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From the Lean Lexicon 5th Edition:

Just-in-Time Production:   A system of production that makes and delivers just what is needed, just when it is needed, and just in the amount needed. JIT and jidoka are the two pillars of the Toyota Production System. JIT relies on heijunka as a foundation and is comprised of three operating elements: the pull system, takt time, and continuous flow.  JIT aims for the total elimination of all waste to achieve the best possible quality, lowest possible cost and use of resources, and the shortest possible production and delivery lead times. Although simple in principle, JIT demands discipline for effective implementation.  The idea More »
Pivoting Just-In-Time with Hoshin Kanri at Toyota
By: Mark Reich | May 26, 2020
Articles; eLetters
Learn about the power of hoshin kanri, a systematic approach to defining a strategy and, more importantly, a management system that engages all people to support that strategy while building horizontal and vertical alignment. More »
The Sanity of Just-in-Time
By: Michael Ballé, Jacques Chaize and Daniel T. Jones | May 8, 2020
Columns
Path dependence is the worst enemy of smart resolution, argue the authors, who suggest greater "frame control" with enabling tools such as just-in-time to respect people on the frontline and respect the facts they share about what is happening to them. "Mastering the path as opposed to being led by it, means looking up frequently to reevaluate both destination and way as new information comes to light.  " More »
Isn’t there a better way to manage inventory than just-in-time?
By: Michael Ballé | September 23, 2019
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,  This is 2019. Isn’t there a better way to manage inventory than just-in-time by now? More »
Even in a Topsy-Turvy World, Just-in-Time Supply Works
By: Womack, James and Jones, Daniel; | October 29, 2001
Articles
By James P. Womack and Daniel T. Jones. Reprinted with permission from Automotive News, October 29, 2001. Read commentary by Jim Womack and Dan Jones about how to make just-in-time supply chains work in today's security-conscious world. More »
The Post COVID Crisis Supply Chain: a Time to Rise (Part 2)
By: Robert Martichenko | April 20, 2020
Columns
In a two-part call to action, LeanCor Supply Chain Group CEO Robert Martichenko says that now is the time for public and private sector leaders to develop a post-pandemic supply chain, a “one team-one system” fulfillment stream for producing and delivering lifesaving supplies to the right places, in the right quantities, at the right times. More »
The Post COVID Crisis Supply Chain: a Time to Rise (Part 1)
By: Robert Martichenko | April 17, 2020
Columns
In a two-part call to action, LeanCor Supply Chain Group CEO Robert Martichenko says that now is the time for public and private sector leaders to develop a post-pandemic supply chain, a “one team-one system” fulfillment stream for producing and delivering lifesaving supplies to the right places, in the right quantities, at the right times. More »
WLEI: Lean in the Time of Coronavirus
By: Lean Enterprise Institute | March 9, 2020
Audio
In times of crisis, lean offers a stable approach to healthy work. Furthermore, as Jim Womack notes in this podcast with Tom Ehrenfeld, foundational lean practices such as just-in-time supply chains are not—and have never been—liabilities in a time such as today’s coronavirus outbreak. Misguided stories about the woes of JIT are as misguided today as they were when they appeared during avian flu, SARS, and other legitimate medical events that required large supplies of emergency goods. Womack also talks about the lessons to be found in Karen Gaudet’s book Steady Work as they relate to having a stable work environment that More »
Lean in the Time of Coronavirus, A Chat With Jim Womack
March 9, 2020
Articles
In times of crisis, lean offers a stable approach to healthy work. Furthermore, as Jim Womack notes in this podcast with Tom Ehrenfeld, foundational lean practices such as just-in-time supply chains are not—and have never been—liabilities in a time such as today’s coronavirus outbreak. Misguided stories about the woes of JIT are as misguided today as they were when they appeared during avian flu, SARS, and other legitimate medical events that required large supplies of emergency goods. Womack also talks about the lessons to be found in Karen Gaudet’s book Steady Work as they relate to having a stable work environment that More »
Are morning team huddles that go on forever a waste of time?
By: Michael Ballé | January 20, 2020
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,  Our company has made morning team huddles mandatory. I don't see how that helps. On my team, huddles seem to go on forever and feel like a waste of time. Are they? 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 »
I don’t get kanban -- I don’t work in production so how would it apply to one-off work?
By: Michael Ballé | July 29, 2019
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,  I feel that I still don’t get kanban. I don’t work in production, and I fail to see how stock replenishment would apply to one-off work. More »
How do you apply takt time to service work?
By: Michael Ballé | December 3, 2018
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach, How do you apply takt time in fields like services where customer demand is not known? More »
Ask Art: Why Do I Need to Switch From Batch to Flow?
By: Art Byrne | April 12, 2018
Columns
Moving from batch to flow reveals the waste in your processes and simplifies your work at a systems level, says Art Byrne. It creates simplicity, and a productive tension to deal with problems as they occur, as well as other strategic benefits. More »
Is There No Other Lean Exemplar Than Toyota?
By: Michael Ballé | December 16, 2015
Columns
"I believe that while Toyota isn’t the only lean exemplar out there," writes Michael Ballé, "it still gives us a flawless example of what lean truly is – a definition that is so often misunderstood. Let us try to disentangle the matter.  " Read more. More »
Show Up On Time (And Other Instructions from a Cook)
By: Matt LeVeque | September 30, 2014
Columns
Lean practitioner Matt LeVeque reflects on the concepts of 5S, (JIT) Just-in-Time, and "respect for people" throughout history. More »
Should we have our own TPS "house"?
By: Ballé, Michael | September 21, 2011
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,  My management wants to build our own version of the TPS (Toyota Production System) house in order to standardize our lean approach. Do you have any advice on how to do this?   More »
Are You Pulling?
By: Ballé, Michael | February 25, 2011
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,  We’ve made a substantial effort in training all our operators to standardized work (SW) by deploying Training Within Industry(TWI) principles across all our sites. While we’ve had some good results, the level of discipline on SW is disappointing, and many cells are producing well below target cycle time. Do you have any pointers for us? More »
Why does one-piece-flow matter?
By: Ballé, Michael | December 3, 2009
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,  Recently, during a plant visit, our sensei made a big fuss because there were three parts between two operators and he insisted on one or zero. Why the big difference between three parts and one part in the process? More »
Landscape Forms Cultivates Lean to Fuel Growth Goals
By: Tonya Vinas | February 11, 2009
Case Studies; Charts, Graphs and Diagrams
With single-item orders 80% of the time, adopting single-piece flow and cellular production made sense to management at Landscape Forms, a low-volume, high-mix producer of outdoor furniture in Kalamazoo, MI. Find out how the company continued to spread the lean conversion by taking on the harder challenges of reinventing the production schedule through leveling, implementing lean financial management, and creating culture that embraced change and More »
Making Lean Leaders -- Ariens Internship Program Develops Lean Management and Leadership Skills in Everyone
By: Taninecz, George; | December 16, 2008
Case Studies; Charts, Graphs and Diagrams
Besides making snow-blowers, mowers, and string trimmers, Ariens Co.  , of Brillion, WI, makes lean leaders. An internal lean internship program steeps factory and front-office associates in the principles of lean and leadership by connecting the concepts to actual work. Ariens attributes its ability to acquire companies, enter new markets, and remain competitive in tough times to the program, which has helped it grow without dramatic increases in staff. More »
Lean Thinking in Government: The State of Iowa
By: David Drickhamer | November 19, 2008
Case Studies; Charts, Graphs and Diagrams
For several years the Iowa Veterans Home has used lean concepts to improve processes spanning the departments that deliver care to over 700 U.  S. military veterans and their spouses. This lean case study looks at a recent kaizen event at the Veterans Home and more broadly at the five-year old lean effort in Iowa government. More »
Fighting Cancer with Linear Accelerators and Accelerated Processes
By: Chet Marchwinski | September 9, 2008
Case Studies; Charts, Graphs and Diagrams; Forms and Templates; Value-Stream Maps
A series of cross-functional lean improvement teams in the Radiation Oncology Department at the University of Michigan Health System (UMHS) applied lean principles to processes to dramatically increase the percentage of patients with bone or brain metastases receiving consultation, simulation, and first treatment on the same day. (Life Magazine cover from 1958 on radiation oncology.  ) More »
For Athletic Shoe Company, the Soul of Lean Management Is Problem Solving
By: Chet Marchwinski | June 24, 2008
Case Studies; Charts, Graphs and Diagrams
When it began a lean transformation in 2003, New Balance, the only athletic shoe manufacturer that still makes some products in the U.  S.  , focused on using lean tools to improve product flow through its five New England plants to retailers and final customers. Next, with help from the Toyota Supplier Support Center, management began organizing the change effort around problem solving and process improvement to create a culture that would engage the workforce while moving the company to higher level. More »
Using Lean Thinking to Reinvent City Government
By: David Drickhamer | April 1, 2008
Case Studies; Images
In many cities, stagnant tax revenues from a slowing economy coupled with rising healthcare and energy costs are causing budget shortfalls. To cope with the budget squeeze, Grand Rapids, MI, has turned to lean principles. City employees have learned firsthand how consolidating operations, eliminating wasted time and effort, and streamlining processes can help them improve productivity while providing the quality of service that city residents want, in less time and with less effort and More »
The Missing Link
By: Womack, Jim; | February 7, 2008
Columns; eLetters
I have a great stove, not that I cook that much. It's shiny, sophisticated, and full of capabilities, most of which I never use. I've been very happy with this brilliant object and its manufacturer for more than five years until the last few weeks when it needed its first repair.  I called the service organization of the manufacturer and arranged a technician visit after a number of calls and call backs. When the technician arrived it was easy to identify the problem. Indeed, I had very accurately described the problem over the phone. But the technician hadn't gotten the More »
Cadence
By: Womack, Jim | January 3, 2008
Columns; eLetters
Think of cadence as takt time adapted to activities beyond routine production. In the product development world -- as brilliantly illuminated by our late colleague, Allen Ward -- it is very helpful for a development organization to have a clear sense how many new products are needed per unit of calendar time and to develop a steady pace for initiating and finishing these projects. The demand might be one per year or one per quarter or one per month, depending on the perceived desires of customers. But in every case the demand needs to be determined in advance and projects More »
Dentist Drills Down to the Root Causes of Office Waste
By: Chet Marchwinski | May 7, 2007
Case Studies; Charts, Graphs and Diagrams; Images
Applying lean concepts to dentistry isn't as difficult as, well, pulling teeth. Dr. Sami Bahri, driven by a gut feeling that the traditional method of managing a dental office could be improved dramatically, educated himself and his staff in the concepts, validated the approach in pilot projects, then transformed his office. His journey just might transform the way you look at a dentist's office. (The Seven Wastes entry in the short Glossary at the end of the story has examples from Bahri's staff.  ) More »
Sell One, Buy One, Make One: Transforming from Conventional to Lean Distribution
By: Chet Marchwinski | December 8, 2006
Case Studies; Charts, Graphs and Diagrams; Images
Big batches. Long lead times. Infrequent deliveries. Large inventories to cover fluctuations in demand. These aren't characteristics normally attributed to lean paragon Toyota, but they once accurately described the automaker's service parts distribution system -- but no more. More »
Lean Thinking: A Look Back and a Look Forward
By: Womack, Jim | September 8, 2006
Articles; Charts, Graphs and Diagrams
The meaning of lean thinking, how lean got its name, and an example of how it improved a grinding process By LEI President Jim Womack. More »
Best in Healthcare Getting Better with Lean
By: Taninecz, George | May 4, 2006
Case Studies; Value-Stream Maps
The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.  , is famous for the quality of its healthcare, but is using lean concepts to further enhance processes affecting quality, safety, and service. (Use links provided in the story to see larger versions of the value-stream maps.  ) More »
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