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What Ever Happened to Mura?
By: Ken Eakin | December 6, 2019
Columns
If we really want to dig down into the root causes of waste, we need to bring the two lost Ms of muri and mura back into the basic “Lean 101” curriculum and vocabulary, argues lean thinker Ken Eakin More »
Let Joy Power Your Organization's Flight
By: Richard Sheridan | December 4, 2019
Columns
Joy is a powerful word in life and, as it turns out, in business too, says Rich Sheridan. A company that discovers the relevant principles of organizational flight can also fly to heights and distances that were previously unimaginable. And, in doing so, can experience the business value of joy. More »
WLEI: 25. What’s the Problem: A conversation with Matt Lovejoy on how LEI is trying to create more lean thinkers coming out of university
By: Lean Enterprise Institute | December 2, 2019
Audio
How do we create more Lean Thinkers? That is the problem we address in today’s podcast with Matt Lovejoy, Chairman of Lovejoy Industries and LEI board member. Matt - along with former LEI executive, John O’Donnell – is spearheading a new initiative: the James P Womack Scholarship and Philanthropy Fund.  The fund provides scholarships to students to fund hands-on problem-solving experience at charity organizations under the guidance of an LEI coach. The fund’s first partnership is with Oakland University in Michigan. Two of its star students, Monisha Vasudeva and Sagar Bajaj,  are learning and doing kaizen at Humble Design, a More »
From Troubleshooting a Leaky Toilet Flapper to Innovating the Internet, a Comprehensive Problem-Solving Framework
By: Chet Marchwinski and Art Smalley | November 27, 2019
Columns
Arriving at his hotel after midnight, author and business consultant Art Smalley just wanted to get some sleep before his keynote presentation later that day. But Smalley, whose latest book on #lean management is "Four Types of Problems," first had to solve a problem. More »
The Lean Farm
By: Jean Cunningham | November 26, 2019
Columns; eLetters
A cold wet fall Saturday at the Talking Farm in Skokie, IL was a workshop day of learning for a group of 25 urban farmers and urban farmer wannabes. Our speaker was Ben Hartman, author of the The Lean Farm and The Lean Farm Handbook, who also hosts the Lean Farm School at his property in Goshen, Indiana. Ben and Rachel Hartman own Clay Bottom Farm where they are able to support a family of four with a sustainable lifestyle. Oh and importantly, their farmed area consists of less than one acre of land. More »
WLEI: 24. Coachable: Insights and approaches to situational leadership
By: Lean Enterprise Institute | November 25, 2019
Audio
Join my conversation with Art Smalley as he walks us through two models for situational leadership and coaching. Hersey, Blanchard & Johnson’s examination of leadership (and coaching) styles relative to learner (and performer’s) behavior, from the book Management of Organizational Behavior, and The Dreyfus Model of Skill Acquisition.  Art adds context and color by weaving in stories from parenthood, his years of experience at Toyota, and relates the content to his work with Four Types of Problems. Together, we explore the thresholds of performers at all levels as a way to help assess and engage the right coaching approach for More »
Can lean management help with toxic managers?
By: Michael Ballé | November 25, 2019
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,  Can lean management help with toxic managers? More »
Why Lean is a Time-based Strategy
By: Orest (Orry) Fiume | November 22, 2019
Columns
Lean is a time-based strategy: it uses time to gain competitive advantage, says Orry Fiume. "Once I understood this I started saying “Time is the currency of lean”.  " More »
OU ISE students use ‘Lean Thinking’ to improve operations, optimize space at Humble Design warehouse
By: Oakland University | November 20, 2019
Articles
The first grant from a new scholarship fund established by the Boston-based nonprofit Lean Enterprise Institute (LEI) is helping Midwest engineering students improve operations at a warehouse providing donated furniture and household good to individuals, families, and veterans transitioning from homelessness.  The James P. Womack Scholarship and Philanthropy Fund, named for LEI founding CEO James Womack, provided an initial grant of $10,000 to place engineering students from Oakland University, Rochester, MI, at a Humble Design warehouse in Pontiac, MI.  The university’s magazine recently reported on how the students are improving operations, safety, and space utilization at the warehouse: https://www.  oakland.  More »
Perspectives of a Chief Engineer on Starting and Sustaining Lean Product and Process Development
By: Chet Marchwinski and Steven Shoemaker | November 20, 2019
Columns
Steve Shoemaker, general manager at Caterpillar Inc.  , first applied lean product and process development (LPPD) practices as the chief engineer on a new platform of next-generation hydraulic excavators, overseeing the new product from concept to production. He shared his insights on applying LPPD principles, how to sustain them, and leading teams of engineers with LEI Communications Director Chet Marchwinski at the annual Designing the Future Summit. More »
WLEI: 23. Lean Accounting Panel Discussion with Art Byrne, Jean Cunningham, Jim Huntzinger, Nick Katko, and Mike DeLuca
By: Lean Enterprise Institute | November 18, 2019
Audio
Many lean thinkers find the traditional accounting reporting completely out of alignment with the new lean management system.   Part of PDCA is checking outcomes to help identify next steps, but if the financial language of business is not reliable to provide good information for evaluation and decision making, sustainment of good experiments is at risk.   Is there a better way? Yes, according to the five panelists on this week’s podcast.  Additional Articles:How lean accounting promotes lean in the organizationProfit and Cost At ToyotaCost Saving is Tired--Value Creation is Hot!Real Number bookThe Value Add Accountantbook More »
I’ve been improving process efficiency for years with value-stream mapping, why did you write that it is misleading?
By: Michael Ballé | November 18, 2019
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,  In your previous column you stated that value-stream mapping can be misleading. I’ve been using VSM for years to improve process efficiency – what can be wrong with that? More »
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 »
WLEI: 22. What’s the Problem: An interview with medical oncologist and CEO of Instituto de Oncologia do Vale (IOV), Dr. Fred, on reducing the cancer burden
By: Lean Enterprise Institute | November 11, 2019
Audio
Dr. Carlos Frederico Pinto (aka ‘Dr. Fred’) is a medical oncologist and CEO of Instituto de Oncologia do Vale (IOV), one of Brazil’s top oncology clinics. There are few problems more important than the one Dr. Fred and IOV are trying to solve: reducing the cancer burden.  In the podcast, Dr. Fred explains how he’s led IOV through lean transformation in service to solving this problem. He details three distinct stages of transformation: 1) improving patient care flow and quality; 2) building a management system to enable growth; 3) developing leaders in preparation for succession.  Dr. Fred also shares how 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 »
WLEI: 21. On the Job: Discovering Strategy by Doing the WORK, a conversation with Dave Brunt, CEO of the Lean Enterprise Academy in the UK
By: Lean Enterprise Institute | November 4, 2019
Audio
In a conversation across the Atlantic LEI’s president, Josh Howell, talks to the Lean Enterprise Academy’s CEO, Dave Brunt, about the strategic value of executives doing the value-creating work of their organization. Dave shares what happened when a team member left LEA and he became responsible for picking, packing, and shipping to customers books about lean thinking.  Additional Resources:Lean SolutionsbookCreating Lean Dealers workbookLearning to See workbook 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 »
WLEI: 20. Coachable: Two Conversations Built on Trust, Inspiration, Experimentation and Transformation.
By: Lean Enterprise Institute | October 28, 2019
Audio
Meet two influential voices in my own coaching practice: Paul Serafino who first engaged me in a coaching way in the business environment, opening my eyes and heart to growth and development. And Jason Berkman, a leader who I was fortunate enough to coach and learn with in LEI’s co-learning program.  In two candid conversations, we explore the differences between coaching, managing, leading and training, the importance of trust and motivations, and how a coaching relationship emerges.  We further explore the value of failure, the role of emotions, pushing through our thresholds and making the decision to transform, because “the 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 »
WLEI: 19. Building A Fearless Organization: An interview with Harvard Business School Professor Amy Edmondson
By: Lean Enterprise Institute | October 21, 2019
Audio
How can one create a safe workplace where all employees are encouraged and expected to take ownership of their work? How can one build simple mechanisms to enable individuals to ask healthy questions and challenge each other? Harvard Business School Professor Amy C. Edmondson discusses these questions and more with LEI's Tom Ehrenfeld in a conversation triggered by her recent book The Fearless Organization.   Additional Resources:The Fearless Organization by Amy EdmondsonHow Teaming Produces Execution-as-Learning By Amy C. Edmondson 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 »
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