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Watch John Shook's Keynote at Lean Construction Institute's 17th Annual Congress!
By: Lean Leaper | February 11, 2016
This past October, LEI Chairman and CEO John Shook delivered a keynote at Lean Construction Institute's 17th Annual Congress in Boston, Massachusetts. Watch a full clip of John's talk and read key excerpts from his presentation here. Don't forget to let us know your thoughts in a comment. More »
Lean Thinking in Construction: From “What” & “How” to “Why”?
By: Nick Masci | April 30, 2015
"Construction is fraught with conditions of poor quality, cost overruns, and late projects," says Nick Masci of Lean Construction Institute. And in trying to improve, many people fall into the trap of an over-reliance on “tools of waste elimination” rather than a broader, principle-based approach. Read what Masci and his team are doing to shift the field's thinking. More »
Lean Design and Construction Project an Extension of Lean Commitment at Akron Children's Hospital
By: Vinas, Tonya | May 21, 2013
Case Studies
When the Ambulatory Surgery & Critical Care Tower opens in 2015, it will represent a three-year lean design and construction collaboration among builders, architects, trade contractors, healthcare provides, patients, and patient families. The design of both the facility and future operations is being shaped directly by patients and those who care for them. Input from nurses, doctors, therapists, technicians, and patient parents heavily influenced design decisions—from incorporating emergency room hallways that protect the privacy of abused children to the number of electrical outlets in each neonatal intensive care room.    More »
Using Lean Thinking to Accelerate Decision-Making
By: Will Lichtig and Jason Schulist | October 22, 2020
Learn how flattening the decision tree enabled The Boldt Company to pivot quickly to keep essential job sites functioning and keep support people safer at home. More »
What I Learned by Coaching at the Gemba Virtually
By: Mark Reich | June 23, 2020
Lean Coach Mark Reich shares an example of how lean thinking is itself continually renewed, as leading practitioners use it to solve new problems. More »
What do I do when key logistics employees are afraid to come to work?
By: Michael Ballé | March 23, 2020
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: What do I do when key logistics employees are afraid to come to work? More »
Grit, PDCA, Lean and other four-letter words
By: Josh Howell | December 10, 2019
Columns; eLetters
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the nature of what author Angela Duckworth calls Grit. She defines grit as a sort of mash-up between passion and perseverance. What I’ve been thinking about is the way that grit overlaps with lean thinking and the sustained work of applying PDCA over many cycles over a sustained period of time. More »
The Lean Farm
By: Jean Cunningham | November 26, 2019
Columns; eLetters
A cold wet fall Saturday at the Talking Farm in Skokie, IL was a workshop day of learning for a group of 25 urban farmers and urban farmer wannabes. Our speaker was Ben Hartman, author of the The Lean Farm and The Lean Farm Handbook, who also hosts the Lean Farm School at his property in Goshen, Indiana. Ben and Rachel Hartman own Clay Bottom Farm where they are able to support a family of four with a sustainable lifestyle. Oh and importantly, their farmed area consists of less than one acre of land. More »
Why implement lean when it fails so often?
By: Michael Ballé | September 16, 2019
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: Is it true that lean often fails? What’s the point then? More »
Getting Home: Jacob and Claude Stoller Appreciate the Lean Lessons of this New Book
By: Claude Stoller and Jacob Stoller | June 12, 2019
"Getting Home is a terrific book that puts lean to work on a problem that’s really significant. Let’s hope it’s an inspiration for architects and non-architects who want to make a difference," says Jacob Stoller, in a conversation with his father Claude, an architect and teacher with a passion for applying lean to this work. More »
Reflections from LEI’s New President, Josh Howell
By: Josh Howell | June 3, 2019
Columns; eLetters
Josh Howell, an experienced manager and lean management coach, is LEI’s new president and executive team leader. Read his note to the lean community and share your thoughts. More »
Rebuilding Homes and Disaster Recovery Processes
By: Zack Rosenburg | May 15, 2019
When Liz McCartney and Zack Rosenburg left their careers to help desperate victims of Hurricane Katrina rebuild, they knew nothing about construction or lean management. Today, SBP, the disaster recovery nonprofit they founded, has cut rebuilding time by nearly 50% using lean concepts. Zack talks to LEI about the remarkable new recovery model they developed and detail in their new book, Getting Home. More »
Standardize Your Problem-Solving Approach? Why One Size Does Not Fit All
By: Art Smalley | January 30, 2019
Lean management practitioners know what a powerful tool standardization is for continuously improving processes. Without standards, there can be no improvement as the old saying goes. Yet as LEI faculty member and author Art Smalley points out this does not only mean one rigid way of doing things such as standardizing your problem-solving approach on only a single methodology like six sigma or 8D or a specific technique like 5 Why? More »
We're working hard on problem solving so why don't I see any improvement in our problem-solving capability?
By: Michael Ballé | September 10, 2018
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: We're working hard on problem solving, asking "why" repeatedly, and looking for root causes, but I'm afraid I fail to see any improvement in our problem-solving capability or why looking for hidden causes should help. More »
Do I have the right attitude during gemba walks?
By: Michael Ballé | June 18, 2018
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: How do I know if I have the right attitude during gemba walks? We’ve started doing those systematically, but I realize how many of our managers add to the pressure on associates rather than make things better, and maybe I do too. Any help? More »
Expanding Our Perspective on Lean Management, Part 1: A Creative Ethic
By: Joanna McGuffey and Thomas Richert | April 10, 2018
To explore the idea that there may be other angles for understanding lean management principles than purely business or analytical perspectives, a group of lean management practitioners met with artists. Here’s what surprised them. More »
SBP Has a Helping Hand in Hurricane Harvey
By: Zack Rosenburg | August 31, 2017
Learn how SBP (formerly Saint Bernard Project) is using lean to help victims of Hurricane Harvey and other natural disasters -- plus what you can do to help! More »
What do you mean by developing people?
By: Ballé, Michael | April 10, 2017
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: What do you mean by developing people? More »
Is there a lean way of delegating?
By: Michael Ballè | March 3, 2017
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: I’m an entrepreneur and I used to micromanage everything, quite successfully. Now the firm has grown and I’m trying to delegate. How do I stop myself from cutting in when the actions my department heads want to take are plain silly, or not very creative? More »
I’m struggling to understand exactly what people mean by a “lean system”?
By: Michael Ballè | May 30, 2016
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: I’m struggling to understand exactly what people mean by a “lean system”? More »
Our technical guys are really resisting the idea of standard work. What should we do?
By: Ballé, Michael | May 16, 2016
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: Our technical guys are really resisting the idea of standard work. They believe they each have their own way of working and don’t want to share. What should we do? More »
Lean Product Development at Cathedral Hill Hospital
By: Baris Lostuvali | July 22, 2015
Read Baris Lostuvali's case study on bringing LPPD to the Cathedral Hill Hospital in San Francisco. More »
Just-in-Time Roundup: Great Lean Reads Across the Web (Vol.9)
By: Lean Leaper | July 9, 2015
Our picks for interesting lean reads, this time from Modern Healthcare, Harvard Business Review, Bloomberg View, and Nikkel Blaase. More »
Safety Through Gemba
By: Brian Fitzpatrick | June 24, 2015
"When I do a gemba walk, I don’t necessarily ask questions about safety," writes Brian Fitzpatrick (a director of Health & Safety), "I engage in conversations with staff members, and ask staff to teach me about how they do their work and what concerns them.  .. They must feel they have the power to change what is wrong, and believe that we care.  " More »
By: John Shook | June 11, 2015
Columns; eLetters
We need to think about redefining work. Until we – anyone who wishes to bring about organizational change – redefine the actual value-creating work of the business, we haven’t made any changes that are meaningful. You may be able to create wealth through a variety of business models or ways of thinking. But if you want to create real value, and jobs that value people, you must think hard about how your people are working every day. 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
Columns; eLetters
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 »
Lean Management Case Studies
By: Marchwinski, Chet | May 16, 2014
Case Studies
Learn how a variety of businesses and organizations used lean management principles to solve real business problems. We’ve arranged the examples in 16 categories to help you find the ones right for your environment.  Be sure to read LEI’s complementary Senior Executive Series on Lean Leadership to find out how many of the executives cited in these case studies changed how they managed and led. More »
I don’t find much about lean strategy in the literature. Where should I look?
By: Ballé, Michael | February 10, 2014
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: I’ve been tasked to come up with a presentation on what is a “lean” strategy to our Strategic Planning Group. I don’t find much about lean strategy in the literature and am stumped. Where should I look? More »
Product and Process Lean
By: Ballé, Michael | October 8, 2013
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: Lean product development guys tout the gospel of product focus as core to lean success. No argument from me. But … how, if the customers are famously wrong about what they really want, do we focus on the product and still give them what they really need? It feels like we're running on two different tracks. More »
Does quality really come first?
By: Ballé, Michael | July 22, 2013
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: I’ve been practicing lean for many years and have learned to create flow and one-piece-flow. However I still struggle with quality problems. I hear that quality comes first, but face many challenges trying to put this phrase into practice. What’s your take on this? More »
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