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Lean Principles Are the Bread & Butter of this Retail Transformation
By: Lean Enterprise Institute | January 4, 2018
Columns
Entrepreneurs explain how their chain of bakeries and retail stores used lean continuous improvement to profitably expand, engage employees, and meet growing customer demand for healthier products. More »
Seeing the Whole Value Stream (Maps from Applying Value-Stream Analysis to Retailing — The Tesco Case)
By: Jones, Dan and David Brunt | October 25, 2011
Value-Stream Maps
Full size maps from the essay "Applying Value-Stream Analysis to Retailing — The Tesco Case" in Seeing the Whole Value Stream 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 »
New Book Explains How to Create “Steady Work” in Unsteady Times with Standardized Work Cadences
By: Karen Gaudet and Chet Marchwinski | April 6, 2020
Columns
In Steady Work, the new book from the Lean Enterprise Institute, author and former Starbucks’ Regional Manager Karen Gaudet offers astute business guidance for turbulent times and a heartfelt personal story about how the continuous improvement operating system revitalized the retailer during the global financial crisis and helped employees in Newtown, CT, get through the worst week of their lives. More »
What is the value to be created here and now?
By: Josh Howell | February 25, 2020
Columns; eLetters
Karen Gaudet has written Steady Work (!), a wonderful new book about her experience as a regional director of operations for Starbucks Coffee Company. More »
Do you find yourself surrounded by uneven workflows?
By: Jean Cunningham | February 11, 2020
Columns; eLetters
Do you find yourself surrounded by uneven workflows? Of course you do, it is natural. Almost everything has ebbs and flows. And when it comes to customer demand, it is impossible to completely control the real rate of demand.    More »
Steady Work (Chapter 1)
By: Karen Gaudet | February 7, 2020
Articles
Transforming frontline operations in a retail chain the size of Starbucks is a story in itself. This book goes further, investigating how lean thinking addressed huge demand fluctuation in a retail environment across thousands of stores, and then how baristas and managers in Newtown, Connecticut used that system to get them through the worst week imaginable. It is a deeply personal story with global relevance. More »
Steady Work (Introduction)
By: Karen Gaudet | February 7, 2020
Articles
Transforming frontline operations in a retail chain the size of Starbucks is a story in itself. This book goes further, investigating how lean thinking addressed huge demand fluctuation in a retail environment across thousands of stores, and then how baristas and managers in Newtown, Connecticut used that system to get them through the worst week imaginable. It is a deeply personal story with global relevance. More »
Steady Work (TOC)
By: Karen Gaudet | February 7, 2020
Articles
Transforming frontline operations in a retail chain the size of Starbucks is a story in itself. This book goes further, investigating how lean thinking addressed huge demand fluctuation in a retail environment across thousands of stores, and then how baristas and managers in Newtown, Connecticut used that system to get them through the worst week imaginable. It is a deeply personal story with global relevance. More »
Steady Work
By: Karen Gaudet | February 3, 2020
Books
Transforming frontline operations in a retail chain the size of Starbucks is a story in itself. This book goes further, investigating how lean thinking addressed huge demand fluctuation in a retail environment across thousands of stores, and then how baristas and managers in Newtown, Connecticut used that system to get them through the worst week imaginable. It is a deeply personal story with global relevance. More »
Steady Work (Audiobook)
By: Karen Gaudet | February 3, 2020
Audio; Books
Transforming frontline operations in a retail chain the size of Starbucks is a story in itself. This book goes further, investigating how lean thinking addressed huge demand fluctuation in a retail environment across thousands of stores, and then how baristas and managers in Newtown, Connecticut used that system to get them through the worst week imaginable. It is a deeply personal story with global relevance. More »
My Personal Turning Point: Reflecting on a Decade as a Lean Coach
By: Josh Howell | January 14, 2020
Columns; eLetters
Last year I sat in the offices of several "lean champions" at their companies, agents of change who are trying to instill lean thinking throughout their organizations. Each had been in the role for years. A hallmark of their offices was a corner filled with rolled up flip chart papers - artifacts of past lean activities like value-stream maps. And a hallmark of our conversations were expressions of frustration with others who were not sustaining changes or choosing to make any in the first place. I could relate.    More »
Grit, PDCA, Lean and other four-letter words
By: Josh Howell | December 10, 2019
Columns; eLetters
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 »
A Revelation at the Gemba
By: Josh Howell | September 5, 2019
Columns; eLetters
During my travels this summer, both personal and for LEI, I’ve been reflecting a lot on the Institute’s 20+ year history while thinking about my role in shaping its future. I’ve also been talking to many of you, the members of the Lean Community, taking advantage of community gatherings like the annual Designing the Future and Lean Coaching Summits, to better understand your current challenges. I’m also meeting with potential collaborators who can help further LEI’s mission of advancing lean thinking via thought-leading content, experimentation, coaching, and training.    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 »
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 »
Seeing the Whole Value Stream (eBook)
By: Dan Jones and Jim Womack with D. Brunt, M. Lovejoy | August 20, 2012
Books
For the tens of thousands of users of value-stream mapping at the facility level, Seeing the Whole Value Stream provides the logical next step, extending the field of view all the way up and down the value stream. Dan Jones and Jim Womack, co-authors of the best-selling Machine That Changed the World and Lean Thinking provide a management tool for identifying and removing waste along the entire value stream from raw materials to end customer. This expanded second edition of the original book Seeing the Whole also provides real-world case studies. More »
Lean business-IT integration, Part Three: What is an integrated business-it value stream?
By: Bell, Steve | April 3, 2012
Articles
In this, the third article in a five part series on lean IT, LEI faculty member Steve Bell explores the fundamentals of integrating business and IT. More »
Seeing the Whole Value Stream
By: Dan Jones and Jim Womack with D. Brunt, M. Lovejoy | October 26, 2011
Books
For the tens of thousands of users of value-stream mapping at the facility level, Seeing the Whole Value Stream provides the logical next step, extending the field of view all the way up and down the value stream. Dan Jones and Jim Womack, co-authors of the best-selling Machine That Changed the World and Lean Thinking provide a management tool for identifying and removing waste along the entire value stream from raw materials to end customer. This expanded second edition of the original book Seeing the Whole also provides real-world case studies. More »
C.J. Buck, CEO of Buck Knives
By: Vinas, Tonya; | January 12, 2009
Articles
When sales of a key product cratered, Buck Knives CEO C.  J. Buck realized that he had to cut costs by 30% to stay in business. He moved the company from California to Idaho and lauched a lean transformation to become more competitive. Here he explains how he had to change and how he showed support for the transformation. 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 »
Creating Value or Shifting Wealth?
By: Womack, Jim; | May 1, 2008
Columns; eLetters
How do we judge the progress of the Lean Movement? One critical indicator is our success in extending lean thinking to new industries and activities. In recent years I have been greatly encouraged that lean thinking is moving far beyond its origins in manufacturing to distribution, retailing, maintenance and overhaul, consumer services, construction, and – perhaps most striking – healthcare. Indeed, the latter may be the most energetic area of lean practice today.  However, I have been concerned about our prospects for changing the thinking of investors, and specifically the giant private-equity investment firms that now control large parts of More »
Creating Lean Dealers
By: David Brunt and John Kiff | October 15, 2007
Books
Car manufacturing has been transformed by Lean over the last 20 years yet car dealerships have remained virtually untouched by Lean. Now that’s changing. Dealerships experimenting with Lean have experienced a doubling of throughput, increases in productivity of 50% or more, and returns on sales several times the industry norm. These are not ‘freak’ results. They occur every time Lean principles are applied in a disciplined way – as has already been proven in sectors as diverse as banking, healthcare and grocery retailing. Creating Lean Dealers is a step-by-step guide to improving dealer operations, starting from service and repair. With More »
Lean Thinking: A Look Back and a Look Forward
By: Womack, Jim | September 8, 2006
Articles; Charts, Graphs and Diagrams
The meaning of lean thinking, how lean got its name, and an example of how it improved a grinding process By LEI President Jim Womack. More »
Thinking End to End
By: Womack, Jim | August 11, 2006
Columns; eLetters
Every value stream runs from raw materials all the way to the end customer. And value for the customer is only delivered at the very end.   In many service industries, of course, the “raw material” is information rather than molecules -- like the data in the claim application processed by an insurance company. But the situation is the same. Value is only delivered at the end of the stream.   Today I see a lot of progress in applying lean thinking to isolated segments of the value stream, even across functions within firms. But optimizing the entire stream as it flows More »
Lean Solutions
By: James P. Womack and Daniel T. Jones | August 8, 2005
A3s; Books; Value-Stream Maps
In their bestselling business classic Lean Thinking, James Womack and Daniel Jones introduced the world to the principles of lean production—principles for eliminating waste during production. Now, in Lean Solutions, the authors establish the groundbreaking principles of lean consumption, showing companies how to eliminate inefficiency during consumption. More »
The Problem with Creative Work and Creative Management
By: Womack, Jim | May 10, 2005
Columns; eLetters
Years ago I heard a presentation from someone at Toyota explaining where to begin in implementing the Toyota Production System. “Start by analyzing the work to be done.  ” This meant listing all the actions required to create the value in a given product and then dividing these actions into three categories:Value-creating work. Activities adding directly to the value of the product as determined by the customer. (Manufacturing examples are painting the product or adding parts during assembly.  ) A simple test is to ask whether customers would mind if this work was not done but their product still performed properly. More »
The Dramatic Spread of Lean Thinking
By: Womack, Jim | April 11, 2005
Columns; eLetters
Without question, lean thinking was born in the factory. That's simply because processes are easiest to see when materials are being transformed into physical products. (Remember that a process is simply a set of actions that must be performed correctly in the right sequence at the proper time in order to create value for some customer.  ) Henry Ford and Toyota looked first at factory processes by thinking about flow production coupled to pull systems for information management. However, they mostly worked on high-volume processes with relatively narrow product variety, often making products to a stock of finished goods.  The More »
Lean Consumption
By: Womack, Jim | March 7, 2005
Columns; eLetters
           As I suspect you know, I see every value-creating organization as a big collection of processes:   A product development process involving many steps that must be performed properly in the proper sequence at the proper time to bring products to market.    A smoothly flowing production process -- which should be one of the results of the product development process, but often isn’t.    A purchasing process to determine which items to obtain from which suppliers under what terms.    A fulfillment process for getting the right item to the right customer at the right time.             Everything we do More »
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