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Fundamentals Redux--An Appreciation of Kaizen Express
By: John Shook | November 25, 2020
Columns
Kaizen Express is the expression of an approach to kaizen that is at once a return to basics while at the same time emphasizing the centrality of individual and team learning, says John Shook. This resource is grounded in the belief that the thinking of TPS can only be achieved through doing. More »
Learning to Learn with the Lean Sensei
By: Lean Leaper | October 28, 2020
Columns
Lean is not a production system, it's an education system, argues the book The Lean Sensei, which was recently awarded the Shingo Award for publishing excellence. A look into its framing the heart of lean as an act of coaching that generates learning. More »
Lean Lessons from Cobra Kai(zen) and the Karate Kid
By: Michael Ballé | September 24, 2020
Columns
The unexpected wake-up call of the modest perfection of the original Karate Kid movie was that we need to move beyond defending this or that method of work and look to highlight opportunities of improving things beyond monetization, says Michael Balle in this reflection on the meaning of this classic movie. More »
Ask Art: What Was Danaher Like In the Early Days of Lean?
By: Art Byrne | September 17, 2020
Columns
In this personal account of launching lean at Danaher, Art Byrne shares a wealth of insights into how to seed an enduring lean culture and business system. More »
Jim Womack Shares a Future-Focused Reflection on 'Machine'
By: Roberto Priolo | September 3, 2020
Columns
Jim Womack shares a future-focused, humble reflection of the groundbreaking book he co-authored with Daniel T. Jones and Daniel Roos, The Machine that Changed the World, during its 30 Anniversary. More »
When the Toyota Way Meets Industry 4.0
By: Jeffrey Liker | August 24, 2020
Columns
Industry 4.  0 is not a disruptive force that makes TPS irrelevant, but rather can be an enabler that builds on TPS culture and thinking, argues Jeff Liker--a way of viewing technology that is a core principle of productive lean thinking. More »
Dueling Methods: 8D and A3
By: David Verble | August 20, 2020
Columns
One of the scores of questions sent in by attendees at our recent webinar on the A3 problem-solving process was what's the difference between it and the 8Ds. Webinar presenter and continuous improvement coach David Verble explains. More »
Keep Calm and Manage Stably: Akio Toyoda’s Response to Crisis
By: Jeffrey Liker and John Y. Shook | May 21, 2020
Columns
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 »
Why Lean Remains A Superior Business Model and Way of Thinking
By: Dan Jones | March 13, 2020
Columns
The lean business model offers an alternative to conventional thinking, says Dan Jones. He argues that it achieves a premium price by being better at helping customers to meet their needs and retaining them, rather than dominating markets and controlling customers. More »
Can lean management help with the start of production?
By: Michael Ballé | December 9, 2019
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: Can lean management help with the start of production? More »
What Ever Happened to Mura?
By: Ken Eakin | December 6, 2019
Columns
If we really want to dig down into the root causes of waste, we need to bring the two lost Ms of muri and mura back into the basic “Lean 101” curriculum and vocabulary, argues lean thinker Ken Eakin More »
Lean at Heart: Kanban
By: Masia Goodman | November 1, 2019
Columns
The underlying principles of lean can be found everywhere in daily life. In this article Masia Goodman identifies examples of "Better" practices that overlap with known lean principles. More »
Why We Believe that Lean is More Than A Manufacturing Approach
By: Lean Sensei Women | October 25, 2019
Columns
Is Lean thinking a thing of the past from glorious manufacturing times in the late twentieth century? Or, on the other hand, is it possible that Lean is still the best approach today to address ever-more-complex human endeavors? Read the thoughts of these Lean sensei women on the topic. More »
Why Doesn't Lean Have a Seat at the Table?
By: Steven Spear | October 11, 2019
Columns
Why hasn’t Lean spread more widely, asks Steven Spear, suggesting that it has not been framed in a way that addresses the strategic concern of managers. Instead it is primarily taught as just tools. And let’s face it, the licensed electricians don’t get a seat at the table. More »
Book Review: The Toyota Engagement Equation by Tracey and Ernie Richardson
By: Tom Ehrenfeld | September 20, 2019
Columns
In their book The Toyota Engagement Equation, authors Tracey and Ernie Richardson don’t hit you over the head telling you what to do or how to think per se; instead they share how they learned what they know, and in so doing, invite you to think along the same lines. More »
Reflections From Ten Years of Michael Ballé's Gemba Coach
By: Tom Ehrenfeld | August 30, 2019
Columns
Since his first Gemba Coach column of ten years ago, Michael Balle has consistently tied his advice to a faithful application of core Toyota Production System (TPS) principles, without demanding a mindless conformity to established practices or to commercialized frameworks, models, or any other packaging of the TPS dynamics as a product. More »
Learning the Social and Technical Aspects of Lean on the Kentucky Lean Leadership Tour
By: Lean Leaper | August 23, 2019
Columns
Why join the upcoming US Learning Tour in Kentucky? This interview between Josh Howell, John Shook and Jamie Bonini discusses why this tour will help people understand the Toyota Production System as an organizational culture of highly engaged people, solving problems or innovating to drive performance. More »
Thoughts on the Birth of Lean
By: Jean Cunningham | July 31, 2019
Columns
There is much to be learned from the history of Lean that applies powerfully today in every aspect of the business. In this summary of key points from The Birth of Lean, LEI Chair Jean Cunningham shares insights from her reading of the book, and invites you to share thoughts as well. More »
Profit and Cost At Toyota
By: Jean Cunningham | July 12, 2019
Columns
Fresh off a tour of Japan where she observed how Toyota talks about costs and profit on the shop floor, LEI Chairperson Jean Cunningham shares thoughts and urges others to learn the language of financial outcomes. "Let’s learn the language of financial outcomes. Let’s conserve energy and benefit from the environmental improvements that lean offers by reducing waste of all kinds.  " More »
Talking Coaching with Lean Sensei Crystal Davis, Rich Vellante, Josh Howell, and John Shook
By: Lean Leaper | June 21, 2019
Columns
In advance of the Lean Coaching Summit, coaches Josh Howell, Crystal Davis, John Shook, and Rich Vellante discuss the finer points of coaching others, including a working definition for lean coaching. More »
How SBP Went From Intolerable Conditions to Constructive Discontent
By: Zack Rosenburg | June 14, 2019
Columns
In this keynote talk at the LEI summit, Zack Rosenburg of SBP talks about how this non-profit has evolved its thinking about defining and tackling problems, creating a culture of continuous improvement that views management as a noble profession. More »
Rebuilding Homes and Disaster Recovery Processes
By: Zack Rosenburg | May 15, 2019
Columns
When Liz McCartney and Zack Rosenburg left their careers to help desperate victims of Hurricane Katrina rebuild, they knew nothing about construction or lean management. Today, SBP, the disaster recovery nonprofit they founded, has cut rebuilding time by nearly 50% using lean concepts. Zack talks to LEI about the remarkable new recovery model they developed and detail in their new book, Getting Home. More »
Lean Is A Product-Driven Strategy
By: Michael Ballé | April 3, 2019
Columns
What is at the core of lean? Michael Balle argues, in terms of our best known example: "Toyota is not an efficiency-driven company. It’s a product-driven company.  " More »
"But TPS Doesn't Apply to Us...."
By: Mark Graban | March 25, 2019
Columns
Yes, cars are not weaving looms. Patients are not cars, either. Airplanes are not cars. Electric vehicles are not the same as internal-combustion engine vehicles. We can play that “one of these things is not like the other” game all day long. A better use of time, perhaps, is to think about how TPS concepts and high-level Lean management principles can be adapted to your own setting, argues Mark Graban. More »
Good Night Sweethearts
By: Bruce Hamilton | February 14, 2019
Columns
On this Valentine's Day, GBMP President Bruce Hamilton laments this year's lack of Sweetheart Candies, reflecting that, "NECCO, like General Motors had failed to understand what Shigeo Shingo called 'the most basic concept in the Toyota Production System,' the cost subtraction principle. More »
What If Elon Musk Took Manufacturing Cars Seriously?
By: Jeffrey Liker | February 6, 2019
Columns
Jeff Liker asks of Tesla: What if it took Toyota’s help seriously in learning basic manufacturing before undertaking disruptive technology change? What if Tesla built in quality and did not have to rebuild most Model 3s to get quality right? What if Tesla took manufacturing and logistics seriously and was as good at execution as it was at product ideation? More »
Is Lean Thinking Art or Science? Yes
By: John Shook | January 31, 2019
Columns
Calling the recent book Lean Conversations a landmark initiative on lean and the arts, John Shook observes that "If Jean Cocteau’s famous observation that 'art is science made clear' has meaning, we can all benefit from further exploration of the relationship between lean thinking and art & science.  " More »
Can you implement TPS if management doesn’t accept the fundamental values of the Toyota Way?
By: Michael Ballé | January 28, 2019
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: How can we implement the principles of  TPS if our management doesn’t accept the fundamental values of the Toyota Way? More »
Coaching to the Challenge
By: Mark Reich | January 23, 2019
Columns
When coaching there is no black and white answer – everything depends on the criticality of the business situation, the level of the challenge, and the capability of the Team Member, says Mark Reich. This article shares his experience in challenging someone to learn at the gemba. More »
Will Artificial Intelligence Replace Shop Floor Thinking?
By: Jacob Stoller | January 16, 2019
Columns
How does lean thinking help understand whether AI could replace shop floor thinking? Jacob Stoller argues that whether or not one attributes this to an Eastern outlook, much of the wisdom passed on from lean’s original pioneers highlights the importance of direct experience, and the view that workplace situations cannot be understood with purely rational thought. More »
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