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Lean management case study series: Pediatric Hospital in Tough Market Pegs Growth to Lean Process Improvement
By: Vinas, Tonya | June 2, 2011
Case Studies
Lean improvement projects at Akron Children’s Hospital have saved millions of dollars, increased utilization of expensive assets, and reduced wait times for patients and their families. While these gains are important, the learning and commitment that each project builds internally are crucial elements of the hospital’s drive to make continuous improvement not just a program but the overarching strategic imperative for the entire organization.  Read an interview with hospital board member Bill Hopkins from LEI's lean leadership series.  See all the executive interviews in the series. More »
Ask Art: Why Does Setup Time Reduction Matter So Much?
By: Art Byrne | June 17, 2020
Columns
Setup reduction is a necessary step to go from traditional management to lean--or said another way, from batch to flow and from push to pull. According to Art Byrne, reducing this time may sound like some “manufacturing thing” but is in fact one of the most strategic things you can do. More »
Addressing Production Challenges that Arise from the Pandemic
By: John Y. Shook | April 30, 2020
Columns
How two companies with deep lean experience – General Electric Appliances (GEA) and Herman Miller – have responded quickly and with great agility to the frontline challenges presented by the pandemic. More »
Nine Lessons from Steady Work
By: Karen Gaudet | April 27, 2020
Columns
In her book Steady Work, Karen Gaudet discusses nine key lessons for practicing lean. Here she discusses these key principles. 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 »
Ask Art: What Do You Focus on When Assessing the Potential Gains From Converting to Lean?
By: Art Byrne | April 16, 2020
Columns
Lean veteran Art Byrne shares the key areas to look at for gains to be realized from lean: focus on sales growth as the result of shorter lead times (lean is a time-based growth strategy), margin growth, inventory turns, doubling sales per employee and freeing up 50% or so of your floor space. More »
Why You Need a Product Focus for Enterprise Transformation
By: Jim Morgan | March 16, 2020
Columns
Lean Product and Process Development serves as an enterprise activity that can engage the entire organization and improve operations and growth, says Jim Morgan. Listen to his keynote address for insights into how. More »
Building the Mindset and Skillset to Improve from the Board Room to the Classroom
By: Pat Greco | March 4, 2020
Columns
Results matter, says Pat Greco; and yet, human systems require leaders to engage.   Here she discusses the way she and her team worked to apply lean for improvement at the School District of Menonomee Falls in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. More »
Delivering Quality Foods with Zingerman's Mail Order
By: Josh Howell | March 2, 2020
Columns
Listen to this podcast between Tom Root, Zingerman Mail Order's Managing Director, and Josh Howell for a wide-ranging conversation about several phases of ZMO’s lean transformation, including the challenge of establishing a culture of continuous improvement with full participation, and how lean thinking could impact the food industry that’s in desperate need of a better way. More »
Ask Art: What Are the Most Important Management Changes Needed to Implement A Lean Turnaround?
By: Art Byrne | February 19, 2020
Columns
Lean thinking requires a totally different mindset than traditional management, argues lean veteran Art Byrne. This is probably the most significant reason that companies fail to make the lean leap. They simply can’t get rid of their traditional mindset. Here he shares the key changes needed for a successful lean turnaround. More »
The Value of A Visual Schedule is Developing Shared Understanding
By: Katrina Appell | February 12, 2020
Columns
People closest to the work should understand it best, so they are in the best position to share what the work is including what they need from others on the team, argues Katrina Appel; this enables the team to put together a realistic schedule that they believe in. More »
Share Best Thinking Rather than Best Practices
By: Karen Gaudet | February 7, 2020
Columns
Lean Coach Karen Gaudet argues that Best Practices don't always align with Best Thinking, and suggests that "the next time you find yourself sharing a solution developed by someone else, first ask the critical question 'Is the problem the same?'" More »
Working Hard...For One Minute
By: Orest (Orry) Fiume | January 24, 2020
Columns
Anyone who doubts the ability of their people to work hard in enacting change--or who blames problems on their "people" should look hard in the mirror, says lean veteran Orry Fiume. 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 »
Ask Art: Why is Takt Time So Important in a Lean Turnaround?
By: Art Byrne | November 13, 2019
Columns
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 »
Ask Art: What Do You Mean When You Say Run Your Company On Your Operational Excellence Goals?
By: Art Byrne | August 28, 2019
Columns
The Lean company competes on its operational excellence goals, says Art Byrne. These stretch goals must be aggressive in nature and deployed down to every person in the company so that they all are focusing on hitting these goals every day. More »
Product Development Is Where to Cut Carbon Emissions; Here's How
By: Katrina Appell | August 21, 2019
Columns
Consumers want products updated more frequently, which is great for consumers and business but not so great for the environment because a third of man-made carbon emissions come from production processes, notes Katrina Appell, PhD, who explains how product developers can balance these competing forces. More »
Why Traditional Farming Is Ripe for Disruption
By: Ben Hartman | June 28, 2019
Columns
Uber disrupted the taxi business. Netflix disrupted entertainment. Amazon disrupted retail. Is farming, that ancient industry, ripe for disruption? Indiana farmer Ben Hartman, author of The Lean Farm, has planted the seeds of a radical transformation. Watch now. More »
Cost Saving is Tired--Value Creation is Hot!
By: Jean Cunningham | June 5, 2019
Columns
Lean affects financial outcomes--dramatically so in firms that incorporate widespread lean thinking over the long term, says LEI Chair Jean Cunningham. And yet she counsels you not to fixate on cost reduction or product cost. Look instead at the real numbers. More »
Practicing Constructive Discontent At SBP
By: Zack Rosenburg | May 24, 2019
Columns
To become an organization of problem solvers, talking about problems couldn’t merely be something that we did, shares Zack Rosenburg of St. Bernard Project. It had to be part of who we are; it had to be our identity. Being or living constructive discontent and adopting it as our identity would mean that problems were brought to the surface, not buried. More »
How Does LPPD Help Create a Lean Enterprise?
By: Lean Leaper | May 17, 2019
Columns
What is LPPD? As noted by Jim Morgan LPPD is a set of principles and practices that promote collaboration, transparency, and rapid learning, in the development of both process and product simultaneously, leading to the creation of really effective value streams. He shares thoughts with Jim Womack, Jeff Liker, and Eric Ethington on this topic. More »
Cutting Carbon Emissions and Product Costs Through Lean Product and Process Development
By: Katrina Appell | May 1, 2019
Columns
As the need to reduce carbon emissions becomes clearer, the need to understand the impact and consciously consider it during the design phase is ever more important, argues Katrina Appel. Lean Product and Process Development (LPPD) principles, methodologies, and management behaviors are a system that enables the environmental impact of the entire product life-cycle to be consciously considered in the design phase. More »
All Lean Is Local
By: Josh Howell | April 19, 2019
Columns
When I think about the idea of “all Lean is local,” I think about the fundamental entry point question for any Lean thinker in any situation, which is: “what's the problem to solve here? What's the problem to solve now?” More »
How Standardized Work Integrates People With Process
By: John Y. Shook | April 1, 2019
Columns
In this three part series on SW, John Shook argues that "the Toyota Way is a socio-technical system on steroids. A test for all our lean systems is the question of how well we integrate people with process (the social with the technical). Nowhere does that come together more than in the form of standardized work and kaizen.  " More »
Can Smart Manufacturing Replace the Art of Go and See?
By: David Westphal | March 18, 2019
Columns
Continuous improvement in a manufacturing environment has to happen at the spot where the work took place, shares Dave Westphal, whose mentor, Mr. Harada, once said: “No improvement can be made in the office.  ..  One must go to the job to see what is really happening—to see, to touch, and to investigate the problem first hand.  ” More »
A Small Amount of Time Can Yield Big Results
By: Jean Cunningham | February 15, 2019
Columns
Four minutes, well focused, can be a long time, notes Jean Cunningham. Without competing distractions, many words can be spoken, absorption of new info happens, and a good deal can be accomplished. We found we actually got more done by getting clear on our focus and our timeframe. More »
And Now For Something Completely...Lean
By: Brent Wahba | January 25, 2019
Columns
Lean practice is no joke, argues Brent Wahba. And yet he draws lessons from great comedy to help address this key challenge: What is your organization doing to keep lean easy to understand and simple to implement? More »
Lean Production Begins with LPPD
By: John Y. Shook | January 4, 2019
Columns
To create a "turbo-charged product-creating machine, start by designing clear processes with useful tools and a “people first” culture--which form a socio-technical system underpinned by deep principles. More »
Are You Building High-Performing Teams?
By: Jim Morgan | January 2, 2019
Columns
It is important to work hard at building a high-performance team. Not only does it lead to better performance outcomes, but it is also a tremendous personal experience. Pay, benefits, and personal growth opportunities have to be competitive, but all else being equal, most people will choose to be part of a high-performance team. More »
Why We Believe People-Free Plants and Services Prevent Learning
By: Lean Sensei Women | December 19, 2018
Columns
We (Lean Sensei Women) are a group of women from different continents, horizons, and professions who share a commitment to the development of people. We believe that people-free services and plant floors prevent meaningful learning from happening, and that digital systems will always require people and the capacity for human learning. More »
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