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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 »
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 »
Seafood Restaurant Fishes for Problems Customers Really Care About
By: Richard Vellante | December 5, 2018
Columns
The executive chef at Legal Sea Foods explains how the restaurants are cutting lead times from fishing boat to your belly. More »
Putting Passion on Your Dashboard
By: Lean Leaper | November 27, 2018
Columns
Understanding what customers value requires more than a marketing approach, says Dave Pericak, explaining how he learned about customer value from the Mustang owners who More »
Book Review: Designing the Future
By: Michael Ballé | November 26, 2018
Columns
Forget frameworks, processes, rote step methods. Read this book and think back to the “Why?” before the “What?” and “How?”: companies live or die on whether their products and services better help customers to do whatever they want to get done, at a better value-for-money deal. More »
I Got 99 Problems and This Is How I'll Tackle Type One
By: Lory Moniz | November 5, 2018
Columns
After an unintentional sending a mass email with an error from LEI, Lory Moniz reflects on the source of the defect and commits to a way of preventing this from recurring; and commits to applying the subject of the letter (ways of tackling problems) to the approach by her team. More »
Book Review: Four Types of Problems
By: Deborah McGee | October 24, 2018
Columns
If you are developing a problem solver in your personal life or on your team, or if you’re continuously developing as a problem solver yourself, the new book Four Types of Problems will guide and support growth through active reading, application and reflection, says lean thinker Deb McGee. More »
Double Loop Learning at Kongsberg Maritime
By: Daryl Powell and Eivind Reke | October 18, 2018
Columns
Kongsberg Maritime, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Norwegian-based Kongsberg Group, tapped into a Kyoryokukai, or network for supplier innovation, to create a space for single--and double--loop learning for its members. More »
Deploying Improvement Habits: From Starter Kata to Meta-Habits
By: Brandon Brown | September 19, 2018
Columns
Learners using the Kata routine approach every problem with the “skeleton” of the Kata routine, and understand that they are not experimenting to the solution, says Brandon Brown. They use experiments to find obstacles that prevent them from operating in the target condition. More »
The Escalator of Issues
By: James P. Womack | September 7, 2018
Columns
A daily management system with daily performance metrics gives caregivers the sense that managers are really paying attention, that problems really are being addressed, and that over time this will mean stability and a lower level of stress for all staff, says Jim Womack. More »
Are You Learning to Learn Faster? A Conversation with Steve Spear
By: Lean Leaper | August 21, 2018
Columns
Learning to close the gap in our learning cycle is critical to keeping our promises and achieving our goals, argues Steve Spear in the recent WLEI podcast. Read more here and listen to the full conversation. More »
Ask Art: What's Wrong with Organizing By Function?
By: Art Byrne | August 16, 2018
Columns
While you might be able to survive and be profitable using a traditional functional structure the fact is that you will be leaving a lot of money on the table. Moving to lean and flow eliminates structural problems, lowers cost, improves quality, shortens lead times and is more responsive to the customer. More »
Cardboard, Duct Tape, and String: The Do-First Mindset
By: Mark Reich | August 15, 2018
Columns
Whatever field you work in, if you are responsible for kaizen in your company, strive for quick change in your workplace by finding your cardboard, duct tape, and string, says lean coach Mark Reich. More »
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