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Fighting Poverty with Lean Product & Process Design at MIT D-Lab
By: Lean Leaper | April 24, 2018
D-Lab at MIT is using lean product and process design to help solve problems in the developing world, and are truly making the world a better place for all those involved More »
As CEO, how do I get my management team to support the lean effort?
By: Michael Ballé | April 23, 2018
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,As a CEO, lean has enabled me to renew our company’s profitable growth, so I love it. But getting my management team on board is a daily struggle. Thoughts? More »
Lean Management Meets Artificial intelligence, Machine Learning, the Internet of All Things
By: Andrew Quibell | April 16, 2018
What part, if any, will lean principles – or humans – play in a manufacturing future of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the internet of things? Andrew Quibell uses text and graphics as a crystal ball to illuminate 7 benefits of the "lights-out" factory. More »
What's wrong with taking a tools approach to lean management?
By: Michael Ballè | April 16, 2018
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,I keep hearing that a tool approach to lean is wrong, but tools deliver results – how can that be wrong? More »
Expanding Our Perspective on Lean Management, Part 1: A Creative Ethic
By: Joanna McGuffey and Thomas Richert | April 10, 2018
To explore the idea that there may be other angles for understanding lean management principles than purely business or analytical perspectives, a group of lean management practitioners met with artists. Here’s what surprised them. More »
How effective is a book club?
By: Michael Ballé | April 9, 2018
Columns; eLetters
How effective is a book club?It really depends where you want to take your lean journey. What are you trying to achieve? A core part of kaizen is not just looking for the results of the physical improvement, but the opportunity to grow, develop people – or self-develop, so that the learning can be applied to every other work situation. More »
How do I know people are displaying the right visual information in an office?
By: Michael Balle | April 2, 2018
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,We’ve been quite successful with lean in our operations, and I’ve been tasked to bring it to headquarters. We’ve set up obeyas and stand-up meetings in all departments, and people are putting all sorts of information on the wall. However, I’m not sure we’re looking at the right things – any advice More »
“People who can’t change their minds can’t change anything else”
By: Orest (Orry) Fiume | March 29, 2018
Many people argue that if lean management really was a powerful strategy, rather than an operational tactic, then more companies would be doing it, says former Wiremold Vice President of Finance Orry Fiume. He sees it the other way around. More »
Why do you keep referring to Toyota; does it still matter?
By: Michael Balle | March 26, 2018
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,  I’m very interested in lean, but fail to see why you guys keep referring to Toyota. What does a Toyota plant look like and why should it still matter? More »
Becoming My Own Gemba
By: Tracey Richardson | March 23, 2018
Like me, thousands of people suffer from undiagnosed or more complex medical conditions that mimic other conditions. And my TPS training in a way of thinking about making things better helped me approach this condition in a productive manner. More »
HR Strategies for Successful and Sustainable Lean Transformations
By: Cheryl Jekiel | March 21, 2018
The interest in strengthening employee engagement is sometimes considered a separate topic from lean transformations. Cheryl Jekiel, who has over 25 years of experience in HR and lean implementations, offers practical tips on how to create engagement with lean activities. More »
The Magnificent 7 of Lean Manufacturing
By: Andrew Quibell | March 20, 2018
How do you establish stability on a shop floor that’s chaotic? Andrew Quibell recommends “7 manufacturing basics,” his personal selection of lean improvement tools, methodologies, and techniques. And they also boost people’s confidence, helping them sustain improvements. More »
Is kanban relevant to office work?
By: Michael Balle | March 19, 2018
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,I understand that kanban is an important part of lean, but I work in an office environment, and it’s hard to see how production orders on cardboard cards relate to improving project management – what am I missing? More »
The Battle for the Soul of Lean
By: Michael Ballé | March 16, 2018
When elements of lean management began to infiltrate management ranks decades ago, a “great divide” quickly formed, according to author and lean practitioner Michael Ballé. Some managers looked at it as a radically different, disruptive, but complete business system. Others saw it as a set of tools for operational excellence. The gulf endures and determines what results you get. More »
Lean Principles Apply to Fuzzy R&D Too
By: Norbert Majerus | March 15, 2018
Lean principles work not only for incremental innovation and repetitive R&D work but for the “fuzzy” or disruptive part of developing new products and services, where the biggest benefits reside. Here are some tips for venturing into the fuzzy side of innovation from Norbert Majerus, a former lean champion in research and development at Goodyear. More »
Andon Cues Service Center to Respond to Customer Queue
By: Chet Marchwinski | March 13, 2018
An Ohio Mutual service center has no andon cord to stop a production line but the principal is the same as in a factory -- an abnormality has occurred, take corrective action. More »
I read everywhere that in lean we should focus on process over results – does that mean we ignore budgets?
By: Michael Balle | March 12, 2018
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,I read everywhere that in lean we should focus on process over results – does that mean that we need to ignore budgets altogether More »
Human Resources and Lean; It Really Is About People
By: Joe Murli | March 8, 2018
Despite an expert’s exhortations to “do more kaizen, develop kaizen mind” this lean transformation failed. Find out why from someone who saw it happen and the lessons he never forgot. More »
Moving People Around as Key to Unlocking Financial Outcomes of Lean
By: Jean Cunningham | March 6, 2018
As lean accounting pioneer Jean Cunningham will tell you, there’s much more to understanding lean’s financial benefits than looking at a balance sheet. In this Lean Talk, she takes a deeper dive into one of the ways you can use to reap the financial outcomes of lean. More »
If lean is all about people, why are the discussions impersonally cold and rational?
By: Michael Ballé | March 5, 2018
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba CoachLean thinkers say it’s all about people, but the debates are then all so cold and rational. Where are the emotions and the effects that real people have at work? More »
Your Consultant Doesn’t Have the Answers
By: Mark Reich | February 27, 2018
Inspired by a true story from his tenure at the Toyota Production System Support Center, LEI Senior Coach Mark in a Lean Talks video explains a critical misconception about the roles of consultants and leaders. More »
Any advice for someone (me) in sales who fails to see how lean can help?
By: Balle, Michael | February 26, 2018
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,Our company has a long history of lean in manufacturing, but I work in the sales department. We have our own sales improvement method, and I fail to see how lean could help, but I’m under pressure to comply and participate in the lean program. Any advice? More »
A Reflection on Competition
By: Lynn Kelley | February 22, 2018
A meta-analysis of research shows that among the three main ways of achieving business goals, collaboration beats competition and individualism a little more than 50% of the time. Lynn Kelley, PhD, and a continuous improvement VP, discusses the research on achieving goals and personal career reflections about intense competition with co-workers. More »
Tips for Proving the Financial Value of Lean to Leadership
By: Jean Cunningham | February 20, 2018
Of the many aspects of lean accounting, one that has proven especially useful is the principle of “cost avoidance.  ” Today on the Lean Post, lean accounting pioneer Jean Cunningham explains what this is and why it’s a must-know for any finance professional. More »
How do I fix our main delivery processes -- again?
By: Michael Balle | February 19, 2018
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,I’m part of a large logistics organization and our on-time-delivery is simply disastrous. We’ve done a first value-stream map to improve our main delivery processes, and it surfaced so many issues. We had projects to fix some, but things seem worse. We’re about to start again – any ideas on how to get it right? More »
Ask Art: Why do you say the CEO needs to become a lean expert?
By: Art Byrne | February 15, 2018
A key first step for any CEO leading a lean conversion is to call 1-800-lean-consultant to find an expert to train the VP of operations and keep the boss informed. While this makes perfect sense in traditional management thinking, lean thinking is virtually the exact opposite, writes former CEO Art Byrne. That’s why the CEO must become a lean expert to successfully lead the transformation. Here, Art describes how he came to deeply understand and lead lean transformations. More »
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways – on a Valentine’s Day A3
By: Ernie Richardson and Tracey Richardson | February 14, 2018
The question lean practitioners Tracy and Ernie Richardson get more than any other isn’t about problem-solving, takt time, standardization, or their book. It’s about their “lean” marriage. More »
But when should we use design thinking or lean thinking?
By: Michael Balle | February 12, 2018
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba CoachI read your latest and very interesting Gemba Coach column comparing design thinking and lean thinking. But when should we use each? More »
Is there a crack in the model of continuous improvement?
By: Tom Ehrenfeld | February 9, 2018
Is this a case of déjà vu all over again? The Wall Street Journal says the sterling reputation of “Japanese manufacturing” or kaizen, is tarnished in the wake of several quality inspection scandals. But is this a kaizen crisis or a kaizen kerfuffle that we’ve experienced before? Editor Tom Ehrenfeld sorts it out. More »
Doing Versus Being – How Mindfulness Supports Better Lean Thinking, Part 2
By: Mike Orzen | February 8, 2018
Most companies don’t get the desired results from lean transformations, according to Mike Orzen, lean practitioner and LEI faculty member. Their people get stuck in stages 1, 2, or 3 of awareness, failing to reach level 4, "being.  " Learn how to go from "doing" lean to the more creative, less stressful state of "being" in the second of Mike's two posts on mindfulness. More »
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