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Media Format: eLetters
When should we do an A3 or use a different problem-solving tool?
By: Michael Ballè | November 12, 2017
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,I would really appreciate your perspective on the following: (1) When should we do an A3 for something vs. when would it be appropriate to just use an idea board? (2) What is the difference between a problem and an idea? More »
Why don't people learn from experience?
By: Michael Ballè | November 5, 2017
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach, On the gemba, we have many problems to manage every day. People don’t seem to learn from their experience. Is there any way to teach the people when they don’t learn from their own experience? 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 »
What do you recommend -- clarify roles and responsibilities first or reengineer the process first and then define R&R?
By: Ballé, Michael | October 16, 2017
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,What do you recommend -- clarify roles and responsibilities first or reengineer the process first and then define R&R? More »
How big should my lean promotion office be?
By: Ballé, Michael | October 9, 2017
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach, How large should my lean promotion office be if I want to achieve quickly a lean culture change? More »
As a facilitator, how much do I have to know about an area targeted for improvement?
By: Ballé, Michael | October 2, 2017
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,As a lean "facilitator" in my organization, how important is it to gain a deep understanding of the "area" that is being analyzed. Do you spend a lot of time just becoming familiar with the area so that you can do experiments, etc.  ..  .? More »
Is the digital revolution a more important business development than lean?
By: Ballé, Michael | September 25, 2017
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,Isn’t the digital revolution, especially in services, a more important business development than lean? More »
Is lean different from creating a culture of problem-solving?
By: Ballé, Michael | September 18, 2017
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,I’m an OD coach interested in lean, and wonder how lean is different from creating a culture of problem solving? More »
Is a lean team leader a manager?
By: Ballé, Michael | September 11, 2017
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,How is a team leader not a manager? More »
What lean concepts are most difficult to teach?
By: Ballé, Michael | August 28, 2017
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach, In your experience of teaching lean, what do you find most difficult to teach? More »
Why Visualize?
By: Michael Ballè | August 14, 2017
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach, Why do you insist so much on visualizing information? More »
Why do lean management experts differ on how to apply lean principles?
By: Michael Ballè | August 7, 2017
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach I’ve worked with several managers who worked at Toyota or Toyota suppliers who were considered experts in the company’s management and production systems. Each seemed to have a different approach to applying lean principles. What’s going on? Why aren’t they all on the same page? More »
Any advice for how to implement real pull across the company?
By: Ballé, Michael | July 31, 2017
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,My boss, the operations VP, has asked me to implement a pull system across the whole company. I’ve practiced lean for many years and am a division lean officer, but not fully comfortable about real pull – would you have any advice? More »
Why don't you use plain English instead of confusing Japanese terms such as “monozukuri” or “hitozukuri”?
By: Ballé, Michael | July 17, 2017
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,Why do you keep using confusing Japanese terms such as “monozukuri” or “hitozukuri” rather than plain English? Isn’t that what professionals do when they want to obfuscate and befuddle clients? More »
Our hoshin plan failed. What do we do now?
By: Ballé, Michael | July 11, 2017
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,How do we deal with hoshin kanri when things don’t work out as planned? 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?”). As he voiced his anguish, I looked out and saw a good 600 of the 660 listeners looking down at their feet in a shared response, his comment the awakening whap of a “Zen stick” (as Dan Prock would say, see PS below) inspiring each listener to reflect, “Yes, that’s me!” More »
Will a real andon system bring the factory to a full stop?
By: Ballé, Michael | June 26, 2017
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,What would happen if we practiced andon for real – wouldn’t the factory simply stop? More »
How can I tell good lean consultants from bad?
By: Ballé, Michael | June 19, 2017
Columns; eLetters
If lean’s not a scam – but there are scammers -- how can I distinguish good lean consultants from bad? More »
Follow-up to your comments on the “lean is a scam” column
By: Ballé, Michael | June 5, 2017
Columns; eLetters
Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. Maybe the original questioner’s use of “scam” was a bit of an exaggeration. More »
Isn’t lean just a scam to squeeze teams for more production?
By: Ballé, Michael | May 22, 2017
Columns; eLetters
Lean is a scam. People like you who write about “respect” are pushing a smoke screen that allows consultants to just squeeze teams for more production without ever resolving the company’s deeper problems. More »
How can we tell if gemba walks by our CEO are actually improving the business?
By: Ballé, Michael | May 14, 2017
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,We’re instituting a program of gemba walks by our CEO. How will we know if we’re progressing? More »
Shouldn't lean focus on solutions, rather than problems?
By: Ballé, Michael | May 4, 2017
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,Why is lean so focused on problem solving? Isn’t seeing everything as a problem negative? Shouldn’t we focus on solutions instead? Wouldn’t that be more positive and more creative? More »
What’s your opinion on setting specific criteria before brainstorming countermeasures?
By: Michael Ballè | April 24, 2017
Columns; eLetters
I’m thinking of criteria that create a challenge, but stimulate a creative solution, e.  g. cost (no money, or keep within budget) .  .. More »
Isn’t lean all about culture?
By: Ballé, Michael | April 17, 2017
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach, Isn’t lean all about culture, really? More »
What do you mean by developing people?
By: Ballé, Michael | April 10, 2017
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach, What do you mean by developing people? More »
What do you think are the pros and cons of merging lean and TOC?
By: Michael Ballè | March 30, 2017
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach, In the DevOps movement, the amalgamation of agile, lean, and IT service management practices, there is a new entry that is making a big impact. This is The Theory of Constraints by [Eliyahu] Goldratt. Many believe that combining the thinking of Ohno and Goldratt can produce amazing and sustainable results far easier and faster than either can separately. Have you considered the pros and cons of lean and TOC or merging them? More »
How do we deal with a command-and-control boss?
By: Ballé, Michael | March 27, 2017
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,Our boss always says, “It’s not my job to tell you how to do yours!” But then he tells us what to do all day long. How do we deal with this? More »
Is there a lean way of delegating?
By: Michael Ballè | March 3, 2017
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach, I’m an entrepreneur and I used to micromanage everything, quite successfully. Now the firm has grown and I’m trying to delegate. How do I stop myself from cutting in when the actions my department heads want to take are plain silly, or not very creative? More »
We meet daily to examine a new customer complaint. What do we do next?
By: Ballé, Michael | February 27, 2017
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,We’re a start-up and have taken your advice: we now have a customer wall and we meet daily to look into a new complaint. What do we do next? It’s hard to know what to do or how that helps? More »
What's the lean take on learning?
By: Michael Ballè | February 21, 2017
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,Our previous CEO used to preach “servant leadership,” but now’s he’s left and the new style is far more traditional command and control. I’m personally interested in learning leadership and wondered what the lean take on it would be? More »
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