Home > Knowledge Center

Knowledge Center

Media Format: Articles; Case Studies; Columns; eLetters; Forms and Templates; Videos and Webinars
Frame the Work For Safety and Learning
By: Amy C. Edmondson | November 15, 2019
Columns
The most important skill to master as a leader is that of framing the work, says Harvard Business School Professor Amy Edmondson. Frames consist of assumptions or beliefs that we layer onto reality. All of us frame objects and situations automatically. Great leaders understand this and manage frames intentionally. More »
Ask Art: Why is Takt Time So Important in a Lean Turnaround?
By: Art Byrne | November 13, 2019
Columns
Takt time represents the beat of the customer, or, the rate of demand, says Art Byrne: "As the primary focus of the lean company is delivering more value to its customers than its competitors can, then conformity to their demands in a quick, efficient way is the main driver. Takt time is therefore what sets the tone for everything else.  " More »
The Challenges of Coaching
By: Josh Howell | November 12, 2019
Columns; eLetters
I’ve stepped into a new role recently, assuming responsibility for a variety of new-to-me jobs. One of my new jobs is writing this monthly e-letter. For this job, and many others, I have a lot to learn about the work, leaving me wanting for some semblance of routine, however small. As a team leader (i.  e. player-coach), I’m also responsible for supporting others who find themselves in similar situations.     More »
How We Improved Our Tiered Daily Huddles
By: Nathan Hurle | November 8, 2019
Columns
At Cleveland Clinic, where he leads a continuous improvement team, Nate Hurle and others have discovered ways to build on success with their tiered daily huddles. More »
Overcoming a Fear Of Failure Culture
By: Andrew Quibell | November 6, 2019
Columns
Managers and teams can overcome the elements of a fear of failure culture, argues Andrew Quibell. His piece illustrates steps to tackle this important challenge. More »
Isn’t flow the ultimate aim of lean?
By: Michael Ballé | November 4, 2019
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach, Isn’t flow the ultimate aim of lean? More »
Lean at Heart: Kanban
By: Masia Goodman | November 1, 2019
Columns
The underlying principles of lean can be found everywhere in daily life. In this article Masia Goodman identifies examples of "Better" practices that overlap with known lean principles. More »
How A3 Presentations Help Us Build Teamwork
By: Nicolas Chartier | October 30, 2019
Columns
CEO Nicolas Chartier shares a huge benefit of regular use of A3 among his team: "You realize as a CEO that you’re more useful as organizing conditions for teamwork than being the one who knows everything and decides everything. Teamwork cannot be done without you, knowledge and decision can be done without you.  " More »
5S Is a Way of Thinking and Practice
By: Jean Cunningham | October 29, 2019
Columns; eLetters
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 More »
Why We Believe that Lean is More Than A Manufacturing Approach
By: Lean Sensei Women | October 25, 2019
Columns
Is Lean thinking a thing of the past from glorious manufacturing times in the late twentieth century? Or, on the other hand, is it possible that Lean is still the best approach today to address ever-more-complex human endeavors? Read the thoughts of these Lean sensei women on the topic. More »
The Power of Inspiration
By: Paige Henry | October 23, 2019
Columns
Lean thinker Paige Henry shares a call to action: let’s get our leaders and people to realize “it’s about the think” to prevent problems happening in the first place, and when they do, that we need to enable them to think of multiple countermeasures rather than going with the solution that “they’ve seen/used a million times before.  ” More »
Where can I find information about visual management?
By: Michael Ballé | October 21, 2019
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,  I can’t find much written about visual management although it seems an important part of lean – any idea where to look? More »
Want Better Relations and Results from Suppliers? Hear Two Execs Explain the Benefits of "Matched Pair” Leadership
By: Susan DeSandre, Chet Marchwinski and Jim Morgan | October 18, 2019
Columns
New products and service development does not stop at the exterior walls of your company. Outside suppliers play critical roles, but the relationships between companies and suppliers are often akin to cage fighting. That's where the innovative “matched pair” process comes in to dramatically improve relationships as well as business performance. Listen to a matched pair of executives describe the process. More »
How Hoshin Kanri Aligns Your Key Organizational Systems
By: Mark Reich | October 16, 2019
Columns
Think of hoshin (strategy alignment) like the human body, argues Mark Reich: The body needs a strong skeletal structure (hoshin) to hold it together (just like an organization). But a body can’t move effectively if its muscles (continuous improvement) are not kept active and developed as well. More »
Standardize Locally
By: Josh Howell | October 15, 2019
Columns; eLetters
A few weeks ago, during a day-long meeting with an executive management team, the topic of standardized work came up … again. It’s been popping up in conversations rather frequently of late.    More »
Why Doesn't Lean Have a Seat at the Table?
By: Steven Spear | October 11, 2019
Columns
Why hasn’t Lean spread more widely, asks Steven Spear, suggesting that it has not been framed in a way that addresses the strategic concern of managers. Instead it is primarily taught as just tools. And let’s face it, the licensed electricians don’t get a seat at the table. More »
Ask Art: At What Pace Should A Lean Turnaround Be Implemented?”
By: Art Byrne | October 9, 2019
Columns
Changing from a traditional batch, make-the-month culture to a lean value driven culture takes a lot of time and effort, says Art Byrne. The faster you go, the sooner you willsee the enormous benefits of lean. Also, the faster you go the less backsliding you will see and the changes will become permanent. So be bold, go as fast as you can. More »
Is my crazy new boss right that applying standardized work is the foundation of lean?
By: Michael Ballé | October 7, 2019
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,  My new boss is a lean fanatic crazy about standards. He’s created a new team to audit standards and is telling us that applying standardized work is the foundation of lean. It’s creating a lot of resistance, and I don’t know what to make of it. More »
Smitten Engineers or Love at First Sight of a Solution?
By: Chet Marchwinski and Tyler Schilling | October 4, 2019
Columns
Entrepreneur Tyler Schilling has felt the pain of engineering heartbreak – falling in love early with a solution only to realize later in the project that the idea you are wedded to is fundamentally flawed. The cure for developing an early crush on solutions is set-based design but implementing it takes a change in company culture, as he explains in this candid iterview. More »
Believe in One Thing All the Way
By: Darril Wilburn | October 2, 2019
Columns
Who is a “superhero” in our companies, asks Darril Wilburn in this inspiring piece: Is it the person that can outperform nine others by three times? Or is it the person that can improve a process by 10% and then share that improvement with the 9 other people, and then do it again and again? More »
Can 5S apply to coding?
By: Michael Ballé | September 30, 2019
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach, We’re exploring lean in software development. Can 5S apply to coding? More »
The Mythical Value Stream Manager
By: Mike Orzen | September 27, 2019
Columns
If you want to make a serious impact in your improvements, consider shifting your focus outward to a value-stream level perspective and find someone who is willing to take on the role of value stream leader, suggest Mike Orzen. More »
Warning: What You Call Kaizen May Really Be Rework
By: Chet Marchwinski and Jim Morgan | September 25, 2019
Columns
If you begin your lean management transformation on the shop floor, you run the risk of having to rework processes and products that should have been much, much better coming out of the development system. So, if you want the best leverage point for a lean transformation, move upstream from production to product development. Jim Morgan, LEI author and Rivian COO explains in this interview. More »
Isn’t there a better way to manage inventory than just-in-time?
By: Michael Ballé | September 23, 2019
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,  This is 2019. Isn’t there a better way to manage inventory than just-in-time by now? More »
Book Review: The Toyota Engagement Equation by Tracey and Ernie Richardson
By: Tom Ehrenfeld | September 20, 2019
Columns
In their book The Toyota Engagement Equation, authors Tracey and Ernie Richardson don’t hit you over the head telling you what to do or how to think per se; instead they share how they learned what they know, and in so doing, invite you to think along the same lines. More »
The Value Add Accountant Book Club Questions
September 19, 2019
Articles
In The Value Add Accountant, you will learn how adopting this new role can enable accounting and finance to proactively support business decision making and impact improved outcomes. This expanded role has both accounting operations and company-wide elements. It is initiated by applying Lean principles and tools to everyday processes to minimize mind-numbing transaction work and other waste from accounting processes. Those improvements increase available accounting capacity. This capacity is then applied to impacting the future with more time spent on internal customer-based, value adding activities for the organization.  LEI makes it easy to learn together, download our free book More »
Ask Art: What Foundational Items Must I Be A Zealot About?
By: Art Byrne | September 18, 2019
Columns
Be a zealot on the foundational items such as 5S, visual management, and setup reduction, says Art Byrne, and your chances of succeeding with lean will greatly increase. More »
Reducing Waste and Ignorance
By: Jean Cunningham | September 17, 2019
Columns; eLetters
Process and value stream mapping are two of the most effective lean tools—in addition to going to the gemba to see work happen—that I use to try to combat ignorance and see the true state of the matter at hand. More »
Why implement lean when it fails so often?
By: Michael Ballé | September 16, 2019
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,Is it true that lean often fails? What’s the point then? More »
What Is Your Leadership Model?
By: Nicolas Chartier | September 13, 2019
Columns
In this reflection based on his work as CEO Lean is a leadership model: for more than 60 years now it has been developed, analyzed, tested, adapted; largely by Toyota but also by many others, copying, adding, evolving. More »
Show More »