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Can a manufacturer use lean management to advance its environmental and social sustainability strategy?
By: Michael Ballé | December 30, 2019
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: Can a manufacturer use lean to advance its environmental and social sustainability strategy? More »
How do we ensure sustainability of a successful lean effort?
By: Michael Ballè | October 25, 2017
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: We used training and workshops to roll out a lean program with good early results – what do we need to do to ensure sustainability? More »
CLean and Green: How SunPower Used Lean to Address Sustainability
By: Lean Leaper | July 28, 2016
Columns
After years of lean practice, solar-device manufacturer SunPower wanted something more. They wanted to continue their journey of continuous improvement and become a more sustainable company, like the the products they sold. Their approach didn't just involve lean - it incorporated a sustainable economy model, creating a hybrid approach that they called "CLean.  " Read more. More »
The Lean Management System: The Key to Sustainability and CI. An Interview with Joe Murli
By: Cameron Ford and Joe Murli | January 28, 2016
Columns
Achieving wins is only half the battle in a lean transformation - you also need a way to sustain those wins and foster a culture of continuous improvement. In his first piece for the Lean Post, Joe Murli shares his favorite way of doing just that - his signature "Lean Management System," already being used by the likes of GE and Moog Aircraft Group. Read more. More »
The Problem of Sustainability
By: Womack, Jim | May 30, 2007
Columns; eLetters
I recently got a call from an old friend who led one of the first lean implementation efforts in healthcare in the mid-1990s. He has moved on to other challenges and we hadn't had a chance to catch up in recent years. So I asked him what happened to the lean initiative in the healthcare organization where he had been a senior manager.    The answer was what I feared. More »
Turn to Lean To Tackle the Problems You Want to Solve Right Now
By: Josh Howell | October 20, 2020
Columns
Lean thinking and practice is hard, says LEI President Josh Howell; noting that it's well worth the effort for those whose lives it has improved, and whose businesses have been saved and strengthened. But as a recent visit to the doctor reminded him, it’s still damn hard work. More »
Lean Management Leaders Weigh in on Climate Change, Coronavirus, Innovation, and More
By: Chet Marchwinski | September 16, 2020
Columns
Jim Womack, founding CEO of the nonprofit Lean Enterprise Institute (LEI), and Jim Morgan, an experienced product development executive, explained how lean management practices could solve today’s toughest challenges during keynotes at a conference organized by LEI. More »
Exploring the Technical and Nontechnical Challenges of Being a Chief Engineer, A Candid Conversation with Two CEs
By: Chet Marchwinski | May 31, 2020
Articles
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 »
How Ron Kelner Helped Build A System of Improvement at Deublin
By: Josh Howell | February 3, 2020
Columns
In this podcast, Deublin COO Ron Kelner shares with Josh Howell the long learning journey of his company as it pursues lean, moving beyond creating a foundation of tools-based improvement, and towards developing a business system with problem-solving and people development at its core. More »
How to Scale Up Positive Social Change
By: Ann Mei Chang | May 13, 2019
Columns
Far more households globally have access to a mobile phone than a toilet, notes Ann Mei Chang, a tech executive turned social innovator and author. And that’s despite the time and money spent for years by hundreds of nonprofits, social organizations, companies, and government agencies. Listen as she explains her radical idea of taking the scientific method she learned in tech and the lean startup movement to create radically great social good at scale. More »
How can I help middle managers handle contradictory instructions from top management?
By: Michael Ballé | April 22, 2019
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: As a lean coach, how can I help middle-managers who are faced with contradictory instructions from top management? More »
Ripe for Change: How a Half-Acre Farm Built on Lean Principles May Be Sowing Seeds of Disruption
By: Ben Hartman | October 31, 2018
Columns
Uber disrupted the taxi business. Netflix disrupted entertainment. Amazon disrupted retail. Ben Hartman disrupted farming. Granted, not on the scale of the first three industries but the Indiana farmer, author of The Lean Farm, has planted the seeds of a radical transformation in our food system. More »
Lean Transformation? Not Buying It
By: Mike Orzen | September 17, 2018
Columns
Companies often describe their transformation efforts in terms of an end-state: focusing on targeted results. They see transformation as a noun--a specific target or condition they wish to attain at a point in time. This paradigm prevents them from viewing transformation as a verb - a way of being they need to live every day. More »
The Lean Farm: Better Food, Productivity, and Profits -- with Less Work
By: Ben Hartman | February 6, 2018
Columns
Farming may be the next industry ripe for disruption. For example, Ben Hartman grew up on a 500-acre corn and soybean farm where success meant getting bigger every year – buy a bigger tractor, rent more land, build another grain bin. Today, applying lean principles, Hartman has a one-acre farm that is more productive and profitable than a five-acre spread. More »
Doing Versus Being – How Mindfulness Supports Better Lean Thinking
By: Mike Orzen | January 16, 2018
Columns
Most companies don’t get the expected results from their lean transformations, according to Mike Orzen, lean practitioner and LEI faculty member. The reason is that people get stuck in stages 1, 2 or 3 of awareness, failing to reach level 4, being. Learn how to move from "doing" lean to the more creative and less stressful state of "being.  " More »
The "Playbook" of Sustaining Change
By: Lynn Kelley | October 24, 2017
Columns
In a world where most lean transformations fail, what can we do to learn from others' mistakes and help our own transformations succeed? After 30 years of firsthand experience in change implementations, Lynn Kelley has a few tips to share. Read more. More »
Ask Art: “Do lean conversions actually go smoothly, like in the books?”
By: Art Byrne | September 19, 2017
Columns
Art Byrne receives many inquiries from people wondering whether lean transformations really are as smooth as they seem in books, or if the way is pockmarked with problems. He sets the record straight in this latest installment of "Ask Art.  " More »
Back to Basics: Jim Womack on Why Managers Need a "Lean State of Mind"
By: James P. Womack | September 5, 2017
Columns
In this classic eletter from 2009, Jim Womack explains the crucial importance of a "lean state of mind" if a lean manager is going to be able to achieve sustainable improvements. More »
“Do I have to be team leader for the rest of my life?"
By: John Shook | June 27, 2017
Columns; eLetters
At his talk at the Lean Transformation Summit earlier this year, and at conferences since then, including Industry Week and Shingo, Lantech CEO Jim Lancaster shared these words, expressing a Groundhog Day-like despair at having to solve the same problems on a daily basis (“Didn’t we do this yesterday?”). More »
Daily Management, Daily Sustainment: The Remarkable Story of Lean Transformation at Lantech
By: Lean Leaper | June 15, 2017
Columns
Jim Lancaster attended the 2017 Lean Transformation Summit in Carlsbad, California to speak about Lantech's journey to create a daily management system. Today on the Lean Post we feature a video of his talk on the role of management in sustaining the gains of lean. More »
A Tool That Every High-Mix, Low-Volume Leader Needs to See
By: Greg Lane | May 9, 2017
Columns
"High mix, low volume operations are a difficult concept to grasp," writes Greg Lane. But it doesn't have to be - with a few simple tools and concepts, you can handle the constant changes typical of a HMLV environment. Today, Lane shares one of his favorites. More »
Advice from the Gemba: How Do People Accidentally Make Change Unsustainable?
By: Karen Gaudet, Lynn Kelley, David Verble and Brent Wahba | May 2, 2017
Columns
The only thing tougher than change is SUSTAINING change, we often hear. But does sustaining change need to be SO hard? Is it naturally and universally borderline impossible? Or is it possible that we, as humans, accidentally make sustainability harder than it has to be? Four LEI faculty members weigh in with their thoughts. More »
Ask Art: Is there a formula to predict or evaluate the success of a lean implementation?
By: Art Byrne | March 21, 2017
Columns
Art Byrne is often asked how to best measure the success of a lean transformation -- but does such a measurement even exist? He's been asked this so many times that he now addresses it in his latest installment of Ask Art. Read more. More »
Question! Adapt? Question!
By: Joshua Rapoza | January 13, 2017
Columns
LEI's Customer Strategy Officer talks about his mistake of not asking enough questions and what he learned about passion overtaking reasonable thinking when it comes to the lean summit. More »
Lessons Learned from Sunpower's (C)Lean Transformation
By: Chet Marchwinski | October 11, 2016
Columns
Sustainability is a key part of any lean transformation - but Sunpower of San Jose, Cali. took that word a little further than just maintaining the momentum of small wins. The solar-energy device manufacturer wanted to bring its mission of saving the environment into its day-to-day operations. Hear more about their journey in this interview between LEI Communications Director Chet Marchwinski and Sunpower CEO Marty Neese and Director of Operations Ralph Robinett. More »
Innovation in the Work
By: John Shook | September 22, 2016
Columns; eLetters
"Innovation is a popular – and important – concept," writes LEI Chairman and CEO John Shook. "So, here are three questions. What is it? What does lean thinking have to say about it? So what?" Check out John's responses, and don't forget to follow his link to a new animation on innovation and lean. More »
Lean Fitness: The Individual vs. the Organization
By: Dan Markovitz | October 1, 2015
Columns
"For both the individual and the organization, the problem is the same," writes Dan Markovitz. "There may be a stated goal—lose 15 pounds, improve muscle tone—but there’s often no clearly defined program to reach that fitness goal. Or even if there is a program, it may simply be a fad that promises huge results with minimal effort: think vibrating belts, Thighmasters, 8 Minute Abs, and the latest diet pills.  " More »
Is momentum loss normal during a lean transformation?
By: Ballé, Michael | November 25, 2014
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: One of our outpatient wards reduced waiting time by 75% and got an award for their lean improvement project. But then momentum was lost and waiting time is now worse than it ever was. Is this loss of momentum normal? More »
The Five Poisons of Big Company Disease
By: Michael Ballé | November 18, 2014
Columns
What's "big company disease"? The tendency of any large company to worry about clearly defined territories, rules and procedures, and integrated systems more than a passion for quality or the kaizen spirit. Michael Ballé explains. More »
Want Your Organization to Survive Over the Long Haul? Value Process Over Results
By: Robert W. (Doc) Hall | November 11, 2014
Columns
"There are two ways to run your business," writes Doc Hall. "Focus on value, or focus on results.  .. Interestingly, when you focus on value, good results typically follow.  " Read more. More »
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