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Continuous Improvement is Good, But Is It Lean?
By: Dave LaHote | May 6, 2015
Columns
Take a look at your organization. Is Lean clearly directed and connected to strategy? Are senior leaders directly involved in specifying the process improvements needed? Will the process improvements you are focused on improve help you provide value to your end customers? More »
Continuous Improvement Using Personal Kanban
Workshops
A simple, effective management system for digging out of work -- and staying dug out -- to achieve higher quality, better productivity, greater job satisfaction, and peace of mind. More »
Ugly Babies, Silent Enemies and Other Short Stories from a Continuous Improvement Conference
By: Chet Marchwinski | July 18, 2018
Columns
Besides the lessons, challenges, and results that belong to a company’s lean transformation, there are personal journeys as well. Here’s a summary of some we heard at a recent conference. More »
Is there a crack in the model of continuous improvement?
By: Tom Ehrenfeld | February 9, 2018
Columns
Is this a case of déjà vu all over again? The Wall Street Journal says the sterling reputation of “Japanese manufacturing” or kaizen, is tarnished in the wake of several quality inspection scandals. But is this a kaizen crisis or a kaizen kerfuffle that we’ve experienced before? Editor Tom Ehrenfeld sorts it out. More »
The Future of Continuous Improvement
By: Jeremiah Davis | April 2, 2017
Presentations
"Do not feel absolutely certain of anything.  "(From: Bertrand Russell's Ten Commandments of Teaching) More »
Kata Puts the "Continuous" in Continuous Improvement
By: By Drew Locher | February 1, 2016
Presentations
In this 6-minute video, Drew Locher of Change Management Associates makes the 'Case for Kata’ by explaining what it takes for teams to develop the skills and habits of Continuous Improvement culture, and how practicing the routines of the IK and CK helps you do that. More »
Leadership Q&A: Lisa Yerian, MD, Medical Director of Continuous Improvement, Cleveland Clinic Foundation
By: David Drickhamer | May 28, 2015
Articles
From the LEI senior executive series on lean leadership: Lisa Yerian, MD, director of Hepatobiliary Pathology and medical director of continuous improvement, Division of Clinical Transformation, Cleveland Clinic, discusses how to engaging staff, doctors and senior leaders, healthcare reform’s impact, where to start a lean transformation, and why she took on responsibility for continuous improvement. More »
What To Do When Executives Think Continuous Improvement Smells Fishy
By: Erin Urban | January 10, 2014
Columns
Top executives are smart, but they don't always see the value of continuous improvement efforts. And continuous improvement professionals don't always communicate that value well to senior executives. More »
How Do the Problems of Continuous Improvement Professionals Differ from Those of Line Managers
By: Ballé, Michael | September 7, 2012
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: How do the lean-related problems or responsibilities of ci professionals differ from those of line managers or business unit managers? More »
New Manufacturing Challenge: Techniques for Continuous Improvement, The
By: Kiyoshi Suzaki | July 13, 1987
Books; Charts, Graphs and Diagrams
Suzaki manages to tie all the elements of lean thinking together at the operational level – TQC, TPS, TPM – and link them to the broader business system. A manufacturing consultant, Suzaki has produced a mature and articulate summary of the lean thought process from the standpoint of the building block techniques. Some things will seem a bit strange to those familiar with Learning to See and other LEI publications – the use of the term “cycle time” to refer to what most of us now call “takt time” – but the basics are all there in a highly readable More »
Leading in a Continuous Improvement Culture: Engaging and Coaching Problem Solving Thinkers
Workshops
This program is designed to describe this new role you can play as a leader in a program solving culture. It will also introduce skills that will help you be effective in that role and give you opportunities to practice them. More »
Kaizen: the Culture of Continuous Improvement
Workshops
This workshop is an introduction to the Kaizen Teian or Kaizen methodology which promotes the sustainable continuous improvement as a daily way of life for every member within the organization. The class is based on a “hear-see-do” approach allowing you to learn through instruction, discussion, simulation, and small-group exercise. More »
From Fire Fighting to True Continuous Improvement
Workshops
This workshop is an introduction into A-3 / PDCA problem solving. Workshop participants learn the thinking and practice of PDCA by doing. We ask each participant to come to the workshop with a problem that they would like to use as a test case to explore and learn new ways of thinking about how to solve problems. More »
How Wiremold Reinvented Itself Through Kaizen
By: Art Byrne | March 17, 2021
Columns
Art Byrne shares a seminal 25-year-old article recounting how Wiremold tapped Kaizen to support a complete lean turnaround that continues to inspire and instruct people on their own journey today. More »
The Toyota Way and Toyota Kata: How Do They Fit?
By: Jeffrey Liker | February 9, 2021
Columns
"Perhaps we can view the kata as a catalyst that juices scientific thinking which is the engine that drives The Toyota Way," says Jeff Liker in this article explaining how Toyota Kata and the Toyota Way fit with each other. He also notes that Mike Rother calls them "starter kata" rather than "finishing kata.  " More »
Six Lessons from the Hyper-Fast Design and Finished Construction of the Sherman Alternate Care Facility
By: Brad Booker and Mark Walsh | February 8, 2021
Columns
The authors, an architect, and a regional lean manager, share the lean principles that enabled the delivery of both the construction and design of a 274-bed, 100,000 square foot healthcare renovation in 25 days -- amid a pandemic. More »
Art of Lean on Situational Leadership, Part 1: An Introduction
By: Art Smalley | January 15, 2021
Columns
Continuing his Art of Lean series, Art Smalley is back with a new topic and five parts, all focusing on situational leadership. In this first part, Art takes you through this topic's history and delves into specific cases and steps within this process, from diagnosing the situation to partnering for performance. More »
Tips for Following Through on Improvement Plan Execution
By: David Verble | January 13, 2021
Columns
There is a critical difference between follow-through and follow-up during the A3 problem-solving process as David Verble, a veteran lean management coach with 30+ years of hands-on experience with A3s, explains. More »
"It's Only A Failure If You Don't Learn"
By: Lean Leaper | October 14, 2020
Columns
"It's only a failure if you don't learn" says Toyota veteran Isao Yoshino, whose experience developing an ultimately failed water-ski boat venture for Toyota is shared in Katie Anderson's new book documenting many of his life lessons. More »
The Hidden Value of Filling Out the Paperwork
By: Josh Howell | September 15, 2020
Columns
Respect for people--and sustained continuous improvement--begins with something as simple as carefully filling out the paperwork for standardized work, says Josh Howell. More »
View Crises as Manageable Challenges Through Steady Lean Leadership
By: Lean Leaper | September 14, 2020
Columns
If you are using lean to tackle a series of crises, you may not be using lean in the first place, say a range of thinkers who urge leaders to cultivate a shared mindset that seeks problems from every person every day as a means of avoiding unexpected challenges. More »
How the Coloplast Parts Distribution Center Reduced its Process Lead Time
By: Roberto Priolo | September 10, 2020
Columns
How the Coloplast Parts Distribution Center in Tatabanya, Hungary, reduced its process lead time from 3 to 14 days to half a day. More »
No Standard, No Problem? Not Really. It’s a Big Problem
By: David Verble | September 8, 2020
Columns
Learn why the A3 is more than a problem-solving tool, and why it's critical to leading change. More »
The Art of Lean: Use These Tools to Help You Improve a Process, Part 1
By: Art Smalley | August 21, 2020
Columns
Learn about this four-step approach that will help you “pinpoint the tricky parts” of a process as you work to improve it. Art Smalley, president of Art of Lean, Inc.  , reminds us of this practice that’s foundational to lean but not talked about much anymore. Part one of a five-part series. More »
Learn by Doing: Overcoming Inertia and Triggering Engagement Through Kaizen
By: Lean Leaper | July 20, 2020
Columns
Practicing daily kaizen powerfully drives the heart of any serious lean effort to learn and improve, a topic that will be addressed in the Virtual Lean Learning Experience by several process improvement leaders from Amadeus Hospitality. This Post shares articles from the archives that expand on this practice. More »
Ask Art: Does Lean Really Work Beyond Manufacturing?
By: Art Byrne | May 22, 2020
Columns
Lean certainly applies beyond manufacturing, explains Art Byrne, who shares the dramatic gains at a life insurance company as a way of teaching broadly applicable principles for a lean turnaround. 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 »
After Lean Progress, Fighting the Challenges of Backsliding
By: Nicolas Chartier | January 31, 2020
Columns
After accepting the tough challenge of reducing deliver lead-time, CEO Nicolas Chartier and their entire team learned "to react at the first sign of backsliding and grit our teeth and never, never agree to lower the bar.  " More »
Does A Lack Of Physical Inventory Make Office Work “Different”?
By: Ken Eakin | January 10, 2020
Columns
While "waste" is easy to see and address in a factory setting, people working in an office environment have just as much to gain from learning how to reduce excess inventory and other forms of waste, says Ken Eakin. More »
The Hard Work of Making Hard Work Easier
By: Mark Reich | December 11, 2019
Columns
We persevere by struggling to overcome the challenges of hard work, argues Mark Reich. And, he says it is also our responsibility to challenge individuals, to “invoke struggle” so people think about how to change how the company views frontline work. It is our job to ensure that the lead person struggles to change the culture. More »
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