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Turn To Lean in Times of Crisis
By: Lean Leaper | October 12, 2020
Columns
Lean thinkers need new tools and new mindsets to face today's daunting challenges, argues Jim Womack, who shares examples of how this has sparked great historical lean "leaps.  " More »
Boosting Organizational Resilience Through Jidoka
By: Tom Ehrenfeld | October 5, 2020
Columns
Jidoka enables operators to build in quality into the production process--and forms a foundation of stability helping a company respond to crisis with resilience. This roundup shares resources explaining jidoka and helping you get started with it. More »
Ask Art: What Was Danaher Like In the Early Days of Lean?
By: Art Byrne | September 17, 2020
Columns
In this personal account of launching lean at Danaher, Art Byrne shares a wealth of insights into how to seed an enduring lean culture and business system. More »
When the Toyota Way Meets Industry 4.0
By: Jeffrey Liker | August 24, 2020
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Industry 4.  0 is not a disruptive force that makes TPS irrelevant, but rather can be an enabler that builds on TPS culture and thinking, argues Jeff Liker--a way of viewing technology that is a core principle of productive lean thinking. More »
Beyond 'Linear' Intelligence: Learning Lean Through Shared Experiments and Improvements
By: Masia Goodman | August 10, 2020
Columns
Learning entails far more than a linear set of directions from one person to another, argues LEI's Masia Goodman, who presents ways that the upcoming Virtual Lean Learning Experience (VLX) seeks to incorporate lean ways of learning. More »
How the A3 Process Developed to Help Build Better Managers
By: John Shook and Isao Yoshino | August 6, 2020
Columns
One of the hallmarks of a successfully executed A3 process is that it is a collaborative activity--a learning process for everyone involved: for learner and teacher, senpai and kohai, sensei and deshi, say authors Isao Yoshino and John Shook. Here's the first of two articles tracing the development of A3 thinking at Toyota. More »
Making Your Work Work in the First 90 Days
By: Andrew Quibell | July 28, 2020
Columns
In your first 90 days as a lean leader, what path will you take to support transformation? Andrew Quibell details the elements of both a tactical approach as well as a strategic one. More »
Exploring the Technical and Nontechnical Challenges of Being a Chief Engineer, a Candid Conversation with Two CEs (Part 2)
By: Chet Marchwinski | June 8, 2020
Columns
Chief engineers typically have strong technical skills to effectively lead and manage the work of engineers, designers, and other developers. But perhaps their greatest talent needs to be nontechnical, an observation that emerged in this interview with two chief engineers from TechnipFMC, conducted by LEI Communications Director Chet Marchwinski at last year’s Designing the Future Summit. More »
A Consciousness of Reality
By: John Y. Shook | March 6, 2020
Columns
There are countless cases of lean thinking being applied masterfully with the word lean (or the Toyota Production System) nowhere in sight, writes John Shook, who argues that lean thinking and practice can embody the power and potential of lean thinking as a holistic approach to making things better for even the world’s thorniest problems. More »
What’s the Problem: Andrew Lingel Discusses Transforming a Family Business through Knowledge, Grit, and Outrage
By: Matthew Savas | February 10, 2020
Columns
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
Columns
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
Columns
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
Columns
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
Columns
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
Columns
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
Columns
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
Columns
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
Columns
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
Columns
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
Columns
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
Columns
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
Columns
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
Columns
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
Columns
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
Columns
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
Columns
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
Columns
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
Columns
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
Columns
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
Columns
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 »
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