Home > Knowledge Center

Knowledge Center

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 »
WLEI: 18. What’s the Problem: An Interview with GE Appliance’s Rich Calvaruso on Solving Problems through Improving the Work
By: Lean Enterprise Institute | October 14, 2019
Audio
Rich Calvaruso of GE Appliances, a Haier Company sits down with Matt Savas to talk about problems. What problems are they facing? How does GE Appliances develop people through problem solving? And how have they impacted their culture through an emphasis on hands-on problem solving. 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 »
WLEI: 17. On the Job Podcast: One Pathologist's Path an interview with Dr. Lisa Yerian of Cleveland Clinic
By: Lean Enterprise Institute | October 8, 2019
Audio
Dr. Lisa Yerian of the Cleveland Clinic sits down with Josh Howell, LEI President & Executive Team Leader, to talk about the spread of lean thinking at her organization. Among other things, they explore the sequence of learning between defining purpose, discovering problem-solving at the gemba, and developing lean leadership capabilities.  Additional Articles:Cleveland Clinic’s Prescription for Creating a Culture of Continuous Improvement By: Lisa YerianHow Are You Supporting Your Own Lean Transformation?By: Lisa YerianStop Asking Your Leaders to "Support" Your Lean TransformationBy: Lisa YerianTiered Teams Solve Problems In Real Time: How a team of teams can address problems as they 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 »
Towards A More Lean Statement of Purpose
By: Orest (Orry) Fiume | September 11, 2019
Columns
Reflecting on a recent Business Roundtable statement pledging a commitment to all of its stakeholders (and not simply maximizing shareholder value, Orry Fiume reminds us how core Lean values overlap with this new stated mission. More »
I'm Josh Howell, Ask Me Anything
By: Josh Howell | September 6, 2019
Columns
Since becoming LEI’s president a few months ago, Josh Howell has made it a priority to talk with you and visit your workplaces as much as possible. Please join in an Ask-Me-Anything conversation with Josh by sharing questions you have about the lean movement and the business struggles and problems you face. More »
2020 Lean Summit
September 5, 2019
Events
2020 Lean Summit. April 6-7, 2020 - Carlsbad, California. Recharge your battery, Learn, and Network with other lean thinkers. More »
A Revelation at the Gemba
By: Josh Howell | September 5, 2019
Columns; eLetters
During my travels this summer, both personal and for LEI, I’ve been reflecting a lot on the Institute’s 20+ year history while thinking about my role in shaping its future. I’ve also been talking to many of you, the members of the Lean Community, taking advantage of community gatherings like the annual Designing the Future and Lean Coaching Summits, to better understand your current challenges. I’m also meeting with potential collaborators who can help further LEI’s mission of advancing lean thinking via thought-leading content, experimentation, coaching, and training.    More »
Getting the Right Product Right, and Other Product Development Trends
By: John Drogosz | September 4, 2019
Columns
As a lean product and process development coach John Drogosz, PhD, works closely with companies in a variety of industries that are redesigning development systems to consistently design and deliver a progression of market-leading products and services. He took a time out at the annual Designing the Future Summit to talk about the product development trends he is seeing. More »
Reflections From Ten Years of Michael Ballé's Gemba Coach
By: Tom Ehrenfeld | August 30, 2019
Columns
Since his first Gemba Coach column of ten years ago, Michael Balle has consistently tied his advice to a faithful application of core Toyota Production System (TPS) principles, without demanding a mindless conformity to established practices or to commercialized frameworks, models, or any other packaging of the TPS dynamics as a product. More »
Ask Art: What Do You Mean When You Say Run Your Company On Your Operational Excellence Goals?
By: Art Byrne | August 28, 2019
Columns
The Lean company competes on its operational excellence goals, says Art Byrne. These stretch goals must be aggressive in nature and deployed down to every person in the company so that they all are focusing on hitting these goals every day. More »
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 »
Show More »