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From the Lean Lexicon 5th Edition:

Safety Stock:   Goods held at any point (raw materials, WIP, or finished goods) to prevent downstream customers from being starved by upstream process capability issues. Also called emergency stock. More »
Safety Through Gemba
By: Brian Fitzpatrick | June 24, 2015
"When I do a gemba walk, I don’t necessarily ask questions about safety," writes Brian Fitzpatrick (a director of Health & Safety), "I engage in conversations with staff members, and ask staff to teach me about how they do their work and what concerns them.  .. They must feel they have the power to change what is wrong, and believe that we care.  " More »
Frame the Work For Safety and Learning
By: Amy C. Edmondson | November 15, 2019
The most important skill to master as a leader is that of framing the work, says Harvard Business School Professor Amy Edmondson. Frames consist of assumptions or beliefs that we layer onto reality. All of us frame objects and situations automatically. Great leaders understand this and manage frames intentionally. More »
Show Respect, Psychological Safety, and Social Neuroscience
By: Mike Orzen and David Verble | April 26, 2019
Mike Orzen and David Verble examine the meaning and lean relevance of showing respect, creating psychological safety, and the links between these two. More »
Doing More With Less: Lean Thinking and Patient Safety in Health Care
By: Joint Commission Resources | June 12, 2006
Beginning with an overview of how lean thinking developed and spread in manufacturing, this book quickly and—most importantly for healthcare readers who are not familiar with lean principles—clearly explains the key concepts of  lean thinking and how they apply to healthcare.  Even better, Doing More with Less: Lean Thinking and Patient Safety in Healthcare offers specific examples throughout of how to translate the principles of lean thinking into the healthcare environment, and how leading hospitals are using the concepts to improve safety by eliminating the root causes of problems. More »
The Sanity of Just-in-Time
By: Michael Ballé, Jacques Chaize and Daniel T. Jones | May 8, 2020
Path dependence is the worst enemy of smart resolution, argue the authors, who suggest greater "frame control" with enabling tools such as just-in-time to respect people on the frontline and respect the facts they share about what is happening to them. "Mastering the path as opposed to being led by it, means looking up frequently to reevaluate both destination and way as new information comes to light.  " More »
Active Caring
By: Jim Benson | April 13, 2020
Caring about others, caring about quality, caring about professionalism. When you care, continuous improvement and action come naturally. Turner Construction CEO Peter Davoren says that he would like Turner people to exhibit "active caring". This may sound vague, but it is actionable. In this article Jim Benson details this approach. More »
Is Your Strategy a Plan--or a Hypothesis?
By: Amy C. Edmondson | March 8, 2019
Success in a VUCA world requires senior executives to engage thoughtfully and frequently with company operations across all levels and departments, argues HBS Professor Amy Edmondson. The people on the front line who create and deliver products and services are privy to the most important strategic data the company has available. More »
The Fearless Organization
By: Amy Edmondson | November 30, 2018
This book explores this culture of psychological safety, and provides a blueprint for bringing it to life. The road is sometimes bumpy, but succinct and informative scenario-based explanations provide a clear path forward to constant learning and healthy innovation. More »
Lean Roundup: Respect for People
By: Tom Ehrenfeld | May 14, 2018
Respect for People is one of the most abstract and yet most concrete tenets of lean, a guiding principle that informs how people work, coach, and lead. This roundup of writings reveals a wealth of perspectives on how lean thinkers convert this ideal into tangible ways of thinking and acting. More »
Advice from the Gemba: Getting More Suggestions without Incentivizing Employees
By: Gavin Martin and Kelly Moore | November 2, 2017
Improving the work is difficult, if not impossible, without suggestions from those who actually do the work. But in many companies, getting the workers to submit suggestions is a constant struggle. What could be the root cause(s) of this problem? Two lean practitioners weigh in with their thoughts. More »
The Value of Key Performance Indicators in a Lean Transformation
By: Ernie Richardson and Tracey Richardson | February 3, 2016
We all know to watch out for key performance indicators (KPIs) in the workplace - but are you tracking the RIGHT KPIs? Ernie and Tracey Richardson share their thoughts on the two categories of KPIs, how they can help you, and how to identify them. More »
Just-in-Time Roundup: Great Lean Reads Across the Web (Vol.10)
By: Lean Leaper | August 20, 2015
Our latest picks for great lean reads across the web, this time from 99u, strategy + business, a hotel app company's blog, Stanford Social Innovation Review, and The ThedaCare Center for Healthcare Value. More »
Opportunity Lost?
By: José R. Ferro | May 14, 2014
President of Lean Institute Brasil, José Ferro, gives us the background situation on the World Cup and tells us about the problems and opportunities it presents for Brazil. More »
The Difference a Visual Cue Makes
By: Tracey Richardson | April 25, 2014
At work and off the clock, visual cues and andons keep us safe and aware of what's going on at all times. How do you use visual cues to alert yourself and others to problems and/or improve your work? More »
Lean Hospitals, 2nd Ed.
By: Mark Graban | November 7, 2011
Drawing on his years of working with hospitals, Mark Graban explains why and how lean can be used to improve safety, quality, and efficiency in a healthcare setting. A unique guide for healthcare professionals, this book clearly elaborates the steps they can take to begin the proactive process of lean implementation. More »
2010 Lean Healthcare Transformation Summit
March 26, 2010
June 9-10, 2010 - Orlando, FL. Specially designed to delvier comprehensive, high-quality information about improving healthcare quality through lean thinking. More »
The U.S. Versus the World Healthcare Cost Gap
By: Shook, John | November 17, 2009
Columns; eLetters
Lean thinking dictates that we try to turn any "problem" (or need, however big, however vague) into an actionable problem that can be analyzed. All problems come down, one way or another, to SQDCM (Safety, Quality, Delivery, Cost, Morale). How can we identify a gap(between the way things are and the way we need or want them to be) that we can analyze? More »
Leadership Q&A: Dr. Jack Billi, associate dean and associate vice president for medical affairs
By: Marchwinski, Chet; | January 12, 2009
From the LEI senior executive series on lean leadership:Jack Billi, M.  D.  , associate dean for clinical affairs, University of Michigan Medical School, professor of Internal Medicine and Medical Education, and associate vice president for medical affairs,University of Michigan, is leading a lean transformation of the University of Michigan Health System (UMHS), which encompasses 18,000 employees, an 817-bed hospital, 100 clinics, and a medical school with 700 students, 1,000 residents, and 1,600 faculty physicians. (Read the Success Story about the lean transformation of UMHS, "Fighting Cancer with Linear Accelerators and Accelerated Processes.  ") More »
The Worst Form of Muda
By: Womack, Jim | August 14, 2008
Columns; eLetters
I've just returned from India where I attended the first Lean Summits, in Mumbai and Chennai, organized by the Lean Management Institute of India (www.  leaninstitute.  in). One of the souvenirs I collect on my visits to different countries is special reasons why lean is impossible in each country. And a number of Indian managers told me what I expected to hear. Some explained that managers there don't have the discipline to create a lean enterprise. Others solemnly told me that a lean logistics system would be quite impossible on India's chaotic and crowded roads. The media -- who everywhere More »
By: Womack, Jim | January 3, 2008
Columns; eLetters
Think of cadence as takt time adapted to activities beyond routine production. In the product development world -- as brilliantly illuminated by our late colleague, Allen Ward -- it is very helpful for a development organization to have a clear sense how many new products are needed per unit of calendar time and to develop a steady pace for initiating and finishing these projects. The demand might be one per year or one per quarter or one per month, depending on the perceived desires of customers. But in every case the demand needs to be determined in advance and projects More »
Sell One, Buy One, Make One: Transforming from Conventional to Lean Distribution
By: Chet Marchwinski | December 8, 2006
Case Studies; Charts, Graphs and Diagrams; Images
Big batches. Long lead times. Infrequent deliveries. Large inventories to cover fluctuations in demand. These aren't characteristics normally attributed to lean paragon Toyota, but they once accurately described the automaker's service parts distribution system -- but no more. More »
Best in Healthcare Getting Better with Lean
By: Taninecz, George | May 4, 2006
Case Studies; Value-Stream Maps
The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.  , is famous for the quality of its healthcare, but is using lean concepts to further enhance processes affecting quality, safety, and service. (Use links provided in the story to see larger versions of the value-stream maps.  ) More »
Just in Time, Just in Case, and Just Plain Wrong
By: Womack, Jim | January 22, 2006
Columns; eLetters
I started my e-letters immediately after the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, as a response to the many commentators asserting that JIT could no longer work due to the risk of disruption in supply chains. They argued that large inventories were needed everywhere along value streams to permit rapid response to chaotic conditions.  I knew that this was a complete misunderstanding of the situation. Counting on finished units and parts lying around at many locations to somehow respond to disruptions in transport links or at key production facilities would be ineffectual as well as harmful to production organizations and More »
Lean Information Management
By: Womack, Jim | November 5, 2004
Columns; eLetters
As you probably know, I try to walk through as many processes as I can because I learn something new on every walk.    Recently I was walking through a manufacturing operation and found myself wondering about the principles of lean information management, in particular with regard to production control and fulfillment.  The facility in question was typical in having a central brain – its computerized Materials Requirements Planning (MRP) system – telling each operation what to do next.    It’s what I call a cognitive system, in which all feedback goes into a central processor that thinks through the More »
Move Your Operations to China? Do some lean math first.
By: Womack, Jim | January 10, 2003
Columns; eLetters
 I recently got a phone call from a reporter for The Wall Street Journal with a simple but provocative question: "If you are a manufacturer in a high-wage country such as the U.  S.  , can you ever be lean enough that you don't need to relocate your operations to China?" The reporter's reasoning was that China has an enormous labor pool in its coastal development zones, with 300 million additional migrants to these areas expected in the next ten years. So labor costs may stay at their current low levels for decades.   He further reasoned that a large fraction of More »
Lean Alternative to "Spaghetti World"
By: Womack, Jim | November 28, 2001
Columns; eLetters
I wanted to share with you some thoughts on lean thinking in a time of uncertainty that Dan Jones and I recently put together at the request of "Automotive News.  " (Read story.  ) Our key point is that it's now time to re-think the connectivity costs of the "spaghetti world" we've built, where every part in every product seems to travel several times across national borders as it progresses from raw materials to the customer. The alternative to mountains of spaghetti -- and large safety stocks to protect production from supply disruptions at border crossings -- is "value stream More »