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Lean and "emotional heijunka" in a Time of Pandemic
By: James P. Womack | April 1, 2020
Columns
In this timely reflection, Jim Womack calls for "emotional heijunka": taking a deep breath, identifying the most important problems that must be addressed in a given process, and screening out the emotional inputs we are bombarded with so that we don't get into the dumps or soar with false euphoria. More »
Maintaining Emotional Heijunka During a Pandemic
By: James P. Womack | March 31, 2020
Columns; eLetters
In this timely reflection, Jim Womack calls for "emotional heijunka": taking a deep breath, identifying the most important problems that must be addressed in a given process, and screening out the emotional inputs we are bombarded with so that we don't get into the dumps or soar with false euphoria. More »
Reimagining the Restaurant Industry in a Post-COVID-19 World
By: Richard Vellante | March 30, 2020
Columns
The impact of COVID-19 has proven how ill-prepared we are to deal with crises. It’s time for hospitality businesses like restaurants to rethink how we operate so that we can create a more sustainable and resilient industry moving forward. More »
How One Company is Using Lean Fundamentals When Facing Disruption
By: Michael Ballé | March 27, 2020
Columns
Companies that have been built using lean principles are turning to these core ideals when confronting the unique challenges caused by today’s pandemic. Here's how the French seller of automobiles, AramisAuto, is responding. More »
Coping with COVID-19: Lessons from The Plague
By: John Y. Shook | March 25, 2020
Columns
In this time of pandemic, John Shook shares some ways this novel coronavirus is impacting him personally, noting "For Camus, hope is the enemy. But, from where I sit today (I may sit somewhere else or lie prone tomorrow), hope embodied in action is in itself medicinal. The most powerful medicine is to take caring action.  ” More »
WLEI: Preventing Problems by Thinking Upstream: A Talk with Author Dan Heath
By: Lean Enterprise Institute | March 23, 2020
Audio
“We should shift more of our energies upstream personally, organizationally, nationally, and globally. We can and we should stop dealing with the symptoms of problems again and again, and start fixing them.  " So writes author Dan Heath in his terrific new book Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen, which has just been published.    This conversation between LEI editor Tom Ehrenfeld and Dan explores the practical applications of the upstream mindset, and; given the timing, explores how upstream thinking is all the more relevant in our current pandemic. Please listen in, and stay tuned until the final minutes More »
Preventing Problems by Thinking Upstream: A Talk with Dan Heath
By: Tom Ehrenfeld | March 23, 2020
Columns
Tune in to the LEI podcast to catch a conversation with Dan Heath on his new book Upstream, which urges people to address problems before they happen rather than tackle them after the fact--in "fire fighting" mode. More »
Transcript of Dan Heath podcast
March 23, 2020
Articles
“We should shift more of our energies upstream personally, organizationally, nationally, and globally. We can and we should stop dealing with the symptoms of problems again and again, and start fixing them.  " So writes author Dan Heath in his terrific new book Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen, which has just been published.  This conversation between LEI editor Tom Ehrenfeld and Dan explores the practical applications of the upstream mindset, and; given the timing, explores how upstream thinking is all the more relevant in our current pandemic. Download the transcript of the conversation here, and be More »
What do I do when key logistics employees are afraid to come to work? 
By: Michael Ballé | March 23, 2020
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach, What do I do when key logistics employees are afraid to come to work?  More »
Why (and How) We Believe Lean Can Help During COVID-19
By: Lean Sensei Women | March 20, 2020
Columns
As Lean Sensei Women, we have put together some relevant lean suggestions and ideas for your organization to use (and of course, you can apply many of them at home as well) in response to COVID-19. They’re simple and easy, can be implemented quickly, and are all based on our lean principles of respect for humanity and continuous improvement. More »
Ask Art: How Does Lean Bring the Customer Directly Onto the Shop Floor?”
By: Art Byrne | March 18, 2020
Columns
The lean approach reduces setup times, creates flow, improves quality, lowers cost and drastically shortens lead times, says Art Byrne, who explains how a good kanban system essentially brings the customer directly to the shop floor in real time and allows all associates to feel the real demand. More »
In Lean We Trust; Especially in a Crisis 
By: Josh Howell | March 17, 2020
Columns; eLetters
When phone calls and cancellations started coming in, the COVID-19 crisis became more than a news report about somewhere else.   We knew we had our own situation to deal with.    More »
What should I expect as a lean manager?
By: Michael Ballé | March 16, 2020
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach, I’m currently a team leader, and I’ve been offered a job as a lean manager – what should I expect? More »
Why You Need a Product Focus for an Enterprise Transformation: A Talk By Jim Morgan
By: Jim Morgan | March 16, 2020
Articles
In this talk from the 2018 Designing the Future summit, Rivian COO and LEI Senior Advisor Jim Morgan discusses how Lean Product and Process Development (LPPD) serves as an enterprise activity that can engage the entire organization and improve operations and growth. Click below to download the transcript of Jim's talk about why LPPD's principles and practices will result in better products. More »
WLEI: Why You Need A Product Focus for Enterprise Transformation
By: Lean Enterprise Institute | March 16, 2020
Audio
In his talk from the 2018 Designing the Future summit, Rivian COO and LEI Senior Advisor Jim Morgan discusses how Lean Product and Process Development (LPPD) serves as an enterprise activity that can engage the entire organization and improve operations and growth. LPPD's principles and practices will result in better products, argues Morgan, who shares the following key ideas:People firstUnderstand—then executeDesign new value streamsCreate a framework of successConstantly learn and improveEstablish an effective management systemDownload a transcript of this talk here.  Read more from Jim by checking his previous articles:Creating New Value and A Lesson in FundamentalsAre You Building High-Performing More »
Why You Need a Product Focus for Enterprise Transformation
By: Jim Morgan | March 16, 2020
Columns
Lean Product and Process Development serves as an enterprise activity that can engage the entire organization and improve operations and growth, says Jim Morgan. Listen to his keynote address for insights into how. More »
Why Lean Remains A Superior Business Model and Way of Thinking
By: Daniel T. Jones | March 13, 2020
Columns
The lean business model offers an alternative to conventional thinking, says Dan Jones. He argues that it achieves a premium price by being better at helping customers to meet their needs and retaining them, rather than dominating markets and controlling customers. More »
How Can Lean Help Respond to Crises?
By: Michael Ballé | March 11, 2020
Columns
Although lean might seem fragile to crises, because of low inventories, it’s quite the opposite, says Michael Balle: Lean thinking is about training to solve small crises – problems – daily. More »
WLEI: Lean in the Time of Coronavirus
By: Lean Enterprise Institute | March 9, 2020
Audio
In times of crisis, lean offers a stable approach to healthy work. Furthermore, as Jim Womack notes in this podcast with Tom Ehrenfeld, foundational lean practices such as just-in-time supply chains are not—and have never been—liabilities in a time such as today’s coronavirus outbreak. Misguided stories about the woes of JIT are as misguided today as they were when they appeared during avian flu, SARS, and other legitimate medical events that required large supplies of emergency goods. Womack also talks about the lessons to be found in Karen Gaudet’s book Steady Work as they relate to having a stable work environment that More »
Lean in the Time of Coronavirus
By: Tom Ehrenfeld and James P. Womack | March 9, 2020
Columns
While lean offers no direct countermeasure to tackling the current coronavirus health challenge, Jim Womack points out in this podcast that key lean practices such as just-in-time supply chains should not be mistakenly viewed as compromised practices that contribute to maladaptive responses. More »
Lean in the Time of Coronavirus, A Chat With Jim Womack
March 9, 2020
Articles
In times of crisis, lean offers a stable approach to healthy work. Furthermore, as Jim Womack notes in this podcast with Tom Ehrenfeld, foundational lean practices such as just-in-time supply chains are not—and have never been—liabilities in a time such as today’s coronavirus outbreak. Misguided stories about the woes of JIT are as misguided today as they were when they appeared during avian flu, SARS, and other legitimate medical events that required large supplies of emergency goods. Womack also talks about the lessons to be found in Karen Gaudet’s book Steady Work as they relate to having a stable work environment that More »
A Consciousness of Reality
By: John Y. Shook | March 6, 2020
Columns
There are countless cases of lean thinking being applied masterfully with the word lean (or the Toyota Production System) nowhere in sight, writes John Shook, who argues that lean thinking and practice can embody the power and potential of lean thinking as a holistic approach to making things better for even the world’s thorniest problems. More »
Building the Mindset and Skillset to Improve from the Board Room to the Classroom
By: Pat Greco | March 4, 2020
Columns
Results matter, says Pat Greco; and yet, human systems require leaders to engage.   Here she discusses the way she and her team worked to apply lean for improvement at the School District of Menonomee Falls in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. More »
Delivering Quality Foods with Zingerman's Mail Order
By: Josh Howell | March 2, 2020
Columns
Listen to this podcast between Tom Root, Zingerman Mail Order's Managing Director, and Josh Howell for a wide-ranging conversation about several phases of ZMO’s lean transformation, including the challenge of establishing a culture of continuous improvement with full participation, and how lean thinking could impact the food industry that’s in desperate need of a better way. More »
WLEI: On the Job with Tom Root, Managing Partner of Zingerman's Mail Order
By: Lean Enterprise Institute | March 2, 2020
Audio
Spoiler alert! The food you just ate is not fresh. It was "sourced" longer ago than you'd imagine. And since that time, it's been handled in batch after batch. The same can be said for many lean transformations - one batch of improvement activity after another. Zingerman's Mail Order has been reducing batch sizes for 15 years, acting as a sort of "model line" for the entire food industry. Tom Root and Josh Howell discuss ZMO's lean transformation and their many lessons learned, searching for useful takeaways for you the listener.    More »
On The Job with Tom Root, Managing Partner of Zingerman's Mail Order (Transcript)
March 2, 2020
Articles
Zingerman’s Mail Order (ZMO), one of the Zingerman’s Community of Businesses, began its lean transformation 15 years ago after deciding that its 3rd relocation in 6 years due to 25-35% year-over-year growth was its last! There had to be a better way to solve its biennial capacity problem. And of course there was with lean thinking.   Tom Root, ZMO’s Managing Director, sat down with Josh Howell for a wide-ranging conversation about several phases of ZMO’s lean transformation, including the challenge of establishing a culture of continuous improvement with full participation, and how lean thinking could impact the food industry that’s More »
Should I be worried that management is buying software for virtual gemba walks?
By: Michael Ballé | March 2, 2020
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach, A consultant is selling us “virtual gemba walks” software to schedule gemba visits with a “leader standardized work” checklist and key indicators tracking. Management is listening. It feels wrong somehow, but anything that gets management to pay attention is a good thing, right? More »
Accounting for the Right Reasons
By: Jim Huntzinger | March 1, 2020
Articles
My first job after graduating from Purdue University was as a manufacturing engineer with the Japanese company, Aisin Seiki. Aisin U.  S.  A. was in the process of transplanting to North America to supply components to Toyota manufacturing operations in Fremont, California (NUMMI), Georgetown, Kentucky, and Cambridge, Ontario. The Georgetown assembly plant was not yet running production. More »
The Courage to be Lean
By: Joanna McGuffey and Thomas Richert | February 26, 2020
Columns
A meaningful purpose is not what you are doing or how you are doing it, argue Joanna McGuffey and Tom Richert. It’s why your team is doing anything in the first place. When teams do not know why they are doing what they are doing, there is a tendency to disengage due to lack of ownership and passion. More »
What is the value to be created here and now?
By: Josh Howell | February 25, 2020
Columns; eLetters
Karen Gaudet has written Steady Work (!), a wonderful new book about her experience as a regional director of operations for Starbucks Coffee Company. More »
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