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Art of Lean on Work & Waste, Part 3: Excess Inventory
By: Art Smalley | October 23, 2020
Take a closer look at the various types of inventory, with an eye toward identifying waste, with your guide, Art Smalley, president, Art of Lean, Incorporated. More »
Using Lean Thinking to Create an “Emergency Management System”
By: Alice Lee | June 23, 2020
The Lynn Community Health Center (LCHC) demonstrates how one organization with scarce resources can respond to a problem as daunting as a global pandemic using the same know-how and thinking -- lean thinking -- they have used to solve many problems over the years. More »
My managers are focused on monthly sales and quarterly profits – how can a lean guy like me interest them in quality?
By: Michael Ballé | February 10, 2020
Dear Gemba Coach: My managers are focused on monthly sales and quarterly profits – how can a lean guy like me interest them in quality? More »
Light Students’ Fire for Learning Through Teaching Lean
By: Laurie Burney | February 1, 2020
One of the greatest motivations for teaching for me is when I have a tangible impact on students’ thinking and learning. While traditional management accounting fits mass production processes, to add value in a lean organization, management accountants need to “buy in” to how our roles must adjust to be part of the decision-making team where we can transition beyond the bean counter or gatekeeper characterization. More »
Can a manufacturer use lean management to advance its environmental and social sustainability strategy?
By: Michael Ballé | December 30, 2019
Dear Gemba Coach: Can a manufacturer use lean to advance its environmental and social sustainability strategy? More »
WLEI: 28. Coachable: Creating the Environment for Effective Coaching
By: Lean Enterprise Institute | December 23, 2019
December 23, 2019Featuring: Deborah McGee and Jeff SmithAs this series continues to explore the implications and dynamic of “coaching” in a business environment, Jeff Smith reveals the importance of the learning environment for impactful coaching. Jeff draws on 22 years experience within the Toyota Production System and recalls his coaching experience at New United Motor, and later as a coach in many organizations. We talk about coaching in the front office as well as shop floor, engaging with problems using A3 thinking, and mechanisms to signal abnormal conditions inherently perfect for effective coaching moments. We invite your thoughts and experiences about More »
I’ve been improving process efficiency for years with value-stream mapping, why did you write that it is misleading?
By: Michael Ballé | November 18, 2019
Dear Gemba Coach: In your previous column you stated that value-stream mapping can be misleading. I’ve been using VSM for years to improve process efficiency – what can be wrong with that? More »
Where can I find information about visual management?
By: Michael Ballé | October 21, 2019
Dear Gemba Coach: I can’t find much written about visual management although it seems an important part of lean – any idea where to look? More »
How do I know if someone is really incompetent or just struggling?
By: Michael Ballé | May 27, 2019
Dear Gemba Coach: How do I recognize when someone is really incompetent? Sometimes people don’t have results because they’re put in a tough spot. More »
What should I look for so I don't get burned taking a lean director's job?
By: Michael Ballé | April 29, 2019
Dear Gemba Coach,I’ve been offered the job of a lean director in an industrial group. The offer sounds very attractive, and they tell me they’re serious about lean. But I’ve been burned before. What should I look for? More »
As someone who is new to lean, is there something I’m not being told?
By: Michael Ballé | April 15, 2019
Dear Gemba Coach: I’m new to lean, and I find it fascinating. Is there something I’m not being told? Is there an elephant in the room I should be aware of in my exploration of lean? More »
Why does visual management at a Toyota plant look so much different than at ours?
By: Michael Ballé | September 3, 2018
Dear Gemba Coach: We have been deploying lean visual management in my company for a while now, and I am troubled because I finally visited a Toyota plant and found far fewer boards and papers on the walls than we use – we seem to cover every surface. It made me wonder whether we’re doing this right. More »
Is kanban relevant to office work?
By: Michael Balle | March 19, 2018
Dear Gemba Coach: I understand that kanban is an important part of lean, but I work in an office environment, and it’s hard to see how production orders on cardboard cards relate to improving project management – what am I missing? More »
Isn’t lean just a scam to squeeze teams for more production?
By: Ballé, Michael | May 22, 2017
Dear Gemba Coach: Lean is a scam. People like you who write about “respect” are pushing a smoke screen that allows consultants to just squeeze teams for more production without ever resolving the company’s deeper problems. More »
How can we tell if gemba walks by our CEO are actually improving the business?
By: Ballé, Michael | May 14, 2017
Dear Gemba Coach: We’re instituting a program of gemba walks by our CEO. How will we know if we’re progressing? More »
What’s your opinion on setting specific criteria before brainstorming countermeasures?
By: Michael Ballè | April 24, 2017
Dear Gemba Coach: What’s your opinion on setting specific criteria before brainstorming countermeasures? More »
Is "lean" now just an over-hyped word that is losing its value?
By: Michael Ballè | January 30, 2017
Dear Gemba Coach: I have spent the day with a group of people in the LeanIT, Agile, ITSM, IT4IT, DevOps, etc. worlds. We were all more or less saying the same thing; using the same words. In your opinion, is "lean" now just an over-hyped word losing its value? More »
How can I keep our lean management effort from becoming bureaucratic?
By: Ballé, Michael | June 14, 2016
Dear Gemba Coach: Isn’t there a risk that all these lean tools in the workplace turn into yet more bureaucracy? More »
Rather than narrow problem solving, shouldn't we look for disruptive breakthroughs?
By: Ballé, Michael | April 11, 2016
Dear Gemba Coach: How can a narrow focus on problem solving help us to find innovative solutions? Shouldn’t we be looking for disruptive breakthrough instead? More »
What is your opinion about transformation process steps?
By: Ballé, Michael | February 8, 2016
Dear Gemba Coach: What is your opinion about transformation process steps? First we choose a problem and start problem-solving processes (A3 or 8-step methods) and after the steps create our first standards; OR first write down the processes as they are now and choose problems to solve by measuring the gaps between first standards and our goals? More »
Gemba, workplace, genchi genbutsu, go-and-see ... What’s the difference?
By: Ballé, Michael | September 14, 2015
Dear Gemba Coach: Is there a difference between “gemba” as used in lean texts and “genchi genbutsu” as they appear in Toyota literature? More »
Is there a difference between executive coaching and lean coaching?
By: Ballé, Michael | February 23, 2015
Dear Gemba Coach: Is there a difference between executive coaching and lean coaching? More »
Game On! Maybe Lean Can Be Fun
By: Lory Moniz | April 15, 2014
Lean is counterintuitive for most of us, and learning a new way of working at all is just challenging, no matter what. What do we do? LEI graphic designer Lory Moniz suggests playing more games if we want to get serious about lean learning. More »
Product and Process Lean
By: Ballé, Michael | October 8, 2013
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 »
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