Knowledge Center: Articles (498)

A Little Bit of Lean Product and Process Development with Very Large Results
By: Jean Cunningham | April 24, 2019
Articles
Believing it had only enough land and budget for a badly needed new parking garage, a hospital was able to build not only the garage but a new trauma center that it needed by applying a principle of Lean Product and Process Development during the design phase, according to Jean Cunningham, executive chair, Lean Enterprise Institute.    More »
Not So Simple: Pioneering Lean Product Development
By: Jean Cunningham | April 24, 2019
Articles
Jean Cunningham, LEI’s executive chair, offers lessons from her time as CFO of lean management pioneer Lantech when it successfully deployed lean principles to product development to accelerate growth, cut new product lead time, and increase profits. More »
The Lean Sensei Book Club Questions
April 15, 2019
Articles
The Lean Sensei provides both a conceptual and hands-on toolkit for developing lean leaders—and becoming one yourself. It will challenge you to reflect on how you coach; share mindful questions that improve your awareness of what to look for; and keep both you and your students focused on the signs, symptoms, and syndromes that can slow your lean success.  This book, written by six lean pioneers who have experienced and followed the path of the Sensei, shares a radical vision of how to flourish with this approach. They argue that Lean is a system of gaining competitiveness by continuously developing More »
Designing the Future Book Club Questions
April 12, 2019
Articles
Designing the Future shares real-world examples from a diverse set of industries including aerospace, energy, software, automotive, healthcare, heavy equipment, and more.  In its pages, globally recognized lean development expert James Morgan teams up with world-renowned lean management guru Jeffrey Liker to explain how these leading companies are using this powerful new Lean Product and Process Development (LPPD) framework to create better futures for themselves and all their stakeholders.  Examples in the book show specifically how companies are redesigning product development systems to consistently design and deliver a progression of market-leading products and services.  LEI makes it easy to learn together, More »
Kaizen Express Book Club Questions
April 12, 2019
Articles
What should you do first when starting to implement lean manufacturing? What comes next, then next? With the raft of information now available about lean principles, it’s easy to get confused.  Kaizen Express clarifies the process using a rapid, nonstop style to explain the essential elements of the Toyota Production System (TPS) in a logical implementation sequence.  This succinct but comprehensive back-to-basics book offers lean novices and veterans alike a comprehensive primer on lean principles and implementation that returns to fundamentals and stresses the importance of learning by doing at the individual and team levels.  LEI makes it easy to learn together, More »
Learning to See Book Club Questions
April 12, 2019
Articles
Value-stream maps are the blueprints for lean transformations and Learning to See is an easy-to-read, step-by-step instruction manual that teaches this valuable tool to anyone, regardless of his or her background.  This groundbreaking workbook, which has introduced the value-stream mapping tool to thousands of people around the world, breaks down the important concepts of value-stream mapping into an easily grasped format.   To encourage you to become actively involved in the learning process, Learning to See contains a case study based on a fictional company, Acme Stamping. You begin by mapping the current state of the value stream, looking for all the sources of waste. After identifying More »
Managing to Learn Book Club Questions
April 12, 2019
Articles
Managing to Learn by Toyota veteran John Shook, reveals the thinking underlying the A3 management process found at the heart of lean management and leadership. Constructed as a dialogue between a manager and his boss, the book explains how “A3 thinking” helps managers and executives identify, frame, and act on problems and challenges. Shook calls this A3 approach, “the key to Toyota’s entire system of developing talent and continually deepening its knowledge and capabilities.  ”A unique book layout puts the thoughts of a lean manager struggling to apply the A3 process to a key project on one side of the page More »
Real Numbers Book Club Questions
April 12, 2019
Articles
Current management accounting practices produce financial statements that are unnecessarily complex and confusing. As a result, most companies are run by executives who do not fully understand their own financial information.  This explosive issue and its implications are fully explored in Real Numbers.   The authors, each a chief financial executive, describe how management accounting evolved to this point and how simplicity and clarity can be restored – particularly in a lean organization.  Companies throughout the world are using lean principles to dramatically change the competitive landscape while generating new profitability and market share. As these companies transform, however, financial executives are More »
Getting Home (Chapter 1)
March 22, 2019
Articles
An excerpt from Getting HomeChapter One: A Teacher and a Lawyer Walk into a Hippie TentThe eeriest thing was the stillness. Especially at night when there should have been bugs and frogs singing all around, we would lie in our tent and listen to the silence. There were no birds to wake us up in the morning, only the sounds of people wrestling pots and pans, preparing breakfast. In the middle of a once-vibrant parish just outside New Orleans proper, it was too quiet.  This was six months after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, six months after the levees failed More »
Getting Home (Foreward)
March 22, 2019
Articles
An excerpt from Getting HomeForewardThe eeriest thing was the stillness. Especially at night when there should have been bugs and frogs singing all around, we would lie in our tent and listen to the silence. There were no birds to wake us up in the morning, only the sounds of people wrestling pots and pans, preparing breakfast. In the middle of a once-vibrant parish just outside New Orleans proper, it was too quiet.  This was six months after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, six months after the levees failed and stormwater rushed through streets, over and into homes, businesses, and More »
Standardize Your Problem-Solving Approach? Why One Size Does Not Fit All
By: Art Smalley | January 30, 2019
Articles
Lean management practitioners know what a powerful tool standardization is for continuously improving processes. Without standards, there can be no improvement as the old saying goes. Yet as LEI faculty member and author Art Smalley points out this does not only mean one rigid way of doing things such as standardizing your problem-solving approach on only a single methodology like six sigma or 8D or a specific technique like 5 Why? More »
Lean Product and Process Development Group Update: Leading Companies Share and Learn from Common Challenges
By: Matt Zayko | October 21, 2018
Articles
The Lean Enterprise Institute recently organized a meeting of the Lean Product and Process Development Learning Group that brought together the diverse industries of sub-sea robotics, appliances, consumer electronics, automotive research, contemporary furniture, and drilling equipment. More »
Four Types of Problems (Foreward)
October 1, 2018
Articles
An excerpt from Four Types of Problems Foreward by John Shook“What problem are you trying to solve?” Those are the most common words uttered by the most esteemed lean sensei and the words that author Art Smalley’s first mentors in Toyota peppered him with repeatedly—over and over. Now Art asks you the same question, to consider the deeper meaning of it, and how you might address it in different situations.  Certainly, we have no shortage of problems today: serious problems, human problems, social problems, business problems—not to mention minor niggling problems of the sort that merely annoy. Every organization in every sector More »
Four Types of Problems (Introduction)
October 1, 2018
Articles
An excerpt from Four Types of Problems IntroductionThe four types of problems are:Type 1: Troubleshooting: Reactive problem solving that hinges upon quick response and dealing with immediate symptoms of a perceived problem. It provides some immediate relief and problem mitigation but generally fails to get at the actual root cause of a problem and can lead to prolonged cycles of firefighting.  Type 2: Gap from Standard:Structured problem solving that focuses on specific problem definition, setting goals, root cause analysis, establishment of countermeasures, checks, standards, and follow-up activities. The aim is to prevent the problem from recurring by eliminating its underlying causes.  Type More »
Four Types of Problems (Printable)
October 1, 2018
Articles
Download a fun way to reference the four types of problems.  Each type of problem category requires different thought processes, improvement methods, and management cadences. Each type has its own sub-system and surfacing mechanism, management cadence, timing, and difficulty level, he explained. One size does not fit all situations and just training people in tools or techniques only scratches the surface of problem solving.  Read the entire introduction from Four Types of Problems. More »
Lean 101 Learning Path
June 14, 2018
Articles; Forms and Templates
New to Lean Thinking & Practice and not sure where to start? Try LEI's Lean 101 Learning Path to help guide your learning. More »
Unique Industries Continue to Share and Learn from their Common Challenges: Fall 2017 LPPD Learning Group Activity
By: Matt Zayko | February 8, 2018
Articles
The Lean Enterprise Institute (LEI) organized the second Lean Product and Process Development (LPPD) Learning Group event of 2017, which brought together the diverse industries of sub-sea robotics, appliances, consumer electronics, automotive research, contemporary furniture and medicine. Here are some of their learnings. More »
Shaping Workflow Competencies with Human Capital
By: Shook, John | January 2, 2018
Articles
Leading IT firms gradually are shifting focus from acquiring the right talent to developing talent and focusing on how to grow people's capabilities, says John Shook, executive chairman at the nonprofit Lean Enterprise Institute, on pages 34-35 in this special workflow section of CIO Review. More »
The Lean Bakery (Chapter 1)
By: Juan Antonio Tena, Emi Castro | November 14, 2017
Articles
Food should be fresh. Yet we produce it in big batches. If fast-moving, small batch, one-piece flow can work with car parts, why can’t it work for our most important consumable—food. Read the first chapter for free of this fascinating story of a bakery and chain of shops in Barcelona, and be prepared to run your own experiments. More »
Follow-up Webinar Q&A with Jim Lancaster, Lantech CEO and author of the Work of Management
By: Jim Lancaster | August 7, 2017
Articles
"The Real Work of Management" webinar drew an engaged audience that wanted to know more about the daily management system that CEO Jim Lancaster installed when lean continuous improvement efforts stopped delivering great results. We received hundreds of questions, many more than we could address during the hour-long live session. We selected questions that represented the major topics you wanted to know more about for a follow-up Q &A with Jim More »
Managing Workflow—the Lean Way
By: John Shook, Chairman and CEO, and Alice Lee, executive director, Lean Enterprise Institute | October 21, 2016
Articles
The main responsibility of CIOs and other information technology managers is to create an environment for work to flow, according to John Shook, CEO, Lean Enterprise Institute (LEI) and Alice Lee, LEI executive director, writing in CIO magazine. More »
Students “Shocked” that Lean Accounting Isn’t More Widespread
By: Chet Marchwinski | October 19, 2016
Articles
Lean accounting seemed “so logical” to her students that they asked Professor Pencak, winner of a Lean Education Advancement Foundation scholarship, “Why isn’t everybody doing this?” More »
Dear Professor, Am I Ever Glad You Covered Lean in Class!
By: Chet Marchwinski | August 24, 2016
Articles
Since 2008, the Lean Enterprise Institute has sponsored the Excellence in Lean Accounting Award to fund scholarships helping pairs of students and professors attend the annual Lean Accounting Summit. In this series, we talk to past award winners to learn what impact the scholarship and award have had on the teaching and practice of accounting. More »
Accounting for the Lean Accounting Award
By: Chet Marchwinski | August 18, 2016
Articles
In this series, we talk to past winners of the Excellence in Lean Accounting Award to learn what impact the award and the scholarship it supports has had on the teaching and practice of accounting.    More »
Lean Accounting Summit Impacts Dissertation
By: Chet Marchwinski | August 1, 2016
Articles
Since 2008, the Lean Enterprise Institute has sponsored the Excellence in Lean Accounting Award to fund scholarships helping pairs of students and professors attend the annual Lean Accounting Summit. In this series, we talk to past award winners to learn what impact the scholarship and award has had on the teaching and practice of accounting. More »
“The Most Fun I’ve Ever Had in an Accounting Class!” -- Student Reacts to Learning Lean Accounting
By: Chet Marchwinski | February 10, 2016
Articles
Since 2008, the cost for a student and professor to attend the annual Lean Accounting Summit has been offset by the Lean Enterprise Institute’s sponsorship of the Excellence in Lean Accounting Award. LEI talks to  past award winners to see what -- if any -- impact the scholarship has had.    More »
Why Your Lean Journey Needs a Self-Evaluation
By: Doug Bartholomew | January 7, 2016
Articles
Every company on a lean journey needs to occasionally step back and evaluate where they are, where they have gaps in performance, and what steps they can take to close those gaps and achieve their overall goals. More »
Personal Kanban: You Can’t Manage What You Can’t See
By: Drickhamer, David | November 13, 2015
Articles
Learn how to use a personal kanban board to better manage personal and project work, while improving organization, communication, and morale. More »
Practical Guidance for Using Humble Inquiry in PDCA Problem Solving and Coaching
November 13, 2015
Articles
David Verble, a Toyota veteran and LEI faculty member, explains to lean coaches and continuous improvement professionals why "Humble Inquiry" is a core problem-solving skill and how to start using it. More »
How to Lead with Respect
By: Doug Bartholomew | October 21, 2015
Articles
Showing respect to employees falls far short of leading with respect. Discover the seven core practices that true lean leaders use everyday to lead with respect. More »
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