Knowledge Center: Columns (680)

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Advice from the Gemba: Personal Kanbans for Lean Beginners
By: Lean Leaper | May 25, 2017
Kanban boards. For many of us, they were the first visual management tools we used that taught us the benefits of lean. They're simple, effective and easily customizable to suit your own unique work and challenges. Today, four of LEI's relative newcomers to lean share their own personal kanban boards and the impact they've had on their work. More »
Managing to Win: The Remarkable Lean Transformation of Phase 2
By: Lean Leaper | May 24, 2017
Revisit the enlightening case study of Phase 2's lean transformation in the face of losing its biggest customer, plus insider info from an interview with CEO Adam Prime. More »
When Do You Stop Learning?
By: Orest (Orry) Fiume | May 23, 2017
Lean is about learning continuously and asking the right questions, not just providing answers. But, Orry Fiume wonders, does the learning ever stop? Do we ever reach a point in our development where we transition from a learner to a decision-maker? Find out the answer. More »
Are You Prioritizing Efficiency Over Value?
By: Cameron Ford | May 18, 2017
A major element of lean is efficiency, but it's certainly not the ONLY element. While it may seem logical that customers value efficiency, an overreliance on speed can cripple the experience for them. Inspired by a rather painful experience at an orthopedic clinic, Cam Ford explores this further. More »
Job 1?
By: John Y. Shook | May 18, 2017
Ford CEO Mark Fields just decided he needed to cut costs. Then he suddenly realized he had 1400 people he didn't need so decided to eliminate their jobs. Did he need those people two weeks ago? Will he need them two weeks from now? More »
Ask Art: Is Lean a Strategy?
By: Art Byrne | May 17, 2017
The debate over whether lean should be considered a strategy, philosophy, methodology, etc. is a long one. Merriam-Webster defines a strategy as "a careful plan or method for achieving a particular goal usually over a long period of time.  " Does lean fit into that label? Art Byrne explores. More »
Lean Roundup: Lean in the News
By: Tom Ehrenfeld | May 16, 2017
"While few business leaders seem to be discussing lean explicitly these days, there are certainly a great deal of tangentially lean conversations happening wherever you look," writes LEI Senior Editor Tom Ehrenfeld. Particularly in the news - read more. More »
Advice from the Gemba: Standardizing Work for Leaders with Varied Tasks
By: Lean Leaper | May 12, 2017
How, many people ask LEI, can you possibly standardize a leader's work when even they can't predict what their work will look like on a given day? The answer: by adopting the right approach. Three LEI faculty members weigh in. More »
"Too Busy to Walk the Gemba"
By: Chris Weisbrod | May 10, 2017
Chris Weisbrod of Catalysis explains why healthcare leaders often claim they're too busy to walk the gemba and shares a strategy for reversing that mindset. More »
A Tool That Every High-Mix, Low-Volume Leader Needs to See
By: Greg Lane | May 9, 2017
"High mix, low volume operations are a difficult concept to grasp," writes Greg Lane. But it doesn't have to be - with a few simple tools and concepts, you can handle the constant changes typical of a HMLV environment. Today, Lane shares one of his favorites. More »
Want to Respect Your People? Share the Profits!
By: Orest (Orry) Fiume | May 4, 2017
People and profit are key in any company, not just a lean one. But too often, an organization's drive for profit can cause it to lose sight of Respect for People. How can you maintain the balance? Orry Fiume has 10 ideas to share. More »
How Team Leaders Should Divide Their Time
By: Andrew Quibell | May 3, 2017
"Through my career, I’ve seen one group of individuals on the shop floor who need the most support and training – yet instead receive weak training and inconsistent support. They are 'team leaders,'" writes Andrew Quibell. In his new sketch and animation, Quibell lays out a time-tested, Toyota-inspired plan to help these essential team leaders hold their own in times of minimal support. More »
Advice from the Gemba: How Do People Accidentally Make Change Unsustainable?
By: Lean Leaper | May 2, 2017
The only thing tougher than change is SUSTAINING change, we often hear. But does sustaining change need to be SO hard? Is it naturally and universally borderline impossible? Or is it possible that we, as humans, accidentally make sustainability harder than it has to be? Four LEI faculty members weigh in with their thoughts. More »
How Lean Changed My Work: Lean Without Knowing It
By: Jeremy Venable | April 27, 2017
Last month LEI sent out an email asking the lean community how lean changed their work. For Jeremy Venable of Shell Chemical, lean not only helped him redefine his work, but helped him get recognition and a new job too. Read more. More »
Technology-Driven Improvement Initiatives (and Other Amazing Magic Tricks)
By: Tim Kane | April 26, 2017
"In my experience, projects based on the scientific method are more likely to succeed than projects focused primarily on Information Technology (IT) improvements," writes Tim Kane. Why is this so? Kane cites two real-life scenarios that led him to this conclusion. Read more. More »
Ask Art: Why do so few companies that implement lean do it successfully?
By: Art Byrne | April 25, 2017
We've all heard the stories of failed lean implementations, as well as the hotly debated question of "Why did it fail?" In his many years as a lean leader, Art Byrne has seen quite a few possible reasons for a lean failure - read more. More »
Changing High School Culture with Lean Coaching
By: Tony Lamberton | April 20, 2017
Nearly eight years ago, headteacher Tony Lamberton of Christleton High School was struggling with poor reviews of his school. After reading and studying The Toyota Way, he launched an initiative to bring something brand new into his school’s operations: lean coaching. This is the story of that remarkable turnaround. More »
“You Gotta Kata,” Now What?
By: Craig Stritar | April 19, 2017
After executing a plan to incorporate kata into his organization's daily routines, Craig Stritar was surprised to find that nobody had followed through on their learnings. This is the story of his investigation into the problem, plus the countermeasures to what he identified as the root cause. Read more to learn how you can use it to sustain your kata efforts too. More »
Advice from the Gemba: Top Mistakes Lean Leaders Make
By: Lean Leaper | April 18, 2017
Making mistakes is a natural part of lean thinking and practice. Here, three LEI faculty members share some common, yet easily avoidable mistakes made by lean leaders, as well as the countermeasures that can help resolve them. More »
What Too Many Lean Leaders Forget about Gemba Walks
By: darren walsh | April 13, 2017
Lean Coach Darren Walsh of the UK's Lean Enterprise Academy has seen many lean leaders make a troubling, yet highly avoidable, mistake on their gemba walks. Are you making that same mistake? Read his article and find out what it is and how to avoid it! More »
Faster than a Speeding Kanban...
By: Brent Wahba | April 12, 2017
"All of us living in Leanworld are well-trained to look for problems, identify gaps, and cure root causes," writes Brent Wahba. But if that's true, why does lean so often fail? Could it be that we often undermine our efforts by trying to be superheroes, trying to fix all our problems in one go? Brent explores. More »
Enabling Fast and Innovative Product Development at Bose
By: Lean Leaper | April 11, 2017
Bringing products to market as quickly as possible is a key cornerstone of lean product and process development. With this in mind, Massachusetts-based audio-equipment maker Bose Corporation created a Rapid Prototype Development Center to improve collaboration, creativity, engagement, and ideation-to-market times. LPPD coach Katrina Appell now shares the secrets of the RPDC in this new case study More »
Lean Quotes from "The Work of Management" to Inspire You and Your Team
By: Lean Leaper | April 7, 2017
For this special bonus content, check out these quotes from the new book, The Work of Management. We've included links for easy tweeting, so share away and get inspired to hone your own management systems. More »
Developing Better Habits using A3 Thinking
By: Katie Anderson | April 6, 2017
Think A3 thinking is only for solving organizational problems? Think again! LEI faculty Katie Anderson shares her secrets for using A3s as a tool for structuring personal-development coaching. More »
Launching and Sustaining a Lean “Pop-Up”
By: Doug Bartholomew | April 5, 2017
"It’s not unusual for a lean leader or lean practitioner to feel alone, especially in a company or enterprise early in its lean journey," writes Doug Bartholomew. A growing trend amongst such lean leaders and practitioners is to start a lean pop-up, or a meeting of lean practitioner within a community. Bartholomew recently witnessed one of these pop-ups firsthand in Salt Lake City, Utah - here is his account. Read more and maybe get inspired to create your own pop-up! More »
PDCA thinking and the NCAA March Madness tournament
By: Ernie Richardson and Tracey Richardson | April 4, 2017
"There is so much thinking that goes into this thing called 'Bracketology,' which gives sports fans a way to 'grasp the situation' of their favorite team (or the one they may be cheering for at tournament time)," write Tracey and Ernie Richardson. Ad a lot of that thinking may have more in common with lean than you might expect. Read more. More »
Lean Roundup: Pull
By: Tom Ehrenfeld | March 30, 2017
A pull system links all production activity to actual customer demand--and creates what one lean thinker calls "an architecture for kaizen.  " Read more about this key lean principle. More »
Do You Own Your Lean Learning?
By: Mark Reich | March 29, 2017
LEI COO and Toyota veteran Mark Reich is back with a new series on the role of consultants and OpEx groups in a lean transformation. Today he shares a story of coaching a young coffee-plant manager facing a major challenge -- and what it taught him about lean leadership and problem-solving. More »
Working on the Management
By: James P. Womack | March 28, 2017
Effective daily management is still hard to achieve for most organizations, says Jim Womack. But until line managers start tackling problems first hand as they emerge, rather than deferring and delegating them, basic stability will remain a mirage. Read more in this column from our sister publication, Planet Lean. More »
Creating Trust: The Role of the Supervisor as Coach
By: Dave LaHote | March 23, 2017
"Organizationally, I believe that the coaching role needs to be fulfilled by the supervisor," writes Dave LaHote. But all too often, LaHote has found a misconception in this role that can undermine a coaching relationship. Watch his animated video to learn more. More »
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