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From the Lean Lexicon 5th Edition:

True North:   An organization’s strategic and philosophical vision or purpose. It is a bond that may include “hard” business goals such as revenue and profits as well as “broadbrush” visionary objectives that appeal to the heart. (Adapted from Dennis 2006, p.  45.  ) More »
Lean + Circular Principals = a New True North for Manufacturer
By: Doug Bartholomew | June 15, 2016
Case Studies
SunPower's lean journey resembled most others until it defined a new mission, a new True North. The mission statement changed from the business-like “install 10 gigawatts of solar panels by 2016" to the inspirational “change the way our world is powered.  " To achieve it, SunPower melded lean principals with those of the “circular economy” to launch what it called a CLean Transformation. Instead of following the traditional linear economic model of take, make, dispose, it follows a circular model of reuse, remanufacture, and recycle. Learn the business and environmental payoffs of linking lean and clean. More »
Lean Business-IT Integration, Part Five: Measurement - Finding Our True North
By: Bell, Steve | November 8, 2012
In the fifth article of a five-part series on Lean IT, LEI faculty member Steve Bell addresses measurement. Part One begins with the importance of lean business-IT integration. Part Two offers help with the common obstacles to a lean IT transformation. Part Three examines how to integrate the various IT communities. And Part Four examines leadership and IT governance. More »
Thinking Lean at Thedacare: Strategy Deployment (DVD)
May 2, 2011
Books; Videos and Webinars
This DVD illustrates ThedaCare’s strategy deployment method: how the true north metrics were developed and translated to different departments, and how leaders at all levels of the organization use visual boards to track metrics related to the true north objectives. Any organization that wants to understand how to align their strategic goals can find important lessons in this DVD. More »
What is Your Line of Sight?
By: Richardson, Tracey | April 16, 2012
Coach Tracey Richardson explains why having a line of sight aligns you with the organizations purpose, and helps you determine how to define your own line of sight.    More »
Problem Definition Worksheet
By: Lean Transformations Group | June 17, 2013
Forms and Templates
In order to continuously improve, you must be able to find problems in order to solve them.  Once you have found a problem, the first step you must take is to make sure you have properly defined the problem.  One way to look at problems (i.  e.  , gaps) is to think in terms of standards. A gap can exist between current performance and an established standard or a new standard that you are attempting to achieve. A problem also can be unwanted variation in performance even when average performance appears acceptable. When even a single out-of-specification event is a More »
White Paper: Strategy Deployment
By: ThedaCare Center for Healthcare Value | May 7, 2011
A new whitepaper from the ThedaCare Center for Healthcare Value tells the story of the "strategy deployment" management method at three healthcare organizations: ThedaCare, Group Health, and St. Boniface Hospital. All three are members of the Healthcare Value Leaders Network.  Strategy deployment is also the focus of a new DVD titled "Thinking Lean at ThedaCare: Strategy Deployment.  "From the paper:Strategy deployment is a management process that helps executives to focus and align their organizations around the most important goals. Goals and plans are cascaded down and up in an organization — senior leadership to middle management to frontline staff and More »
Standard Work for Lean Leaders: One of the Keys to Sustaining Performance Gains
By: Murli, Joe | December 4, 2013
Leaders often make lean operational changes without changing traditional management activities. The problem is that traditional management activities do not support the cultural of daily problem solving that is needed to sustain and improve operational changes. Thus, the lean effort tends to backslide. Lean leaders must change what they do to include the five main tools of management standard work: gemba walks, reflection meetings, response to andons, create accountability, and mentoring people. More »
Leading and Learning the Toyota Way
By: Tracey Richardson | June 24, 2013
Lean coach and LEI faculty member, Tracey Richardson, tells us why a learner's attitude is essential for effective leadership and in creating a lean management system. More »
Deliberate Innovation Through Lean Product & Process Development
By: Lex Schroeder | September 23, 2014
Check out LEI's live blog from the Lean Product and Process Development Exchange (North America) Conference happening now in Durham, North Carolina. More »
Seeing the Whole Value Stream (Saving an Extended Enterprise essay)
By: Lovejoy, Matthew | October 25, 2011
Articles; Value-Stream Maps
Excerpted essay from Seeing the Whole Value StreamThis essay demonstrates how a second-tier supplier convinced much larger partners to embrace collaborative thinking about their shared value stream and rethink offshoring in light of the true system costs.  "Acme Alliance is a “job shop” aluminum die-casting company with a factory and headquarterslocated north of Chicago. We also have nearly identical facilities in Brazil, China,and Portugal that are able to make the same parts with the same molds on similar machines.  This gives our firm a special insight into differences in total cost for products delivered tocustomers from different manufacturing sites across More »
Lean Lexicon 4th Edition (Introduction)
By: Lean Enterprise Institute, Inc. | April 5, 2008
"Drawing up a comprehensive list of lean terms is not an easy task. Many members of the Lean Community have gained their knowledge from different sources and use terms in slightly different ways. And many companies have developed their own “lean lingo” in an effort to customize usage to their needs and to make their production system unique. We therefore have devised two simple principles for selecting terms. These are: 1. The term is important. You really need it to successfully operate a lean system. 2. The term is in widespread use. It’s not just “company speak,” but lives in More »
Why Toyota is Still My North Star
By: Michael Ballé | April 14, 2015
"In the past five years the local lean engineering community has gained a deeper hands-on appreciation of how intermeshed product and processes are," writes Michael Ballé. "Product innovation often comes from progress in process innovation. We also understand better the truly outstanding feats of engineering that Toyota’s new drive represents.  " More »
4Ps Prove Lean Applies Everywhere
By: Richardson, Tracey | March 15, 2012
Trainer Tracey Richardson explains how four deep principles reveal how lean thinking applies to any organization.    More »
Lean Product Development is About Thinking Horizontally in a Vertical World
By: Lex Schroeder | September 24, 2014
Check out the blog from Day 2 of the Lean Product and Process Development Exchange (North America) conference in Durham, North Carolina. Excerpts from Jim Womack's keynote and more. More »
Presentation - Manufacturing’s Next Chapter: The Story of GE Appliances and the Future of Manufacturing in North America
By: Shook, John | December 18, 2013
Lean Enterprise Institute CEO John Shook, during a keynote presentation at the 2013 AME conference, offered lessons about cultural change, the rise and fall and resurrection of various production facilities – and about what’s working soundly at GE’s appliance manufacturing facility in Kentucky.  Join in the Q&A with GE Appliance executives at the 2014 Lean Transformation Summit More »
Mr. Ford's Wrong Turn
By: Womack, James | December 4, 2005
In an op-ed piece in The Washington Post, James P. Womack, founder and chairman of the Lean Enterprise Institute, responds to an assertion by Ford Motor Co. Chairman Bill Ford that his company could compete with Toyota but not Japan. "What makes this claim so extraordinary is that Japanese companies, led by Toyota Motor Corp.  , are thrashing Ford by building vehicles in North American factories with North American-made parts and North American workers, who receive American-style wages and health benefits. And increasingly, these Japanese brand vehicles are engineered in America by Americans," Womack wrote. (Published by The Washington Post.  ) More »
Lean Practitioners Gather to Share Ideas that Grow the Bottom Line by Growing People’s Knowledge
By: Chet Marchwinski | December 11, 2014
We were among the nearly 2,000 lean thinkers attending the 2014 AME conference, organized around six value streams: Engaged People, Daily Improvement, Innovation, Extended Enterprise, Sustainability, Achieving Business Results.  The story offers a sample presentation from each value stream with an emphasis on providing practical ideas you can use in your lean journey. More »
Assessing Problem Solving Capability in Job Candidates: A True Account
By: Derrick Redding | July 25, 2017
Last month, Derrick Redding shared three questions that you can ask job candidates to assess their problem-solving capacity. As a followup, he is now sharing a real-life example of a time when these questions helped him do just that - without ever once talking about work. Read more. More »
From Fire Fighting to True Continuous Improvement
This workshop is an introduction into A-3 / PDCA problem solving. Workshop participants learn the thinking and practice of PDCA by doing. We ask each participant to come to the workshop with a problem that they would like to use as a test case to explore and learn new ways of thinking about how to solve problems. More »
The Insourcing Boom
By: Fishman, Charles | November 30, 2012
 From industrial monument to memorial and then back again, the improving fortunes of GE’s huge Appliance Park plant illustrate the factors, including lean management, behind "The Insourcing Boom" in the U.  S. (The Atlantic, December 2012). LEI CEO John Shook is quoted on how companies fail to consider the total costs of outsourcing.  Lean practitioners from Appliance Park, featured in "The Insourcing Boom," will  share their lean transformation model at the 2013 Lean Transformation Summit, March 13-14, 2013, Orlando, FL. Reserve your spot at this special presentation. Register by January 25 to save.    More »
Tried and True Strategies for Leading Lean Practice
By: Art Byrne | June 4, 2015
"In my 30 plus years of leading Lean in a wide range of companies, I’ve learned common practices that work in virtually every setting," writes Art Byrne. "For an informal list such as this to have any value, you must first organize for Lean. This means changing your organizational structure from a functional batch approach to a lean value stream approach.  " More »
Understanding the True Cost of Care
By: Jordan Harmon | February 24, 2015
"Today, frontline clinicians are being asked to provide even more cost-efficient care to patients yet few understand how to do so," writes Jordan Harmon of the nonprofit Costs of Care. "There is a new focus on efficiency in treatment options and today’s patients are more cost savvy than their predecessors. We must ensure value while reducing costs and improving quality outcomes.  " More »
“A Roadmap to Lean Healthcare Success” Webinar: Follow-up Questions and Answers
May 2, 2013
The Lean Enterprise Institute's webinar "A Roadmap to Lean Healthcare Success" with John Toussaint, MD, CEO of the ThedaCare Center for Healthcare Value, drew thousands of Lean Thinkers from North America and around the world who had more questions than we could answer in 60 minutes.  Most of the questions fell into several themes such as leadership, sustaining gains, involving people, and the A3 management process. What follows are your questions representing those themes and Dr. Toussaint’s follow-up replies.  Dr. Toussaint will go into even more details about lean healthcare at the 4th Annual Lean Healthcare Transformation Summit, June 5-6, More »
Combat the Ninth Waste of Overthinking
By: Dan Prock | May 25, 2021
Overthinking should be considered yet another form of waste that true lean practice can identify and eliminate, argues Dan Prock, who shares tangible ways you can think about the right things. More »
Feeling the Gemba Magic
By: Nicolas Chartier | July 19, 2019
After months of work at the gemba with his factory manager helping line workers grapple with problems, CEO Nicolas Chartier realized the true source of the recurring problems: himself. More »
Is Lean Getting Lost in Translation?
By: Lex Schroeder | November 26, 2013
As we struggle to learn together as a global lean community, what’s more important, lean “orthodoxy” (pure TPS) or lean integrity (true to the fundamentals, but adapted for specific purposes and situational)? More »
Transforming Healthcare: What Matters Most? How the Cleveland Clinic Is Cultivating a Problem-Solving Mindset and Building a Culture of Improvement
By: David Drickhamer | May 28, 2015
Case Studies
Imagine if you could create a culture of excellence and improvement in a large healthcare organization. That’s the challenge that pushed the Cleveland Clinic to reinvent its continuous improvement program and push for a true cultural transformation.    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 »
Getting the Right Things Done (Author Q&A)
By: Dennis, Pascal | December 11, 2006
A transcript of an interview with Pascal Dennis, author of Getting the Right Things Done: A Leader’s Guide to Planning and Execution.  Q: What is Strategy Deployment?A: Strategy deployment is a planning and execution system, refined by companies like Toyota, but essentially invented and developed in North America by people like Peter Drucker and Joe (Joseph) Juran.  Read the rest of the Q&A. More »
Every factory needs a value stream map – even Santa's
By: Lean Leaper | December 23, 2015
Ever wondered what the world's most efficient factory is? With a takt time of less than one-third of a millisecond, we may have found our first-place winner. Clues: it's at the North Pole, has over 1.  9 billion customers, and is run by a jolly old man with a white beard and red suit. Think you know which factory we're talking about? Check out this fun VSM from Jordan Kempler of Texas and see if you're right. More »
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