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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 »
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 »
How do you define respect for people?
By: Ballé, Michael | August 27, 2013
Dear Gemba Coach: Can you be more specific about “respect” in lean? The term is being used in our company but I fear it sounds just like “motivation,” “everyone has to be a leader,” and the rest of management speak. More »
Should I use an A3 report to kick off a problem-solving effort?
By: Ballé, Michael | August 1, 2013
Dear Gemba Coach: Should I use an A3 report to kick off a problem? I encourage my managers to tell me about their problems on the shop floor. They always pull something out of the air and say ‘lets work on this. .. ’ What I would really like is for them to create some kind of A3 report that explains why this problem is happening. Any advice? More »
Why Does Our Recognition Program Just Feel So Bad?
By: Ballé, Michael | April 25, 2013
Dear Gemba Coach: My company has put an employee of the month program and other related efforts to reward good behavior. So why does it feel so bad? More »
Operator morale has suffered terribly since we implemented cell manufacturing, and the ideas that kaizens generate have been weak. Would you please share your insights on this situation?
By: Ballé, Michael | April 18, 2013
Dear Gemba Coach: Operator morale has suffered terribly since we implemented cell manufacturing, and the ideas that kaizens generate have been weak. Would you please share your insights on this situation? More »
My CEO has asked me to take a hard look at the lean program at our hospital – where should I start?
By: Ballé, Michael | February 11, 2013
Dear Gemba Coach: I am ops director of a large hospital. We have been doing lean for several years now, with a lean office of 10 people involved in many projects improving 5S, finding beds, test circuits, and so on, but lean doesn’t seem to “take,” and our financial situation is not improving. My CEO has asked me to take a hard look at the lean program – where should I start? More »
Would you have a few tips about coaching on the gemba?
By: Ballé, Michael | January 28, 2013
Dear Gemba Coach: Would you have a few tips about coaching on the gemba? More »
How can we reconcile the lean principle of respect for people with our disrespectful atmosphere?
By: Ballé, Michael | November 26, 2012
Dear Gemba Coach: My company's lean program stigmatizes competent people as “concrete heads” for disagreeing with the lean coaches, even when the coaches' prescriptions make no business sense. What used to be a good work atmosphere is now poisoned by resentment and distrust. How can that be compatible with the “respect for people” message that you say is so central to lean? More »
Lean Business-IT Integration, Part Five: Measurement - Finding Our True North
By: Bell, Steve | November 8, 2012
In the fifth article of a five-part series on Lean IT, LEI faculty member Steve Bell addresses measurement. Part One begins with the importance of lean business-IT integration. Part Two offers help with the common obstacles to a lean IT transformation. Part Three examines how to integrate the various IT communities. And Part Four examines leadership and IT governance. More »
How do we mid-level managers convince the CEO and senior management that adopting lean practices is worthwhile?
By: Ballé, Michael | November 2, 2012
Dear Gemba Coach: The recent webinar on the business case for lean was particularly useful for us because it raised many questions and provided a lot of common sense insight. I'm an administrator taking lean certification training at a primary care network. How do we as mid-level "operators" convince our CEO and senior management that adopting lean practices and thinking are worthwhile? More »
How Do the Problems of Continuous Improvement Professionals Differ from Those of Line Managers
By: Ballé, Michael | September 7, 2012
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 »
Are Lean Managers Teaching Or Just Controlling?
By: Ballé, Michael | July 18, 2012
Dear Gemba Coach: I hear what you lean guys are saying about, learning, “kata” and the role of managers as teachers. But in my years at Toyota I was never taught much. I learned a lot, but what my manager would mostly do is check the details of what I did and ask a lot of questions. I felt that it was very controlling. More »
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