this year which has been exciting and enlightening. So many people striving to learn and practice lean. I see so much opportunity for us collectively to continue growing as a lean community. It is also terrific to be able to reflect on and enjoy the progress that has been made so far! read more »

  • The Lean Farm
    November 26, 2019

    A cold wet fall Saturday at the Talking Farm in Skokie, IL was a workshop day of learning for a group of 25 urban farmers and urban farmer wannabes. Our speaker was Ben Hartman, author of the The Lean Farm and The Lean Farm Handbook, who also hosts the Lean Farm School at his property in Goshen, Indiana. Ben and Rachel Hartman own Clay Bottom Farm where they are able to support a family of four with a sustainable lifestyle. Oh and importantly, their farmed area consists of less than one acre of land. read more »

  • 5S Is a Way of Thinking and Practice
    October 29, 2019

    It would be impossible to find a valid description of lean that does not include the importance of 5S for organization, standardization, and continuous improvement. Originally applied in manufacturing, 5S is now being applied broadly in many industries including healthcare, government, and software. As Taiichi Ohno said, “Without standards there can be no improvement.” I have been a lean practitioner since the early 1990s and my niche as been focusing on developing the lean management system beyond manufacturing. I understood the importance of 5S early on. But it took a series of personal insights for me to fully appreciate 5S application beyond manufacturing and the need for deep 5S thinking. read more »

Show More »
Other Jean Cunningham Related Content



  • Lean Accounting Is Simpler, Faster, Cheaper, and More Accurate Than Traditional Management Accounting, so Why Don’t More Companies Use It?
    Five thought leaders of the movement recently held a special conversation about what lean accounting is and isn’t, why it is vital to sustaining a culture of continuous improvement, how it relates to GAAP, and why it provides a truer picture of how your company is performing. As long-time lean accounting practitioners, they also liberally share practical, real-world examples of how traditional accounting can mislead and misinform decision-makers.
  • Thoughts on the Birth of Lean
    There is much to be learned from the history of Lean that applies powerfully today in every aspect of the business. In this summary of key points from The Birth of Lean, LEI Chair Jean Cunningham shares insights from her reading of the book, and invites you to share thoughts as well.
  • Profit and Cost At Toyota
    Fresh off a tour of Japan where she observed how Toyota talks about costs and profit on the shop floor, LEI Chairperson Jean Cunningham shares thoughts and urges others to learn the language of financial outcomes. "Let’s learn the language of financial outcomes. Let’s conserve energy and benefit from the environmental improvements that lean offers by reducing waste of all kinds."