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Exploring the Technical and Nontechnical Challenges of Being a Chief Engineer, A Candid Conversation with Two CEs
By: Chet Marchwinski | May 31, 2020
Chief engineers typically have strong technical skills to effectively lead and manage the work of engineers, designers, and other developers. But perhaps their greatest talent needs to be nontechnical, an observation that emerged in this interview with two chief engineers from TechnipFMC, conducted by LEI Communications Director Chet Marchwinski at last year’s Designing the Future Summit. More »
Smitten Engineers or Love at First Sight of a Solution?
By: Chet Marchwinski and Tyler Schilling | October 4, 2019
Entrepreneur Tyler Schilling has felt the pain of engineering heartbreak – falling in love early with a solution only to realize later in the project that the idea you are wedded to is fundamentally flawed. The cure for developing an early crush on solutions is set-based design but implementing it takes a change in company culture, as he explains in this candid iterview. More »
Getting the Right Product Right, and Other Product Development Trends
By: John Drogosz | September 4, 2019
As a lean product and process development coach John Drogosz, PhD, works closely with companies in a variety of industries that are redesigning development systems to consistently design and deliver a progression of market-leading products and services. He took a time out at the annual Designing the Future Summit to talk about the product development trends he is seeing. More »
Cutting Carbon Emissions and Product Costs Through Lean Product and Process Development
By: Katrina Appell | May 1, 2019
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 »
Is value engineering just about cutting costs?
By: Michael Ballé | March 4, 2019
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: My boss has hired a consultant to do value engineering, who has us looking for design opportunities to reduce the costs of components and materials – is that it? More »
LPPD Under the Sea: Efficient Product Design with Subsea 2.0
By: Jeffrey Liker and Jim Morgan | December 4, 2018
In this excerpt from the new book Designing the Future, authors Jim Morgan and Jeff Liker share the case study of TechnipFMC's work on a new seafloor production system that realized tremendous gains through applying LPPD principles More »
An Innovative Framework for Designing Better Products and Services – and a Better Future
By: Chet Marchwinski and Jim Morgan | December 3, 2018
Because of the enormous “shadow” it casts over the entire enterprise for years, product development literally designs the future of companies, employees, customers, and suppliers. In this Q&A, product development expert Jim Morgan, co-author of Designing the Future, describes a fundamentally different – and much better – way to develop new products and services. More »
2019 Designing the Future Summit
September 26, 2018
2019 Designing the Future Summit. June 27-28, 2019 - Traverse City, Michigan. A unique event for designers, product, process, and quality engineers, supply chain professionals, and development leaders as well as thought leaders to come together, learn from each other. More »
Toyota chief engineers have no power? Really?
By: Michael Ballé | April 30, 2018
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: We often hear that Toyota chief engineers have no power. Really? So how does that work? Why such an organization? What problem does it solve? More »
2018 Designing the Future Summit
January 25, 2018
2018 Designing the Future Summit. June 19-20, 2018 - Traverse City, Michigan. A unique event for designers, product, process, and quality engineers, supply chain professionals, and development leaders as well as thought leaders to come together, learn from each other. More »
What’s your opinion on setting specific criteria before brainstorming countermeasures?
By: Michael Ballè | April 24, 2017
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: What’s your opinion on setting specific criteria before brainstorming countermeasures? More »
What Do I Tell My Leaders When Experiments Fail?
By: John Drogosz | August 23, 2016
When experiments fail, it's natural for a leadership team to get nervous. But in the context of lean, they shouldn't be - it's just a matter of managing their expectations and helping them understand that a "failure" is actually a blessing in disguise. John Drogosz explains how to do this. More »
How important is it to consider differences in roles between our current project manager and a chief engineer?
By: Michael Ballè | June 6, 2016
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: Management wants us to start lean in product development, but refuses to consider the difference in roles between our current project manager and a chief engineer – how important is that? More »
Management On the Mend / On the Mend (2-book set)
By: John Toussaint, MD and Roger Gerard | June 3, 2015
On the MendIn On the Mend: Revolutionizing Healthcare to Save Lives and Transform the Industry John Toussaint, MD, former CEO of ThedaCare, and Roger A. Gerard, PhD, its chief learning officer, candidly describe the triumphs and stumbles of a seven-year journey to lean healthcare, an effort that continues today and that has slashed medical errors, improved patient outcomes, raised staff morale, and saved $27 million dollars in costs without layoffs. Find out:How lean techniques of value-stream-mapping and rapid improvement events cut the average “door-to-balloon” time for heart attack patients at two hospitals from 90 minutes to 37.  What ThedaCare leaders did to More »
How do I set up an obeya room?
By: Ballé, Michael | January 12, 2015
Columns; eLetters; Emails
Dear Gemba Coach: I’d like to set up an obeya room – where should I start? What’s the simplest way to do it? More »
Frontloading Product Development
By: Durward Sobek | October 3, 2014
Anyone in product development is familiar with the agony of late-stage changes, sometimes called loopbacks. The common advice to head off this problem is to “frontload” the product development process. But what does frontload mean? Durward Sobek explains. More »
The Designer's Dilemma
By: Durward Sobek | September 23, 2014
Durward Sobek unpacks the "designer’s dilemma"—the situation wherein you have the MOST freedom to make decisions when you know the LEAST about the problem. Learn how set-based innovation and trade off curves can help. More »
I want to apply lean to engineering. Any thoughts?
By: Ballé, Michael | May 4, 2014
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: I am the regional manufacturing VP of a large industrial company. After the latest reorganization, engineering now comes under me. I’ve had good success with lean in manufacturing and want to apply it to engineering. I plan to get engineers to solve production problems faster. Any thoughts? More »
We struggle to set target conditions. Is there a system to do so?
By: Ballé, Michael | January 14, 2014
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: We work with Toyota Kata, which we find very helpful, but we struggle to set target conditions. Is there a system to do so? More »
Is there such a thing as lean manufacturing engineering?
By: Ballé, Michael | December 4, 2013
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: I keep reading about lean engineering and lean design. Is there lean manufacturing engineering? More »
Why isn’t there more emphasis on lean engineering?
By: Ballé, Michael | December 17, 2012
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: Why isn’t there more emphasis on lean engineering? More »
Learning to See / Seeing the Whole Value Stream Set
By: Dan Jones, Mike Rother, John Shook, Jim Womack | October 25, 2011
This is a special discounted combination package of the classics Learning to See and Seeing the Whole Value Stream. More »
LEI Workbook Set
By: various | October 25, 2011
A complete set of the LEI workbooks. More »
Engineering Checklists
By: Balle, Michael | October 20, 2011
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: How do I apply standardized work to product development? More »
Where to Start in Engineering
By: Balle, Michael | June 15, 2010
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: I’m in charge of the engineering department in our company and the CEO has asked me to start with lean. I’ve been reading the books and it seems very complicated and geared towards much bigger outfits than ours. I’m at a loss as where to start in practice – any advice? More »
Gemba-Based Leadership – Not Just for Chief Engineers
By: Shook, John | February 10, 2009
Columns; eLetters
John Shook on gemba-based leadership More »
The Remarkable Chief Engineer
By: Shook, John | February 3, 2009
Columns; eLetters
Last week I shared this principle quoted from an unexpected source, the U.  S. Marine Leadership Manual: "An individual's responsibility for leadership is not dependent on authority.  " I'll use that as our point of departure this week to continue with my thesis that the deep-rooted assumption that authority should equal responsibility is the root of much organizational evil. More »
Lean Thinking for a Flat World
By: Womack, Jim | May 22, 2007
a 2007 presentation by Jim Womack to the Institute of Industrial Engineers More »
Lean Development
By: Ballé, Freddy and Michael Ballé | October 1, 2005
 Freddy and Michael Ballé, co-authors of the lean novel The Gold Mine, pull together their experiences with Toyota suppliers, contacts with Toyota engineers, and existing research to discern the four keys to the company's product development system and how it has evolved in recent years. More »
The Beginner’s Guide To Lean
By: Jones, Dan | December 1, 2003
Dan Jones, chairman of the Lean Enterprise Academy and coauthor of Lean Thinking, explains that the challenge of lean is to advance beyond eliminating waste in broken processes to creating brilliant processes. He offers advice, based on the history of the lean movement, on how to begin creating brilliant processes. More »
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