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The Art of Lean: An Introduction to Muda, Mura, and Muri
By: Art Smalley | October 2, 2020
Take a closer look at the concepts of muda, mura, and muri and learn why you have to consider all three when you pursue any type of improvement or Kaizen actions. 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 »
Isn’t the obsession with problem solving unnecessarily negative and depressing?
By: Michael Ballé | February 3, 2020
Dear Gemba Coach: Isn’t the obsession with problem solving unnecessarily negative and depressing? More »
Grit, PDCA, Lean and other four-letter words
By: Josh Howell | December 10, 2019
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the nature of what author Angela Duckworth calls Grit. She defines grit as a sort of mash-up between passion and perseverance. What I’ve been thinking about is the way that grit overlaps with lean thinking and the sustained work of applying PDCA over many cycles over a sustained period of time. More »
Learning to Help Anna Elevate Her Game
By: Jeff Smith | March 4, 2019
Anna was trained by NUMMI to identify and solve challenges via experiments with her team, notes Jeff Smith, sharing a story from NUMMI; she had been trained to set up jobs, build racks for parts, and more. Yet evidently what she needed to resolve the issue at hand was a little practical understanding/physical help and space to think while being relaxed and not emotionally wound up. More »
Can you implement TPS if management doesn’t accept the fundamental values of the Toyota Way?
By: Michael Ballé | January 28, 2019
Dear Gemba Coach: How can we implement the principles of TPS if our management doesn’t accept the fundamental values of the Toyota Way? More »
Four Types of Problems (Introduction)
October 1, 2018
An excerpt from Four Types of Problems IntroductionThe four types of problems are:Type 1: Troubleshooting: Reactive problem solving that hinges upon quick response and dealing with immediate symptoms of a perceived problem. It provides some immediate relief and problem mitigation but generally fails to get at the actual root cause of a problem and can lead to prolonged cycles of firefighting. Type 2: Gap from Standard:Structured problem solving that focuses on specific problem definition, setting goals, root cause analysis, establishment of countermeasures, checks, standards, and follow-up activities. The aim is to prevent the problem from recurring by eliminating its underlying causes. Type More »
We mapped a process, improved it, but six months later, performance is as bad as it was before – what are we missing?
By: Michael Balle | August 20, 2018
Dear Gemba Coach: We’ve drawn the value-stream map of one of our complex production processes (17 steps), identified the key bottlenecks and improved the process. Yet, six months later, the performance is just as bad as it was before – what are we missing? More »
Do I have the right attitude during gemba walks?
By: Michael Ballé | June 18, 2018
Dear Gemba Coach: How do I know if I have the right attitude during gemba walks? We’ve started doing those systematically, but I realize how many of our managers add to the pressure on associates rather than make things better, and maybe I do too. Any help? More »
Can I change a company's attitude that people can't be trusted to do their jobs unless they are scared into complying?
By: Michael Ballé | June 4, 2018
Dear Gemba Coach: A major assumption in lean thinking is that people genuinely want to do a good job, and the only thing standing in their way is a poor system. But some organizations act on the assumption that you can’t really trust anyone to do their job unless they are constantly controlled and scared into complying. It’s hard for me to see how lean can help any org without changing this assumption first … or? More »
Follow-up to your comments on the “lean is a scam” column
By: Ballé, Michael | June 5, 2017
Dear Gemba Coach Readers: I’ve been following the “scam” discussion with interest. Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. Maybe the original questioner’s use of “scam” was a bit of an exaggeration. 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 »
Shouldn't lean focus on solutions, rather than problems?
By: Ballé, Michael | May 4, 2017
Dear Gemba Coach: Why is lean so focused on problem solving? Isn’t seeing everything as a problem negative? Shouldn’t we focus on solutions instead? Wouldn’t that be more positive and more creative? More »
What do you think are the pros and cons of merging lean and TOC?
By: Michael Ballè | March 30, 2017
Dear Gemba Coach: In the DevOps movement, the amalgamation of agile, lean, and IT service management practices, there is a new entry that is making a big impact. This is The Theory of Constraints by Eliyahu Goldratt. Many believe that combining the thinking of Ohno and Goldratt can produce amazing and sustainable results far easier and faster than either can separately. Have you considered the pros and cons of lean and TOC or merging them? More »
How do we pass the baton from one lean leader to the next?
By: Michael Ballè | July 25, 2016
Dear Gemba Coach: What are your thoughts about ensuring that a lean transformation persists past a leader’s tenure at an organization? More »
Is there “mudagement” in your organization?
By: Tony Lamberton and Lean Leaper | June 15, 2016
"Mudagement. " What a strange word. But to Tony Lamberton, the concept behind that word has made all the difference in identifying invisible waste in his organization - and by extension, eliminating it through targeted coaching. Lean Post editor Cam Ford recently sat down with Tony to learn more about the concept of mudagement and the value it holds for all organizations: here is their interview. 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 »
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 »
How do you introduce visual management into a product development facility?
By: Ballé, Michael | December 21, 2015
Dear Gemba Coach: What steps do you start with to introduce visual management into a product development facility? 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 »
Two managers I relied on a lot are still fighting a two-year-old pull system and creating a lot of conflict on the team. Is this normal?
By: Ballé, Michael | June 18, 2015
Dear Gemba Coach: I’m two years into establishing a pull system through my plant and two of my key managers are still fighting the system and creating a lot of conflict on the team. Is this normal? More »
Could hoshin kanri be too bureaucratic for my small tech company?
By: Ballé, Michael | June 9, 2015
Dear Gemba Coach: I get frustrated with being the only one seriously concerned with experimenting and learning new systems, so I implemented hoshin kanri to get others on board. I'm getting a lot of pushback. Is this normal resistance? More »
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