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Practicing Lean Fundamentals in an Office Environment
By: Locher, Drew | January 24, 2013
Articles
Applying lean principles in service organizations and administrative processes within manufacturing companies often confounds companies. Lean faculty member and author Drew Locher offers four key steps to focus on for success. More »
Lean Fundamentals for Sales Organizations
Workshops
This workshop is an expansion of lean concepts and tools for Sales practitioners, as well as the organizational leadership responsible for creating and implementing strategies. By discussing real problems and how to apply new concepts, participants will become better prepared to assess when, where, and how to leverage learning and problem solving techniques in their own specific circumstances. More »
Practicing Lean Fundamentals in an Office Environment
Workshops
Description: This two-day workshop has been designed for individuals and teams who work in office and service environments that want to gain a better understanding of the philosophy, thinking and acting within a Lean Enterprise and how it might benefit their customers, organizations, and staffs. It will demonstrate the overall approach for implementing a lean transformation including both work and management processes in your organization. More »
Share Best Thinking Rather than Best Practices
By: Karen Gaudet | February 7, 2020
Columns
Lean Coach Karen Gaudet argues that Best Practices don't always align with Best Thinking, and suggests that "the next time you find yourself sharing a solution developed by someone else, first ask the critical question 'Is the problem the same?'" More »
How Ron Kelner Helped Build A System of Improvement at Deublin
By: Josh Howell | February 3, 2020
Columns
In this podcast, Deublin COO Ron Kelner shares with Josh Howell the long learning journey of his company as it pursues lean, moving beyond creating a foundation of tools-based improvement, and towards developing a business system with problem-solving and people development at its core. More »
Why We Believe that Pull Flows Are Too Often Overlooked
By: Lean Sensei Women | January 29, 2020
Columns
In this incisive series of articles on the essential value of pulled flow, the lean sensei women argue, in the words of Catherine Chabiron, that pulled flows are not just a manufacturing fad. It is the only way we know to dig deeper into our jobs, collaborate better, and eventually face all the real problems. More »
Working Hard...For One Minute
By: Orest (Orry) Fiume | January 24, 2020
Columns
Anyone who doubts the ability of their people to work hard in enacting change--or who blames problems on their "people" should look hard in the mirror, says lean veteran Orry Fiume. 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 »
Time To Make Time
By: John Y. Shook | January 17, 2020
Columns
When the people in a lean system don't value time, everyone is cheated, says John Shook, in this fascinating reflection on the role that time plays in a close observation of work. 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 »
What Ever Happened to Mura?
By: Ken Eakin | December 6, 2019
Columns
If we really want to dig down into the root causes of waste, we need to bring the two lost Ms of muri and mura back into the basic “Lean 101” curriculum and vocabulary, argues lean thinker Ken Eakin More »
Lean at Heart: Kanban
By: Masia Goodman | November 1, 2019
Columns
The underlying principles of lean can be found everywhere in daily life. In this article Masia Goodman identifies examples of "Better" practices that overlap with known lean principles. More »
Why We Believe that Lean is More Than A Manufacturing Approach
By: Lean Sensei Women | October 25, 2019
Columns
Is Lean thinking a thing of the past from glorious manufacturing times in the late twentieth century? Or, on the other hand, is it possible that Lean is still the best approach today to address ever-more-complex human endeavors? Read the thoughts of these Lean sensei women on the topic. More »
The Power of Inspiration
By: Paige Henry | October 23, 2019
Columns
Lean thinker Paige Henry shares a call to action: let’s get our leaders and people to realize “it’s about the think” to prevent problems happening in the first place, and when they do, that we need to enable them to think of multiple countermeasures rather than going with the solution that “they’ve seen/used a million times before.  ” More »
The Mythical Value Stream Manager
By: Mike Orzen | September 27, 2019
Columns
If you want to make a serious impact in your improvements, consider shifting your focus outward to a value-stream level perspective and find someone who is willing to take on the role of value stream leader, suggest Mike Orzen. More »
Ask Art: What Foundational Items Must I Be A Zealot About?
By: Art Byrne | September 18, 2019
Columns
Be a zealot on the foundational items such as 5S, visual management, and setup reduction, says Art Byrne, and your chances of succeeding with lean will greatly increase. 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 »
Feeling the Gemba Magic
By: Nicolas Chartier | July 19, 2019
Columns
After months of work at the gemba with his factory manager helping line workers grapple with problems, CEO Nicolas Chartier realized the true source of the recurring problems: himself. More »
Profit and Cost At Toyota
By: Jean Cunningham | July 12, 2019
Columns
Fresh off a tour of Japan where she observed how Toyota talks about costs and profit on the shop floor, LEI Chairperson Jean Cunningham shares thoughts and urges others to learn the language of financial outcomes. "Let’s learn the language of financial outcomes. Let’s conserve energy and benefit from the environmental improvements that lean offers by reducing waste of all kinds.  " More »
Try These Lean Summer Reads
By: Lean Leaper | May 29, 2019
Columns
Summer is upon us and as you lean learners prepare for some decidedly non-value added time in your schedule, consider any number of these books for your summer reading. More »
The Remarkable Chief Engineer
By: John Y. 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 »
Why We Believe A Strong Customer Focus Is Needed To Drive A Lean Strategy
By: Lean Sensei Women | May 10, 2019
Columns
Is there any principle more core to the heart of lean than relentlessly focusing on the customer? In this collection of thoughts on the topic, seven lean sensei women explore how and why customer focus is at the heart of lean strategy. More »
The Ingredients of Lean
By: Steve Brenneman | April 12, 2019
Columns
Lean practitioner Steve Brenneman finds shared values in his Mennonite faith and his lean practice: a strong set of values like community over individual, thriftiness over sloppiness, doing more with less, honing of skills through seeking out the knowledge of others. He shares illustrations of this in both classic Mennonite cookbooks and TWI instructions. More »
The Lean Sensei
By: Michael Balle, Nicolas Chartier, et. al. | April 12, 2019
Books
The Lean Sensei provides both a conceptual and hands-on toolkit for developing lean leaders—and becoming one yourself. It will challenge you to reflect on how you coach; share mindful questions that improve your awareness of what to look for; and keep both you and your students focused on the signs, symptoms, and syndromes that can slow your lean success. More »
What Do Managers Do?
By: Matthew Savas | April 10, 2019
Columns
After walking the gemba with sensei Hideshi Yokoi, Matt Savas learned three basic agreements between workers and management, and shared his discovery that a production analysis board is a figurative and literal social contract that binds management and workers together. More »
Getting Home
By: Liz McCartney and Zack Rosenburg | March 22, 2019
Books
When the flood waters of Hurricane Katrina receded around New Orleans, they revealed unimaginable destruction and a traditional disaster recovery process that was Byzantine, costly, and far too slow for the victims who just wanted to get home.  Getting Home is the inspiring story of a defense lawyer and a school teacher who left their careers to rebuild homes for desperate survivors but wound up reconstructing the entire process for rebuilding after disasters. Authors Liz McCartney and Zack Rosenburg describe how SBP, the disaster relief nonprofit they founded, partnered with Toyota to apply the lean principles of the Toyota Production System More »
The Road to Becoming a Lean Leadership Team Has Potholes
By: Orest (Orry) Fiume | February 25, 2019
Columns
Lean veteran Orry Fiume shares the story how the leadership team at The Wiremold Company took on the challenging work of transitioning from being traditional, functional, independent executives to becoming a Lean leadership team. More »
Cultivating Intuition at the Gemba
By: Ernie Richardson and Tracey Richardson | January 28, 2019
Columns
Our trainers conditioned us to water the seed of experience and use it not just to fire-fight but rather be more predictive and value add with our time and how we taught others. We encourage each person to learn to trust their intuition enough to see through the process each day to ensure the purpose and accountability for standards and why we have them is known and bought into, not just a suggestion to do. More »
Coaching to the Challenge
By: Mark Reich | January 23, 2019
Columns
When coaching there is no black and white answer – everything depends on the criticality of the business situation, the level of the challenge, and the capability of the Team Member, says Mark Reich. This article shares his experience in challenging someone to learn at the gemba. More »
Standardized Work or Kaizen? Yes
By: John Y. Shook | December 12, 2018
Columns
Some lean folks LOVE to quote the Taiichi Ohno observation that “there is no kaizen without standards," notes John Shook, adding that it is less noted but equally true that “there is no maintenance of standards without kaizen.  ” More »
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