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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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
Lean Thinkers Are Systems Thinkers
By: Richard Sheridan | August 7, 2019
Columns
Lean thinkers are systems thinkers, argues Rich Sheridan: "Intentional cultures thrive when the simple systems put in place reinforce every cultural intention and that systems thinkers will always start with the attitude that improving the systems is the best route to improvement, success, and ultimately joy.  " More »
Getting Home: Jacob and Claude Stoller Appreciate the Lean Lessons of this New Book
By: Claude Stoller and Jacob Stoller | June 12, 2019
Columns
"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 »
Ask Art: How Can I Engage All Our Leaders to Learn and Teach Lean?
By: Art Byrne | June 10, 2019
Columns
What's the best way to teach lean to your internal leaders? By forming teams who will learn by doing, shares Art Byrne. This will drive your gains, build great teamwork, and build the learning environment necessary to become a lean enterprise. More »
Practicing Constructive Discontent At SBP
By: Zack Rosenburg | May 24, 2019
Columns
To become an organization of problem solvers, talking about problems couldn’t merely be something that we did, shares Zack Rosenburg of St. Bernard Project. It had to be part of who we are; it had to be our identity. Being or living constructive discontent and adopting it as our identity would mean that problems were brought to the surface, not buried. More »
The Gift of Yokoten
By: James P. Womack | April 15, 2019
Columns
In this article originally published in Planet Lean, after a visit to Goshen, Indiana, Jim Womack shared thoughts on the gift of lean thinking and the obligation that individuals learning this way of thinking feel about sharing what they've learned with others. More »
"Roll"-ing Out Lean at Kura Sushi
By: Katie Anderson | November 29, 2018
Columns
Self-professed "lean geek" Katie Anderson has eaten several meals at Kura Sushi restaurants and shares her observations on what she sees as lean principles at play More »
Avoiding Dashboard Wallpaper
By: Leslie Barker | September 6, 2018
Columns
Build a system of dashboards up and down the organization, says Leslie Barker. Connect them so ideas flow upward and support flows to the idea. It’s a bit tricky setting up dashboards that summarize the performance and capture the critical ideas of many departments below, but it can be done through trial and error. More »
How Does Asking Questions Create Change?
By: Michael Ballé and Tracey Richardson | August 23, 2018
Columns
Lean is not a sum of processes to acquire and apply which then will make things magically work better. It’s a set of techniques to visualize delivery processes so everyone understands them at a glance, reveal problems to give opportunities for people to exercise their abilities to think, be creative and utilize their strengths to self-actualize in the course of their work. More »
React Less and Improve More by Using SPC More Effectively
By: Mark Graban | August 14, 2018
Columns
When we stop reacting to “noise” in a metric, we can better focus our improvement efforts, waste less time, and improve more, says Mark Graban. That should all be a core principle of Lean management that can help leaders in any setting. More »
As Toast Kaizen Turns 20, Bruce Hamilton Shares How This Famous Video Came About
By: Bruce Hamilton | August 7, 2018
Columns
Watch this "director's cut" video by Bruce Hamilton sharing the backstory behind what has become a classic lean resource: Toast Kaizen. More »
Build Awareness Through Seeing How Eliminating Waste Reduces Costs
By: Ernie Richardson and Tracey Richardson | July 12, 2018
Columns
As we grow our people we must continue to add new dimensions of thinking to engage them in their work and to empower them to always be looking for or trying new ideas, says Tracey Richardson. Building awareness of how to reduce costs forms a foundation for continued improvement. More »
Practical, Actionable Tips for Re-Engaging People with a Suggestion System, Part 2
By: Steve Ansuini | June 8, 2018
Columns
Companies, responding to surveys showing that a troubling number of people are disengaged at work, respond with perks like nap pods, rock walls, and free food. Suggestions systems get overlooked. That’s too bad because the whole point of a system done correctly is engagement. Here are some real-world tips on starting and sustaining a system from an experienced lean practitioner. More »
Stability Before Innovation
By: James P. Womack | May 24, 2018
Columns
Given its foundational strengths of stable and robust product development, production, supplier development, and general management system, Toyota is well poised to deliver innovative solutions to primary challenges facing all automakers. It's a lesson for any company seeking innovation, says Jim Womack. More »
Mindfulness and Leading with Respect
By: Mike Orzen and John Y. Shook | May 23, 2018
Columns
Mindfulness is both more essential today than ever, and a foundation for organizational lean excellence. Here John Shook and Mike Orzen explore this theme. “The more lean thinking you do, the more mindfulness you’ll experience, and the more mindfulness you create, the more presence you’ll create…and the more lean thinking you’ll do.  ” More »
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