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Accounting and Finance - How Can We Help?
By: Mike De Luca | April 3, 2020
Articles
I’ve been thinking about what we as Lean Finance and Accounting practitioners can be doing during this time of “business-as-unusual” and wanted to offer a few ideas that I hope will generate thoughtful discussion, sharing and co-learning as a community. More »
Why and How to Engage Finance in a Lean Transformation. An Interview with Jean Cunningham
By: Jean Cunningham and Cameron Ford | February 2, 2016
Columns
There's often a disconnect between an organization's lean and finance departments, especially when a lean transformation is underway. In her newest piece for the Lean Post, Jean Cunningham explains the root causes, potential dangers, and solutions to this all-too-common problem. More »
My CEO, who supported lean, has left and been replaced by a pure finance guy. It doesn't look good for the lean effort. What should I do?
By: Ballé, Michael | July 13, 2015
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: My CEO, who supported lean, has left and been replaced by a pure finance guy. It doesn’t look good for the lean effort. What should I do? More »
Do lean-minded finance professionals make a difference in appraising lean initiatives?
By: Ballé, Michael | October 19, 2012
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: I would like to ask lean-minded fellow finance professionals if they make a difference in appraising lean initiatives from other investments in their companies,  e.  g. different project and investment appraisal techniques, hurdle rates, etc.  ? More »
Leadership Q&A: Chris Vogel, senior vice president, Wells Fargo Home and Consumer Finance
By: Marchwinski, Chet; | January 12, 2009
Articles
From the LEI senior executive series on lean leadership:When the Federal Reserve entered a period of continually lowering interest rates to keep the economy afloat after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Wells Fargo was flooded with paperwork as real estate transaction volume more than doubled. Existing technology did not scale well and existing processes were stressed to capacity. Vogel describes how Operations responded with new automation, but more importantly, with leaner processes for handling paperwork, based on the Toyota Production System. He also discussses management challenges, structural changes, and how to sustain improvements. (Vogel currently is an LEI faculty member and More »
Leadership Q&A: Chris Vogel, senior vice president, Wells Fargo Home and Consumer Finance
By: Chet Marchwinski | January 12, 2009
Articles; Audio
From the LEI senior executive series on lean leadership:Listen to a conversation with Chris Vogel based on the above interview. (Note: This is a large audio file. Allow time for downloading.  ) More »
Ask Art: Why Do Most Companies Think Of Lean as Just a Cost Reduction Program?
By: Art Byrne | July 15, 2020
Columns
We shouldn’t be surprised at all that most companies approach lean as a cost reduction program, when it really is better understood as a time-based growth strategy, says Art Byrne, who points out the strategic benefits that accrue to companies practicing lean completely. More »
Creating a Lean Quoting Process to Support Your Lean Transformation, Part 2
By: Ed Grinde | July 9, 2020
Columns
When you view your lean transformation as a growth strategy, you’ll want to develop a lean quoting process that responds to customer inquiries faster than the competition and allows you to focus on high-value opportunities. Here’s a process that’s designed to quickly complete 95+% of all quotes, which frees up your value stream quoting team to spend time on the handful of large and/or special quotes that will truly increase your company’s profits. More »
Why We Believe Tough Times and Opportunity Go Hand in Hand
By: Lean Sensei Women | July 1, 2020
Columns
In this detailed set of suggestions for managing the current challenges posed by Covid-19, Rose Heathcote and the Lean Sensei Women focus on leveraging assets in these cash-strapped times: "How we handle the crisis is a defining moment. How we prepare for life after the crisis is vital.  " More »
Ask Art: What Happens When Standard Cost Accounting Meets Takt Time?
By: Art Byrne | January 22, 2020
Columns
Trying to become a lean enterprise while retaining traditional standard cost accounting is an exercise in futility. It was developed for a steady state environment and is obsolete once a company changes to a lean “continuous improvement” strategy, says Art Byrne. It is therefore important to understand that one of the first things you need to do in your lean turnaround is to replace your standard cost approach with lean or “plain English”accounting. More »
Ask Art: What Do You Mean When You Say “Productivity equals Wealth”?
By: Art Byrne | December 13, 2019
Columns
Productivity is the greatest wealth creator whether you talk about countries or companies, says Art Byrne. If you go about it correctly, the best ideas for productivity gains will always come from the people doing the work. Make sure you share the gains with them. More »
Lean Financial Planning – How well does your budget serve its purpose?
By: Mike De Luca | December 11, 2019
Articles
How well does your budget serve its purpose? Asking this question can lead to a rich and revealing discussion with operational and finance teams alike. In order to gauge the effectiveness of the budget (both the process and the set of outputs or tools), we likely need to start by agreeing what effectiveness is measured relative to. What is the purpose of the budget? Why do we engage in the budget process and produce the outputs it generates? How do we use the budget during the year to check-adjust performance? Who are the end-users of the budget and what are their requirements? More »
The Value Add Accountant Book Club Questions
September 19, 2019
Articles
In The Value Add Accountant, you will learn how adopting this new role can enable accounting and finance to proactively support business decision making and impact improved outcomes. This expanded role has both accounting operations and company-wide elements. It is initiated by applying Lean principles and tools to everyday processes to minimize mind-numbing transaction work and other waste from accounting processes. Those improvements increase available accounting capacity. This capacity is then applied to impacting the future with more time spent on internal customer-based, value adding activities for the organization.  LEI makes it easy to learn together, download our free book More »
Towards A More Lean Statement of Purpose
By: Orest (Orry) Fiume | September 11, 2019
Columns
Reflecting on a recent Business Roundtable statement pledging a commitment to all of its stakeholders (and not simply maximizing shareholder value, Orry Fiume reminds us how core Lean values overlap with this new stated mission. More »
Lean Accounting Is Simpler, Faster, Cheaper, and More Accurate Than Traditional Management Accounting, so Why Don’t More Companies Use It?
July 31, 2019
Articles
Five thought leaders of the movement recently held a special conversation about what lean accounting is and isn’t, why it is vital to sustaining a culture of continuous improvement, how it relates to GAAP, and why it provides a truer picture of how your company is performing.   As long-time lean accounting practitioners, they also liberally share practical, real-world examples of how traditional accounting can mislead and misinform decision-makers. 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 »
Real Numbers Book Club Questions
April 12, 2019
Articles
Current management accounting practices produce financial statements that are unnecessarily complex and confusing. As a result, most companies are run by executives who do not fully understand their own financial information.  This explosive issue and its implications are fully explored in Real Numbers.   The authors, each a chief financial executive, describe how management accounting evolved to this point and how simplicity and clarity can be restored – particularly in a lean organization.  Companies throughout the world are using lean principles to dramatically change the competitive landscape while generating new profitability and market share. As these companies transform, however, financial executives are More »
What topics, tools, and techniques would you include in an MBA-level course on teaching lean concepts?
By: Michael Ballé | March 11, 2019
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: I am designing an MBA-level course to teach lean concepts.    What topics, tools, and techniques would you include in a 7-week, 14-session course? More »
Good Night Sweethearts
By: Bruce Hamilton | February 14, 2019
Columns
On this Valentine's Day, GBMP President Bruce Hamilton laments this year's lack of Sweetheart Candies, reflecting that, "NECCO, like General Motors had failed to understand what Shigeo Shingo called 'the most basic concept in the Toyota Production System,' the cost subtraction principle. More »
Ask Art: How Should I Re-invest the Gains from Kaizen?
By: Art Byrne | February 8, 2019
Columns
Becoming lean through using kaizen activity allows you to remove a great deal of waste and deliver value to your customers, shares Art Byrne. If you do the right things with the excess resources you free up, you can then leverage your gains far more dramatically. Don’t waste the gains. More »
Should producing products with zero defects be my top goal?
By: Michael Ballé | January 7, 2019
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: Is zero defects really the first goal? The number of defects doesn’t necessarily relate to the user’s experience with a product, does it? More »
Ask Art: How Do I Get the Senior Management Team On Board with Lean?
By: Art Byrne | December 10, 2018
Columns
Lean requires teamwork, and so getting your senior management team on board requires a great deal of work, including new mindsets, exposure to lean practice, and shifts in everything from how sales are conducted to how team leaders lead at the gemba, says Art Byrne. 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 »
What is the hardest conversation you ever had during gemba walks?
By: Ballé, Michael | August 27, 2018
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: What is the hardest conversation that you have during gemba walks? More »
The Value Add Accountant
By: Jean Cunningham | July 1, 2018
Books
The Value Add Accountant: an indispensable partner supporting strategic improvement efforts More »
What is your psychology of change?
By: Michael Ballé | June 11, 2018
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: Do you have a psychology of change? And if so, what is it? Where should we start? More »
As CEO, how do I get my management team to support the lean effort?
By: Michael Ballé | April 23, 2018
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: As a CEO, lean has enabled me to renew our company’s profitable growth, so I love it. But getting my management team on board is a daily struggle. Thoughts? More »
Moving People Around as Key to Unlocking Financial Outcomes of Lean
By: Jean Cunningham | March 6, 2018
Columns
As lean accounting pioneer Jean Cunningham will tell you, there’s much more to understanding lean’s financial benefits than looking at a balance sheet. In this Lean Talk, she takes a deeper dive into one of the ways you can use to reap the financial outcomes of lean. More »
Any advice for someone (me) in sales who fails to see how lean can help?
By: Balle, Michael | February 26, 2018
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: Our company has a long history of lean in manufacturing, but I work in the sales department. We have our own sales improvement method, and I fail to see how lean could help, but I’m under pressure to comply and participate in the lean program. Any advice? More »
How lean accounting promotes lean in the organization
By: Mike De Luca | January 31, 2018
Articles
Lean finance helps make upstream problems visible and provides consultative products and services to support the organization in increasing customer value.  In his book “Getting the Right Things Done,” Pascal Dennis writes, “When implementing strategy deployment , engage the Finance team early on. Too often this group is relegated to the lowly position of ‘bean counters,’ rather than its proper role: trusted advisor and business partner.  ” In my years of experience as a finance leader in a health-care organization, and more recently, as a lean consultant, I have seen firsthand how lean in the finance and accounting function can More »
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