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Once Again, Here's Why JIT Matters
By: Jeffrey Liker | May 13, 2021
Jeffrey Liker argues that recent media snipes fail to understand the crucial role JIT plays in a complete #lean system in surfacing problems & pressuring companies to fix them immediately More »
Why Lean Thinkers Should Ground Their Work in Sustainability
By: Gary Cundill and Rose Heathcote | February 25, 2021
There's a solid case for implementing green thinking just as there's one for implementing lean thinking. The challenge, but more importantly the opportunity for business, lies in bringing them together, write Rose Heathcote and Gary Cundill. More »
Are You Deploying Lean Mechanistically--or Organically?
By: Jeffrey Liker | December 7, 2020
Toyota operates on a complete system based on organic rather than mechanistic principles, argues Jeff Liker, who delineates the advantages of this approach. More »
How Can Lean Affect Shareholder Value?
By: Michael Ballé | November 30, 2020
Lean can help challenge assumptions and surface opinions that ultimately improve shareholder value, argues Michael Balle. More »
Using Lean Thinking to Create an “Emergency Management System”
By: Alice Lee | June 23, 2020
Articles; eLetters
The Lynn Community Health Center (LCHC) demonstrates how one organization with scarce resources can respond to a problem as daunting as a global pandemic using the same know-how and thinking -- lean thinking -- they have used to solve many problems over the years.   More »
Keep Calm and Manage Stably: Akio Toyoda’s Response to Crisis
By: Jeffrey Liker and John Y. Shook | May 21, 2020
Jeff Liker and John Shook comment on the recent remarks of Toyota President Akio Toyoda, stating that they "reaffirmed the remarkable ways of the company, leaving us with confidence that Toyota will continue to serve as an inspiration, even as the world continues to change in unpredictable ways.  " More »
The Post COVID Crisis Supply Chain: a Time to Rise (Part 2)
By: Robert Martichenko | April 20, 2020
In a two-part call to action, LeanCor Supply Chain Group CEO Robert Martichenko says that now is the time for public and private sector leaders to develop a post-pandemic supply chain, a “one team-one system” fulfillment stream for producing and delivering lifesaving supplies to the right places, in the right quantities, at the right times. More »
The Post COVID Crisis Supply Chain: a Time to Rise (Part 1)
By: Robert Martichenko | April 17, 2020
In a two-part call to action, LeanCor Supply Chain Group CEO Robert Martichenko says that now is the time for public and private sector leaders to develop a post-pandemic supply chain, a “one team-one system” fulfillment stream for producing and delivering lifesaving supplies to the right places, in the right quantities, at the right times. More »
Towards A More Lean Statement of Purpose
By: Orest (Orry) Fiume | September 11, 2019
Reflecting on a recent Business Roundtable statement pledging a commitment to all of its stakeholders (and not simply maximizing shareholder value, Orry Fiume reminds us how core Lean values overlap with this new stated mission. More »
Lean Thinkers Are Systems Thinkers
By: Richard Sheridan | August 7, 2019
Lean thinkers are systems thinkers, argues Rich Sheridan: "Intentional cultures thrive when the simple systems put in place reinforce every cultural intention and that systems thinkers will always start with the attitude that improving the systems is the best route to improvement, success, and ultimately joy.  " More »
Why We Believe A Strong Customer Focus Is Needed To Drive A Lean Strategy
By: Lean Sensei Women | May 10, 2019
Is there any principle more core to the heart of lean than relentlessly focusing on the customer? In this collection of thoughts on the topic, seven lean sensei women explore how and why customer focus is at the heart of lean strategy. More »
How Standardized Work Integrates People With Process
By: John Shook | April 1, 2019
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 »
Kanban As A Learning Strategy
By: Michael Ballé, Jacques Chaize, Orest (Orry) Fiume and Dan Jones | March 22, 2019
Toyota’s Kanban legacy—and its underlying ideas—have far more direct lineage with today’s digital economy than most folks realize; and capture the core elements of the disruptive lean strategy fueling many of today’s successes. More »
Lean Lessons from Tesla
By: Tom Ehrenfeld | July 20, 2018
This piece throws no shade at Tesla, a company that serves as a highly-charged conduit for many a heated debate about the future of manufacturing, mobility, innovation, modern business models, and, what, space travel. Rather, here are a few lean principles that Tesla's tale calls to mind. More »
Tesla vs. TPS: Seeking the Soul in the New Machine
By: Jeffrey Liker | March 2, 2018
While Tesla has excited customers and drawn praise for innovative design and bold thinking, author Jeff Liker believes that it faces tough challenges in its approach to ramping up production that challenge its mechanistic vision of manufacturing. More »
Lean in One Drawing
By: Dave LaHote | February 15, 2017
LEI faculty member, Dave Lahote, shares his concept of thinking about lean as a system and to demonstrate the linkage between lean tools and how the system can create organizational advantage. More »
Advice from the Gemba: Best Tips for Designing a Work Experience
By: Lean Leaper | January 3, 2017
When designing a work experience, the benefits of having an experienced coach to guide you cannot be overstated. In this installment of Advice from the Gemba, three of the Lean Global Network's best coaches offer their favorite tips for designing a work experience. More »
Thinking About Thinking
By: AsapSCIENCE & Mike Rother | December 4, 2016
Don't believe everything you think. Practice scientific thinking and test your assumptions, because every step is an experiment! More »
Scientific Thinking for Everyone
By: Mike Rother | November 4, 2016
Scientific thinking is not difficult, it's just not our default mode. Anyone can learn to think more scientifically, by practicing the simple Starter Kata routines of the Improvement Kata. More »
We’re installing an andon system – what should we expect?
By: Michael Ballè | July 18, 2016
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: We’re installing an andon system – what should we expect? More »
Are You Fixing the System or Just a Person?
By: Kelly Moore | May 17, 2016
"How often do our solutions fix a person (or single event) rather than a system?" wonders Kelly Moore. Hopefully not too often at your organization, because only system fixes will solve problems in the long term. Read more to read Kelly's reflection on this dilemma, and how two recent experiences made her look at it in a new light. More »
The Secrets of Lean
By: Dr. John R. Ehrenfeld and Tom Ehrenfeld | March 24, 2015
"The key to Lean is that it creates understanding, not knowledge," write John Ehrenfeld (Executive Director of the International Society for Industrial Ecology) and LEI Senior Editor Tom Ehrenfeld. "One difficulty in successful implementation of lean systems is that managers conflate these two important concepts.  " Read more. More »
Just-in-Time Roundup: Great Lean Reads from Across the Web (Vol. 3)
By: Lean Leaper | December 17, 2014
LEI editors have gathered another five articles that either teach us something new about lean practice or show us where lean thinking is being applied (or might be applied) today. This edition features picks from Harvard Business Review, The New Yorker, Fortune, The Atlantic, and Planet Lean. More »
Lean Government
By: Jim Womack | June 26, 2014
"We in the Lean Community have no standing on whether a government should regulate any activity or provide any service," writes Jim Womack. "We can only make the humble suggestion that better decisions can be reached if the debate starts with a clear statement of the actual problem, followed by a structured process to identify and test countermeasures.  " More »
Do CEOs Matter?
By: Lean Leaper | April 22, 2014
Journalist Jacob Stoller sits down with LEI's own John Shook to discuss just how important the role and support of the CEO is in the success of a lean transformation. More »
The Question All Healthcare Leaders Should be Asking Themselves
By: Mark Graban | January 15, 2014
Lean healthcare expert Mark Graban takes a common problem he sees again and again in hospitals (errors with hourly rounds or inconsistent hourly rounds) and explains how this problem is a symptom of a larger systems issue. More »
2012 Lean Healthcare Transformation Summit
January 16, 2012
June 6-7, 2012 - Minneapolis, MN. Learn from thought leaders and pioneers forging new paradigms for the healthcare system. More »
Thinking Lean at Thedacare: Strategy Deployment (DVD)
May 2, 2011
Books; Videos and Webinars
This DVD illustrates ThedaCare’s strategy deployment method: how the true north metrics were developed and translated to different departments, and how leaders at all levels of the organization use visual boards to track metrics related to the true north objectives. Any organization that wants to understand how to align their strategic goals can find important lessons in this DVD. More »
Shigeo Shingo's Influence on the Toyota Production System
By: Art Smalley; | January 12, 2009
Isao Kato was in a good position to observe the early development of the Toyota Production System, the model for lean production. He developed training material at Toyota under Taiichi Ohno, regarded as the chief architect of the Toyota Production System (TPS). He also coordinated the work of Shigeo Shingo, an outside consultant and TPS contributor. Kato sat down with Art Smalley for this Q&A about the roles of Shingo, Ohno, Sakichi Toyoda, and Kiichiro Toyoda about the early development of TPS.  Kato’s comments in the Q&A led to a response on the Superfactory site from Norman Bodek, the first publisher More »
Fighting Cancer with Linear Accelerators and Accelerated Processes
By: Chet Marchwinski | September 9, 2008
Case Studies; Charts, Graphs and Diagrams; Forms and Templates; Value-Stream Maps
A series of cross-functional lean improvement teams in the Radiation Oncology Department at the University of Michigan Health System (UMHS) applied lean principles to processes to dramatically increase the percentage of patients with bone or brain metastases receiving consultation, simulation, and first treatment on the same day. (Life Magazine cover from 1958 on radiation oncology.  ) More »
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