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We mapped a process, improved it, but six months later, performance is as bad as it was before – what are we missing?
By: Michael Balle | August 20, 2018
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,  We’ve drawn the value-stream map of one of our complex production processes (17 steps), identified the key bottlenecks and improved the process. Yet, six months later, the performance is just as bad as it was before – what are we missing?  More »
Ask Art: What's Wrong with Organizing By Function?
By: Art Byrne | August 16, 2018
While you might be able to survive and be profitable using a traditional functional structure the fact is that you will be leaving a lot of money on the table. Moving to lean and flow eliminates structural problems, lowers cost, improves quality, shortens lead times and is more responsive to the customer. More »
Cardboard, Duct Tape, and String: The Do-First Mindset
By: Mark Reich | August 15, 2018
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 »
React Less and Improve More by Using SPC More Effectively
By: Mark Graban | August 14, 2018
When we stop reacting to “noise” in a metric, we can better focus our improvement efforts, waste less time, and improve more, says Mark Graban. That should all be a core principle of Lean management that can help leaders in any setting. More »
What's your definition of lean?
By: Ballé, Michael | August 13, 2018
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,  My company is adopting lean, which has so many definitions that I find it confusing. What's your definition and why can’t all these lean experts agree? More »
Sensing the Gemba
By: Mike Orzen and Tracey Richardson | August 10, 2018
The next time you show up at the gemba to do a “go and see,” take a personal assessment of your level of focus, presence and awareness. Choose any one of your senses to focus within first, so you can be 100 percent present to deeply sense what is going on with the people and work processes of the value stream. More »
Fresh Eyes Bring Lean Problems into Clarity
By: Jim Morgan | August 8, 2018
“Fresh eyes” reviews are an indispensible part of developing new value. It’s amazing what you can learn from the input of a knowledgable outsider, because developers are often so close to the work for so long that they can miss some obvious opportunities. More »
As Toast Kaizen Turns 20, Bruce Hamilton Shares How This Famous Video Came About
By: Bruce Hamilton | August 7, 2018
Watch this "director's cut" video by Bruce Hamilton sharing the backstory behind what has become a classic lean resource: Toast Kaizen. More »
From Port to Plate: How Legal Sea Foods Is Improving Through Lean
By: Lean Leaper | August 6, 2018
Legal Sea Foods is working with LEI to help launch a movement to change everything about the way traditional restaurants work. Legal, a family business founded in 1950, with more than 30 locations, has been working with LEI for the past four years to change the way restaurants work. In everything from greeting and seating guests to re-thinking how they organize their walk-in coolers and schedule shifts, lean is having a huge impact on everything it does. More »
What personal qualities should I work on to improve my practice of lean?
By: Ballé, Michael | August 6, 2018
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach, What personal qualities should I work on to improve how I practice lean? More »
The Cascade of Hoshin
By: James P. Womack | August 3, 2018
Toyota President Akio Toyoda and the senior leadership team have decided that the simultaneous emergence of autonomy, alternative energy, shared assets, and hyper-connectivity are collectively creating a “once-in-a-century disruption” in the auto industry as it transitions to a mobility industry, commonly termed Mobility 2.  0. Jim Womack shares how they are using hoshin to tackle this. More »
PD C+ A+ In the Classroom
By: Allison O'Neill | August 1, 2018
Looking back on her time as a teacher through a lean lens, Allison O'Neill suggests way in which the process of education might be improved by examining topics such as rework and "reteaching" More »
Operator #1
By: Eric Buehrens | July 31, 2018
Getting around the lean community more is the summer job of Eric Buehrens, LEI’s CEO, including a stint as Operator #1, which turned out to be the season’s highlight. More »
Why haven't lean tools changed our culture?
By: Michael Ballé | July 30, 2018
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,  I’m part of a team that has been tasked to implement lean tools across the company to drive continuous improvement actions, and yet I see little overall change in our culture. I read about cases where lean works and wonder what we could be doing wrong. More »
Thinking About Waste Helps Build A Learning Culture Everywhere
By: Sammy Obara | July 27, 2018
Developing people to reduce waste in everything from using toilets to saving one second of work is key to creating a learning platform, says Sammy Obara. More »
Getting Started with Lean
By: Joshua Rapoza and James P. Womack | July 26, 2018
I managed to get Jim Womack in our recording studio (well, its a room that has recording equipement, so I guess that makes it a recording studio), and I asked him that question "Where do I start?" I liked it so much we animated it! More »
I'm thinking about outsourcing some administrative activities to be more flexible, but what does lean say about outsourcing?
By: Michael Ballé | July 23, 2018
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,  Financial results do not allow me to have excess people. After two years of struggling, I'm thinking about outsourcing some administrative activities to be more flexible, but it does not feel right from a lean point of view. What does lean say about outsourcing? More »
Lean Lessons from Tesla
By: Tom Ehrenfeld | July 20, 2018
This piece throws no shade at Tesla, a company that serves as a highly-charged conduit for many a heated debate about the future of manufacturing, mobility, innovation, modern business models, and, what, space travel. Rather, here are a few lean principles that Tesla's tale calls to mind. More »
Ugly Babies, Silent Enemies and Other Short Stories from a Continuous Improvement Conference
By: Chet Marchwinski | July 18, 2018
Besides the lessons, challenges, and results that belong to a company’s lean transformation, there are personal journeys as well. Here’s a summary of some we heard at a recent conference. More »
Ask Art: Why Should I Be Able to Make Every Product Every Day?
By: Art Byrne | July 17, 2018
Working on the goal of "every product every day" helps all companies realize the benefits of lean as a strategy, says Art Byrne, by developing flexibility and responsiveness that ultimately delivers far more value to the customer. More »
Is lean problem solving different from regular problem solving?
By: Michael Balle | July 16, 2018
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach, How is lean problem solving any different from regular problem-solving?   More »
Leadership and Having an Effective Plan
By: Andrew Quibell | July 16, 2018
You wouldn’t want to be known as a source of “fake news” but are you practicing More »
Yes, Lean is About Cost Reduction
By: Mark Reich | July 13, 2018
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 »
Build Awareness Through Seeing How Eliminating Waste Reduces Costs
By: Ernie Richardson and Tracey Richardson | July 12, 2018
As we grow our people we must continue to add new dimensions of thinking to engage them in their work and to empower them to always be looking for or trying new ideas, says Tracey Richardson. Building awareness of how to reduce costs forms a foundation for continued improvement. More »
Tending the Roots of Lean with Lean Farmer Ben Hartman
By: Matthew Savas | July 10, 2018
Matt Savas shares the Lean roots found at Ben Hartman's Clay Bottom Farm in Goshen, Indiana, illustrating the many ways that lean has eliminated waste More »
Five Tips on Lean Coaching
By: Lean Leaper | July 9, 2018
In advance of next week's coaching summit, here are some key coaching tips culled from content written by some of the presenters. More »
As a business unit manager who is new to lean, what is the one thing I must know to get it right?
By: Michael Balle | July 2, 2018
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,  I’m a business unit manager new to lean, and our CEO has decided to embark us on a lean transformation program. What is the one thing I need to know to get it right? More »
Thoughts on Coaching from John Shook and Edgar Schein
By: Lean Leaper | July 2, 2018
Excerpts from an in-depth conversation between John Shook and Ed Schein on the nature of coaching, humble inquiry, and the dynamics of organizational improvement through people. More »
Lesson From Japan: Day Five
By: Lean Leaper | June 29, 2018
On this final set of shared lessons from Japan, our lean learners reflect on the spirit of kaizen and the notion of employees as assets. They learn more about why "To Toyota, kaizen is the same as breathing.  " More »
A Humble Conversation
By: John Shook | June 28, 2018
Columns; eLetters
For the past two years, John Shook and Edgar Schein have enjoyed the honor of engaging in an on-stage dialogue. The occasion? The Lean Healthcare Academic Conference at Stanford. Read more about the exchange. More »
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