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The Road to Production Hell is Paved with Lack of LPPD
The real work of companies like Tesla who face stupendous challenges in launching a product should have happened long before production commenced, says Jim Morgan, noting that the time for urgency, the time for bringing your sleeping bag to work is during development – not in production.… More »
Rethinking the Model Line
The model line, once seen as the key to helping organizations learn and share lean thinking, has served a critical purpose, says Jim Womack: to raise awareness of fundamental management problems.… More »
Ask Art: Why Do I Need to Switch From Batch to Flow?
Moving from batch to flow reveals the waste in your processes and simplifies your work at a systems level, says Art Byrne. It creates simplicity, and a productive tension to deal with problems as they occur, as well as other strategic benefits.… More »
Expanding Our Perspective on Lean Management, Part 1: A Creative Ethic
To explore the idea that there may be other angles for understanding lean management principles than purely business or analytical perspectives, a group of lean management practitioners met with artists. Here’s what surprised them.… More »
Becoming My Own Gemba
Like me, thousands of people suffer from undiagnosed or more complex medical conditions that mimic other conditions. And my TPS training in a way of thinking about making things better helped me approach this condition in a productive manner.… More »
Thank you, Tatsuro Toyoda
John Shook remembers the late Tatsuro Toyoda, former president of Toyota.… More »
Shook Addresses Current State of Lean Thinking After U.S-Turkey Tiff Compels Keynote Countermeasure
Indefatigable presenter John Shook quickly made this video as a countermeasure to being denied entry to Turkey, where he was scheduled to keynote an Istanbul conference.… More »
The Lean Bakery: A Q&A with 365's Staff
In their first interview with The Lean Post, Leo and Agus Tena, children of the authors of the new LEI book "The Lean Bakery," describe some of the finer points of the transformation of their family's company Cafe365.… More »
The (Real) Lean Firefighter: Bringing Lean to the Grand Rapids Fire Department
Brad Brown had no lean experience when he joined the Grand Rapids Fire Department (GRFD) in 2003. But as the Great Recession went into full swing and budgets were slashed, he discovered lean – and realized it was just what the GRFD needed to weather the recession. This is his story.… More »
Don't Start with Tools!
Starting off your lean transformation with one of the various tools at your disposal is certainly tempting. But according to Craig Stritar and Mark Rosenthal, that's a temptation you need to resist. Drawing on examples from Toyota and their own experiences, Stritar and Rosenthal explain their preferred gateway to lean transformation.… More »
The "Playbook" of Sustaining Change
In a world where most lean transformations fail, what can we do to learn from others' mistakes and help our own transformations succeed? After 30 years of firsthand experience in change implementations, Lynn Kelley has a few tips to share. Read more.… More »
Advice from the Gemba: The Most Frustrating Types of Waste (and How to Eliminate Them!) II
If you've ever lost sleep over a particularly frustrating source of waste in your organization, you're not alone. Today we feature two experienced lean educators with the most frustrating types of waste they've encountered, plus their favorite tips for eliminating them.… More »
Can a Lean Mentality Help You in a Crisis?
We all know lean's power when problem solving. But what power does it have in resolving crises, which are more urgent and serious than what you might encounter in daily problem solving? A lot, says Andrew Quibell. Read more.… More »
Is There a Tradeoff Between Employee Morale and Productivity?
"Is there a tradeoff between employee morale and productivity?" is a question oft-discussed in lean circles. Ken Eakin has his own take on this ages-old question -- read more to see his answer.… More »
Back-to-School Lean: Lunchbox Kanban
Lean thinking is just as impactful on the home front as it is at work. In honor of back-to-school season, LEI Learning Activities Manager Deb McGee shares her experimentations and learnings from transferring the work to the front line, freeing up time and building capability through lean thinking and practice -- her family's lunchbox kanban!… More »
Better Design Reviews, Better Products
"Design reviews are a common process in product and process development," writes Katrina Appell. And they're common for good reason. Read more to learn why these processes are so critical to successful product and process development, as well as the impact they've had through a real-life story that Katrina shares.… More »
Back to Basics: Jim Womack on Why You Should Never Create an A3 Alone
In this eletter from 2008, Jim Womack (in honor of the then-recent publication of "Managing to Learn") shares invaluable advice for a problem that too many A3 writers get hung up on. Read more to learn why you should never be a hero and try to write an A3 alone.… More »
Do You Practice Routine Personal Development?
Once we learn lean we often start seeing it everywhere, even in places we might least expect it. In this instance, Katie Anderson saw a connection to personal A3 thinking -- in a musician talking about how he practices the trumpet. Read more.… More »
The Art of Silent Observation
Silent observation is not as intuitive as it may sound. Andrew Quibell often meets people who think it's as simple as standing and watching the work in silence. But there's much more to it than that - learn more in his new sketch and animation.… More »
Lean Transformation: "Shock and Awe" vs. "Slow and Grow"
When leading a lean transformation, is it better to use the "shock and awe" method or the "low and slow" method? It may not even be that simple. Dan Markowitz and Art Byrne discuss.… More »
When to Pull the Andon
Lost luggage is a traveler's nightmare. But for Kelly Moore, the nightmare got worse when her airline's baggage attendant couldn't pull the andon -- an action that could have fixed the problem on the spot. Kelly now reflects on this incident and how it made her reconsider the efficacy of her organization's andon systems.… More »
Riding the Goodyear Wheel to Innovation Excellence
Norbert Majerus of Goodyear shares the Womack and Jones-inspired model that helped his company overhaul its product development operations.… More »
Assessing Problem Solving Capability in Job Candidates: A True Account
Last month, Derrick Redding shared three questions that you can ask job candidates to assess their problem-solving capacity. As a followup, he is now sharing a real-life example of a time when these questions helped him do just that - without ever once talking about work. Read more.… More »
Getting Religious About Problem Solving
Have you ever heard of a lean transformation guided by scriptures? The people at LifeWayChristian Resources' distribution center in Tennessee have! Whenever possible, they use passages from the Bible to exemplify the principles in their lean training materials. Find out how.… More »
Uncovering Lean’s Soul
Dr. John Ehrenfeld argues that lean as a different way of being is still woefully undervalued in lean transformations today. Here is his take on this misconception and the neuroscience behind how to ACTUALLY think about lean.… More »
The Story of an Error
As a followup to his popular article from earlier this summer about lean profit-sharing plans, Orry Fiume delves deeper. He shares a booklet that McKesson & Robbins Inc. once used to educate its employees on practices that hurt profits (and by extension, the sharing plans that distribute said profits). Read more.… More »
Book Value: The Mental ABC's of Pitching
"With both the All-Star Game and our Lean Coaching Summit approaching, I got to thinking about ways that non-lean books offer insights into coaching and mastery," writes LEI Chairman and CEO John Shook. Read more… More »
Want to Be a Better Leader and Coach? Listen to Yourself
In the third installment in his series on the importance of proper communication from managers to their employees, David Verble shares "a simple way that managers and leaders – and you, lean coordinators and coaches – can get a sense of how your words and the way they are delivered 'land' with others."… More »
Daily Management, Daily Sustainment: The Remarkable Story of Lean Transformation at Lantech
Jim Lancaster attended the 2017 Lean Transformation Summit in Carlsbad, California to speak about Lantech's journey to create a daily management system. Today on the Lean Post we feature a video of his talk on the role of management in sustaining the gains of lean.… More »
Advice from the Gemba: Top Mistakes Lean Leaders Make II
Everybody makes mistakes, lean leaders included. Our previous list of mistakes made by lean leaders was the highest-performing installment in the Advice from the Gemba series - we now follow it up with a sequel.… More »
7 Things Coaches Need to Get Over
"Over the years, I have noticed some common misperceptions about coaching effective problem solving skills and developing lean thinking," writes Mike Orzen. Read more to learn seven of them to improve your coaching practice.… More »
3 Interview Questions to Gauge Candidates’ Problem-Solving Capacity
It's always great to promote from within when trying to fill lean leadership roles. But what if you have to fill the positions using external candidates? Lean veteran Derrick Redding shares some strategies he uses to assess candidates' match for a problem-solving culture.… More »
Technology-Driven Improvement Initiatives (and Other Amazing Magic Tricks)
"In my experience, projects based on the scientific method are more likely to succeed than projects focused primarily on Information Technology (IT) improvements," writes Tim Kane. Why is this so? Kane cites two real-life scenarios that led him to this conclusion. Read more.… More »
Faster than a Speeding Kanban...
"All of us living in Leanworld are well-trained to look for problems, identify gaps, and cure root causes," writes Brent Wahba. But if that's true, why does lean so often fail? Could it be that we often undermine our efforts by trying to be superheroes, trying to fix all our problems in one go? Brent explores.… More »
Enabling Fast and Innovative Product Development at Bose
Bringing products to market as quickly as possible is a key cornerstone of lean product and process development. With this in mind, Massachusetts-based audio-equipment maker Bose Corporation created a Rapid Prototype Development Center to improve collaboration, creativity, engagement, and ideation-to-market times. LPPD coach Katrina Appell now shares the secrets of the RPDC in this new case study… More »
Developing Better Habits using A3 Thinking
Think A3 thinking is only for solving organizational problems? Think again! LEI faculty Katie Anderson shares her secrets for using A3s as a tool for structuring personal-development coaching.… More »
PDCA thinking and the NCAA March Madness tournament
"There is so much thinking that goes into this thing called 'Bracketology,' which gives sports fans a way to 'grasp the situation' of their favorite team (or the one they may be cheering for at tournament time)," write Tracey and Ernie Richardson. Ad a lot of that thinking may have more in common with lean than you might expect. Read more.… 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 »
Reflections on the 2017 Lean Transformation Summit
The main theme of the 2017 Lean Transformation Summit was "Managing to Create Problem Solvers" -- but LEI Business Editor Cam Ford spotted another, underlying theme throughout the presentations he attended. Read more to find out what it was and how can it help you create a problem solving culture in your organization.… More »
A Week of Kaizen in Just One Day
"Often when I hear people talk about kaizen, they are under the impression that this is some huge event with dozens of people fixing loads of things over a week," writes Andrew Quibell. But the reality is much simpler - find out how in the latest installment in his visual-lean series.… More »
Advice from the Gemba: How Can I Change a Culture?
One of the most common questions asked by lean leaders is the question of culture change. How, they ask, can we change a firmly rooted culture to match our desired behaviors? As far as these four leaders are concerned, the answer is...by changing the work. Here are their stories.… More »
Muda Corporation: The Pitfalls of 5S
In the latest installment of his "Muda Corporation" series, Marius Gil shares nine common mistakes he has seen people make with 5S.… More »
Research, Reflections, and Challenges: John Shook's Closing Keynote of 2016
At the end of every Lean Transformation Summit, Lean Enterprise Institute Chairman and CEO John Shook gives his traditional closing keynote. He shares his observations and thoughts on the lean community plus learnings and advice to keep our lean efforts strong until the next Summit. Here's what he shared with us last year - has it helped you since?… More »
All Problem Solvers Must...?
What must all problem solvers do? That's what we asked in a recent email survey for summit attendees. Here's what you all said, and don't forget to leave a comment with other thoughts!… More »
Planning Meetings Around A3s
"How many times have you sat in a meeting to discuss solving a pressing, urgent or serious problem – and yet a full hour later find that you’ve gotten nowhere?" asks Andrew Quibell. He's been in that situation more times than he cares to remember - but luckily he now shares a clever strategy that gave his meetings a productivity boost.… More »
Managing to Create Problem-Solvers: A Lean Transformation Summit Roundup
Countless people have asked us over the years, "My organization can't be lean without a problem-solving culture. So how do I create one?" The answer: you first create the right management systems! This will be the prevailing theme at this year's Lean Transformation Summit -- here's a spotlight of our summit presenters and what they've published on this popular and fascinating topic.… More »
Thinking About Lean Logic
Only a few months ago the acclaimed book of lean essays, "Lean Logic: A Dictionary for the Future," was re-issued by its publisher. It is a dense but magnificently thorough and informative read, at 656 pages. To help make the book's premise and importance more digestible, the Lean Leaper presents a selection of its most powerful excerpts.… More »
Lean Roundup: Continuous Problem-Solving
Continuing his popular Lean Roundup series, LEI Senior Editor Tom Ehrenfeld covers a key topic in lean circles that also happens to be a key theme at the 2017 Lean Transformation Summit: continuous problem solving.… More »
A Sweeter Type of Lean
In one memorable lean project, Carlos Moretti found himself assisting a Brazilian sugar-cane supplier for the ethanol industry with a number of efficiency and quality problems. This is his story.… More »
Are Your Processes REALLY People-Centric?
A process might look people-centric on paper, but the reality is often much different. Inspired by a half funny, half bemusing experience at an airport, Kelly Moore reflects on how to ensure that your processes are people-centric from the get-go.… More »
Advice from the Gemba: The Most Frustrating Types of Waste (and How to Eliminate Them!)
If you've ever lost sleep over a particularly frustrating source of waste in your organization, you're not alone. Some forms of waste are easier to eliminate - others are so hard that they start to blur the line between "challenging" and "enraging." Today we feature three experienced lean practitioners with the most frustrating types of waste they've encountered, plus their favorite tips for eliminating them.… More »
Lean Expansion: Spreading Lean from One Store to a Region at Starbucks
Scaling up is a challenge often talked about in lean circles. How can we best leverage our individual or small-scale wins to spread lean throughout the organization? LEI faculty and Director of Learning Karen Gaudet tackled this problem head-on during her tenure working at Starbucks. Here's her story of what she experienced and learned as she spread lean throughout her region of responsibility.… More »
Big Problems? Start Small
"In problem solving, we’re taught to ask a simple question, “Is this problem within my scope of control?” If yes, then we go after it. If no, then we escalate it to the next level of management. But for that to happen, I’ve learned it’s sometimes necessary to engage frontline team members in thinking about their work (steps, stuff, and time involved for transformation per a customer need) first."… More »
How We A3 at Goodyear
Just as lean is situational, A3s are situational too - companies like Goodyear have a variety of types of A3s that they use based on the specific challenge that is being faced. Four Goodyear insiders share more.… More »
Innovation in the Work
"Innovation is a popular – and important – concept," writes LEI Chairman and CEO John Shook. "So, here are three questions. What is it? What does lean thinking have to say about it? So what?" Check out John's responses, and don't forget to follow his link to a new animation on innovation and lean.… More »
Summit Reflections: Knowing What You Need to Improve
"As leaders, sometimes the things that we feel like we can more easily change are not the things that we need to change," writes Katie Anderson. A quote she heard at the recent Lean Coaching Summit in Minneapolis reminded her of this, and she now reflects on that quote and the value it holds for any lean leader.… More »
Making Things Better - Engineering Isn't Always Right
"Have you noticed a tendency at your company to automatically take Engineering's advice?" writes Gary Stewart of Fiat-Chrysler. "If you have, it’s time to do something about it." Read about how one of Gary's former teams challenged an opinion of the Engineering department...and found the better solution.… More »
Ask Art: Is Lean Inward-Focused?
Art Byrne has been asked over and over if lean is inward-focused or customer-focused. There are aspects of lean that may suggest otherwise at a glance, but Art is firm in his belief that lean is far from inward-focused. Read more.… More »
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 »
3 Common Problems in Government that A3 Thinking Can Help Solve
I’m always surprised at how little the public sector uses A3 thinking to tackle their toughest challenges. It’s the same thing every time – the government often tries to solve symptoms, rather than analyzing root causes and establishing fixes for them.… More »
You Can't Know If You Don't Know
Recently LEI Chairman and CEO John Shook found an interesting blog by Dr. Helen Kales of the University of Michigan, musing on a powerful set of words that can mean everything in lean thinking. The set of words resonated with John too, and he now shares his thoughts on the value it holds in his latest piece for the Lean Post.… More »
Winning the Brain Game: Fixing the 7 Fatal Flaws of Thinking, by Matthew May
Changing your people's mindsets is possibly the most difficult part of a lean transformation - but it gets easier when you have the right tools. Lean Post Editor Cam Ford saw such a tool in Matthew May's Winning the Brain Game: Fixing the 7 Fatal Flaws of Thinking, and now reflects on the invaluable lessons it holds for a lean audience. Can you also figure out the brainteaser in his article?… More »
Just Trying “Stuff” Is Not A Real Experiment
"Today it seems like you can’t throw a stick of butter without hitting someone who is “running a lean experiment” on one thing or another," writes Brent Wahba. The problem with all that experimentation? Many of these experiments are not real experiments at all. Read more.… More »
"What Do I Need to Know?"
"What do I need to know?" A simple, but powerful, question to ask at the gemba and beyond. Kelly Moore muses on how this question has helped her do her job better, and also shares a fun story of how she was recently reminded of the power of this question at - of all places - a bowling alley.… More »
A3 Thinking Roundup
Following last week's immensely popular Posts on the origins of A3 thinking, LEI Senior Editor Tom Ehrenfeld compiles a collection of the very best reads on A3 thinking, from the Lean Post and beyond.… More »
Reflecting to Learn: Takeaways and Reflections on the A3 Process
In the wake of yesterday's interview with Mr. Isao Yoshino on the roots of the A3 process at Toyota, LEI Chairman and CEO John Shook shares more context about A3s and how they came to be.… More »
How the A3 Came to Be Toyota’s Go-To Management Process for Knowledge Work (intro by John Shook)
A3 thinking is synonymous with Toyota. Yet many often wonder how exactly this happened. Even if we know A3 thinking was created at Toyota, how did it become so firmly entrenched in the organization’s culture? Retired Toyota leader Mr. Isao Yoshino spearheaded a special program that made A3s Toyota’s foremost means of problem-solving. Read more.… More »
You Need More Smoke Detectors: Countering Firefighting with Leader Standard Work
Excessive firefighting is a major threat to lean transformations - it may seem easier to time-strapped managers, but it does nothing to foster a culture of problem-solving thinkers. Aaron Hunt of Washington Health System knows this all too well, and now shares his organization's favorite firefighting deterrent.… More »
It’s About the Tools, Not the Terms
"I’ve never been a big fan of lean lingo," says John McCullough of Crayola. "It may sound expert-like, but I’ve always found its use to do more harm than good." Read more to learn John's experiences with the pitfalls of lean lingo and what his preferred approach is now.… More »
Ask Art: How Are Lean Teams Different?
"Teamwork in lean is a much bigger deal than the way most people think about it, and it's crucial to success," writes Art Byrne. In fact, he points out, most people's understanding of teamwork isn't actually teamwork - at least not from a lean standpoint. Read more.… More »
Standard Work Roundup
Several terrific articles have appeared recently, emphasizing the importance and complexity of a key lean practice: standard (or standardized) work, which we’ll call SW. So we decided to bundle them into a broader roundup of key pieces about this essential practice.… More »
Generating Multiple Alternatives is Not Necessarily Waste
"I was once asked: 'How is set-based design lean? Isn’t designing multiple alternatives creating waste and the opposite of lean?'” writes Katrina Appell. It's true that generating multiple alternatives can seem like waste, especially since only one alternative will be used. But the reality is much different - read more.… More »
Are You Fixing the System or Just a Person?
"How often do our solutions fix a person (or single event) rather than a system?" wonders Kelly Moore. Hopefully not too often at your organization, because only system fixes will solve problems in the long term. Read more to read Kelly's reflection on this dilemma, and how two recent experiences made her look at it in a new light.… More »
The Importance of Embracing Development Conflict
Conflict is something almost all professionals have been told to avoid at all costs. Jim Morgan begs to differ. "Whenever I encounter someone using this limiting form of binary thinking," he writes, "I remind them that those who can embrace conflict find it to be a huge source of opportunity." Read more.… More »
Problem? What Problem?
"Whether using A3s, the 5 Whys, DMAIC, Value Stream Mapping, or any other problem-solving methodology, many organizations don’t spend the effort necessary to prove all their hypotheses, and either under-solve the real problem or erroneously solve a non-existent issue," write Brent Wahba. How can an organization problem-solve the right way, you ask? Read more to find out.… More »
To A3 or Not to A3
"Not every tool is a hammer, and not every problem is a nail," writes Norbert Majerus of The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. "Not every situation warrants the use of an A3." Read more to learn Norbert's preferred approach to gauging whether or not an A3 will help in a given situation.… More »
Small Chart, Big Impact: How a Simple Spaghetti Chart Led to Huge Wins at Thrustmaster of Texas
Sometimes the simplest lean concepts can make all the difference in ensuring a successful transformation. Marine-propulsion manufacturer Thrustmaster of Texas found this out after creating a spaghetti diagram to reveal possible waste in an assembly plant. Their findings were staggering - read more.… More »
The Value of Key Performance Indicators in a Lean Transformation
We all know to watch out for key performance indicators (KPIs) in the workplace - but are you tracking the RIGHT KPIs? Ernie and Tracey Richardson share their thoughts on the two categories of KPIs, how they can help you, and how to identify them.… More »
Small Batch: Hand-Picked Articles from the Global Lean Community (Vol. 6)
Our picks for the best high-impact learning stories and columns from Planet Lean.… More »
Kaizen Learning vs. Traditional Problem-Solving
"Lean offers a fundamentally different approach to problem-solving than most traditional companies practice," writes Art Byrne. "Most [traditional] companies delegate important problems to teams of experts that take months to create a plan and even longer to get lasting improvements." What would a problem-solving process look like at a lean company? Read this article and find out.… More »
Your Favorite Lean Posts of 2015!
With 2016 fast approaching, we'd like to take a step back and reflect on the most popular Lean Post articles of 2015. Did your favorite(s) make the list?… More »
Using A3 Thinking to Solve Recruiting Problems: An interview with Gavin Martin
It's a shame that A3s are often thought of as being meant to solve manufacturing problems. The reality is they can be used to explore and resolve challenges in any industry or field, including recruiting, as Gavin Martin has seen. Here's his story of using A3 thinking to solve a costly recruitment problem at his organization.… More »
Governance Matters
"The very term “governance” seems somewhat antithetical to lean," writes Mark Hamel. "Yet...over my 20-plus years of lean learning, I’ve witnessed a lot of implementation failures (heck, I may have even caused some of them). More than a few of these were due, at least partly, to a vacuum of good governance."… More »
People Don't Fail, Processes Do
Terry Smith, a lean web developer, shares two examples of real-life companies who used the "5 Whys" to drill down to the root of a thorny problem.… More »
5 Ways My Thinking Changed With the Help of a Lean Coach
"Coaching for development is different than being managed," writes Deborah McGee. "Lean coaching in our case was not directing an improvement swat team or teaching lean workshops… It was a steadfast commitment to people, and to developing capability versus creating dependency."… More »
Using Cynefin to Solve Problems While Navigating Uncertainty
Kim Ballestrin, an agile coach, explains how her team at Telstra (an Australian telecommunications and IT company) uses a problem solving framework called Cynefin to better plan their work in the early stages of a project.… More »
Want to Instill A3 Thinking? Teach A3 Behaviors
A3 thinking is all about A3 behaviors, says auto-manufacturing veteran Andrew Quibell. "Only by applying a step by step mentality, being tenacious in purpose, and looking for data/facts do you arrive at a root cause you and others can clearly see and believe," he writes. See the story boards Quibell uses to develop A3 thinking behaviors in others.… More »
Design Thinking for Lean Practitioners
"You don’t have to look very far to see that lean problem-solving has a reputation of perfecting something that already exists..." writes Durward Sobek. "But in reality, lean problem-solving simply REQUIRES innovation because you are continually reinventing your systems and as we do this, we want to improve rapidly, not slowly."… More »
Serious Games
Boaz Tamir (President of Lean Institute Israel) and lean coach Smadar Cohen Isvoranu share their reflections on a recent lean product and process development workshop in Zikheron Ya’akov, Israel.… More »
Why Coaching is the Hardest Job I've Ever Had
"In 2011 a new term entered my company... we went 'lean'," writes Kasey Corbishley. "The office buzzed with anxiety as whiteboards were erected, and the word 'consultant' kept getting tossed around. Soon we were poised with raising problems and solving them ourselves." Read what happened next as Corbishley stepped into his new role as coach.… More »
The Chief Cause of Problems is Solutions
"In complex organizations, we [oversimplify] problems, try to fix them as painlessly as possible, cross our fingers, and move on to the next fire," writes Brent Wahba. "Unfortunately, things rarely turn out quite as perfectly as we had hoped." Learn how to avoid this trap and plan better as you lead your team in continuous improvement.… More »
The Hidden Benefit to A3 Thinking
"A3 thinking helps us think, solve problems, and strategize," writes José Ferro. "But it also helps us calm down, concentrate, and think deeply. It lets the mind flow." Read why the latter was so important to one of Ferro's coaching clients, a new CEO who was struggling with his own leadership.… More »
Getting a Jump on Unplanned Changes
Andrew Quibbell, veteran of the auto industry, uses graphic recording to share lean concepts. Here's a visual of how Quibbell teaches change point management on the shop floor.… More »
Editor's Picks for Lean Posts to Help You Improve Your Work Monday Morning
Our picks for the most practical, "how-to" style posts we've published on the Post to date. These posts are chock full of good learning and advice we hope you can use immediately.… More »
5 Ways to Help Every Team Member Contribute Ideas for Improving Work
"Engaging staff in problem identification and suggestions for improvement is essential for any organization," writes Dan Fleming, Continuous Improvement Manager at GBMP (Greater Boston Manufacturing Partnership). "Yet most organizations don’t have a system that effectively encourages staff involvement." Learn how to create such a system with this short, helpful post.… More »
Leadership Without Giving Solutions (from a Fire Fighter's Perspective)
LEI faculty member Greg Lane shares a lean coaching story from his own life, in which he finds himself advising a friend on how best to position himself for a promotion to fire chief. The result is a powerful little story of lean management and the thoughtfulness and discipline it really takes to lead.… More »
Training as a Crutch
Your organization has a problem. Something has gone wrong. A process that was previously working fine is no longer working. You know this because of your inbox is full and you're getting tons of pages/calls. What do you do next? Lean coach Eric Ethington offers advice you may not expect.… More »
Look Around You, Find Your Lean Inspiration
After an awful experience with an online travel agency and way too much time spent trying to fix an error the company made, Planet Lean editor Roberto Priolo reflects on why experiences like these are all too commonplace. "There are many examples out there showing us that another way to deliver customer value is possible," writes Priolo, citing plenty of examples.… More »
Everyday Kaizen
"With the right teaching and guidance, a good process, and a target of one kaizen activity per day, team leaders should develop [problem solving] skills fast," writes Emmanuel Jallas. Team leaders then encourage these same problem skills in operators, Jallas says, which creates a culture of steady, everyday improvement that can make a big difference for your business.… More »
Why Effective Problem Solving Begins With a Good Problem Statement
"Let’s solve world peace" or "let’s state our predetermined solution as a problem" aren't real problem statements, says Dave LaHote. Read why a good problem statement is so important, why it's harder than you think to come up with one, and learn how to write a better one.… More »
You Can't Kaizen Chaos
LEI coach Danielle Blais shares why she believes lean thinking means little without practice, explains the importance of stable work processes, and offers guidance on how to keep your improvement efforts focused on what really matters.… More »
The Designer's Dilemma
Durward Sobek unpacks the "designer’s dilemma"—the situation wherein you have the MOST freedom to make decisions when you know the LEAST about the problem. Learn how set-based innovation and trade off curves can help.… More »
Lean Talks: Are You Making Excuses or Solving Problems?
In his "lean talk" at the Lean Transformation Summit this past March, lean coach and author Mark Graban shared his perspective on what a culture of continuous improvement really means and requires of us as hopeful change agents. The video concludes with a Q&A with Jim Womack.… More »
Communicating With Respect
Effective communication is key when it comes to lean learning. Give people too much information, too soon and you lose them, Alice Lee says. Give them too little, too late and they'll get bored. In both cases, you run the risk of people not feeling respected by you. Read what Lee suggests doing instead.… More »
Problem Solving Fast and Slow
"There are many paradoxes about the Toyota Production System," writes Ben Root. "Speed is certainly one of them. 'Do it slowly, but quickly.'" Read more.… More »
Test Your PDCA Thinking By Reading Your A3 Backwards
Pretty sure you've got a good A3, but want to test the logic of your thinking? Want some help coaching another person through their A3 thinking? Tracey Richardon shares her wisdom.… More »
Coaching Effectively Within Takt Time
When time is of the essence and work just needs to be done, how do you help someone improve their work or solve a problem quickly? Jeff Smith shares an example from the shopfloor.… More »
Lean Government
"We in the Lean Community have no standing on whether a government should regulate any activity or provide any service," writes Jim Womack. "We can only make the humble suggestion that better decisions can be reached if the debate starts with a clear statement of the actual problem, followed by a structured process to identify and test countermeasures."… More »
Lean Change Is Organizational and Personal
"Lean management is less about providing the right answers than asking the right questions and exploring those questions by engaging others in experiments to learn through doing," John Shook reminds us. Learn more from a talk Shook recently gave to the LEAN UX community.… More »
How Teaming Produces Execution-as-Learning
Amy C. Edmonson, Professor of Leadership and Management at the Harvard Business School, shares a concept she calls "teaming", a way of working that brings people together to generate new ideas, find answers, and solve problems across boundaries.… More »
Challenge: Understand and Adapt for Sales Pace Growth
It's our first Lean Challenge post! Come up with a plan to help a machining business deal with the technical and social challenges posed by increasing customer demand.… More »
Lean Talks: Problem Solving with ThoughtWorks
Kevin Kriner, an agile project manager at ThoughtWorks, gives a short "Lean Talk" on what he's learned about root cause analysis at the Lean Transformation Summit 2014, including how root cause analysis develops people and strengthens teams.… More »
The Difference a Visual Cue Makes
At work and off the clock, visual cues and andons keep us safe and aware of what's going on at all times. How do you use visual cues to alert yourself and others to problems and/or improve your work?… More »
Are You Making Enough Mistakes?
How comfortable are you making mistakes? Do you make it safe for your team members to make mistakes? Boaz Tamir, Founder of Israel Lean Enterprise Institute, reflects on these questions and more after learning about Menlo Innovations' unique organizational culture.… More »
Improvement for the Sake of Improvement Means Nothing
"We need to dig deep to understand why we do what we do and question whether it really provides value to anyone." Read the story of how one company found itself trying to improve a process that shouldn't have existed in the first place.… More »
Focus on Process, Set Free Great Minds
"So often when we map the current state of a value stream, and its problems and pain points are revealed, something wonderful happens... We laugh! Long-held, negative assumptions explode," writes lean coach and practitioner Tim Kane. Read more about how a focus on process helps people do good work together.… More »
Learning Through Struggle
LEI coach Danielle Blais reflects on one of the most frustrating (and ultimately, most rewarding) coaching moments she's experienced so far in her career.… More »
Create a Real A3, Do More Than Fill In Boxes
Is your A3 a piece of paper? or is a document you've created with your team to "share wisdom" with the rest of your organization? Read more from lean coach Tracey Richardson on how to create an effective A3 and why it's so important to understand the A3 as a thinking process, not a tool.… More »
How a Problem-Solving Culture Takes Root
Changing one's own leadership behaviors is no easy task, but it can be done. Leaders can shift away from giving top-down commands and solutions to a more engaging and collaborative way of addressing problems that both gets results and develops people.… More »
Reading the Signs
How often does your organization settle for an inferior process design or process fix, bandaged together with labels and signs? Lean coach Eric Ethington tells us why this is pretty much always a bad idea.… More »
Learn from the Error, Every Time
It's an awful feeling when you think everything is going just fine and then discover you've made an error. But errors are inevitable. It's what you do next that counts.… More »
What's Your Company's Bottleneck?
"A bottleneck is the weak link in the system, the one constraint that prevents us from manufacturing that next toaster or frothing that next latte with our current resources," writes Brent Wahba. "Somewhere in that great big system is one TRUE bottleneck, and I have yet to meet a company that really understands what theirs is." Read more.… More »
Standardized Work for Kaizen: Define, Achieve, Maintain, Improve
We can all agree that kaizen (continuous improvement to create more value with less waste) is important, but do you have standardized work for kaizen? What are the actual process steps for kaizen?… More »
Problem Solving the Airlines
Rarely are process problems so clear as during the holidays! Have ideas for how to improve your air travel experience? Lean coach Danielle Blais does, too. Read more about what we can learn from travel stress!… More »
Building Problem Solving Muscle at University of Michigan Health System
"We are beginning to realize the wisdom of Henry Ford’s adage: 'There are no big problems, there are just a lot of little problems,...'"… More »
Lean Labor Relations and The Customer First Principle
Here’s the scene: A production line at a car and truck manufacturing plant is stalling several times a day resulting in serious workflow issues. Read the true story about how a union rep, labor rep, line worker, and team member from production control worked together to get to the bottom of the issue.… More »
A Lean Leap of Faith
Michael Ballé reflects on a core assumption of Lean that is often disregarded and explains why it is worth taking a lean leap of faith.… More »
Solving Problems Across Political Divides
On Tuesday, the US Government shut down for the first time in 17 years. What opportunity for lean thinking does this present? Read what LEI's COO John O'Donnell has to say.… More »
The Problem with the US Open
What do Roger Federer, ESPN, and the US Open have to do with problem solving?… More »
The Hunt for Alligator Eggs
"Like alligator eggs, problems often start small. If you wait a while and ignore them, those eggs hatch," writes Ellis New. "Wait a little longer, and the hatchlings are well on their way to becoming six-footers." How do you prevent this scenario from happening in your organization? Implement TPM (Total Productive Maintenance).… More »
Talking Lean with a Neuroscientist
How do we turn large, complicated, risky projects into catalysts for learning and innovation? Lean IT expert Steve Bell reflects on this question after an unexpected conversation with a neuroscientist.… More »
What problem are you trying to solve?
As human beings, are we basically “programmed” to produce blanket solutions that typically only address symptoms of problems, never to discover what causes problems in the first place? Olga Flory, Director of Education at LEI, wrestles with this question from product development to foreign policy decisions, in her first piece for The Lean Post.… More »
One of the Best Conversations I've Had With a Manager
Education coordinator and event planner turned entrepreneur Jeanne Dasaro reflects on one of the scariest (and best) conversations she's ever had with a manager.… More »
problem solving on Lean.org
The Value Stream Manager
Read about and discuss the role of this cross-functional manager.… More »
Value-Stream Mapping in a Make-to-Order Environment
Tips from LEI author Mike Rother on applying value-stream mapping and continuous flow in high-variety, custom manufacturing environments.… More »
What is the Theory of Constraints, and How Does it Compare to Lean Thinking?
Read about and discuss this topic.… More »
Lean Beyond Production
Read how Lean Thinkers, using the same lean tools that worked in production, now are making improvements and benefits off the plant floor, in environments as diverse as an insurance company, academia,… More »
Lean Thinking: A Look Back and a Look Forward
The meaning of lean thinking, how lean got its name, and an example of how it improved a grinding process By LEI President Jim Womack.… More »
The Lean Dentist Webinar Follow-Up Questions & Answers
After reviewing all the questions that we couldn’t get to during the webinar with Dr. Sami Bahri, several key themes emerged, such as lean leadership and how lean tools, such as one-piece flow (or in … More »
Nun and the Bureaucrat (Book & DVD), The
The remarkable story of how healthcare professionals found a powerful but unlikely cure for what ails hospitals and healthcare is clearly and invitingly told in The Nun and the Bureaucrat/Good News…Ho… More »
Online - Introduction to Lean Thinking and Practice
This online course serves as an introduction to the key concepts, philosophies, and tools associated with lean thinking and practice. Designed through a joint effort between the Lean Enterprise Instit… More »
Improvement Kata / Coaching Kata
What is a Kata? A kata is a pattern you practice to learn a skill and mindset. Through practice the pattern of a kata becomes second nature - done with little conscious attention - and readily avail… More »
Lean Product and Process Development, 2nd Edition
Lean Product and Process Development, 2nd Edition (ebook)
LEI Workbook Set
A complete set of the LEI workbooks.… More »
Are You Fixing the System or Just a Person?
"How often do our solutions fix a person (or single event) rather than a system?" wonders Kelly Moore. Hopefully not too often at your organization, because only system fixes will solve problems in the long term. Read more to read Kelly's reflection on this dilemma, and how two recent experiences made her look at it in a new light.… More »
The Importance of Embracing Development Conflict
Conflict is something almost all professionals have been told to avoid at all costs. Jim Morgan begs to differ. "Whenever I encounter someone using this limiting form of binary thinking," he writes, "I remind them that those who can embrace conflict find it to be a huge source of opportunity." Read more.… More »
Problem? What Problem?
"Whether using A3s, the 5 Whys, DMAIC, Value Stream Mapping, or any other problem-solving methodology, many organizations don’t spend the effort necessary to prove all their hypotheses, and either under-solve the real problem or erroneously solve a non-existent issue," write Brent Wahba. How can an organization problem-solve the right way, you ask? Read more to find out.… More »
To A3 or Not to A3
"Not every tool is a hammer, and not every problem is a nail," writes Norbert Majerus of The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. "Not every situation warrants the use of an A3." Read more to learn Norbert's preferred approach to gauging whether or not an A3 will help in a given situation.… More »
Small Chart, Big Impact: How a Simple Spaghetti Chart Led to Huge Wins at Thrustmaster of Texas
Sometimes the simplest lean concepts can make all the difference in ensuring a successful transformation. Marine-propulsion manufacturer Thrustmaster of Texas found this out after creating a spaghetti diagram to reveal possible waste in an assembly plant. Their findings were staggering - read more.… More »
The Value of Key Performance Indicators in a Lean Transformation
We all know to watch out for key performance indicators (KPIs) in the workplace - but are you tracking the RIGHT KPIs? Ernie and Tracey Richardson share their thoughts on the two categories of KPIs, how they can help you, and how to identify them.… More »
Small Batch: Hand-Picked Articles from the Global Lean Community (Vol. 6)
Our picks for the best high-impact learning stories and columns from Planet Lean.… More »
Kaizen Learning vs. Traditional Problem-Solving
"Lean offers a fundamentally different approach to problem-solving than most traditional companies practice," writes Art Byrne. "Most [traditional] companies delegate important problems to teams of experts that take months to create a plan and even longer to get lasting improvements." What would a problem-solving process look like at a lean company? Read this article and find out.… More »
Your Favorite Lean Posts of 2015!
With 2016 fast approaching, we'd like to take a step back and reflect on the most popular Lean Post articles of 2015. Did your favorite(s) make the list?… More »
Using A3 Thinking to Solve Recruiting Problems: An interview with Gavin Martin
It's a shame that A3s are often thought of as being meant to solve manufacturing problems. The reality is they can be used to explore and resolve challenges in any industry or field, including recruiting, as Gavin Martin has seen. Here's his story of using A3 thinking to solve a costly recruitment problem at his organization.… More »
Governance Matters
"The very term “governance” seems somewhat antithetical to lean," writes Mark Hamel. "Yet...over my 20-plus years of lean learning, I’ve witnessed a lot of implementation failures (heck, I may have even caused some of them). More than a few of these were due, at least partly, to a vacuum of good governance."… More »
People Don't Fail, Processes Do
Terry Smith, a lean web developer, shares two examples of real-life companies who used the "5 Whys" to drill down to the root of a thorny problem.… More »
5 Ways My Thinking Changed With the Help of a Lean Coach
"Coaching for development is different than being managed," writes Deborah McGee. "Lean coaching in our case was not directing an improvement swat team or teaching lean workshops… It was a steadfast commitment to people, and to developing capability versus creating dependency."… More »
Using Cynefin to Solve Problems While Navigating Uncertainty
Kim Ballestrin, an agile coach, explains how her team at Telstra (an Australian telecommunications and IT company) uses a problem solving framework called Cynefin to better plan their work in the early stages of a project.… More »
Want to Instill A3 Thinking? Teach A3 Behaviors
A3 thinking is all about A3 behaviors, says auto-manufacturing veteran Andrew Quibell. "Only by applying a step by step mentality, being tenacious in purpose, and looking for data/facts do you arrive at a root cause you and others can clearly see and believe," he writes. See the story boards Quibell uses to develop A3 thinking behaviors in others.… More »
Design Thinking for Lean Practitioners
"You don’t have to look very far to see that lean problem-solving has a reputation of perfecting something that already exists..." writes Durward Sobek. "But in reality, lean problem-solving simply REQUIRES innovation because you are continually reinventing your systems and as we do this, we want to improve rapidly, not slowly."… More »
Serious Games
Boaz Tamir (President of Lean Institute Israel) and lean coach Smadar Cohen Isvoranu share their reflections on a recent lean product and process development workshop in Zikheron Ya’akov, Israel.… More »
Why Coaching is the Hardest Job I've Ever Had
"In 2011 a new term entered my company... we went 'lean'," writes Kasey Corbishley. "The office buzzed with anxiety as whiteboards were erected, and the word 'consultant' kept getting tossed around. Soon we were poised with raising problems and solving them ourselves." Read what happened next as Corbishley stepped into his new role as coach.… More »
The Chief Cause of Problems is Solutions
"In complex organizations, we [oversimplify] problems, try to fix them as painlessly as possible, cross our fingers, and move on to the next fire," writes Brent Wahba. "Unfortunately, things rarely turn out quite as perfectly as we had hoped." Learn how to avoid this trap and plan better as you lead your team in continuous improvement.… More »
The Hidden Benefit to A3 Thinking
"A3 thinking helps us think, solve problems, and strategize," writes José Ferro. "But it also helps us calm down, concentrate, and think deeply. It lets the mind flow." Read why the latter was so important to one of Ferro's coaching clients, a new CEO who was struggling with his own leadership.… More »
Getting a Jump on Unplanned Changes
Andrew Quibbell, veteran of the auto industry, uses graphic recording to share lean concepts. Here's a visual of how Quibbell teaches change point management on the shop floor.… More »
Editor's Picks for Lean Posts to Help You Improve Your Work Monday Morning
Our picks for the most practical, "how-to" style posts we've published on the Post to date. These posts are chock full of good learning and advice we hope you can use immediately.… More »
5 Ways to Help Every Team Member Contribute Ideas for Improving Work
"Engaging staff in problem identification and suggestions for improvement is essential for any organization," writes Dan Fleming, Continuous Improvement Manager at GBMP (Greater Boston Manufacturing Partnership). "Yet most organizations don’t have a system that effectively encourages staff involvement." Learn how to create such a system with this short, helpful post.… More »
Leadership Without Giving Solutions (from a Fire Fighter's Perspective)
LEI faculty member Greg Lane shares a lean coaching story from his own life, in which he finds himself advising a friend on how best to position himself for a promotion to fire chief. The result is a powerful little story of lean management and the thoughtfulness and discipline it really takes to lead.… More »
Training as a Crutch
Your organization has a problem. Something has gone wrong. A process that was previously working fine is no longer working. You know this because of your inbox is full and you're getting tons of pages/calls. What do you do next? Lean coach Eric Ethington offers advice you may not expect.… More »
Look Around You, Find Your Lean Inspiration
After an awful experience with an online travel agency and way too much time spent trying to fix an error the company made, Planet Lean editor Roberto Priolo reflects on why experiences like these are all too commonplace. "There are many examples out there showing us that another way to deliver customer value is possible," writes Priolo, citing plenty of examples.… More »
Everyday Kaizen
"With the right teaching and guidance, a good process, and a target of one kaizen activity per day, team leaders should develop [problem solving] skills fast," writes Emmanuel Jallas. Team leaders then encourage these same problem skills in operators, Jallas says, which creates a culture of steady, everyday improvement that can make a big difference for your business.… More »
Why Effective Problem Solving Begins With a Good Problem Statement
"Let’s solve world peace" or "let’s state our predetermined solution as a problem" aren't real problem statements, says Dave LaHote. Read why a good problem statement is so important, why it's harder than you think to come up with one, and learn how to write a better one.… More »
You Can't Kaizen Chaos
LEI coach Danielle Blais shares why she believes lean thinking means little without practice, explains the importance of stable work processes, and offers guidance on how to keep your improvement efforts focused on what really matters.… More »
The Designer's Dilemma
Durward Sobek unpacks the "designer’s dilemma"—the situation wherein you have the MOST freedom to make decisions when you know the LEAST about the problem. Learn how set-based innovation and trade off curves can help.… More »
Lean Talks: Are You Making Excuses or Solving Problems?
In his "lean talk" at the Lean Transformation Summit this past March, lean coach and author Mark Graban shared his perspective on what a culture of continuous improvement really means and requires of us as hopeful change agents. The video concludes with a Q&A with Jim Womack.… More »
Communicating With Respect
Effective communication is key when it comes to lean learning. Give people too much information, too soon and you lose them, Alice Lee says. Give them too little, too late and they'll get bored. In both cases, you run the risk of people not feeling respected by you. Read what Lee suggests doing instead.… More »
Problem Solving Fast and Slow
"There are many paradoxes about the Toyota Production System," writes Ben Root. "Speed is certainly one of them. 'Do it slowly, but quickly.'" Read more.… More »
Test Your PDCA Thinking By Reading Your A3 Backwards
Pretty sure you've got a good A3, but want to test the logic of your thinking? Want some help coaching another person through their A3 thinking? Tracey Richardon shares her wisdom.… More »
Coaching Effectively Within Takt Time
When time is of the essence and work just needs to be done, how do you help someone improve their work or solve a problem quickly? Jeff Smith shares an example from the shopfloor.… More »
Lean Government
"We in the Lean Community have no standing on whether a government should regulate any activity or provide any service," writes Jim Womack. "We can only make the humble suggestion that better decisions can be reached if the debate starts with a clear statement of the actual problem, followed by a structured process to identify and test countermeasures."… More »
Lean Change Is Organizational and Personal
"Lean management is less about providing the right answers than asking the right questions and exploring those questions by engaging others in experiments to learn through doing," John Shook reminds us. Learn more from a talk Shook recently gave to the LEAN UX community.… More »
How Teaming Produces Execution-as-Learning
Amy C. Edmonson, Professor of Leadership and Management at the Harvard Business School, shares a concept she calls "teaming", a way of working that brings people together to generate new ideas, find answers, and solve problems across boundaries.… More »
Challenge: Understand and Adapt for Sales Pace Growth
It's our first Lean Challenge post! Come up with a plan to help a machining business deal with the technical and social challenges posed by increasing customer demand.… More »
Lean Talks: Problem Solving with ThoughtWorks
Kevin Kriner, an agile project manager at ThoughtWorks, gives a short "Lean Talk" on what he's learned about root cause analysis at the Lean Transformation Summit 2014, including how root cause analysis develops people and strengthens teams.… More »
The Difference a Visual Cue Makes
At work and off the clock, visual cues and andons keep us safe and aware of what's going on at all times. How do you use visual cues to alert yourself and others to problems and/or improve your work?… More »
Are You Making Enough Mistakes?
How comfortable are you making mistakes? Do you make it safe for your team members to make mistakes? Boaz Tamir, Founder of Israel Lean Enterprise Institute, reflects on these questions and more after learning about Menlo Innovations' unique organizational culture.… More »
Improvement for the Sake of Improvement Means Nothing
"We need to dig deep to understand why we do what we do and question whether it really provides value to anyone." Read the story of how one company found itself trying to improve a process that shouldn't have existed in the first place.… More »
Focus on Process, Set Free Great Minds
"So often when we map the current state of a value stream, and its problems and pain points are revealed, something wonderful happens... We laugh! Long-held, negative assumptions explode," writes lean coach and practitioner Tim Kane. Read more about how a focus on process helps people do good work together.… More »
Learning Through Struggle
LEI coach Danielle Blais reflects on one of the most frustrating (and ultimately, most rewarding) coaching moments she's experienced so far in her career.… More »
Create a Real A3, Do More Than Fill In Boxes
Is your A3 a piece of paper? or is a document you've created with your team to "share wisdom" with the rest of your organization? Read more from lean coach Tracey Richardson on how to create an effective A3 and why it's so important to understand the A3 as a thinking process, not a tool.… More »
How a Problem-Solving Culture Takes Root
Changing one's own leadership behaviors is no easy task, but it can be done. Leaders can shift away from giving top-down commands and solutions to a more engaging and collaborative way of addressing problems that both gets results and develops people.… More »
Reading the Signs
How often does your organization settle for an inferior process design or process fix, bandaged together with labels and signs? Lean coach Eric Ethington tells us why this is pretty much always a bad idea.… More »
Learn from the Error, Every Time
It's an awful feeling when you think everything is going just fine and then discover you've made an error. But errors are inevitable. It's what you do next that counts.… More »
What's Your Company's Bottleneck?
"A bottleneck is the weak link in the system, the one constraint that prevents us from manufacturing that next toaster or frothing that next latte with our current resources," writes Brent Wahba. "Somewhere in that great big system is one TRUE bottleneck, and I have yet to meet a company that really understands what theirs is." Read more.… More »
Standardized Work for Kaizen: Define, Achieve, Maintain, Improve
We can all agree that kaizen (continuous improvement to create more value with less waste) is important, but do you have standardized work for kaizen? What are the actual process steps for kaizen?… More »
Problem Solving the Airlines
Rarely are process problems so clear as during the holidays! Have ideas for how to improve your air travel experience? Lean coach Danielle Blais does, too. Read more about what we can learn from travel stress!… More »
Building Problem Solving Muscle at University of Michigan Health System
"We are beginning to realize the wisdom of Henry Ford’s adage: 'There are no big problems, there are just a lot of little problems,...'"… More »
Lean Labor Relations and The Customer First Principle
Here’s the scene: A production line at a car and truck manufacturing plant is stalling several times a day resulting in serious workflow issues. Read the true story about how a union rep, labor rep, line worker, and team member from production control worked together to get to the bottom of the issue.… More »
A Lean Leap of Faith
Michael Ballé reflects on a core assumption of Lean that is often disregarded and explains why it is worth taking a lean leap of faith.… More »
Solving Problems Across Political Divides
On Tuesday, the US Government shut down for the first time in 17 years. What opportunity for lean thinking does this present? Read what LEI's COO John O'Donnell has to say.… More »
The Problem with the US Open
What do Roger Federer, ESPN, and the US Open have to do with problem solving?… More »
The Hunt for Alligator Eggs
"Like alligator eggs, problems often start small. If you wait a while and ignore them, those eggs hatch," writes Ellis New. "Wait a little longer, and the hatchlings are well on their way to becoming six-footers." How do you prevent this scenario from happening in your organization? Implement TPM (Total Productive Maintenance).… More »
Talking Lean with a Neuroscientist
How do we turn large, complicated, risky projects into catalysts for learning and innovation? Lean IT expert Steve Bell reflects on this question after an unexpected conversation with a neuroscientist.… More »
What problem are you trying to solve?
As human beings, are we basically “programmed” to produce blanket solutions that typically only address symptoms of problems, never to discover what causes problems in the first place? Olga Flory, Director of Education at LEI, wrestles with this question from product development to foreign policy decisions, in her first piece for The Lean Post.… More »
One of the Best Conversations I've Had With a Manager
Education coordinator and event planner turned entrepreneur Jeanne Dasaro reflects on one of the scariest (and best) conversations she's ever had with a manager.… More »
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