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From the Lean Lexicon 5th Edition:

Chief Engineer:   The term used at Toyota for the program manager with total responsibility for the development of a product line; previously known by the Japanese term shusa.  The chief engineer leads a small, dedicated team that creates the product concept, develops the business case, leads the technical design of the product, manages the development process, coordinates with production engineering and sales/marketing, and takes the product into production.  Chief engineers typically have strong technical skills that enable them to effectively lead and coordinate the technical work of engineers, designers, and other developers assigned to their projects. Their most important responsibility is to More »
Exploring the Technical and Nontechnical Challenges of Being a Chief Engineer, A Candid Conversation with Two CEs (Part 1)
By: Chet Marchwinski | June 1, 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 »
Exploring the Technical and Nontechnical Challenges of Being a Chief Engineer, A Candid Conversation with Two CEs
By: Chet Marchwinski | May 31, 2020
Articles
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 »
Perspectives of a Chief Engineer on Starting and Sustaining Lean Product and Process Development
By: Chet Marchwinski and Steven Shoemaker | November 20, 2019
Columns
Steve Shoemaker, general manager at Caterpillar Inc.  , first applied lean product and process development (LPPD) practices as the chief engineer on a new platform of next-generation hydraulic excavators, overseeing the new product from concept to production. He shared his insights on applying LPPD principles, how to sustain them, and leading teams of engineers with LEI Communications Director Chet Marchwinski at the annual Designing the Future Summit. More »
The Remarkable Chief Engineer
By: John Y. Shook | May 22, 2019
Columns
How can a system in which "we are all connected and no one is in charge" support purposeful and productive work? Toyota's famed Chief Engineer system has much to offer in this regard. John Shook explores how the leadership styles of, and ways of working by, the CE might provide something of a roadmap for all of us. More »
What are the key traits I should look for in a potential Chief Engineer? A Q&A with Katrina Appell
By: Katrina Appell | February 22, 2017
Columns
The Chief Engineer is a key cornerstone of lean product and process development. Katrina Appell has been asked many times what traits a potential CE should have in order to ensure the best chance of success. Her answer may surprise you - read more and find out what you should really ask yourself before accepting applications. More »
How Does LPPD Help Create a Lean Enterprise?
By: Lean Leaper | May 17, 2019
Columns
What is LPPD? As noted by Jim Morgan LPPD is a set of principles and practices that promote collaboration, transparency, and rapid learning, in the development of both process and product simultaneously, leading to the creation of really effective value streams. He shares thoughts with Jim Womack, Jeff Liker, and Eric Ethington on this topic. More »
Is value engineering just about cutting costs?
By: Michael Ballé | March 4, 2019
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,  My boss has hired a consultant to do value engineering, who has us looking for design opportunities to reduce the costs of components and materials – is that it? More »
Putting Passion on Your Dashboard
By: Lean Leaper | November 27, 2018
Columns
Understanding what customers value requires more than a marketing approach, says Dave Pericak, explaining how he learned about customer value from the Mustang owners who More »
WLEI: Designing the Future Jim Morgan Talks Passion with Dave Pericak - A WLEI Special
By: Lean Enterprise Institute | November 26, 2018
Audio
In this special edition series, Designing the Future. Jim Morgan talks with Dave Pericak, the Chief Engineer of the 2015 Ford Mustang.   Pericak was featured in A Faster Horse, a documentary exploring the ins and outs of designing world's most popular sports car.   Morgan is the author of the new book, Designing the Future and has spent over 30 years in industry as a product development leader including serving as a global engineering director at Ford Motor Company during the product-led revitalization under CEO Alan Mulally.  Learn more about Lean product and process development at leanpd.  org. More »
2019 Designing the Future Summit
September 26, 2018
Events
2019 Designing the Future Summit. June 27-28, 2019 - Traverse City, Michigan. A unique event for designers, product, process, and quality engineers, supply chain professionals, and development leaders as well as thought leaders to come together, learn from each other. More »
Use Lean Development Principles to Avoid "Traveling Hopefully" Down the Wrong Path
By: Jim Morgan | September 26, 2018
Columns
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 »
Fighting Poverty with Lean Product & Process Design at MIT D-Lab
By: Lean Leaper | April 24, 2018
Columns
D-Lab at MIT is using lean product and process design to help solve problems in the developing world, and are truly making the world a better place for all those involved More »
2018 Designing the Future Summit
January 25, 2018
Events
2018 Designing the Future Summit. June 19-20, 2018 - Traverse City, Michigan. A unique event for designers, product, process, and quality engineers, supply chain professionals, and development leaders as well as thought leaders to come together, learn from each other. More »
A3 Template
By: Sobek, Durward | January 16, 2010
A3s; Forms and Templates
Thanks to Associate Professor Durward Sobek, Mechanical and Engineering Dept.  , Montana State Univ.  , for sharing this A3 template and illustration of an improvement cycle for using it. More »
Shigeo Shingo's Influence on the Toyota Production System
By: Art Smalley; | January 12, 2009
Articles
Isao Kato was in a good position to observe the early development of the Toyota Production System, the model for lean production. He developed training material at Toyota under Taiichi Ohno, regarded as the chief architect of the Toyota Production System (TPS). He also coordinated the work of Shigeo Shingo, an outside consultant and TPS contributor. Kato sat down with Art Smalley for this Q&A about the roles of Shingo, Ohno, Sakichi Toyoda, and Kiichiro Toyoda about the early development of TPS.  Kato’s comments in the Q&A led to a response on the Superfactory site from Norman Bodek, the first publisher More »
Ten Years and Counting
By: Womack, Jim | October 23, 2007
Columns; eLetters
The Lean Enterprise Institute just celebrated its 10th anniversary with a small, private conference near our headquarters in Cambridge, MA. Surviving for a decade is no small accomplishment for a start-up organization and I take pride in our achievements:14 published titles with half a million copies sold in 14 languages.  24 workshops plus a management seminar.  13,000 participants educated in the workshops and seminar.  A series of memorable Lean Enterprise Summits, Lean Manufacturing Summits, and our current Lean Transformation Summits.  The Lean Enterprise Partners program where we conduct experiments on the best approach to a lean transformation.  Our website atwww.  More »
Lean Thinking for a Flat World
By: Womack, Jim | May 22, 2007
Presentations
a 2007 presentation by Jim Womack to the Institute of Industrial Engineers More »
More Thinking About Lean Transformation
By: Womack, Jim | January 16, 2007
Columns; eLetters
Recently we at the Lean Enterprise Institute have started a new research project trying to answer a simple question: “What is the best way to conduct a lean transformation?”This is not a new question, of course. A decade ago Dan Jones and I proposed an “Action Plan” in our book Lean Thinking. We advised readers of the first four steps in transforming their enterprise: find a change agent, obtain the core lean knowledge, seize or create a crisis, and then map your value streams to determine the current situation and to envision future states.  The difference now is that lean More »
Lean Thinking: A Look Back and a Look Forward
By: Womack, Jim | September 8, 2006
Articles; Charts, Graphs and Diagrams
The meaning of lean thinking, how lean got its name, and an example of how it improved a grinding process By LEI President Jim Womack. More »
Lean Development
By: Ballé, Freddy and Michael Ballé | October 1, 2005
Articles
 Freddy and Michael Ballé, co-authors of the lean novel The Gold Mine, pull together their experiences with Toyota suppliers, contacts with Toyota engineers, and existing research to discern the four keys to the company's product development system and how it has evolved in recent years. More »
Lean Leadership
By: Womack, Jim | February 3, 2005
Columns; eLetters
On my gemba walks I often get comments and questions about leadership.    “We can’t seem to get anywhere because we don’t have any leadership.  ”  “Who should lead the lean transformation?”  “Is a ‘lean’ leader different from any other type of leader?” I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I have been thinking about this issue for many years so I thought I would share what I’ve learned.  First, I say to anyone who asks about leadership:  “It begins with you.    And it makes no difference who you are or where you are in your organization.    More »
Deconstructing the Tower of Babel
By: Womack, Jim | October 7, 2004
Columns; eLetters
Seventeen years ago, in my office at MIT, I witnessed a magic moment when a new term was born.    We were getting ready to publish the first article on the findings of the International Motor Vehicle Program and we needed a label to describe the phenomenon we were observing in our study of Toyota.  After trying out a lot of terms that didn’t seem quite right, John Krafcik, one of our young researchers, suggested that we name the system -- including its design, production, purchasing, and customer service elements -- for what it does.  So we wrote on a More »
Jim Womack on how lean compares with Six Sigma, Re-engineering, TOC, TPM, etc., etc.
By: Womack, Jim | July 14, 2003
Columns; eLetters
 It amazes me, but I still get lots of questions about how “lean” compares with Six Sigma, Total Productive Maintenance, Business Process Re-engineering, Demand-Flow, the Theory of Constraints, and other approaches to improvement.    And I always give the same answer: At the end of the day we are all trying to achieve the same thing: The perfect value stream.    Here’s how I think about it:To create value for the customer – which I hope we agree is how we should be earning our living – a series of steps must be conducted properly in the proper sequence.    More »
We Have Been (Lean) Thinking
By: Womack, Jim | May 21, 2003
Columns; eLetters
It’s been six years since we launched Lean Thinking and we’ve had a lot of gratifying experience in these years watching members of the Lean Community resolutely applying the five lean principles of value, value stream, flow, pull and perfection. During this same time, we’ve also watched with a combination amusement and despair as managers around the world madly pursued new business models and financial engineering. Events since the launch of Lean Thinking amply confirm our long-held view that managers will try anything easy that doesn’t work before they will try anything hard that does. The good news is that More »
Getting Back to Basics
By: Womack, Jim | March 19, 2002
Columns; eLetters
I recently had a request from a Detroit newspaper to write a brief piece for the Motor Show on how American car companies can get turned in the right direction. In reading it over, I realized that my advice would be the same for any company in any industry in any country, so I thought I would pass it along. If you are not in automotive, just substitute your industry and product whenever you see "automotive", "cars", etc. We're Back to Basics. So.  ..  What Are the Basics? In every economic boom, American car companies forget what they really are and More »
Don’t Be Fooled by Fake Flow
By: Harris, Rick | December 1, 2001
Articles
Lean Enterprise Institute Author Rick Harris shares his insights for spotting "fake flow" and replacing it with real continuous flow. Reprinted with permission from December 2001 IIE Solutions magazine. Copyright 2001, Institute of Industrial Engineers. Follow-up resources: Read about the Creating Continuous Flow workbook. Check the Creating Continuous Flow workshop schedule. More »
Role of Management in a Lean Manufacturing Environment
By: Convis, Gary | July 2, 2001
Articles
Gary Convis, president, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky, explains that the critical role of management in a lean company is to motivate and engage large numbers of people to work together toward a common goal. Defining and explaining the goal, how to achieve it, and helping people achieve it by removing obstacles "are management's reason for being," he tells SAE International. More »