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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 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 »
Toyota chief engineers have no power? Really?
By: Michael Ballé | April 30, 2018
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: We often hear that Toyota chief engineers have no power. Really? So how does that work? Why such an organization? What problem does it solve? 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 important is it to consider differences in roles between our current project manager and a chief engineer?
By: Michael Ballè | June 6, 2016
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: Management wants us to start lean in product development, but refuses to consider the difference in roles between our current project manager and a chief engineer – how important is that? More »
Gemba-Based Leadership – Not Just for Chief Engineers
By: Shook, John | February 10, 2009
Columns; eLetters
John Shook on gemba-based leadership More »
The Remarkable Chief Engineer
By: Shook, John | February 3, 2009
Columns; eLetters
Last week I shared this principle quoted from an unexpected source, the U.  S. Marine Leadership Manual: "An individual's responsibility for leadership is not dependent on authority.  " I'll use that as our point of departure this week to continue with my thesis that the deep-rooted assumption that authority should equal responsibility is the root of much organizational evil. More »
Front-Load Your Design Process by Using Set-Based Design
By: Jeffrey Liker | April 1, 2021
Articles
Jeffrey Liker shares his experience researching lean product and process development at Toyota, unveiling the importance behind having a customer-driven concept, having one project leader, and more. More »
How Lean is Apple?
By: Tom Ehrenfeld | December 10, 2020
Columns
Apple may not worship at the altar of lean, but a close look at its operations and strategy show clear resonance with established lean principles. 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 »
What's different about implementing lean in a low-volume, high-variety environment?
By: Michael Ballé | April 8, 2019
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: I manage a plant that makes highly engineered, low-volume products. What do I have to do differently from the high-volume guys to implement lean management concepts? 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 »
I want to apply lean to engineering. Any thoughts?
By: Ballé, Michael | May 4, 2014
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: I am the regional manufacturing VP of a large industrial company. After the latest reorganization, engineering now comes under me. I’ve had good success with lean in manufacturing and want to apply it to engineering. I plan to get engineers to solve production problems faster. Any thoughts? More »
Is there such a thing as lean manufacturing engineering?
By: Ballé, Michael | December 4, 2013
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: I keep reading about lean engineering and lean design. Is there lean manufacturing engineering? More »
How do we get started with lean tools in new product development?
By: Ballé, Michael | March 8, 2013
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: My company already has a deep rooted lean culture.    However, it would seem that the next evolution would be in my department, Research & Development.    Do you have any suggestions on how to take lean tools from process improvements such as kaizen, 5S, etc. to new product development? More »
Why isn’t there more emphasis on lean engineering?
By: Ballé, Michael | December 17, 2012
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: Why isn’t there more emphasis on lean engineering? More »
Should I Use Lean for Headcount Reduction?
By: Ballé, Michael | April 10, 2012
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: My company wants to reduce its fixed costs. And as part of this my management has asked me to apply the lean techniques we’ve implemented in production to reduce headcount in engineering. I’m uneasy about doing this and wondered where I can find out more about lean in engineering departments. More »
Engineering Checklists
By: Balle, Michael | October 20, 2011
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: How do I apply standardized work to product development? More »
Lean Product Development and Engineering at Ford
By: Marchwinski, Chet | January 22, 2011
Articles
James Morgan, director, Global Body Exterior and Stamping Business Unit Engineering, Ford Motor Company, explains how he got skeptical engineers behind the lean transformation in product development. Morgan delivered a plenary presentation on the topic of lean in engineering and product development during the 2011 Lean Transformation Summit. More »
Where to Start in Engineering
By: Balle, Michael | June 15, 2010
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: I’m in charge of the engineering department in our company and the CEO has asked me to start with lean. I’ve been reading the books and it seems very complicated and geared towards much bigger outfits than ours. I’m at a loss as where to start in practice – any advice? 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 »
We’re all connected and nobody is in charge
By: Shook, John | January 26, 2009
Columns; eLetters
Everyone hates the “matrix”. Not the movie series, of course, but the cross-functional matrix organization. Yet, having searched for the past 15 years, I have yet to find an organization of any complexity that does not need to achieve its most important outcomes through cross-functional collaboration. More »
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