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Levelled Production: Where to Start
By: Ian Glenday | June 25, 2014
"A fixed repeating pattern in production that involves more frequent short runs seems ridiculous and impossible to achieve," writes Ian Glenday. In his latest piece for the Post, Glenday offers a simple analysis tool ("the Glenday sieve") for getting started. More »
Levelled Production: Why Do It?
By: Ian Glenday | May 13, 2014
Ian Glenday explains how levelled production and "economies of repetition" make way not just for stability, but improved business performance. More »
How to Optimize the Use of Staff Skills and Time by Making Capacity Visible: An Example from Accounting
By: Mike De Luca | December 17, 2020
Learn how a Finance and Accounting team used lean thinking to make capacity visible, which, in turn, helped it better manage workload and deliverables, reduce individual work overburden, and improve the team’s ability to fully use their skills. More »
LEI Responds to The Wall Street Journal's Mischaracterization of Just-in-Time
By: Lean Leaper | August 31, 2020
LEI's response to the August 21 Wall Street Journal article that mischaracterized Just-in-TIme. More »
Can lean management help with the start of production?
By: Michael Ballé | December 9, 2019
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: Can lean management help with the start of production? More »
Ask Art: Why is Takt Time So Important in a Lean Turnaround?
By: Art Byrne | November 13, 2019
Takt time represents the beat of the customer, or, the rate of demand, says Art Byrne: "As the primary focus of the lean company is delivering more value to its customers than its competitors can, then conformity to their demands in a quick, efficient way is the main driver. Takt time is therefore what sets the tone for everything else.  " 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 »
KAIZEN CHALLENGE: Lean Technical and Social Quiz
By: Jeff Smith | June 26, 2019
In this kaizen challenge, lean coach Jeff Smith invites you to help determine the optimal lot size to run through assembly. Please share your thoughts! 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 »
Why does no one ask about production flow anymore?
By: Michael Balle | May 7, 2018
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: As I read lean posts and papers, no one seems to have problems like this anymore, but I am trying to convince my manager that we have a bottleneck in the production process and that we should have two work stations in parallel to improve the flow. What would be the lean argument for doing that? More »
Isn’t lean just a scam to squeeze teams for more production?
By: Ballé, Michael | May 22, 2017
Columns; eLetters
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 »
A Tool That Every High-Mix, Low-Volume Leader Needs to See
By: Greg Lane | May 9, 2017
"High mix, low volume operations are a difficult concept to grasp," writes Greg Lane. But it doesn't have to be - with a few simple tools and concepts, you can handle the constant changes typical of a HMLV environment. Today, Lane shares one of his favorites. More »
Accelerating Justice with Lean Forensics
By: Heather Jamieson | February 16, 2017
One of our most popular subjects on The Lean Post is the use of lean in unorthodox places. But one gemba that we have yet to discuss on the Post is crime laboratories. You might be surprised to learn that they are prime candidates for lean transformations, being the process-heavy environments they are. Heather Jamieson explains. More »
Kata Skill at Novice Level
By: By Beth Carrington | May 1, 2016
LEI IK/CK instructor Beth Carrington illustrates five common themes when you find yourself at Novice level. More »
Heijunka: Mastering the Peaks and Valleys
By: Jeff Smith | May 1, 2015
Struggling to run different types of products down one line? Lean coach Jeff Smith explains the lean manufacturing concept of Heijunka (or production leveling) by way of a story. More »
One Idea for Improving Hospital Emergency Room Care
By: Sami Bahri | June 12, 2014
Sami Bahri, dentist and author of "Follow the Learner: The Role of a Leader in Creating a Lean Culture," suggests an idea for improving hospital emergency rooms: level the workload across the ER and other departments. More »
Why do you lean experts still revere the Toyota Production System? Hasn't any one come up with something better?
By: Ballé, Michael | January 22, 2014
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,Since Toyota formulated TPS 50 years ago, many other companies have come up with their own business systems – I have been taught the Nissan Production Way. Why do you lean experts still revere the Toyota Production System? Hasn't any one come up with something better? Is this just conservatism or ideology or do you actually have a reason to stick with TPS? More »
Creating Continuous Flow (eBook)
By: Mike Rother and Rick Harris | August 15, 2013
This workbook explains in simple, step-by-step terms how to introduce and sustain lean flows of material and information in pacemaker cells and lines, a prerequisite for achieving a lean value stream.  A sight we frequently encounter when touring plants is the relocation of processing steps from departments (process villages) to product-family work cells, but too often these "cells" produce only intermittent and erratic flow. Output gyrates from hour to hour and small piles of inventory accumulate between each operation so that few of the benefits of cellularization are actually being realized; and, if the cell is located upstream from the More »
By: By Rick Fleming | June 1, 2013
This SlideShare presents a new Value Stream Mapping icon to indicate both current & future-state Improvement Kata skill levels for the supervisors and managers in a value stream. 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
Columns; eLetters
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 »
Leveling to Build Capacity and Flexibility
By: Ballé, Michael | December 14, 2010
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: We manufacture a seasonal product and are working on leveling, but are having a tough time. Our peak sales occur in a four-month time frame, but we need to use year-round production for capacity. Any advice on how to level what feels to us an impossible cycle? More »
Thinking About Buffers and Production Systems (Birth of Lean Chapter IV – "The Evolution of Buffers at Toyota" – Kaneyoshi Kusunoki )
By: Shook, John | April 14, 2009
Columns; eLetters
John Shook: "This week I continue my indulgence in exploring the Birth of Lean with a look at another chapter that some readers may tend to overlook. Instead of quoting heavily from the book – please read for yourself! – I'll share some personal observations.  " More »
TPS versus Lean and the Law of Unintended Consequences
By: Smalley, Art | January 12, 2009
During a visit to former colleagues at a Toyota engine plant, Art Smalley met no change agents or black belts, nor saw value-stream maps, or U-shaped cells.   The reason, explains Smalley, a Toyota veteran and author of the Creating Level Pull workbook, is that Toyota's production system is not about tools but about reflecting long and hard on identifying the greatest need for improvement before reaching for a tool. It also devotes much more time to problem solving and developing people than most people realize. More »
Shigeo Shingo's Influence on the Toyota Production System
By: Art Smalley; | January 12, 2009
Isao Kato was in a good position to observe the early development of the Toyota Production System, the model for lean production. He developed training material at Toyota under Taiichi Ohno, regarded as the chief architect of the Toyota Production System (TPS). He also coordinated the work of Shigeo Shingo, an outside consultant and TPS contributor. Kato sat down with Art Smalley for this Q&A about the roles of Shingo, Ohno, Sakichi Toyoda, and Kiichiro Toyoda about the early development of TPS.  Kato’s comments in the Q&A led to a response on the Superfactory site from Norman Bodek, the first publisher 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 »
Knife Company Hones Competitiveness by Bucking the Status Quo
By: Tonya Vinas | June 5, 2008
Case Studies
Family-owned Buck Knives needed to reduce costs by at least 30% to keep its U.  S. operations open. In turning to lean, the company gained more than just improved efficiency. Leaders are making better decisions, and flexibility has given Buck a unique advantage even though it had more reasons than most companies to shun lean concepts. Despite the challenges, the company now does nearly everything differently from allocations of costs for shop-floor supplies to working with its key retail customer More »
New Facility, New Flow, and New Levels of Patient Care The wait is over for patients at the Clearview Cancer Institute in Alabama
By: George Taninecz | February 22, 2007
Case Studies; Charts, Graphs and Diagrams
Dr. Marshall Schreeder treats cancer and treatment processes at the Clearview Cancer Institute in Alabama. More »
Build Your “House” of Production on a Stable Foundation
By: Chet Marchwinski | February 14, 2006
Case Studies; Charts, Graphs and Diagrams; Images
Faced with downtime on key pieces of sophisticated equipment in a machine-intensive environment, Delphi's Plant 1 launched a successful improvement effort by focusing on rigorous problem solving to create basic stability. This Lean Enterprise Institute case study shows you what plant management, staff and employees did. More »
Pull Systems Must Fit Your Production Needs
By: Smalley, Art | October 11, 2005
Managers often stumble implementing a pull system because they don't realize there are three different kinds meant for very different production enviornments. LEI faculty member Art Smalley, author of the Shingo Prize winning workbook Creating Level Pull, describes the three in this article for SME's Lean Directions e-letter. More »
Lean Development
By: Ballé, Freddy and Michael Ballé | October 1, 2005
 Freddy and Michael Ballé, co-authors of the lean novel The Gold Mine, pull together their experiences with Toyota suppliers, contacts with Toyota engineers, and existing research to discern the four keys to the company's product development system and how it has evolved in recent years. More »
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