Knowledge Center: Columns (878)

Double Loop Learning at Kongsberg Maritime
By: Daryl Powell and Eivind Reke | October 18, 2018
Kongsberg Maritime, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Norwegian-based Kongsberg Group, tapped into a Kyoryokukai, or network for supplier innovation, to create a space for single--and double--loop learning for its members. More »
How to Engage Employees Through Creativity
By: Nicole Hudson | October 17, 2018
Is your company or department struggling to engage employees? Then learn from LifeWay Christian Resources, which moved away from a top-down, tool-oriented approach to continuous improvement training to a focus on engaging and developing people with thematic events and instruction. More »
Ask Art: Does Lean Really Work in A Non-manufacturing Company?
By: Art Byrne | October 16, 2018
All companies and organizations, whether manufacturing or not, are nothing more than a group of people and a bunch of processes trying to deliver value to a set of customers, says Art Byrne. And lean principles apply to each. To become lean, every company must focus on removing the waste in their current processes in order to deliver more value to the customers. More »
Jishuken, Part Two: The Power of Self-Learning
By: Mark Reich | October 11, 2018
Consider Jishuken to be an intensive effort to drive individuals and the organization to a higher level, says Mark Reich, noting that if done right, this practice should push everyone to do more and more, improving in cycles of intense, focused effort with something that leaves a strong residue of kaizen spirit behind and allows the company to sustain. More »
The Value of Sharpening Skills Through 'Jishuken'
By: Matthew Savas | October 10, 2018
Jishuken, or self-learning, is a wet stone that grinds a worker's brain down to a start point, says Matt Savas--and is key to a disciplined management system of learning and improvement. More »
Workers Unite for Better
By: Josh Howell | October 8, 2018
The local strike by hospitality workers in Boston has led Josh Howell to contrast this situation with the lean culture at Dreamplace Hotels and Resorts in Tenerife, where front-line workers produce and socialize beautifully messy A3-sized papers sharing ideas for improvements. More »
Thoughts on Digitization, Work, and Continuous Improvement
By: John Drogosz | October 4, 2018
The opportunities and changes presented by digitization are issues for all lean practitioners not only those in IT. Here are some additional insights from a lean practitioner and product developer who participated in a panel discussion on what’s happening now -- and what could happen -- as digitization meets lean management principles and practices. More »
Not Every Problem Is a “Nail” But Companies Typically Reach for the Same Old “Hammer”
By: Art Smalley | October 1, 2018
Learn how you can avoid the frustrating, ineffective, but widespread “hammer-and-nail” problem-solving pitfall by recognizing four main problem types so you apply the right problem-solving approach to the right problem. More »
Can Lean Know-How Come Home?
By: Eric Buehrens | September 27, 2018
When you decide to stop making things, you lose the ability to make things, argues Eric Buehrens: not just the displaced assembly workers who have had to seek employment elsewhere, but the design, production control, maintenance and quality engineers, the materials and logistics experts, all the technical know-how to manufacture effectively at scale, at world-class quality, and competitive cost. More »
Use Lean Development Principles to Avoid "Traveling Hopefully" Down the Wrong Path
By: Jim Morgan | September 26, 2018
Lean development is less about creating highly detailed plans based on things you can’t possibly know in the beginning of a development program (like conventional development attempts to do), and more about developing a deeper and shared understanding of the work to be done and increasing fidelity as you close knowledge gaps over time. More »
No Space to Think
By: Ernie Richardson and Tracey Richardson | September 24, 2018
Tracey and Ernie Richardsons talk about "space to think," leadership by employers and employees, the state of the lean management movement, and being a “sponge” rather than an expert. More »
Developing Meta-Habits at Baptist Memorial Memphis Hospital Emergency Department
By: Brandon Brown | September 20, 2018
After teeing up a problem in the Baptist Memorial Memphis Hospital ED using a Kata routine, Nursing Manager Melanie Mays now sees the need to experiment with a new process and allow it to surface obstacles before developing and testing a hypothesis. More »
Deploying Improvement Habits: From Starter Kata to Meta-Habits
By: Brandon Brown | September 19, 2018
Learners using the Kata routine approach every problem with the “skeleton” of the Kata routine, and understand that they are not experimenting to the solution, says Brandon Brown. They use experiments to find obstacles that prevent them from operating in the target condition. More »
Lean Transformation? Not Buying It
By: Mike Orzen | September 17, 2018
Companies often describe their transformation efforts in terms of an end-state: focusing on targeted results. They see transformation as a noun--a specific target or condition they wish to attain at a point in time. This paradigm prevents them from viewing transformation as a verb - a way of being they need to live every day. More »
Ask Art: Why Does Boosting Inventory Turns Matter So Much?
By: Art Byrne | September 13, 2018
If you want to deliver more value to our customers such that you can grow and gain market share then you should certainly focus on reducing inventory, says Art Byrne. Doing so frees up cash and capacity, boosts flow, and pushes you to solve problems as they crop up. More »
A Great Company Culture Takes Purpose
By: Tyler Schilling | September 12, 2018
If you’re determined to move your culture from good to great, listen to CEO Tyler Schilling as he describes two behaviors that, in his experience, are most effective. More »
TPS, the Thinking People System
By: Michael Ballé | September 11, 2018
The twin pillars of just-in-time and jidoka help support a full model about how to achieve customer satisfaction from employee satisfaction, through teamwork and respect, on a basis of mutual trust between management and employees. More »
The Escalator of Issues
By: James P. Womack | September 7, 2018
A daily management system with daily performance metrics gives caregivers the sense that managers are really paying attention, that problems really are being addressed, and that over time this will mean stability and a lower level of stress for all staff, says Jim Womack. More »
Avoiding Dashboard Wallpaper
By: Leslie Barker | September 6, 2018
Build a system of dashboards up and down the organization, says Leslie Barker. Connect them so ideas flow upward and support flows to the idea. It’s a bit tricky setting up dashboards that summarize the performance and capture the critical ideas of many departments below, but it can be done through trial and error. More »
How to Lead with Values
By: Jeff Thompson | September 5, 2018
A former health system CEO says it’s “strategically sound” for leaders to define a set of values that they and their organizations will live by because values ultimately help organizations grow. Here's how: More »
Real Leaders Think and Act Differently
By: Darren Walsh | August 31, 2018
Are your management routines and Gemba Walks suffering from the superficial observations of the day-tripper? Or are your leaders adding real value to your employees, the organisation and your customers? More »
Toyota the Disrupter
By: Jim Morgan | August 29, 2018
Toyota may not be the first company you think of for disruptive product and process development, but perhaps they should be, argues Jim Morgan. The tools and practices that Toyota uses have been adapted and applied successfully by companies large and small, in a wide variety of industries and in places all over the world. More »
Getting Out of the Habit of Telling
By: Katie Anderson | August 27, 2018
In this engaging talk at the Lean Transformation Summit in Nashville, Katie Anderson talked about learning how to keep from telling others what to do. More »
How Does Asking Questions Create Change?
By: Michael Ballé and Tracey Richardson | August 23, 2018
Lean is not a sum of processes to acquire and apply which then will make things magically work better. It’s a set of techniques to visualize delivery processes so everyone understands them at a glance, reveal problems to give opportunities for people to exercise their abilities to think, be creative and utilize their strengths to self-actualize in the course of their work. More »
Confessions of an Aspiring Coach
By: Cheryl Jekiel | August 22, 2018
What I have found most striking about how managers approach building their coaching skills is the need to be more vulnerable with each other about this challenge. The greatest progress seems to come when managers are able to look to each other for more support and ideas for how to redirect years of patterned behavior. More »
Are You Learning to Learn Faster? A Conversation with Steve Spear
By: Lean Leaper | August 21, 2018
Learning to close the gap in our learning cycle is critical to keeping our promises and achieving our goals, argues Steve Spear in the recent WLEI podcast. Read more here and listen to the full conversation. More »
Ask Art: What's Wrong with Organizing By Function?
By: Art Byrne | August 16, 2018
While you might be able to survive and be profitable using a traditional functional structure the fact is that you will be leaving a lot of money on the table. Moving to lean and flow eliminates structural problems, lowers cost, improves quality, shortens lead times and is more responsive to the customer. More »
Cardboard, Duct Tape, and String: The Do-First Mindset
By: Mark Reich | August 15, 2018
Whatever field you work in, if you are responsible for kaizen in your company, strive for quick change in your workplace by finding your cardboard, duct tape, and string, says lean coach Mark Reich. More »
React Less and Improve More by Using SPC More Effectively
By: Mark Graban | August 14, 2018
When we stop reacting to “noise” in a metric, we can better focus our improvement efforts, waste less time, and improve more, says Mark Graban. That should all be a core principle of Lean management that can help leaders in any setting. More »
Sensing the Gemba
By: Mike Orzen and Tracey Richardson | August 10, 2018
The next time you show up at the gemba to do a “go and see,” take a personal assessment of your level of focus, presence and awareness. Choose any one of your senses to focus within first, so you can be 100 percent present to deeply sense what is going on with the people and work processes of the value stream. More »
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