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Pi-Day, Robots, and the Joy of Making Things
By: Jim Morgan and Mary Morgan | February 18, 2019
Columns
To mark Engineers Week, Feb. 18-23, we’re reprising a story about celebrating Pi Day by Jim and Mary Morgan, a self-described “geek couple.  ” And we’re offering 25% off on Jim’s new book, Designing the Future. Read the story to get the discount code. More »
Why should I manage as if I had no power when power is the most effective way of getting things done?
By: Michael Ballé | February 18, 2019
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,  I’m tired of hearing I should manage as if I had no power. Surely power is the most effective way of getting things done, isn’t it? More »
A Small Amount of Time Can Yield Big Results
By: Jean Cunningham | February 15, 2019
Columns
Four minutes, well focused, can be a long time, notes Jean Cunningham. Without competing distractions, many words can be spoken, absorption of new info happens, and a good deal can be accomplished. We found we actually got more done by getting clear on our focus and our timeframe. More »
Good Night Sweethearts
By: Bruce Hamilton | February 14, 2019
Columns
On this Valentine's Day, GBMP President Bruce Hamilton laments this year's lack of Sweetheart Candies, reflecting that, "NECCO, like General Motors had failed to understand what Shigeo Shingo called 'the most basic concept in the Toyota Production System,' the cost subtraction principle. More »
4 Actions that Solved My Lean Management Identity Crisis
By: Mike Orzen | February 13, 2019
Columns
Mike Orzen had lean management down cold – or so he thought. After all, he makes a living teaching it to managers and executives. But when he personally used a lean tool such as an A3 report, he’d catch himself distractedly going through the steps then jumping ahead to a preconceived countermeasure. Watch his candid account of what he did to refocus his mind when applying lean principles. More »
Flaatnes Elektro-Mek Reveals How Double Loop Learning Supports Lean Thinking and Practice
By: Daryl Powell and Eivind Reke | February 11, 2019
Columns
Every experience is a learning experience. However, we tend to only experience single-loop learning where we reaffirm what we already think is true. Lean gives us a framework to challenge our beliefs and assumptions and create double-loop learning situations through concrete experiments, and often real-time feedback from the real world. More »
Should we seek professional help for our sensei who talks to parts?
By: Michael Ballé | February 11, 2019
Columns; eLetters
My sensei has gone crazy; he’s talking to parts. Everyone is looking at him funny on the shop floor. What should I do?   More »
Ask Art: How Should I Re-invest the Gains from Kaizen?
By: Art Byrne | February 8, 2019
Columns
Becoming lean through using kaizen activity allows you to remove a great deal of waste and deliver value to your customers, shares Art Byrne. If you do the right things with the excess resources you free up, you can then leverage your gains far more dramatically. Don’t waste the gains. More »
WLEI: S2. Ep. 3 What Cannot Be Grown Must be Mined - What is Lean in Mining with Laura Mottola and Mark Reich
By: Lean Enterprise Institute | February 8, 2019
Audio
"If it cannot be grown, then it must be mined.  " Practically everything around you exists because of mining. From phones, to computers, to cars, to glasses, to your belt buckle, they all are made from mined resources.   Laura Mottola has taken lean thinking underground, literally. Learn what lean in mining looks like, what it takes to engage those doing the work, and what is next for this ever evolving industry. More »
What If Elon Musk Took Manufacturing Cars Seriously?
By: Jeffrey Liker | February 6, 2019
Columns
Jeff Liker asks of Tesla: What if it took Toyota’s help seriously in learning basic manufacturing before undertaking disruptive technology change? What if Tesla built in quality and did not have to rebuild most Model 3s to get quality right? What if Tesla took manufacturing and logistics seriously and was as good at execution as it was at product ideation? More »
Building a Lean Culture at Turner Construction: A Talk with SVP Charlie Murphy
By: Charlie Murphy | February 5, 2019
Columns
"Whether it’s safety, quality, production system, to me it just makes sense for us to contribute to the improvement of the whole industry," says Turner Construction SVP Charlie Murphy. "If we can develop a lean culture here at Turner and move from workarounds to resolving the right problems as they occur, we will become a better company and the industry will have to get better, too.  " More »
Improving Engagement One Kaizen at a Time
By: Crystal Davis | February 4, 2019
Columns
Engaging the employees at all levels with a clear and realistic understanding of how they inspire, drive and support getting people involved in meaningful work is the best way to show respect, argues lean coach Crystal Davis. More »
Lean thinkers tell me not to give answers but my sensei keeps telling me what to do; which is it?
By: Michael Ballé | February 4, 2019
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,  My experience is that if you want to get anything done you have to ask very specifically and follow up thoroughly. Now, lean guys tell me I should ask questions but not give answers. Plus, I have a sensei who keeps asking me to do very specific stuff. I’m confused. More »
Is Lean Thinking Art or Science? Yes
By: John Y. Shook | January 31, 2019
Columns
Calling the recent book Lean Conversations a landmark initiative on lean and the arts, John Shook observes that "If Jean Cocteau’s famous observation that 'art is science made clear' has meaning, we can all benefit from further exploration of the relationship between lean thinking and art & science.  " 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 »
People First Leadership: A Conversation by Jim Morgan with Alan Mulally
By: Jim Morgan | January 29, 2019
Columns
Alan Mulally is a brilliant engineer who led historic transformations as CEO of Boeing Commercial and then Ford Motor Company. But just as important as what he accomplished, is how he accomplished it. His people first, inclusive approach to leadership not only created great products and successful companies, but also created an organization people wanted to be a part of. More »
Can you implement TPS if management doesn’t accept the fundamental values of the Toyota Way?
By: Michael Ballé | January 28, 2019
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,  How can we implement the principles of  TPS if our management doesn’t accept the fundamental values of the Toyota Way? More »
Cultivating Intuition at the Gemba
By: Ernie Richardson and Tracey Richardson | January 28, 2019
Columns
Our trainers conditioned us to water the seed of experience and use it not just to fire-fight but rather be more predictive and value add with our time and how we taught others. We encourage each person to learn to trust their intuition enough to see through the process each day to ensure the purpose and accountability for standards and why we have them is known and bought into, not just a suggestion to do. More »
And Now For Something Completely...Lean
By: Brent Wahba | January 25, 2019
Columns
Lean practice is no joke, argues Brent Wahba. And yet he draws lessons from great comedy to help address this key challenge: What is your organization doing to keep lean easy to understand and simple to implement? More »
Coaching to the Challenge
By: Mark Reich | January 23, 2019
Columns
When coaching there is no black and white answer – everything depends on the criticality of the business situation, the level of the challenge, and the capability of the Team Member, says Mark Reich. This article shares his experience in challenging someone to learn at the gemba. More »
WLEI: Alan Mulally, former Ford and Boeing CEO sits down with Jim Morgan to discuss Leadership, Designing the Future Special Ep. 2
By: Lean Enterprise Institute | January 21, 2019
Audio
“It seemed nothing short of a miracle could save Ford Motor Company in the mid 2000s.    Ford didn’t receive a miracle, but it did get something just as valuable:  Alan Mulally.  ”  (Daniel Miller, The Motley Fool, May 2015)In this podcast, Alan shares:His view on the CEO’s role in a successful transformation.  What “people first” leadership means to him and how his basic values and love for people guide his decision making.  What he learned about innovation and customer focus from his lawn mowing business.  How his early experiences with lean and Toyota shaped his views on leadership and the More »
How do I start to learn "real lean" when my company practices "fake lean"?
By: Michael Ballé | January 21, 2019
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,  I understand now there is “real lean” and “fake lean.  ” I suspect my company has been practicing fake lean all these years. If I wanted to learn real lean, where should I start? More »
Rosie the Riveter vs. Rosie the Robot
By: Bruce Hamilton | January 18, 2019
Columns
In this pithy yet wide-ranging discussion, Bruce Hamilton, president of GBMP and star of the hugely popular training video Toast Kaizen, discusses the entertaining video's serious lessons on its 20th anniversary. He also comments on Industry 4.  0 and what he learned from direct interaction with some of the early icons of lean management. More »
Will Artificial Intelligence Replace Shop Floor Thinking?
By: Jacob Stoller | January 16, 2019
Columns
How does lean thinking help understand whether AI could replace shop floor thinking? Jacob Stoller argues that whether or not one attributes this to an Eastern outlook, much of the wisdom passed on from lean’s original pioneers highlights the importance of direct experience, and the view that workplace situations cannot be understood with purely rational thought. More »
Ask Art: How is Lean A Time-Based Strategy?
By: Art Byrne | January 14, 2019
Columns
Operating lean is the best way to compete on time, says Art Byrne, who notes that every time you remove waste you shorten the time and resources to do something. Lean is not a cost reduction program. Although you’ll get plenty of that as a side benefit, it is strategic, and over time creates unfair competitive advantage for you. More »
I'm all in on our lean effort but how do I get my managers to be more supportive?
By: Michael Ballé | January 14, 2019
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,As a business unit director, I am fully on board with lean, do gemba walks and support kaizen projects. But I find my managers are slow to take an interest and often defend the rules of the company against new ideas from their teams. I try hard to lead by example but it doesn’t seem to work so well – what am I missing? More »
Learning a New Skill II - The Learning Curve
By: Mike Boyd | January 14, 2019
Presentations
This month's 10-minute TK video (by Mike Boyd and his wife) is a clever visual description of the typical learning curve we go through in acquiring any new skill – whether it's juggling, or practicing Starter Kata for scientific thinking. Skip the ad at the end. More »
3 Steps We Took to Change the Company Culture
By: Bruno Guicardi | January 11, 2019
Columns
The Lean Digital Transformation webinar with Bruno Guicardi, co-founder and president of technology services company CI&T, drew a global audience that submitted hundreds of questions, many more than he could answer during the hour-long presentation. We selected questions that represented the main issues you wanted to know more about for this follow-up Q&A with Bruno. More »
People Are Not Cars
By: Tyson Ortiz | January 9, 2019
Columns
Tyson Ortiz's challenge in helping his son through a heart transplant clarified to him what a healthcare provider said: "People are not cars.  " And yet he learned that the key to better outcomes, in both business and health, can be found in growing the ability to think and act with a PDSA mindset. More »
Should producing products with zero defects be my top goal?
By: Michael Ballé | January 7, 2019
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,  Is zero defects really the first goal? The number of defects doesn’t necessarily relate to the user’s experience with a product, does it? More »
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