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Learning the Social and Technical Aspects of Lean on the Kentucky Lean Leadership Tour
By: Lean Leaper | August 23, 2019
Columns
Why join the upcoming US Learning Tour in Kentucky? This interview between Josh Howell, John Shook and Jamie Bonini discusses why this tour will help people understand the Toyota Production System as an organizational culture of highly engaged people, solving problems or innovating to drive performance. More »
Product Development Is Where to Cut Carbon Emissions; Here's How
By: Katrina Appell | August 21, 2019
Columns
Consumers want products updated more frequently, which is great for consumers and business but not so great for the environment because a third of man-made carbon emissions come from production processes, notes Katrina Appell, PhD, who explains how product developers can balance these competing forces. More »
Membership, Mission and Money 
By: Jean Cunningham | August 20, 2019
Columns; eLetters
I was recently inspired by Sylvia’s Freakonomics Radio podcast (No. 385, July 17), where she talks about today’s Girl Scouts. It continues to resonate with me, and in particular, the personal, role-focusing mnemonic she uses: Membership, Mission, and Money.    More »
Why We Believe Lean is Worth Our Unwavering Commitment
By: Lean Sensei Women | August 16, 2019
Columns
Lean provides a powerful alternative to short-term enterprise driven solely by the goal of maximizing profits while externalizing human and environmental costs, argues these leading Lean thinkings, who reveal why Lean promises a more humane, productive, meaningful, and ultimately, sustainable path forward. More »
The Power of Ma in Creating Cognitive Space
By: Jim Benson | August 14, 2019
Columns
When we lead with respect for people, we need to truly understand that people work in different ways, argues Jim Benson in this piece about the power of More »
The Dark Side of Concurrent Engineering
By: Katrina Appell and John Drogosz | August 9, 2019
Columns
One of the fastest ways to reduce development lead time from concept to market is to work concurrently. But as product development coaches Katrina Appell and John Drogosz point out, many managers and engineers jump into concurrent engineering without the requisite understanding and planning of the work to be successful, leading them to the dreaded “Dark Side of Concurrent Engineering.  ” More »
Lean Thinkers Are Systems Thinkers
By: Richard Sheridan | August 7, 2019
Columns
Lean thinkers are systems thinkers, argues Rich Sheridan: "Intentional cultures thrive when the simple systems put in place reinforce every cultural intention and that systems thinkers will always start with the attitude that improving the systems is the best route to improvement, success, and ultimately joy.  " More »
How can there be standards -- or kaizen -- in a service job when no two instances are the same?
By: Michael Ballé | August 5, 2019
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach, I’m in a service job and I struggle with the idea of standards. I read that there can be no kaizen without standards but how can you have standards when no two instances are the same? More »
12 Wastes of Product & Process Development
By: Katrina Appell and John Drogosz | August 2, 2019
Columns
The wastes found in manufacturing are well known and relatively visible. But as you move upstream into the very different realm of product development, wastes become harder to see but are just as prevalent. This list of a "dirty dozen" PD wastes, courtesy of Katrina Appell and John Drogosz, will open your eyes. More »
A Matchless Learning Opportunity for Executives and Leaders
July 31, 2019
Articles
Spend 5 intense days observing and learning from operations at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky, Toyota supplier Summit Polymers, and GE Appliances at our Kentucky Lean Leadership Tour. Shop-floor walks are followed by facilitated reflection and roundtable discussions, led by this outstanding team of experienced coaches. More »
Join us at the Lean Accounting & Management Summit
July 31, 2019
Articles
Increase your professional value while learning how lean accounting sustains a lean transformation. Register today for the Lean Accounting Summit, Sept 12-13, 2019. More »
Lean Accounting Is Simpler, Faster, Cheaper, and More Accurate Than Traditional Management Accounting, so Why Don’t More Companies Use It?
July 31, 2019
Articles
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. More »
Thoughts on the Birth of Lean
By: Jean Cunningham | July 31, 2019
Columns
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. More »
I don’t get kanban -- I don’t work in production so how would it apply to one-off work?
By: Michael Ballé | July 29, 2019
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,  I feel that I still don’t get kanban. I don’t work in production, and I fail to see how stock replenishment would apply to one-off work. More »
How Are You Supporting Your Own Lean Transformation?
By: Lisa Yerian | July 26, 2019
Columns
When someone in our organization complains about something we hand them a Kaizen card, shares Lisa Yerian of the Cleveland Clinic. Perhaps the same approach could apply to the broader challenge of improving the organizational ability to frame problems productively? More »
Getting the Right Things Done Book Club Questions
July 25, 2019
Articles
Getting the Right Things Done chronicles the journey of the company and its President and COO, an experienced lean leader who was hired five years ago to steer Atlas in the right direction. While Atlas had already applied some basic lean principles, it had not really connected the people and business processes so that the company could dramatically improve. Atlas’ challenge: “Something was missing: a way of focusing and aligning the efforts of good people, and a delivery system, something that would direct the tools to the right places.  ” Enter strategy deployment.  LEI makes it easy to learn together, download More »
Lean Office & Service Simplified Book Club Questions
July 25, 2019
Articles
Demystifying the application of lean methods, Lean Office and Service Simplified: The Definitive How-To Guide goes beyond the basic tools to detail the key concepts of lean as they apply to office and service environments. It begins with value stream management, followed by chapters on standard work, flow, level pull, and visual management.  LEI makes it easy to learn together, download our free book club questions below. More »
Made-to-Order Lean Book Club Questions
July 25, 2019
Articles
Made-to-Order Lean focuses on operational process improvement, but also dedicates 3 chapters to improving indirect (transactional) processes, which are a more intricate portion in these organizations and account for significant cost & lead time in high mix environments.  LEI makes it easy to learn together, download our free book club questions below. More »
The Work of Management Book Club Questions
July 25, 2019
Articles
In Work of Management, Author and CEO Jim Lancaster tells a practical and inspiring story on two levels. It’s a close-up, candid look at his personal transformation as a leader. It’s also a practical, in-depth, business case study of Lantech’s lean transformation, relapse, and comeback that American manufacturing – and other industries — can use to profitably transform themselves.  LEI makes it easy to learn together, download our free book club questions below. More »
4 Core Principles of Lean Product and Process Development Explained
By: Katrina Appell and John Drogosz | July 24, 2019
Columns
The ability to consistently create “insanely great” products, as Steve Jobs would say, is the ultimate competitive advantage. But many companies struggle to develop profitable products and services on time with the best quality and least waste. Lean product and process development (LPPD), a powerful and proven set of principles and practices, will help any company dramatically improve its development capability. LPPD practitioners John Drogosz and Katrina Appell summarize its 4 core principles. More »
Can lean be used to turn around a company?
By: Michael Ballé | July 22, 2019
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach, Can lean be used in a turnaround situation? Does a burning platform make it easier or harder? More »
Feeling the Gemba Magic
By: Nicolas Chartier | July 19, 2019
Columns
After months of work at the gemba with his factory manager helping line workers grapple with problems, CEO Nicolas Chartier realized the true source of the recurring problems: himself. More »
Ask Art: Where Will the Biggest Resistance to Lean Come From?
By: Art Byrne | July 17, 2019
Columns
Resistance to Lean will come from every part of your organization, senior management included, says Lean veteran Art Byrne. Knowing where the biggest resistance will come from, however should help you focus your early efforts and smooth your Lean turnaround. More »
Should A3s be used for solving organizational or technical problems?
By: Michael Ballé | July 15, 2019
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,  Should A3s be used for solving organizational or technical problems? More »
Profit and Cost At Toyota
By: Jean Cunningham | July 12, 2019
Columns
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.  " More »
Calling a Time-Out for Coaches
By: Masia Goodman, Laura Mottola and Mark Reich | July 10, 2019
Columns
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 »
Any advice for a team with a new boss who doesn’t know lean but wants us to switch to agile instead?
By: Michael Ballé | July 8, 2019
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach, We have a new boss who doesn’t know lean and is asking our lean team to switch to “agile” instead. Any advice? More »
Why Traditional Farming Is Ripe for Disruption
By: Ben Hartman | June 28, 2019
Columns
Uber disrupted the taxi business. Netflix disrupted entertainment. Amazon disrupted retail. Is farming, that ancient industry, ripe for disruption? Indiana farmer Ben Hartman, author of The Lean Farm, has planted the seeds of a radical transformation. Watch now. More »
KAIZEN CHALLENGE: Lean Technical and Social Quiz
By: Jeff Smith | June 26, 2019
Columns
In this kaizen challenge, lean coach Jeff Smith invites you to help determine the optimal lot size to run through assembly. Please share your thoughts! More »
Should I bother reading lean management books or rely on experience implementing lean?
By: Michael Ballé | June 24, 2019
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach, Should I bother with reading lean books, or just work from experience? There are so many, and they seem to contradict each other. Which ones should I start with? More »
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