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The Value of A Visual Schedule is Developing Shared Understanding
By: Katrina Appell | February 12, 2020
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People closest to the work should understand it best, so they are in the best position to share what the work is including what they need from others on the team, argues Katrina Appel; this enables the team to put together a realistic schedule that they believe in. More »
What’s the Problem: Andrew Lingel Discusses Transforming a Family Business through Knowledge, Grit, and Outrage
By: Matthew Savas | February 10, 2020
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In this What's the Problem podcast with Matt Savas, President Andrew Lingel of United Plastic Fabricating shares how he helped lead a transformation in this family business that makes polypropylene products primarily for the fire industry. More »
From Troubleshooting a Leaky Toilet Flapper to Innovating the Internet, a Comprehensive Problem-Solving Framework
By: Chet Marchwinski and Art Smalley | November 27, 2019
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Arriving at his hotel after midnight, author and business consultant Art Smalley just wanted to get some sleep before his keynote presentation later that day. But Smalley, whose latest book on #lean management is "Four Types of Problems," first had to solve a problem. More »
How We Improved Our Tiered Daily Huddles
By: Nathan Hurle | November 8, 2019
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At Cleveland Clinic, where he leads a continuous improvement team, Nate Hurle and others have discovered ways to build on success with their tiered daily huddles. More »
How Hoshin Kanri Aligns Your Key Organizational Systems
By: Mark Reich | October 16, 2019
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Think of hoshin (strategy alignment) like the human body, argues Mark Reich: The body needs a strong skeletal structure (hoshin) to hold it together (just like an organization). But a body can’t move effectively if its muscles (continuous improvement) are not kept active and developed as well. More »
Why Doesn't Lean Have a Seat at the Table?
By: Steven Spear | October 11, 2019
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Why hasn’t Lean spread more widely, asks Steven Spear, suggesting that it has not been framed in a way that addresses the strategic concern of managers. Instead it is primarily taught as just tools. And let’s face it, the licensed electricians don’t get a seat at the table. More »
Book Review: The Toyota Engagement Equation by Tracey and Ernie Richardson
By: Tom Ehrenfeld | September 20, 2019
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In their book The Toyota Engagement Equation, authors Tracey and Ernie Richardson don’t hit you over the head telling you what to do or how to think per se; instead they share how they learned what they know, and in so doing, invite you to think along the same lines. More »
Try These Lean Summer Reads
By: Lean Leaper | May 29, 2019
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Summer is upon us and as you lean learners prepare for some decidedly non-value added time in your schedule, consider any number of these books for your summer reading. More »
Designed In Quality
By: Jim Morgan | March 19, 2019
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Extraordinary quality is not only designed into the product, it is designed into the development process itself, says Jim Morgan, who suggests that the next time you might be tempted to minimize Toyota’s quality performance, you will think about how Toyota’s principles and practices might help you design-in better quality in your products and processes. More »
Lean Production Begins with LPPD
By: John Y. Shook | January 4, 2019
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To create a "turbo-charged product-creating machine, start by designing clear processes with useful tools and a “people first” culture--which form a socio-technical system underpinned by deep principles. More »
Are You Building High-Performing Teams?
By: Jim Morgan | January 2, 2019
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It is important to work hard at building a high-performance team. Not only does it lead to better performance outcomes, but it is also a tremendous personal experience. Pay, benefits, and personal growth opportunities have to be competitive, but all else being equal, most people will choose to be part of a high-performance team. More »
Thinking About the Why of the What of Problem-Solving
By: John Y. Shook | November 2, 2018
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When we talk about problem-solving, what we’re really talking about here is creating adaptive capacity, the deep capability of an organization to tackle anything that comes its way, any obstacle that comes between you and where you want to go. Tackling problems one by one is what gives an organization capability for deep adaptability. More »
Don't Retire Your Knowledge--Reuse It
By: Norbert Majerus | October 25, 2018
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Companies can tackle the problem of the surge of retiring baby boomers by adopting the lean principle of knowledge reuse, says recently retired lean thinker Norbert Majerus. He identifies common barriers to share and leverage this invaluable resource. More »
Jishuken, Part Two: The Power of Self-Learning
By: Mark Reich | October 11, 2018
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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 »
Not Every Problem Is a “Nail” But Companies Typically Reach for the Same Old “Hammer”
By: Art Smalley | October 1, 2018
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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 »
Developing Meta-Habits at Baptist Memorial Memphis Hospital Emergency Department
By: Brandon Brown | September 20, 2018
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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 »
Confessions of an Aspiring Coach
By: Cheryl Jekiel | August 22, 2018
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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 »
Ask Art: What's Wrong with Organizing By Function?
By: Art Byrne | August 16, 2018
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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 »
Operator #1
By: Eric Buehrens | July 31, 2018
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Getting around the lean community more is the summer job of Eric Buehrens, LEI’s CEO, including a stint as Operator #1, which turned out to be the season’s highlight. More »
Ask Art: Why Should I Be Able to Make Every Product Every Day?
By: Art Byrne | July 17, 2018
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Working on the goal of "every product every day" helps all companies realize the benefits of lean as a strategy, says Art Byrne, by developing flexibility and responsiveness that ultimately delivers far more value to the customer. More »
Lessons from Japan: Day Four
By: Lean Leaper | June 28, 2018
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On day four of the Lean Learning tour in Japan, the participants share their lessons, which are tied to this theme: TPS kaizen begins with a question: “What problem are you trying to solve?” More »
Lessons from Japan: Day Two
By: Lean Leaper | June 26, 2018
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A group of lean learners are touring world-class enterprises in Japan; here are postcards capturing their daily lessons gleaned from what they observed. More »
Try These Three Deliberate Practices of Lean Coaching
By: Dan Prock | June 15, 2018
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A lean coach doesn’t do PDCA; she or he has three deliberate practices that keep the PDCA gear rolling with a check, adjustment, new purpose and plan to do for kaizen experiments. A lean coach using these three deliberate practices is a perpetual motion machine of sustainable continuous improvement. More »
Practical Tips for Re-Engaging People with a Suggestion System
By: Steve Ansuini | June 7, 2018
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Companies, responding to surveys showing that a troubling number of people are disengaged at work, respond with perks like nap pods, rock walls, and free food. Suggestions systems get overlooked. That’s too bad because the whole point of a system done correctly is higher engagement. Here are some real-world tips on starting and sustaining a system from an experienced lean practitioner. More »
Postcard from Nashville
By: John Y. Shook | May 15, 2018
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John Shook looks back at the key theme of LEI's Nashville summit on the theme of how to be better employees. More »
Expanding Our Perspective on Lean Management, Part 2: Lean has its Roots in Spirituality
By: Joanna McGuffey and Thomas Richert | May 8, 2018
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To explore the idea that there may be other angles for understanding lean management than business or analytical perspectives, a group of lean management practitioners met with artists. Here’s what surprised them. More »
Ask Art: Am I Showing Respect for People by Asking for Fast Action?
By: Art Byrne | May 7, 2018
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Lean is a “learn by doing” exercise not a classroom training approach. The best method I know to achieve this is through a sustained high level of kaizen activity. You are trying to create a learning environment where everyone is constantly learning and contributing to the organization. Every time an improvement is made, learning occurs. The faster you go the more learning can occur. More »
Mapping a Reading List to Lean
By: Jim Benson | May 4, 2018
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We humans want to see what is happening, understand how we and our colleagues best collaborate, solve problems, make good decisions, and have an insatiable desire to be better. This Lean reading list by Jim Benson steps outside the obvious texts and provides offerings with a foundation for these critical skills. More »
Ask Art: Why Do I Need to Switch From Batch to Flow?
By: Art Byrne | April 12, 2018
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Moving from batch to flow reveals the waste in your processes and simplifies your work at a systems level, says Art Byrne. It creates simplicity, and a productive tension to deal with problems as they occur, as well as other strategic benefits. More »
Master the Meaning of "Giri"
By: Jim Morgan | March 30, 2018
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"Giri" represents the profound obligation of the student has toward their teacher, the apprentice to the journeyman or the child to the parent, writes Jim Morgan. He thanks his own mentors and emphasizes the obligation that comes with the deep understanding that whatever you have accomplished in life, you have not really done on their own. More »
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