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Mura, Muri, Muda?
By: Womack, Jim | July 6, 2006
Twenty years ago this month, when my first daughter was born, the young men I supervised in MIT’s International Motor Vehicle Program went dashing out of the office to buy her a gift. They returned shortly with a pink T-shirt, size 1, with the stenciled message on the front “Muda, Mura, Muri. ” My wife was bewildered – “Is this how guys welcome a baby girl?!” But I could understand. More »
LEI In the News: Leading Trade Journal Asks How Lean Principles Performed During the Pandemic
By: Mark Reich | May 18, 2021
Lean management principles didn’t fail during the pandemic; some companies failed to execute them correctly, especially the practice of just-in-time production, as LEI Senior Coach Mark Reich recently explained to a leading trade journal. More »
The Art of Lean: An Introduction to Muda, Mura, and Muri
By: Art Smalley | October 2, 2020
Take a closer look at the concepts of muda, mura, and muri and learn why you have to consider all three when you pursue any type of improvement or Kaizen actions. More »
The Art of Lean: Use These Tools to Help You Improve a Process, Part 1
By: Art Smalley | August 21, 2020
Learn about this four-step approach that will help you “pinpoint the tricky parts” of a process as you work to improve it. Art Smalley, president of Art of Lean, Inc. , reminds us of this practice that’s foundational to lean but not talked about much anymore. Part one of a five-part series. More »
Light Students’ Fire for Learning Through Teaching Lean
By: Laurie Burney | February 1, 2020
One of the greatest motivations for teaching for me is when I have a tangible impact on students’ thinking and learning. While traditional management accounting fits mass production processes, to add value in a lean organization, management accountants need to “buy in” to how our roles must adjust to be part of the decision-making team where we can transition beyond the bean counter or gatekeeper characterization. More »
Isn’t there a better way to manage inventory than just-in-time?
By: Michael Ballé | September 23, 2019
Dear Gemba Coach, This is 2019. Isn’t there a better way to manage inventory than just-in-time by now? More »
Should we seek professional help for our sensei who talks to parts?
By: Michael Ballé | February 11, 2019
Dear Gemba Coach: 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 »
I'm thinking about outsourcing some administrative activities to be more flexible, but what does lean say about outsourcing?
By: Michael Ballé | July 23, 2018
Dear Gemba Coach: Financial results do not allow me to have excess people. After two years of struggling, I'm thinking about outsourcing some administrative activities to be more flexible, but it does not feel right from a lean point of view. What does lean say about outsourcing? More »
Can I change a company's attitude that people can't be trusted to do their jobs unless they are scared into complying?
By: Michael Ballé | June 4, 2018
Dear Gemba Coach: A major assumption in lean thinking is that people genuinely want to do a good job, and the only thing standing in their way is a poor system. But some organizations act on the assumption that you can’t really trust anyone to do their job unless they are constantly controlled and scared into complying. It’s hard for me to see how lean can help any org without changing this assumption first … or? More »
Why does no one ask about production flow anymore?
By: Michael Balle | May 7, 2018
Dear Gemba Coach: As I read lean posts and papers, no one seems to have problems like this anymore, but I am trying to convince my manager that we have a bottleneck in the production process and that we should have two work stations in parallel to improve the flow. What would be the lean argument for doing that? More »
Why do you keep referring to Toyota; does it still matter?
By: Michael Balle | March 26, 2018
Dear Gemba Coach: I’m very interested in lean, but fail to see why you guys keep referring to Toyota. What does a Toyota plant look like and why should it still matter? More »
If lean is all about people, why are the discussions impersonally cold and rational?
By: Michael Ballé | March 5, 2018
Dear Gemba Coach: Lean thinkers say it’s all about people, but the debates are then all so cold and rational. Where are the emotions and the effects that real people have at work? More »
As a facilitator, how much do I have to know about an area targeted for improvement?
By: Ballé, Michael | October 2, 2017
Dear Gemba Coach: As a lean "facilitator" in my organization, how important is it to gain a deep understanding of the "area" that is being analyzed. Do you spend a lot of time just becoming familiar with the area so that you can do experiments, etc. …? More »
Why don't you use plain English instead of confusing Japanese terms such as “monozukuri” or “hitozukuri”?
By: Ballé, Michael | July 17, 2017
Dear Gemba Coach: Why do you keep using confusing Japanese terms such as “monozukuri” or “hitozukuri” rather than plain English? Isn’t that what professionals do when they want to obfuscate and befuddle clients? More »
Isn’t lean just a scam to squeeze teams for more production?
By: Ballé, Michael | May 22, 2017
Dear Gemba Coach: Lean is a scam. People like you who write about “respect” are pushing a smoke screen that allows consultants to just squeeze teams for more production without ever resolving the company’s deeper problems. More »
What do you think are the pros and cons of merging lean and TOC?
By: Michael Ballè | March 30, 2017
Dear Gemba Coach: In the DevOps movement, the amalgamation of agile, lean, and IT service management practices, there is a new entry that is making a big impact. This is The Theory of Constraints by Eliyahu Goldratt. Many believe that combining the thinking of Ohno and Goldratt can produce amazing and sustainable results far easier and faster than either can separately. Have you considered the pros and cons of lean and TOC or merging them? More »
How do we pass the baton from one lean leader to the next?
By: Michael Ballè | July 25, 2016
Dear Gemba Coach: What are your thoughts about ensuring that a lean transformation persists past a leader’s tenure at an organization? More »
We’re installing an andon system – what should we expect?
By: Michael Ballè | July 18, 2016
Dear Gemba Coach: We’re installing an andon system – what should we expect? More »
What is your opinion about transformation process steps?
By: Ballé, Michael | February 8, 2016
Dear Gemba Coach: What is your opinion about transformation process steps? First we choose a problem and start problem-solving processes (A3 or 8-step methods) and after the steps create our first standards; OR first write down the processes as they are now and choose problems to solve by measuring the gaps between first standards and our goals? More »
Gemba, workplace, genchi genbutsu, go-and-see ... What’s the difference?
By: Ballé, Michael | September 14, 2015
Dear Gemba Coach: Is there a difference between “gemba” as used in lean texts and “genchi genbutsu” as they appear in Toyota literature? More »
After improving processes with help from a consultant, how do I sustain kaizen in my department? My teams are hard to motivate.
By: Ballé, Michael | February 17, 2015
Dear Gemba Coach: How do I sustain kaizen in my department? We’ve had a consultant help us with workshops, and we did improve our processes, but I struggle with moving to continuous improvement, as my teams are hard to motivate on this. More »
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