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Manufacturing’s Next Chapter
By: Tonkin, Lea | January 9, 2014
Using the experience of GE Appliance and other manufacturers, LEI CEO John Shook reminds lean thinkers that much remains to be written in “manufacturing’s next chapter,” its resurgence in North America. (GE Appliance executives described the next phase of the facility’s transformation at the 2014 Lean Transformation Summit.  ) More »
What If Elon Musk Took Manufacturing Cars Seriously?
By: Jeffrey Liker | February 6, 2019
Jeff Liker asks of Tesla: What if it took Toyota’s help seriously in learning basic manufacturing before undertaking disruptive technology change? What if Tesla built in quality and did not have to rebuild most Model 3s to get quality right? What if Tesla took manufacturing and logistics seriously and was as good at execution as it was at product ideation? More »
The Magnificent 7 of Lean Manufacturing
By: Andrew Quibell | March 20, 2018
How do you establish stability on a shop floor that’s chaotic? Andrew Quibell recommends “7 manufacturing basics,” his personal selection of lean improvement tools, methodologies, and techniques. And they also boost people’s confidence, helping them sustain improvements. More »
Inventory Waste: The "Hidden Killer" in Manufacturing
By: Andrew Quibell | April 13, 2016
Andrew Quibell is back with the next sketch in his series on the four main areas of waste in manufacturing. Today's area: Inventory, the "hidden killer.  " Check out the sketch plus a fun animated video Andrew made to help illustrate the concept. More »
The Manufacturing Waste Series: Introduction
By: Andrew Quibell | March 3, 2016
In the first installment of his new series on waste, Andrew Quibell's latest sketch introduces his take on why kaizen efforts often fail to achieve anything long-term. Read more to find out what he pegs as the culprit, and get a preview of the series to come! More »
From Victim to Partner: The Evolution of a Manufacturing Development System
By: Jim Morgan | March 31, 2015
"Excellence in product development is not 'an engineering thing'; it is an enterprise thing," writes Jim Morgan. And it's helpful to think about manufacturing’s role in PD as something that evolves over time through four general stages until manufacturing becomes a fully participating partner. "Few companies evolve through all stages on their own.  .. " Read more. More »
Is there such a thing as lean manufacturing engineering?
By: Ballé, Michael | December 4, 2013
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: I keep reading about lean engineering and lean design. Is there lean manufacturing engineering? 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
Columns; eLetters
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 »
Hank McHale, manufacturing CEO
By: Marchwinski, Chet; | January 12, 2009
LEI talks to former manufacturing CEO Hank McHale as part of a series on the challenges of leadership during lean transformations. McHale, who served as CEO of Ladish Company, GO/DAN Industries, Trans Pro, and is a former executive vice president of Rockwell International's automotive operations, shares his observations on why some companies fail to achieve adequate results from lean transformations, how to avoid such failures, and the importance of conducting "senior management audits" by personally visiting sites to observe processes and meetings. More »
Leadership Q&A: John Wilson, executive vice president of manufacturing, New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc.
By: Marchwinski, Chet | January 12, 2009
From the LEI senior executive series on lean leadership:Wilson talks to the Lean Enterprise Institute about the executive's role in a lean conversion. Wilson offers his take on why some companies fail to achieve adequate results from the conversion process and what executives can do to avoid such a problem. He also discusses executive lean training and what you can do to convince the boss to pursue a lean transformation. (Read the case study about the lean transformation of New Balance, "For Athletic Shoe Company, the Soul of Lean Management Is Problem Solving.  ") More »
Cut the Fat in Your Shop With Lean Manufacturing
By: Marchwinski, Chet | May 1, 2003
Articles; Charts, Graphs and Diagrams; Images
This issue of Cast Polymer Connection magazine has basic information about lean concepts, but with a spin on how make-to-order shops apply them. Reprinted with permission. For more information, visit the International Cast Polymer Alliance. More »
Role of Management in a Lean Manufacturing Environment
By: Convis, Gary | July 2, 2001
Gary Convis, president, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky, explains that the critical role of management in a lean company is to motivate and engage large numbers of people to work together toward a common goal. Defining and explaining the goal, how to achieve it, and helping people achieve it by removing obstacles "are management's reason for being," he tells SAE International. More »
New Manufacturing Challenge: Techniques for Continuous Improvement, The
By: Kiyoshi Suzaki | July 13, 1987
Books; Charts, Graphs and Diagrams
Suzaki manages to tie all the elements of lean thinking together at the operational level – TQC, TPS, TPM – and link them to the broader business system. A manufacturing consultant, Suzaki has produced a mature and articulate summary of the lean thought process from the standpoint of the building block techniques. Some things will seem a bit strange to those familiar with Learning to See and other LEI publications – the use of the term “cycle time” to refer to what most of us now call “takt time” – but the basics are all there in a highly readable More »
Value-Stream Mapping for Manufacturing
Learn how to use this fundamental initial step in a lean transformation to create the "blueprints" for applying other tools and targeting kaizen events most effectively. More »
Value-Stream Mapping for Manufacturing: Gemba-Based Workshop
This workshop, now offered live for the first time, shows you how to create and apply this fundamental and critical tool, based on Lean Enterprise Institute's groundbreaking VSM workbook, Learning to See, which has introduced the mapping tool to thousands around the world More »
Lean Beyond Manufacturing
The simulation is designed around the lifecycle of a mortgage loan from sales to ready-to-close. More »
LEI In the News: Leading Trade Journal Asks How Lean Principles Performed During the Pandemic
By: Mark Reich | May 18, 2021
Lean management principles didn’t fail during the pandemic; some companies failed to execute them correctly, especially the practice of just-in-time production, as LEI Senior Coach Mark Reich recently explained to a leading trade journal. More »
Let's Celebrate Work
By: John Shook | January 14, 2021
Is your work meaningful or menial? LEI Senior Advisor John Shook challenges us to aim to make all work meaningful by building our businesses based on the work itself and prioritizing the means over the ends. More »
Warning: What You Call Kaizen May Really Be Rework
By: Chet Marchwinski and Jim Morgan | September 25, 2019
If you begin your lean management transformation on the shop floor, you run the risk of having to rework processes and products that should have been much, much better coming out of the development system. So, if you want the best leverage point for a lean transformation, move upstream from production to product development. Jim Morgan, LEI author and former Rivian COO explains in this interview. More »
Tesla vs. TPS: Seeking the Soul in the New Machine
By: Jeffrey Liker | March 2, 2018
While Tesla has excited customers and drawn praise for innovative design and bold thinking, author Jeff Liker believes that it faces tough challenges in its approach to ramping up production that challenge its mechanistic vision of manufacturing. More »
Is there a crack in the model of continuous improvement?
By: Tom Ehrenfeld | February 9, 2018
Is this a case of déjà vu all over again? The Wall Street Journal says the sterling reputation of “Japanese manufacturing” or kaizen, is tarnished in the wake of several quality inspection scandals. But is this a kaizen crisis or a kaizen kerfuffle that we’ve experienced before? Editor Tom Ehrenfeld sorts it out. More »
ASK ART: Can poetry be used as a tool for implementing lean?
By: Art Byrne | January 2, 2018
“Inventory is evil,” said King Arthur of kaizen. So he came to Dame Barbie with his plan. “You must make these horrid racks go away Or February 25 is your banishment day.  ” More »
7 Elements of Quality on the Shop Floor
By: Andrew Quibell | November 28, 2017
"How do you lean out a quality approach that can work on the shop floor (maybe even compatible in a healthcare environment as well)?" people often ask Andrew Quibell. "How does it look? What should you include?" Read more. More »
Follow-up Q&A for Jim Lancaster's Work of Management Webinar
By: Jim Lancaster | September 21, 2017
“The Real Work of Management” webinar drew very engaged attendees who submitted hundreds of questions. We now present some of the most-frequently asked questions (plus Jim Lancaster's answers) today on the Lean Post. More »
Advice from the Gemba: Making Repetitive Tasks More Exciting
By: Aaron Hunt, Tim Kane and Daniel Papsidero | September 13, 2017
Repetitive tasks can create a drag on workers' morale and motivation as boredom sets in, and a disillusioned workforce will seriously hamper your lean efforts. So how do you keep repetitive tasks from becoming a source of discontent for your people? Three lean practitioners share their thoughts. More »
5S - The Way to Start Your Lean Journey…or Is It?
By: Dale Savage | September 12, 2017
Many people think that a 5S implementation is the perfect way to kickstart a full lean transformation. It can be - IF you do it right. Years ago Dale Savage witnessed a lean disaster at his company that all started with a new 5S program. Find out what happened and how you can keep it from happening to your company. More »
The Art of Silent Observation
By: Andrew Quibell | August 9, 2017
Silent observation is not as intuitive as it may sound. Andrew Quibell often meets people who think it's as simple as standing and watching the work in silence. But there's much more to it than that - learn more in his new sketch and animation. More »
Managing to Win: The Remarkable Lean Transformation of Phase 2
By: Lean Leaper | May 24, 2017
Revisit the enlightening case study of Phase 2's lean transformation in the face of losing its biggest customer, plus insider info from an interview with CEO Adam Prime. More »
Job 1?
By: John Y. Shook | May 18, 2017
Ford CEO Mark Fields just decided he needed to cut costs. Then he suddenly realized he had 1400 people he didn't need so decided to eliminate their jobs. Did he need those people two weeks ago? Will he need them two weeks from now? More »
How Team Leaders Should Divide Their Time
By: Andrew Quibell | May 3, 2017
"Through my career, I’ve seen one group of individuals on the shop floor who need the most support and training – yet instead receive weak training and inconsistent support. They are 'team leaders,'" writes Andrew Quibell. In his new sketch and animation, Quibell lays out a time-tested, Toyota-inspired plan to help these essential team leaders hold their own in times of minimal support. More »
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