All Articles

View Topics

A Video Primer on Improvement and Coaching Kata

A veteran kata instructor offers a brief explanation of two vital problem-solving and innovation-driving practices.

Watch video

Addressing the Labor Shortage by Innovating the Work

Learn how a restaurant is working to attract and retain workers by improving the work inside their commissary.

Read article

Organizing for Successful Product and Process Development

This short video shows how one organization brought a large team together to learn what their customers value.

Watch video

Building a Learning Organization With Kata

Baptist Memorial Hospital uses kata to build an "army of problem solvers." Here's the "meta-routine" they follow and a few…

Watch video

Learning More About a Leader Who Helped Build Toyota’s Culture

An LEI coach tells what it was like to work with the man who helped propagate the Toyota Way.

Read article

Reaching Your Organization’s Full Potential

A visit to Turner Construction's New York Business Unit reveals how its leaders use the A3 process to build their…

Read article

As Your Customer’s Definition of Value Evolves, So Must Yours

If you don’t realize that your customer’s definition of value has expanded to include social responsibility and racial equity, you…

Read article

Ask Art: How Do Improvements to Your Balance Sheet Drive Earnings?

Converting to true lean practice yields significant improvement in financial performance -- and one place to start is by focusing…

Read article

3 Go-To Ways for Creating a Culture of Continuous Improvement Anywhere

To reach a state of endless continuous improvement, executives must lead the company in making a critical leap from management-driven…

Read article

Becoming – and Developing — More Effective Leaders

Bill MacPherson, managing director of Mercer Celgar, a division of Mercer International, shares how adopting hoshin kanri helps transform how…

View case study

How Lean Thinking Improves Financial Results While Avoiding Traditional Cost Cutting

In July, Nick Katko and I presented a webinar for LEI called “How to Use Lean Accounting to Help Design…

Read article

8 Steps to Radical Quality Improvement

An uncompromising quality improvement zealot shares a favorite method for radical quality advances, gleaned from decades of experience improving facilities…

Read article

Continually Improving the Strategic Planning and Execution Process

Bill MacPherson, managing director of Mercer Celgar, a division of Mercer International, describes how adopting hoshin kanri catalyzes and ensures…

Read article

Coach’s Corner: How To Put People First Using Lean Practices

Taking a "people first" initiative means looking at any work from a more psychological point of view, as reaching a…

Read article

How Toyota Built its Culture Around the World

A new book takes a deep dive into a more effective way for senior leaders to manage talent to consistently…

Read article

Breaking the Cycle of Ineffective Strategic Planning and Execution

Bill MacPherson, managing director of Mercer Celgar, a division of Mercer International, describes why hoshin kanri is a better approach…

View case study

People-First Leadership: A Conversation Between Jim Morgan and Alan Mulally

Leading through challenging times means enhancing your work process and always looking to improve people's lives. Putting people first is…

Listen to podcast

How Lean Can Help You Go Green

How to use lean thinking and practices to create sustainable business practices.

Read article

Why the Most Important Product Leaders Can Develop is Their Team

While new technology and innovative ideas may seem paramount to achieving development excellence, it's really the people within the teams…

Watch video

Ask Art: What Targets Should We Set When Launching a Lean Turnaround?

Here's why setting results-oriented targets instead of process-oriented targets will doom your lean improvement efforts, says Art Byrne.

Read article

What is Lean Leadership and How Do You Get it?

Jeff Liker, author of The Toyota Way, describes what organizations need to do to develop their leaders' lean leadership capabilities.

Read article

Leadership Lessons from Rivian: a Clip from WLEI

In a clip from one of our most popular podcasts, LEI President Josh Howell talks with electric car manufacturer Rivian's…

Watch video

Leading Lean in Finance at Turner Construction

A finance leader from the largest general builder in the United States explains the benefits of involving the accounting and…

Read article

How Lean Thinking and Practice Helped Put Shots in Arms, Part 2: Wind-Down and Reflection

Four overarching operational lessons from the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center's successful mass vaccination experience show how lean thinking…

Read article

Are You Doing the Work that You Really Should Be Doing?

E-mail has unquestionably changed the way that we all work. But were there missed opportunities and steps along the way?…

Listen to podcast

Coach’s Corner: Designing the Entire Value Stream From Concept to Product End Life

Creating an environmentally-conscious value stream can be done with LPPD principles in mind. Just ask Katrina Appell, who explains how…

Read article

How to Wipe Out IT’s “Technical Debt” with PDCA

Besides bonds, bank loans, and other types of corporate debt, your company also holds "technical debt," the burden of future…

Read article

How to Use Lean Accounting to Help Design Profitable Value Streams

How establishing relevant financial metrics at the start of a new product or process development project helps create higher performance…

Watch video

Create Profitable Value Streams

Why does lean product development focus on building profitable value streams? LEI Senior Advisor John Shook explains in this month's…

Read article

How Lean Thinking and Practice Helped Put Shots in Arms, Part 1: Building the Process

Does lean thinking work during a crisis? An in-depth review of its contribution to the design and management of Ohio…

Read article

How Designing Value Streams, Not Just Products, Creates Competitive Advantage

TechnipFMC and Pella Corporation leaders describe how lean development practices helped them develop better products, create profitable value streams and…

Watch video

Thinking About Introducing A3 Problem-Solving? Think Twice if Leadership Isn’t Engaged

Your organization’s leadership doesn’t support introducing the A3 problem-solving process, but why not introduce it into your unit or area…

Read article

Imagining A World Without Email with Cal Newport

A typical work day is already packed, but is there waste that can be removed? WLEI host Tom Ehrenfeld and…

Listen to podcast

Art of Lean on Problem-Solving, Part 8: Toyota Coaching Practices

Art describes some of the fundamental principles of Toyota coaching practices.

Watch video

Ask Art: Why Should I Convert to a Pull System?

Deliver more value to your customers by converting your business to a pull system and connecting demand directly to your…

Read article

10 Golden Rules for Radical Quality Improvement

What you need to know and do to lead your team to make step-change improvements to quality.

Read article

Why Creating Better Jobs and Improving Work Matters

How improving your work environment is vital to improved business outcomes.

Read article

How Intertape Polymer Group Used Pilots and Parallel Systems to Learn and Implement Lean Accounting

IPG's director and VP of finance manufacturing share their disciplined strategy for adopting lean accounting and finance.

Read article

Ensuring Success of Hoshin Kanri – a Better Way to Plan and Execute Your Strategy

Logoplaste's global vice president of lean and strategy shares a few vital lessons, learned through experience, about a proven way…

View case study

Art of Lean on Problem-Solving, Part 7: Dreyfus Model and the Stages of Learning

Art looks at another external framework in an effort to help shorten your lead times of learning, development, and problem-solving.

Watch video

Coach’s Corner: Why Your Development Plans and Obeya Practices Aren’t Working – and How to Fix Them

If your development plans and obeya practices aren't working, you're not alone. John Drogosz offers ways to get the most…

Read article

Addressing a Critical Problem in Strategic Planning and Execution

Logoplaste's global vice president of lean and strategy deployment describes the experience -- and benefits -- six months into its…

View case study

Art of Lean on Problem-Solving, Part 6: Team-Building Tools and Practices

The storming phase of the Tuckman model of team formation can be tough to get out of, with Art Smalley…

Watch video

Bringing Together People and Invention to Achieve Radically Great Quality

The latest book published by the Lean Global Network details the principles and practices that will help you radically improve…

Read article

Contributor’s Corner: How Synchronizing Workflows Helped TechnipFMC Develop Its Latest Robot

Following the lean product and process development principles yields significant benefits. Just ask Scott Fulenwider and Hanna Schell as they…

Read article

Creating Better Jobs and Better Work: A Podcast with Sarah Kalloch and Josh Howell

Josh Howell of LEI and Sarah Kalloch of the Good Jobs Institute want to foster good work, as they discuss…

Listen to podcast

How Synchronizing Workflows Eliminates Waste in Development Processes

Two leaders share their secrets of effective value-stream mapping and synchronizing workflows.

Watch video

Ask Art: What Do You Look At in a “Pre-lean” Company?

Art Byrne identifies factors such as excess inventory and floor space, long turnaround times, and numerous other elements to study…

Read article

Why You Need to Understand The Purpose of Purposeful Enterprise

Work with your team to articulate your purpose, as this shared statement will align the many aspects of your pragmatic…

Read article

Why You Should Make Something Better, But Don’t Shoot For Perfection: A Clip From WLEI

Taking small, actionable steps will get you to your ideal state with great efficiency, according to Roger Martin in this…

Watch video

Getting Started with Lean Accounting

Before your organization gets started with lean accounting, the accounting function must first expand its thinking beyond transactions and into practices.…

Read article

Learning From The Sensei Way at Work

Seek perfection by cultivating a daily discipline of mindfulness, whether in lean practice or Buddhist training, writes John Shook in…

Read article

Art of Lean on Problem-Solving, Part 5: Tuckman’s Model of Team Formation

Coaching teams is the topic of this fifth part of an ongoing series on coaching problem-solving by Art Smalley. He…

Watch video

Purpose, Process, People

When evaluating your lean efforts, Jim Womack suggests that you examine your purpose first of all, and then your process…

Read article

Are You Making Good Products…by Making Good People?

The best way to hone your employees' technical skills and problem-solving chops is to challenge them to make the right…

Watch video

Serving Up Lean with a Southern-Fried Kick

How Haven Hot Chicken drove out waste and launched a successful restaurant during a pandemic.

Read article

Contributor’s Corner: Learning with 10X Speed at US Synthetic

Making learning and knowledge reuse part of the work accelerates product and process development -- and helps keep you ahead…

Read article

Are You Creating the Right Environment?

Turner Construction is working hard to develop the "right environment" in which productive lean inquiry is baked into the working…

Read article

How Building in Learning and Knowledge Reuse Improves Product Development Success

Three leading practitioners share successful examples of how they built learning and knowledge reuse into their development process.

Watch video

How to Save Time and Money in Innovation by Reusing Knowledge

Massive books of knowledge or huge lists weren’t very effective ways of getting the engineers he managed to reuse knowledge,…

Read article

Why You Need to See the Entire System

This essay from the LEI workbook Seeing the Whole Value Stream will help any value-stream team share costs and gains,…

Read article

Combat the Ninth Waste of Overthinking

Overthinking should be considered yet another form of waste that true lean practice can identify and eliminate, argues Dan Prock,…

Read article

Exploring When More is Not Better with Roger Martin

How lean thinking could help address America's wealth and power gap.

Listen to podcast

Videos from WLEI: Deep Dives on the Factory Floor with Cliff Ransom

Cliff Ransom walks through a factory with us, emphasizing how lean thinking improves the quality and efficiency of the work…

Watch video

Embracing Standard Work in Lean Accounting: An Interview with Mark DeLuzio

How standard work catalyzes continuous improvement in lean accounting and finance -- and any other work area.

Read article

Ask Art: Why Switch from Batch to Lean?

Switching from batch production to a complete lean enterprise produces benefits far beyond immediate financial results, argues Art Byrne. Read…

Read article

LEI In the News: Leading Trade Journal Asks How Lean Principles Performed During the Pandemic

Lean management principles didn’t fail during the pandemic; some companies failed to execute them correctly, especially the practice of just-in-time…

Read article

A Spotlight on Leaders: What We Can Still Learn from Danaher and Wiremold

Watch Legendary lean pioneer Art Byrne, author of The Lean Turnaround and The Lean Turnaround Action Guide, in a lively…

Watch webinar

Lean Roundup: Hoshin Kanri As a Strategic Force

Hoshin kanri can support and vitalize your strategic vision as well as bolster your ongoing work, writes Tom Ehrenfeld in…

Read article

Art of Lean on Problem-Solving, Part 4: Military Science and Leadership

Art takes a look at the military and their methods of teaching to see what lean can borrow, giving the…

Watch video

Once Again, Here’s Why JIT Matters

Jeffrey Liker argues that recent media snipes fail to understand the crucial role JIT plays in a complete #lean system…

Read article

Coach’s Corner: Understanding the Value of a Concept Paper

The Concept Paper's integral role at Toyota hones in on the process, encouraging questions and deeper understandings along the way.

Read article

Multiply the Improvers in Your Organization Every Day

Be prepared to commit the time, patience and tenacity to unleash the power of improvement your organization, says Andrew Quibell.…

Read article

Can You Assess Your Way to Lean?

Using assessments to gauge process is both a flawed approach and potential trap, argues Jeff Liker. He suggests a broader…

Read article

How Lean Thinking and Practice, Grounded in Purpose, Helped Drive Amazon’s Success

Marc Onetto shares his experiences in Amazon, underlining the importance of a customer-driven approach in times of heavy demand and…

Watch video

Visual Replenishment Delivers for Zingerman’s

How an online grocery business meets pandemic-related demand increases while maintaining a safe work environment.

Read article

Front-Load Your Design Process By Using Set-Based Design

Jeffrey Liker highlights the benefits of set-based design in this in-depth reflection of his time working in product development at…

Read article

Are You Narrowing Your Problems Down?

Rationality did not lay in higher reasoning powers, in visionary schemes, but in the ability to narrow down problems until…

Read article

Coach’s Corner: How to Design a Knowledge-Sharing System

Encouraging learning and knowledge reuse in your development process takes more than a system to capture it -- you must…

Read article

Build in Learning and Knowledge Reuse

Discover the three essential elements of organizational learning and hear how three leading LPPE practitioners describe how they've benefited by…

Watch video

Contributor’s Corner: Learning With 10X Speed at US Synthetic

How rapid learning cycles helped the synthetic diamond manufacturer slash its idea-to-test turnaround time from 43 days to 4.5 days…

Read article

Understand Before You Execute

Leading practitioners share the benefits of understanding this principle of lean product and process development.

Watch video

Understanding the 4S Help Chain, Part 2: Lessons from NUMMI on How to Adapt the Model to Product Development

How do you create an andon signal for your product and process development process? Matt Zayko, a technical coach for…

Read article

What Problems Does The Gold Mine Challenge You to Address?

Learning begins with self-reflection, a process that can start with group reading and discussion of ideas from lean books. We…

Read article

Understanding the 4S Help Chain, Part 1: Lessons from NUMMI on How to Manage Work Disruptions

What are the four critical characteristics of an effective help chain? Matt Zayko, a technical coach for LEI's Lean Product…

Read article

Diving Deep to Discover the Value of Lean Companies with Cliff Ransom

The following conversation drills down into the lessons learned from looking at public companies through lean-colored glasses.

Listen to podcast

What are the Three A’s of the A3?

John Shook explains the three A's of the A3 in this video clip from the presentation that he and Lisa…

Watch video

Insights and Advice from a Lean Accounting Leader

Why and how to get started integrating lean thinking and practice into accounting and finance at your organization.

Read article

How Lean Start-ups Can Avoid Big Company Disease

SATPOS, a lean start-up in Norway specializing in positioning, sensing and monitoring solutions for the ocean is learning to remain…

Read article

Who, or What, Is Your Company Investing In?

After reviewing the stellar work by a frontline supervisor who improved the problem of rotisserie chicken running out of stock,…

Read article

Lean Roundup: How Hoshin Kanri Creates a “Line of Sight”

Like anything that is essential to lean, one must understand how hoshin kanri works from the very detailed, elemental levels…

Read article

Art of Lean on Problem-Solving, Part 3: Lessons From Martial Arts

In part three of his problem-solving series, Art takes on the techniques (kata) and ways (waza) behind martial arts, revealing…

Watch video

Lean at Amazon.com: Reconciling Lean and High-Tech

Contrary to what some people think, adopting lean in a high-technology environment isn’t just possible; it’s essential. Just ask Marc…

Watch webinar

How the Study Phase Helps You Create More Value for Your Customers and Less Drama for Your Development Teams

A product development team volunteered to pilot applying lean product and process development principles -- and discovered how critical "understanding…

Read article

Meeting the 19-Billion-Dose Challenge

What does it take to meet the historic challenge of rapidly increasing the annual global vaccine capacity from 5 billion…

Read article

Ask Art: How Can I Ensure the Participation of Top Management?

Always keep in mind that to be successful with lean, senior management must drive the change, says lean veteran Art…

Read article

Create Constancy of Purpose

Looking back on the admirable work of two lean leaders who established constancy of purpose, Jim Womack asks: what would…

Read article

Learning By Doing with Art Byrne

Art Byrne has the expertise of a lean executive and he's sharing more knowledge than ever in this clip from…

Watch video

It’s Time to See JIT as A Hero Rather than A Villain

Lean and JIT production have never been the primary causes of materials in the world's supply chains reported over the…

Read article

Coach’s Corner: The Four Critical Elements of Collaboration

The building blocks of purpose, process, and more lead to effective collaboration, as Eric Ethington highlights these fundamental elements and…

Read article

10 Principles for Lean Leadership

These ten simple yet powerful leadership principles developed by Isao Yoshino provide wise guidance for any lean practitioner seeking a…

Read article

Form A Bold Strategy for Uncertain Times

Jeff Liker shares a competing values model to help you assess your strategy and focus your operational practices on flawless…

Read article

Art of Lean on Problem-Solving, Part 2: Lessons From NBA Coaches

In the second part of his series on problem-solving, Art Smalley gets a clean steal from the world of coaching…

Read article

Spring Spotlight: Creating the Purposeful Enterprise

Information and insights that explore the many facets of this fundamental lean concept. A compilation of the articles published as…

Read article

Transforming a Food Desert to Food Oasis—During a Pandemic

How a group of volunteers used lean thinking and practices to make things better in their community -- and overcome…

Read article

A Variety of Perspectives is Good For Your Products

The best product development teams attract, promote, and celebrate diversity of thought, asserts Kevin Nolan, president & CEO of GE…

Read article

How Stalwart Lean Leadership and Classic Lean Practices Yield Operational and Clinical Excellence

Organizations can achieve the seemingly impossible when they have steadfast lean leadership, a sharp focus on purpose, and experience applying…

Read article

Fight for Your Lean Team

Managers, supervisors and coaches should mindfully support the storming and norming that teams require in order to grow an existing…

Read article

Development is a Team Sport

Experts and executives join Jim Morgan in explaining how collaboration is vital to new product, process, and services development. Plus,…

Watch video

Why Hoshin Kanri is a Better Approach to Planning and Execution

Effective hoshin kanri builds on traditional strategy deployment by including key questions that conventional models fail to include, argues Pascal…

Read article

Once More: What is Strategy Deployment, and Why Should You Care?

Strategy deployment helps keep lean practitioners focused on the prize—creating value for the customer, says Pascal Dennis in the foreword…

Read article

3 Lessons Maersk Learned from Adopting Hoshin Kanri

Deploying hoshin kanri at Maersk was challenging, recounts Agne Nainyte, who shares the details of this work that helped the…

Read article

Seeking the Right Problems to Solve: Catch the WLEI Podcast with Author Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg

Learning how to frame your problem will help you solve it, suggests author Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg. He describes how in this…

Listen to podcast

What’s Your Problem? Framing for Success with Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg on the WLEI Podcast

Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg makes a bold promise in his new book, What’s Your Problem? (Harvard Business Review Press, 2020.) He seeks…

Listen to podcast

Art of Lean on Problem-Solving, Part 1: Coaching Problem-Solving

Art Smalley is back and ready to teach all about problem-solving, this time with an emphasis on coaching. He starts…

Watch video

How Wiremold Reinvented Itself Through Kaizen

Art Byrne shares a seminal 25-year-old article recounting how Wiremold tapped Kaizen to support a complete lean turnaround that continues…

Read article

Reach for Your Mind Before Your Wallet

Josh Howell shares how the lean principle of reaching for your mind before your wallet can mitigate risk through careful…

Read article

Real Respect Feels Like Knowing You’ve Been Heard

Showing respect by actively listening to others--being present in mind and body, consciously attending to what is said, connecting with…

Read article

Lean ‘n Food: Rethinking the Retail Food Industry

In this clip from a recent LEI Webinar, Haven Hot Chicken co-founder Etkin Tekin explains the process of working through…

Read article

Pi Day: Exploring the Intersection of Science and Dessert

In recognition of Pi Day, think about how you might inspire future generations to pursue careers in science and technology…

Read article

Boost the Power of PDCA By Tackling the Challenge of Self-Awareness

While PDCA is the engine of lean discovery, argues Mike Orzen, building self-awareness into this scientific method truly unlocks the…

Read article

Achieve Your Deeper Goals Through Daily Work With Hoshin Kanri

Hoshin kanri is a living process of planning, testing ideas, adapting, and learning, says Jeff Liker, in which people work…

Read article

Why We Believe Questions Accelerate Learning

The key to achieving better outcomes over time is to develop the vital skill of asking questions designed to spur…

Read article

How To Fold a T-Shirt: TWI Job Instruction

In this updated video from the 2013 LEI archive, Josh Howell demonstrates and explains the Training Within Industry Job Instruction…

Watch video

Adopt a 5S Mindset to Sustain Your Lean Work

Focusing everyone on “housekeeping” is one of the most powerful mechanisms for empowering team members and driving sustainment of any…

Read article

How to Breakdown a Complex Challenge for A3 Problem-solving

At some point, every lean practitioner struggles with a problem that seems too complex to put the problem statement, analysis,…

Read article

Are You Ready for the Next Crisis?

We think the presence of a robust, socio-technically balanced lean management and operating system—based on the Lean Transformation Framework—was invaluable…

Read article

Bad People or A Bad Process?

Standing in a nightmare of a line at the airport prompted Jim Womack to reflect on this problem, and conclude…

Read article

Lean Eye Test: Seeing the Work

Creating the same product with two different methods can uncover things that can be improved, removed, and altered to make…

Watch video

Why Lean Thinkers Should Ground Their Work in Sustainability

There's a solid case for implementing green thinking just as there's one for implementing lean thinking. The challenge, but more…

Read article

Steady Work Shares Practical Ways to Create Quality Enterprise For All

Karen Gaudet's Steady Work is the story of a leader helping teams develop steady work to help them get through…

Read article

How Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Teaching Embodies Lean Thinking

What can we learn about lean thinking from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.? Christopher D. Chapman explains.

Read article

Exploring the Continued Relevance of Lean with Womack, Jones, Gaudet, and Others in a Best-of Podcast

The global pandemic coupled with profound structural economic shifts are two daunting challenges reinforcing  the need for a powerful method…

Listen to podcast

Exploring the Continued Relevance of Lean, A Best of Podcast

Lean offers a powerful and productive approach to today's problems, both large and small. This "best-of" podcast featuring talks with…

Listen to podcast

Jidoka Supports Leaders Who Welcome Problems with John Shook

In this clip from last year's Virtual Learning Experience, LEI Senior Advisor John Shook explains the socio-technical system of Jidoka,…

Watch video

A Spotlight on Leaders: Re-Thinking the Retail Food Industry

Watch a discussion about the approaches used to design and develop Connecticut’s hottest new restaurant concept: Haven Hot Chicken. ​Their “minds before…

Watch webinar

Understanding Customer Value: How Accounting Applies this Foundational Lean Concept to its Work

Putting the entire customer experience first in thinking, not just the transaction, is the Lean Accountant's goal, asserts Nick Katko…

Read article

Ask Art: What is the Walk of Shame, and Why Is It Effective?

Take your team on a walk of shame, urges lean veteran Art Byrne. He suggests that you have some fun…

Watch video

What’s Your Lean Origin Story? And Why Does It Matter?

I’m wondering, as a leader and a coach, how can I help others develop similar routines, propagating, for example, the…

Read article

COACH’S CORNER: The 4 Critical Elements of Collaboration

Confronting a confounding but not uncommon problem when you're trying to collaborate.

Read article

How Ford Built an Aligned Team Using ‘Matched Pairs’

Inside a winning strategy for Ford Motor Company's new product development process. 

Read article

Selling Water by the River

The most important challenge facing the lean community is that of sustaining both tangible and intangible improvements, says Dan Prock,…

Read article

Art of Lean on Situational Leadership, Part 5: Being an Expert and the D4-S4 Quadrant

To wrap up, Art Smalley gives some lasting impressions and key takeaways from his segmented takes on Situational Leadership. From…

Watch video

Why A3 Thinking is the Ideal Problem-Solving Method

How A3 Thinking helps you overcome the most challenging yet vital part of problem-solving, according to Lean Coach David Verble.

Read article

Cooking Up Perfection With a Master Chef

Master chefs often practice elements of lean without any formal recognition of this, says Orry Fiume, citing the words and…

Read article

The Toyota Way and Toyota Kata: How Do They Fit?

Perhaps we can view the kata as a catalyst that juices scientific thinking which is the engine that drives The…

Read article

Six Lessons from the Hyper-Fast Design and Finished Construction of the Sherman Alternate Care Facility

The authors, an architect, and a regional lean manager, share the lean principles that enabled the delivery of both the…

Read article

Art of Lean on Situational Leadership, Part 4: Supportive Style, from Basketball to Toyota

Part four continues the series' trajectory of further contextualizing situational leadership and lean thinking. By picking personal examples from his…

Watch video

Show Respect by Exploring Problems With Your Workers

I trust that all of us want to show respect for people, writes Jim Womack, adding: The challenge for those…

Read article

Use Jidoka to Avoid Death by 1000 Cuts

I’ve learned from experience the need for tech teams to adopt jidoka as a basic design consideration: getting it 100%…

Read article

Building A Diverse and Capable Workforce from The Bottom Up

LEI's Mark Reich and NMSDC's Adrienne Trimble argue that integrating a lean philosophy into operations and standards seems to be…

Read article

Two Giants, Two Communities, One Lasting Thing

In this graceful elegy of the impact of two pioneers who recently passed away, John Shook says: "Ezra and Norm…

Read article

Art of Lean on Situational Leadership, Part 3: D2-S2 and Coaching

Part two saw Art Smalley discussing Toyota, Taiichi Ohno, and more examples of situational leadership being exemplified in real-time. This…

Watch video

Lead With Respect Shares Tangible Practices That Develop Others, Says Author Michael Balle

Michael and Freddy Balle's book Lead With Respect portrays on-the-job behaviors of lean leaders which can be learned through practice. Michael explains…

Read article

6 Insights on How to Show Respect for People: A Lean Post Roundup

Practicing respect in a lean environment requires both a general mindset committed to the practice and constant daily actions grounded…

Read article

Diving Deeper into The Toyota Way with Jeff Liker

Professor Jeffrey Liker’s The Toyota Way: 14 Management Principles From the World’s Greatest Manufacturer has proved to be one of…

Listen to podcast

Diving Deeper into the Toyota Way: A Podcast with Jeff Liker

Professor Jeff Liker discusses the new, second edition of his classic book The Toyota Way on WLEI, the LEI podcast.

Listen to podcast

Art of Lean on Situational Leadership, Part 2: Toyota, Taiichi, and TWI Job Instruction

After the introduction to what situational leadership actually is, Art Smalley returns to run through some examples as to how…

Watch video

Implementing Lean Accounting in a Publicly Traded Company

Learn how this multi-plant, multinational publicly traded company in the packaging industry embarked on its lean accounting transformation journey. Then,…

Read article

Why it’s Better to Focus on Value, Not Waste

Learn the benefits of shifting your focus from eliminating waste to increasing value, along with two of the best value-creating…

Read article

Make Using Lean Thinking to Help Solve Societal Problems Your New Year’s Resolution

The nation needs lean thinkers and practitioners to apply their problem-solving prowess to address issues of national concern.

Read article

Ask Art: Why Are Leaps of Faith Involved in a Lean Turnaround?

Leaps of faith are not incidental associations with a lean turnaround; they are a basic requirement, argues lean veteran Art…

Read article

Planning the Purposeful Turnaround

The capability to repurpose, and then to redesign and retool, is critically important in these challenging times, says Josh Howell,…

Read article

How the Hoshin Kanri Process Coupled with Coaching Drives Lean Transformation, Part 2

Discover how a coach can help leaders execute a successful organizational transformation using the hoshin kanri process.

Read article

Art of Lean on Situational Leadership, Part 1: An Introduction

Continuing his Art of Lean series, Art Smalley is back with a new topic and five parts, all focusing on…

Read article

Let’s Celebrate Work

Is your work meaningful or menial? LEI Senior Advisor John Shook challenges us to aim to make all work meaningful…

Read article

Tips for Following Through on Improvement Plan Execution

There is a critical difference between follow-through and follow-up during the A3 problem-solving process as David Verble, a veteran lean…

Read article

How to Engage Everyone to Create a “Continuous Innovation Machine”

In a presentation to hundreds of engineers at a Fortune 100 manufacturer, Jim Morgan, an engineering PhD and former product…

Read article

Develop Your People Patiently Rather Than Rely on Super Taylorism

Lean starts with quality, argue the authors, who note that by worrying about and improving quality, we are also reducing…

Read article

Looking at 5 Easy Steps to Simplify the A3 Process

Taking on an A3 can be daunting, and Eric Ethington is here to remind you that this is normal but…

Read article

How Cascading A3s Deploy Responsibility to Think as Well as Assign KPIs

During a recent virtual workshop on how to use the A3 problem-solving methodology, a CEO asked how to cascade A3s…

Read article

How the Hoshin Kanri Process Coupled with Coaching Drives Lean Transformation, Part 1

Learn about some of the intangibles you'll need to know to execute an organizational transformation using hoshin kanri.

Read article

Standardized Work is a Goal To Work Toward, Not a Tool to Implement

Standardized work can be an ugly thing in the hands of control-oriented bureaucrats and a beautiful thing when it enables…

Read article

How Lean is Apple?

Apple may not worship at the altar of lean, but a close look at its operations and strategy show clear…

Read article

Taking Time for a Year-End Reflection with the Most Popular Lean Articles, Podcasts, and Videos of 2020

This year's content featured plenty of guests, returns from lean legends, and handfuls of ways that lean has been applicable…

Read article

How to Optimize the Use of Staff Skills and Time by Making Capacity Visible: An Example from Accounting

Learn how a Finance and Accounting team used lean thinking to make capacity visible, which, in turn, helped it better…

Read article

Remembering Norman Bodek, the “Miraculous Life” of an Author, Teacher, and Publisher of Groundbreaking Business Books

Called “Mr. Productivity” and the “Godfather of Lean,” Norman Bodek began 41 years ago translating and publishing groundbreaking books by…

Read article

Lean-n-Food: Reimagining an Industry in Crisis

What is a restaurant in the post-pandemic world? LEI's Karen Gaudet and Josh Howell are exploring this and other questions…

Read article

The Lives of Your Grandchildren Depend on Innovating New Healthcare Models

Renowned healthcare transformation experts examine what it will take to reinvent healthcare models through innovation and propose a new process…

Read article

Art of Lean on Work & Waste, Part 8: Processing

Understand the two aspects of the waste that requires a careful understanding of customer requirements. Watch the final part of…

Watch video

Improve Continuously by Mastering the Lean Kata

Lean is about learning, say Rose Heathcote and Daryl Powell. Learning to find real problems, learning to face the limits…

Read article

How to Make Your Planning Process More Effective

Learn why Toyota's planning process is much more effective than traditional approaches used by North American companies. David Verble shares…

Read article

Are You Deploying Lean Mechanistically–or Organically?

Toyota operates on a complete system based on organic rather than mechanistic principles, argues Jeff Liker, who delineates the advantages…

Read article

Art of Lean on Work & Waste, Part 7: Defects

Though he's calling the waste of defects the sixth waste in this series, Art Smalley, president of Art of Lean,…

Read article

Who Cares? How to Engage Your People in Sustained Lean

If we want people to adopt lean practices because they will then be able to be more effective at work,…

Read article

I am the Violin, or, Mastery through Doing

Developing lean vision, lean mastery, is hard work says Orry Fiume, who compare this learning journey to a childhood prodigy…

Read article

CRIISSP: The Lean Route to a Superior Stock Market Valuation

Long-term lean thinker and investment guru Cliff Ransom shares a seven-letter acronym, CRIISSP, to help identify the key (and most…

Read article

How Can Lean Affect Shareholder Value?

Lean can help challenge assumptions and surface opinions that ultimately improve shareholder value, argues Michael Balle.

Read article

Fundamentals Redux–An Appreciation of Kaizen Express

Kaizen Express is the expression of an approach to kaizen that is at once a return to basics while at…

Read article

Why We Believe Micromanagement is Worth A Deeper Conversation

The Lean Sensei Women explore how poorly-focused micromanagement destroys trust--while well-placed micromanagement supports Lean fundamentals and delivers exceptional results.

Read article

Avoiding Lean ‘Flatlining’: A Podcast with Mark Deluzio, Art Byrne, and Jim Womack

Mark Deluzio, lean consultant, practitioner, and author of Flatlined, discusses enduring challenges with Art Byrne and Jim Womack on this…

Listen to podcast

Making Lean Stick: A Podcast Conversation with Mark Deluzio, Art Byrne, and Jim Womack

The long-term success of companies like Danaher, Fortive, Herman Miller, Parker Hannifin and many others, have all validated the power…

Listen to podcast

Why Lean Is the Strategy We Need For Today’s World

In a recent Lean Post article, Peter Ward noted that “lean is not a strategy per se but can be…

Read article

Why Value Stream Mapping is Essential to Product and Process Development

Learn about a proven way to help cross-functional teams clearly “see” their work and achieve their full potential from John…

Read article

Creating a Learning and Improvement Environment in a Virtual World

Mount Sinai Health System Shares its Approach to Adapting Quickly to New Realities.

Watch webinar

Debunking the ‘Time Drives Costs’ Myth with Lean Financial Thinking

Learn why you must stop allocating costs based on time--and how lean financial thinking and practice gives you a more…

Read article

Ask Art: The Benefits of Kaizen Learning vs. Traditional Problem-Solving

Kaizen is for learning and doing, says Art Byrne, who points out the benefits of this "learn-by-doing" approach over traditional…

Read article

Lean WX – An Rx for Making Things Better

As someone whose understanding of lean/TPS grew exponentially by working on the line, Josh Howell encourages every would-be lean enterprise…

Read article

Navigating a Lean Quality 4.0 Road Map

Lean thinking and practice has a great deal to offer when it comes to adjusting to Industry 4.0, and in…

Read article

Art of Lean on Work & Waste, Part 6: Waiting

Learn how to spot what Art Smalley, president of Art of Lean, Incorporated, thinks is the most annoying form of…

Read article

What’s Needed to Ensure a Successful Lean Transformation

Learn what works--and what doesn't--in driving your lean transformation. LEI Senior Advisors Jim Womack and Jim Morgan share top-line learning…

Read article

Lean Product & Process Development Guiding Principles At-A-Glance

An infographic summarizes the six guiding principles of lean product and process development.

Read article

The 6 Guiding Principles of Lean Product and Process Development

Learn the six guiding principles of Lean Product and Process Development and how they can help your organization accelerate the…

Watch video

Art of Lean on Work & Waste, Part 5: Motion

Watch this quick tutorial about how to see the waste of motion in your work, from Art Smalley, president of…

Watch video

How Pall Corporation Accelerated the Covid-19 Vaccine Process Development using Lean Thinking and Practice

Learn how Pall Corp developed and deployed a full manufacturing process in eight weeks – an 80% reduction compared to…

Read article

How Lean is Amazon?

Amazon has tapped lean principles and practices in its inexorable rise to becoming the world's largest retailer, notes Tom Ehrenfeld.…

Read article

Are Lean Thinking and Practice Business Strategies?

Explore the nuances of leadership and strategy with Lean Enterprise Institute Chairman Peter Ward.

Read article

Practical Approaches for Making Innovation an Enterprise-Wide Activity

Jim Morgan tells an interviewer how to make innovation an enterprise-wide endeavor, based on his years of experience as a…

Read article

What Finance Teams Can Learn from the Lean Practice of ‘Go See, Ask Why, Show Respect,’ – Part 2

A "lean accounting" coach illustrates what "go see, ask why, and show respect" means for Finance and Accounting professionals.

Read article

Becoming the Change: New Leadership Behavior Strategies for Continuous Improvement in Healthcare

To successfully lead an organizational transformation, you and other leaders must embark on your own personal transformation. The challenge for…

Watch webinar

The Deeper Purpose of Problem-Solving

Ultimately, the goal of problem-solving is not just to fix tools and processes, argues Regis Medina. He says that problem-solving…

Read article

Learning to Lead, Leading to Learn: A Podcast with Katie Anderson and Isao Yoshino

Join us for this WLEI podcast with Katie Anderson and Mr. Isao Yoshino on his experiences with Toyota that formed…

Listen to podcast

Art of Lean on Work & Waste, Part 3: Excess Inventory

Take a closer look at the various types of inventory, with an eye toward identifying waste, with your guide, Art…

Watch video

Using Lean Thinking to Accelerate Decision-Making

Learn how flattening the decision tree enabled The Boldt Company to pivot quickly to keep essential job sites functioning and…

Read article

Ask Art: What Role does Human Resources Play in a Lean Turnaround?

Although you shouldn’t expect HR to lead the kaizen effort or set up extensive training programs, there is still plenty…

Read article

Turn to Lean To Tackle the Problems You Want to Solve Right Now

Lean thinking and practice is hard, says LEI President Josh Howell; noting that it's well worth the effort for those…

Read article

Avoid the Costly Work of Rework

Customers care only for the product or service they receive, says Rose Heathcote. They're not interested in how much effort…

Read article

Art of Lean on Work & Waste, Part 2: Overproduction

Take a closer look at and gain an in-depth understanding of the waste overproduction with Art of Lean, Incorporated President…

Watch video

What Finance Teams Can Learn from the Lean Practice of ‘Go See, Ask Why, Show Respect’ – Part 1

Join a "lean accounting" coach as he recounts several gemba walks with Finance and Accounting leaders and shares their "ah-ha"…

Read article

The Digital Storm and the End of Old You with CI&T

A virtual lean learning experience featuring CI&T.

Watch webinar

“It’s Only A Failure If You Don’t Learn”

"It's only a failure if you don't learn" says Toyota veteran Isao Yoshino, whose experience developing an ultimately failed water-ski…

Read article

Encountering Problems and Resistance

The doctor entered with a comforting bedside manner. We small talked. She asked about my work and I answered, in short. “Lean? You mean that Toyota thing?” In spite…

Read article

Never Fail…To Create the Conditions for People to be Successful

In this excerpt from Learning to Lead, Leading to Learn, Katie Anderson shares the story of how Isao Yoshino learned…

Read article

Turn To Lean in Times of Crisis

Lean thinkers need new tools and new mindsets to face today's daunting challenges, argues Jim Womack, who shares examples of…

Read article

Art of Lean on Work & Waste, Part 1: A Focus on Muda

Take a deeper dive into muda, or waste, and learn the difference between pure and incidental waste. Art Smalley, president…

Watch video

Applying Lean Thinking and Practice to Systemic Racism, Part 2 of 2

To create anti-racist organizations to fit, value, and respect all people, leaders should step forward with a sound vision framed…

Read article

Using the Logic of Lean Thinking to Combat Racism, Part 1 of 2

To create new anti-racist organizations, leaders need to fully embrace the five principles of lean: value vs. waste, value stream,…

Read article

How Can Lean Fit Into Industry 4.0?

Lean thinkers should never become slaves to technology, says Andrew Quibell, who sketches out ways to reflect on how lean…

Read article

Boosting Organizational Resilience Through Jidoka

Jidoka enables operators to build in quality into the production process--and forms a foundation of stability helping a company respond…

Read article

The Art of Lean: An Introduction to Muda, Mura, and Muri

Take a closer look at the concepts of muda, mura, and muri and learn why you have to consider all…

Watch video

Align Your Continuous Improvement Efforts: Practical Tips from 4 CEOs in 4 Major Business Sectors

Four CEOs who are leading lean management voices in the critical economic sectors of manufacturing, supply chain, healthcare, and education,…

Read article

The Role of Lean Product and Process Development in Building the Lean Enterprise

A distinguished group of lean leaders discusses the role of Lean Product and Process Development in building the lean enterprise…

Read article

The Power of Personal Yokoten

Personal yokoten to teach new mindsets and attitudes is an activity all of us can perform out in the world…

Read article

Becoming the Change: Talking Healthcare Transformation with Kim Barnas and John Toussaint on the WLEI Podcast

In this WLEI podcast, Becoming the Change authors Kim Barnas and John Toussaint discuss the personal challenges facing healthcare leaders…

Listen to podcast

Becoming the Change with John Toussaint and Kim Barnas

Lean has always promised great improvements for health care providers, but has there been a personal element that has been…

Listen to podcast

Changing the Way New Value is Created with Lean Product and Process Development

Learn the six guiding principles of LPPD and why they are critical to successful new product, process, and service development.

Read article

Lean Lessons from Cobra Kai(zen) and the Karate Kid

The unexpected wake-up call of the modest perfection of the original Karate Kid movie was that we need to move…

Read article

Mining the Lessons From Designing the Future

Designing the Future shares a wealth of insights that transcend product development minutiae; this articles shares the broader argument presented…

Read article

New Book, Becoming the Change, Shows that Real Organizational Change Is Personal

Learn the cause of and cure for healthcare improvements that relapse to the old ways of working. Kim Barnes, Catalysis…

Read article

The Power of Yokoten

I’ve written a lot about yokoten in recent years – the practice of spreading good (lean) ideas horizontally between and…

Read article

Building People-Focused Problem-Solving Capacity

While Lean promises robust solutions to the most pressing of problems, it’s core promise offers something even more enduring: the…

Read article

Lean Thinking’s Past, Present, and Future: A Q&A Roundtable with Jim Womack and Jim Morgan

To close each week of the Lean Enterprise Institute's Virtual Lean Learning Experience 2020 (VLX), we bring together the week's…

Watch video

Ask Art: What Was Danaher Like In the Early Days of Lean?

In this personal account of launching lean at Danaher, Art Byrne shares a wealth of insights into how to seed…

Read article

Lean Management Leaders Weigh in on Climate Change, Coronavirus, Innovation, and More

Jim Womack, founding CEO of the nonprofit Lean Enterprise Institute (LEI), and Jim Morgan, an experienced product development executive, explained…

Read article

The Hidden Value of Filling Out the Paperwork

Respect for people--and sustained continuous improvement--begins with something as simple as carefully filling out the paperwork for standardized work, says…

Read article

View Crises as Manageable Challenges Through Steady Lean Leadership

If you are using lean to tackle a series of crises, you may not be using lean in the first…

Read article

The Second P in LPPD: Why the Future is About Lean Product and Process Development

Jim Womack, speaking at the Designing the Future summit in 2019, describes the thinking behind lean product and process development…

Read article

How the Coloplast Parts Distribution Center Reduced its Process Lead Time

How the Coloplast Parts Distribution Center in Tatabanya, Hungary, reduced its process lead time from 3 to 14 days to…

Watch video

Tap the Power of Flow to Develop Lean Thinkers

Flow is personal--a moment of enrichment, and a mental state. It´s stretching oneself just that little bit extra, not because…

Read article

No Standard, No Problem? Not Really. It’s a Big Problem

Learn why the A3 is more than a problem-solving tool, and why it's critical to leading change.

Read article

How Respect for People Animates the Lean Spirit

Practicing respect is an animating force of lean leadership that colors how one coaches and develops people. This roundup of…

Read article

The Art of Lean: Use These Tools to Help You Improve a Process, Part 2

Take a closer look into this four-step approach that will help you "pinpoint the tricky parts" of a process as…

Watch video

Jim Womack Shares a Future-Focused Reflection on ‘Machine’

Jim Womack shares a future-focused, humble reflection of the groundbreaking book he co-authored with Daniel T. Jones and Daniel Roos,…

Read article

How Menlo’s Virtual Teams Are Lighting the Way Forward

While Menlo Software continues to adjust to the never-ending changes caused by COVID-19, founder Rich Sheridan takes solace that they…

Read article

Product Development Lessons from a Global Pandemic

How a Lean Product & Process Development (LPPD) approach would accelerate a Covid-19 vaccine.

Read article

LEI Responds to The Wall Street Journal’s Mischaracterization of Just-in-Time

LEI's response to the August 21 Wall Street Journal article that mischaracterized Just-in-TIme.

Read article

How to Build Resilience Through Sustained Lean Practice

As the upcoming virtual lean learning experience shows, lean thrives when the individuals using this learning and improvement method leverage…

Read article

Understanding Lean Product and Process Development: An LEI Explainer Video

Learn what Lean Product & Process Development (LPPD) is, why it's critical in developing successful value streams, why companies struggle…

Watch video

Exploring the Advantages of Online Learning

Learn how LEI is tapping into lean ways of learning and leveraging the latest learning technologies in the design of…

Read article

Enduring Lessons from The Birth of Lean

Lean was never conceived as a new and comprehensive system designed to replace conventional enterprise. Rather, as shown in The…

Read article

Growing from a Tactical Practitioner to a Strategic Thinker

One helpful way to move from being a tactical leader to a strategic one is to suggest that a better…

Read article

Tapping Technology to Boost the Power of Lean: A Talk with Jeff Liker and Jim Morgan

What principles should guide lean thinkers as they introduce digital tools into their work? How about people, processes, and purpose,…

Read article

When the Toyota Way Meets Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0 is not a disruptive force that makes TPS irrelevant, but rather can be an enabler that builds on…

Read article

Tapping Technology to Boost the Power of Lean: A Talk with Jeff Liker and Jim Morgan

Industry 4.0 is not a disruptive force that makes TPS irrelevant, but rather can be an enabler that builds on lean culture…

Listen to podcast

The Art of Lean: Use These Tools to Help You Improve a Process, Part 1

Learn about this four-step approach that will help you “pinpoint the tricky parts” of a process as you work to…

Watch video

Why You Should Link Your Hoshin Kanri and A3 Management Processes

An organization that integrates a robust long-term-oriented strategy deployment process with a daily management process achieves greater performance gains than…

Watch webinar

Dueling Methods: 8D and A3

One of the scores of questions sent in by attendees at our recent webinar on the A3 problem-solving process was…

Read article

Ask Art: Why Implement Lean During A Pandemic?

Implementing lean during this pandemic will allow many more companies to emerge from this economic crisis in far better shape…

Read article

Changing Routines

In this article exploring ways to help lead positive change, Josh Howell asks: is pursuing understanding and conviction part of…

Read article

How to Develop Healthy Habits for Mindful Coaching

Powerful lean coaches help others create productive habits that over time produce a type of "muscle memory" that forms a…

Read article

A Radical Redesign of Making Crudito — and All Restaurant Kitchens

Using animations of a few basic continuous improvement tools, Matt Savas, a team leader at the Lean Enterprise Institute and…

Watch video

Beware the Comforts of Waste

After a major move, lean thinker Rose Heathcote reflected that with lean thinking comes the responsibility to look inward at…

Read article

How Using Kanban Builds Trust

Kanban functions as a trust machine because everyone using it must understand what they have to do and why, says…

Read article

How a Lean Quoting Process Helps You Capture High-Value Opportunities, Part 3

Setting up a Daily Opportunity Review Board helps your company strategically respond to high-value customer inquiries.

Read article

Beyond ‘Linear’ Intelligence: Learning Lean Through Shared Experiments and Improvements

Learning entails far more than a linear set of directions from one person to another, argues LEI's Masia Goodman, who…

Read article

How the A3 Process Developed to Help Build Better Managers, Part Two

In this second of two articles, Isao Yoshino and John Shook explore how A3 emerged as powerful practice at Toyota…

Read article

How the A3 Process Developed to Help Build Better Managers

One of the hallmarks of a successfully executed A3 process is that it is a collaborative activity--a learning process for…

Read article

PDCA Is Really CA-PDCA — and It’s the CA that Makes the PD Work

Why Grasping the Actual Conditions (firsthand as an automatic practice) at the beginning, during, and after a problem-solving effort is…

Read article

What You Will Learn by Reflecting on Your Organization’s Work-at-Home Experience

Reflecting on your work-from-home experience promises to provide needed insights about knowledge work and the routine work that accompanies it—both…

Read article

Learning the Hard and Soft Skills of Lean Coaching

While lean is often associated with process improvement, error reduction, and greater efficiency in a wide range of numbers; most…

Read article

Building the Enabling Bureaucracy

A conversation with RJ Scaringe about creating the "Rivian Way."

Watch video

Why You Should Link Hoshin Kanri with A3 Problem-Solving

With A3 tightly linked to hoshin, an organization will not only solve problems but also will have the opportunity to…

Read article

Keeping the “Day One” Spirit Alive

Building in a cadence of gemba walks helps nurture the vital "day one" startup spirit as a company grows, says…

Read article

Making Your Work Work in the First 90 Days

In your first 90 days as a lean leader, what path will you take to support transformation? Andrew Quibell details…

Read article

5 Guiding Principles to Accelerate Your Lean Transformation

Chief architects for lean transformation have been seeking effective ways of realizing tangible gains for years, says Senior Coach Alice…

Read article

5 Guiding Principles for Tailoring a Path to Lean Transformation

Over the past five years, the Lean Global Network’s Lean Healthcare Initiative has carried out extensive research in eight hospitals…

Listen to podcast

Quick and Practical Tips for Effective Virtual Process Mapping

In the wake of new lockdowns to halt the spread of the coronavirus, companies need ways for home-based team members…

Read article

Our Burning Platform and Using the 5 Whys to Think More Deeply about Corrective Action

A call to action: As lean thinkers, we should join with our diversity, equity, and inclusion experts to help transform…

Read article

How A Complete Lean Production System Fuels Global Success

In this article prepared for the 2007 relaunch of the seminal book The Machine that Changed the World, co-author Jim…

Read article

Being ‘Right’ is Not Enough

All of us have problem-solving experiences to reflect on and learn from. And what better time to draw out that…

Read article

Learn by Doing: Overcoming Inertia and Triggering Engagement Through Kaizen

Practicing daily kaizen powerfully drives the heart of any serious lean effort to learn and improve, a topic that will…

Read article

The Healing Power of Lean Product and Process Development in Healthcare

Can Lean Product and Process Development or LPPD, which evolved in the automotive industry, work in healthcare? Paul Paliani, who…

Watch video

Beyond Problem-Solving: Other Facets of the A3 Process You Should Know and Practice

If you or your team think the A3 process is only a problem-solving tool, think again. “There is a lot…

Watch webinar

Lean Accounting is about Respect for People

The author recalls his first experience in learning first-hand the importance of providing easily understandable information to the people who…

Read article

Ask Art: Why Do Most Companies Think Of Lean as Just a Cost Reduction Program?

We shouldn’t be surprised at all that most companies approach lean as a cost reduction program, when it really is…

Read article

The Real Secret to Success with the A3 Process: It is as Much a Social Process as a Technical Problem-solving One

Part one of a seven-part series. Learn how the A3 process is about more than problem-solving, along with the other…

Read article

How Lean Experts Create a Pipeline for Leadership Talent

Developing a pipeline for diverse leadership talent is a key principle for leading companies--and the topic of a session led…

Read article

The Art of Lean: Must-Knows for Coaching the Corrective-Action Phase of Problem-Solving, Part 2

Part 2 of 2. Building from part 1, Art further explains the A.D.P. methodology by exploring how it applies to…

Watch video

Creating a Lean Quoting Process to Support Your Lean Transformation, Part 2

When you view your lean transformation as a growth strategy, you’ll want to develop a lean quoting process that responds…

Read article

Lessons Shared On Learning to Lead; and Leading to Learn

In her new book, Katie Anderson argues that, "being a leader means clearly defining a challenge or target for your…

Read article

Lean in Lean Thinkers to Root Out Racial Inequity

A lean leader calls on other lean thinkers to leverage humble inquiry and other problem-solving tools to eradicate the waste…

Read article

Why Product Focus is Customer Focus

How can you know your entire organization is aligned around delivering best in class value to your customer? Your product…

Read article

The Art of Lean: Must-Knows for Coaching the Corrective-Action Phase of Problem-Solving, Part 1

Art Smalley, president of Art of Lean, Inc., shares a problem-solving coaching tip that he developed and likes to use…

Watch video

Lean Roundup: Hoshin Kanri

Hoshin Kanri, described as "a management system that allows the organization to quickly and effectively adjust its priorities while engaging…

Read article

Why We Believe Tough Times and Opportunity Go Hand in Hand

In this detailed set of suggestions for managing the current challenges posed by Covid-19, Rose Heathcote and the Lean Sensei…

Read article

Using Lean Thinking to Create an “Emergency Management System”

The Lynn Community Health Center (LCHC) demonstrates how one organization with scarce resources can respond to a problem as daunting…

Read article

“Too much, Too early” and other Common Pitfalls of Lean Product Development

Veteran product development coaches Eric Ethington and Matt Zayko provide insights about the most common mistakes they see companies make…

Watch video

Learning to Face Challenges with Agility and Resilience

In this excerpt from his book The High-Velocity Edge, Steven Spear explains how Toyota managed to adapt quickly to a…

Read article

The Post-COVID-19 Reboot: Safe, Smart Steps for Restarting Production

GE Appliances and Herman Miller share lessons learned on opening manufacturing operations during the Covid-19 crisis. They share how their companies with…

Watch webinar

Making Pivots Operational

Learn how NewYork-Presbyterian (NYP) hospital (NYP) pivoted to meet crisis-level demands at the epicenter of the Coronavirus pandemic -- thanks…

Read article

Using Lean Thinking to Resume Work Safely during the Covid-19 Pandemic

As LEI's webinar on "safe, smart steps for restarting production" approaches this week, here's a handful of articles about companies…

Read article

What I Learned by Coaching at the Gemba Virtually

Lean Coach Mark Reich shares an example of how lean thinking is itself continually renewed, as leading practitioners use it…

Read article

Why Managing Emotions at Work Matters

True effectiveness in the workplace – innovation, change, enhanced customer experience - requires an acknowledgement of how emotions interface with…

Read article

How to Fail At Lean in Four Easy Steps

Nobody wants to fail at lean, to be sure. Author Regis Medina calls our four surefire ways to achieve this…

Read article

How to A3: Resources for Developing Structured Problem-Solving and Leadership Skills

As LEI prepares its next course on Managing to Learn, here's a popular article rounding up a wealth of resources…

Read article

Ask Art: Why Does Setup Time Reduction Matter So Much?

Setup reduction is a necessary step to go from traditional management to lean--or said another way, from batch to flow…

Read article

How to Conduct a Virtual Kaizen Event: Some Ideas from the #LeanCommunity

Over 800 lean practitioners have joined and are sharing best practices and ideas on the LEI #LeanCommunity on Slack.

Read article

Now is the Time for Resilience and Adaptability!

People and organizations can create the conditions for building their own resilience by drawing from TPS, the Thinking People System,…

Read article

Why a Lean Transformation Requires a New Quoting Process, Part 1

How to ensure your lean transformation leads to improved profitability.

Read article

How to Ensure the Safety of Hospital Staff During the Pandemic

In the seventh and final post of a seven-part series, the Global Lean Healthcare Initiative focuses on keeping staff safe.

Read article

How to Develop and Execute New Strategies for the New Era in Business

These times demand a new way of looking at business strategy because the way we worked before the pandemic probably…

Watch webinar

How Lean Helps During Economic Downturns: Lessons from the Past

John retells a quick history lesson about the birth of Toyota’s powerful way of working as it emerged from its…

Read article

Searching for a Path Toward Healing

Dr. Kiame Mahaniah, the CEO of Lynn Community Health Center, shares the message he wrote to his staff about finding…

Read article

Exploring the Technical and Nontechnical Challenges of Being a Chief Engineer, a Candid Conversation with Two CEs (Part 2)

Chief engineers typically have strong technical skills to effectively lead and manage the work of engineers, designers, and other developers.…

Watch video

Book Review: Learning to Scale, a “Practical Field Guide” to Lean Growth

In his new book Learning to Scale, author Regis Medina has "successfully translated each concept of the TPS and lean…

Read article

How NOT to Jump to Solutions When Facing A Problem

Dan Markovitz argues that productive leaders solve problems by leveraging a deep understanding of the facts, buffering them from the…

Read article

How to Ensure Your Hospital’s Capacity in a Crisis

More tips from the Global Lean Healthcare Initiative that show how hospitals can address a surge in the number of…

Read article

Pivoting Just-In-Time with Hoshin Kanri at Toyota

Learn about the power of hoshin kanri, a systematic approach to defining a strategy and, more importantly, a management system…

Read article

Exploring the Technical and Nontechnical Challenges of Being a Chief Engineer, A Candid Conversation with Two CEs (Part 1)

Chief engineers typically have strong technical skills to effectively lead and manage the work of engineers, designers, and other developers.…

Watch video

Exploring the Technical and Nontechnical Challenges of Being a Chief Engineer, A Candid Conversation with Two CEs

Chief engineers typically have strong technical skills to effectively lead and manage the work of engineers, designers, and other developers.…

Read article

How to Show Respect During a Pandemic

Lean Coach Katrina Appell shares how to use Maslow's hierarchy of needs to clarify how to show respect for people…

Read article

Why Good Lean Detectives Visit the Crime Scene

You can't solve a problem with data alone, says Dan Markovitz. He urges you to go to the "crime scene,"…

Read article

How to Build Skills Fast with a People-Development Plan

A Lean Global Network team of lean practitioners and coaches shares a set of lean healthcare tips hospitals can use…

Read article

Don’t Just Go Back–Go Forward…With Kindness and A Little Creativity!

As we all grapple with ongoing changes imposed by the Covid-19 virus, we have reflected deeply, and humbly share the…

Read article

Five Revolutions Into the Lean Journey: What’s Next?

The current pandemic serves as an opportunity for us to rethink the world of enterprise (and more), says Dan Jones.…

Read article

Ask Art: Does Lean Really Work Beyond Manufacturing?

Lean certainly applies beyond manufacturing, explains Art Byrne, who shares the dramatic gains at a life insurance company as a…

Read article

Keep Calm and Manage Stably: Akio Toyoda’s Response to Crisis

When we read the Bloomberg article Lockdown Leads Toyota Chief to Question Core Tenet for Carmaker, we were surprised, even a…

Read article

How Short, Structured Communication Cycles Help Hospitals Solve Problems, Offer Support to Staff

The Global Lean Healthcare Initiative shares the seven key lean practices -- each with a set of actionable tips --…

Read article

Solutions from Afar

A leader's job isn't to provide solutions to problems; it's to teach and coach their staff to solve problems themselves--at…

Read article

Creating Standardized Work to Ensure Safety, Quality, and Efficiency

A Lean Global Network team of lean practitioners and coaches shares a set of lean healthcare tips hospitals can use…

Read article

An Accountant’s Guide to Understanding Lean Accounting

I think one of the difficulties accountants face in understanding Lean Accounting is that we are trained to be “doers”…

Read article

Reimagining restaurants after Covid-19

The future has never looked more uncertain for restaurants and cafes. The authors share a set of practical lean tips…

Read article

Pursuing Dreams, Facing Reality

In this letter shared to his fellow Menloians, Rich Sheridan acknowledges the new reality they all must fact, and commits…

Read article

The Sanity of Just-in-Time

Path dependence is the worst enemy of smart resolution, argue the authors, who suggest greater "frame control" with enabling tools…

Read article

How Hospitals are Leveraging Visual Management in the Battle Against Covid-19

A Lean Global Network team of lean practitioners and coaches shares a set of lean healthcare tips hospitals can use…

Read article

Why We Believe We Have All the Bricks to Build Our Future

In this wide-ranging article, lead author Catherine Chabiron and her fellow Lean Sensei Women propose a number of ways to…

Read article

When Is The Best Time To Implement Profit Sharing?

Orry Fiume argues that when businesses reopens, there are many things that will be different; and that when they do…

Read article

Single Week Exchange of Business

You’ve no doubt heard of a single-minute exchange of dies in manufacturing, but what happens when you need to changeover…

Read article

Addressing Production Challenges that Arise from the Pandemic

How two companies with deep lean experience – General Electric Appliances (GEA) and Herman Miller – have responded quickly and…

Read article

Autonomous Car Beta Version, Anyone? A Q&A with Jim Womack on Disruptive Innovation

What may be ahead for carmakers, product developers, and the lean management movement in a disrupted world is the subject…

Read article

Emerging Stronger

Learn how GE Appliances and Herman Miller leverage lean practice to design new standardized work for assembly to ensure a…

Read article

Designing the Patient Flow to Fight Covid-19

A Lean Global Network team of lean practitioners and coaches shares a set of lean healthcare tips hospitals can use…

Read article

Autonomous Car Beta Version, Anyone? A Q&A with Jim Womack on Disruptive Innovation

What may be ahead for carmakers, product developers, and the lean management movement in a disrupted world is the subject…

Watch video

Nine Lessons from Steady Work

In her book Steady Work, Karen Gaudet discusses nine key lessons for practicing lean. Here she discusses these key principles.

Read article

Practicing Steady Work for Lean Value with Karen Gaudet

"What is the role of a lean leader, and what is the humbling daily work that goes into this task?…

Listen to podcast

Problem-Solving During a Crisis: A quick tip from the #LeanCommunity

How to solve problems when there seems to be no time to do so.

Read article

5S, Hygiene, and Healthy Habits

5S-like practice can uncover hidden beliefs and misconceptions, and pave the way to adopting new hygiene practices – as opposed…

Read article

What the Covid-Virus Can Teach Us About the Toyota Way

This is a time where people are coming together with a passion and common focus, says Jeff Liker. He shares…

Read article

The Lab is Open

Why it's important to create a way to challenge assumptions and develop know-how, solve problems, and continuously improve--even during a…

Read article

The Post COVID Crisis Supply Chain: a Time to Rise (Part 2)

In a two-part call to action, LeanCor Supply Chain Group CEO Robert Martichenko says that now is the time for…

Read article

The Post COVID Crisis Supply Chain: a Time to Rise (Part 1)

In a two-part call to action, LeanCor Supply Chain Group CEO Robert Martichenko says that now is the time for…

Read article

Ask Art: What Do You Focus on When Assessing the Potential Gains From Converting to Lean?

Lean veteran Art Byrne shares the key areas to look at for gains to be realized from lean: focus on…

Read article

Developing Awareness On the Gemba (part 2)

In this followup to her article on ways to develop awareness on the gemba, Lean Coach Sandrine Olivencia argues that…

Read article

Active Caring

Caring about others, caring about quality, caring about professionalism. When you care, continuous improvement and action come naturally. Turner Construction…

Read article

Be More Innovative with These Resources and Ideas for Exploiting World-Shaping Trends

Great products and services begin with great ideas and great ideas are informed by the big trends that are shaping…

Read article

How A Virtual Obeya Can Enable Effective Teamwork

As we are working socially distanced apart we need to create systems that enable us to effectively enable people to…

Read article

Developing Awareness on the Gemba

Lean Sensei Sandrine Olivencia shares practical advice on ways to be present and to coach in the moment at the…

Read article

New Book Explains How to Create “Steady Work” in Unsteady Times with Standardized Work Cadences

In Steady Work, the new book from the Lean Enterprise Institute, author and former Starbucks’ Regional Manager Karen Gaudet offers…

Read article

Accounting and Finance – How Can We Help?

I’ve been thinking about what we as Lean Finance and Accounting practitioners can be doing during this time of “business-as-unusual”…

Read article

Working During an Outbreak; What We Can Learn for Later

During this pandemic, Trader Joe’s is demonstrating several hallmarks of lean thinking that help keep employees and customers safe--and creates…

Read article

The Impact of Social Distancing on Assembly Operations

Take a deep-dive look at how GE Appliances and Herman Miller are working on designing a safe work environment for…

Read article

Lean and “emotional heijunka” in a Time of Pandemic

In this timely reflection, Jim Womack calls for "emotional heijunka": taking a deep breath, identifying the most important problems that…

Read article

Maintaining Emotional Heijunka During a Pandemic

In this timely reflection, Jim Womack calls for "emotional heijunka": taking a deep breath, identifying the most important problems that…

Read article

Reimagining the Restaurant Industry in a Post-COVID-19 World

The impact of COVID-19 has proven how ill-prepared we are to deal with crises. It’s time for hospitality businesses like…

Read article

How One Company is Using Lean Fundamentals When Facing Disruption

Companies that have been built using lean principles are turning to these core ideals when confronting the unique challenges caused…

Read article

Coping with COVID-19: Lessons from The Plague

In this time of pandemic, John Shook shares some ways this novel coronavirus is impacting him personally, noting "For Camus,…

Read article

What do I do when key logistics employees are afraid to come to work?

Dear Gemba Coach: What do I do when key logistics employees are afraid to come to work?

Read article

Preventing Problems by Thinking Upstream: A Talk with Dan Heath

Tune in to the LEI podcast to catch a conversation with Dan Heath on his new book Upstream, which urges…

Read article

Preventing Problems by Thinking Upstream: A Talk with Author Dan Heath

“We should shift more of our energies upstream personally, organizationally, nationally, and globally. We can and we should stop dealing…

Listen to podcast

Why (and How) We Believe Lean Can Help During COVID-19

As Lean Sensei Women, we have put together some relevant lean suggestions and ideas for your organization to use (and…

Read article

Ask Art: How Does Lean Bring the Customer Directly Onto the Shop Floor?

The lean approach reduces setup times, creates flow, improves quality, lowers cost and drastically shortens lead times, says Art Byrne,…

Read article

In Lean We Trust; Especially in a Crisis 

When phone calls and cancellations started coming in, the COVID-19 crisis became more than a news report about somewhere else. We knew we had our own situation to deal with. 

Read article

Why You Need a Product Focus for Enterprise Transformation

Lean Product and Process Development serves as an enterprise activity that can engage the entire organization and improve operations and…

Read article

What should I expect as a lean manager?

Dear Gemba Coach: I’m currently a team leader, and I’ve been offered a job as a lean manager – what…

Read article

Why You Need a Product Focus for an Enterprise Transformation: A Talk By Jim Morgan

In this talk from the 2018 Designing the Future summit, former Rivian COO and LEI Senior Advisor Jim Morgan discusses…

Read article

Why Lean Remains A Superior Business Model and Way of Thinking

The lean business model offers an alternative to conventional thinking, says Dan Jones. He argues that it achieves a premium…

Read article

How Can Lean Help Respond to Crises?

Although lean might seem fragile to crises, because of low inventories, it’s quite the opposite, says Michael Balle: Lean thinking…

Read article

Lean in the Time of Coronavirus

While lean offers no direct countermeasure to tackling the current coronavirus health challenge, Jim Womack points out in this podcast…

Read article

A Consciousness of Reality

There are countless cases of lean thinking being applied masterfully with the word lean (or the Toyota Production System) nowhere…

Read article

Building the Mindset and Skillset to Improve from the Board Room to the Classroom

Results matter, says Pat Greco; and yet, human systems require leaders to engage. Here she discusses the way she and her…

Read article

Delivering Quality Foods with Zingerman’s Mail Order

Listen to this podcast between Tom Root, Zingerman Mail Order's Managing Director, and Josh Howell for a wide-ranging conversation about…

Read article

On the Job with Tom Root, Managing Partner of Zingerman’s Mail Order

Spoiler alert! The food you just ate is not fresh. It was "sourced" longer ago than you'd imagine. And since…

Listen to podcast

Should I be worried that management is buying software for virtual gemba walks?

Dear Gemba Coach: A consultant is selling us “virtual gemba walks” software to schedule gemba visits with a “leader standardized…

Read article

Accounting for the Right Reasons

My first job after graduating from Purdue University was as a manufacturing engineer with the Japanese company, Aisin Seiki. Aisin…

Read article

The Courage to be Lean

A meaningful purpose is not what you are doing or how you are doing it, argue Joanna McGuffey and Tom…

Read article

What is the value to be created here and now?

Karen Gaudet has written Steady Work (!), a wonderful new book about her experience as a regional director of operations…

Read article

How Well Can Lean Principles Fuel New Ventures Like Tesla and Rivian?

How well do lean principles apply to the grueling challenge of launching a company—let alone launching a brand new automotive…

Read article

Designing the Future: A WLEI Podcast with Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe and former COO Jim Morgan

If you do not yet know the company Rivian you will undoubtedly know it very soon.In 2019 Rivian made waves in the…

Listen to podcast

Standardization Can Set You Free

It is only through actually standardizing the routine work elements by applying a common method of thinking, that enables true…

Read article

Ask Art: What Are the Most Important Management Changes Needed to Implement A Lean Turnaround?

Lean thinking requires a totally different mindset than traditional management, argues lean veteran Art Byrne. This is probably the most…

Read article

Is it really necessary for a sensei to act obnoxiously?

Dear Gemba Coach: Is it really necessary for a sensei to act obnoxiously?

Read article

Rivian: The Electric-Vehicle Company Taking the Auto Industry by Storm

In this podcast, Rivian Founder and CEO R.J. Scaringe and former COO Jim Morgan discuss the challenges of forming a…

Read article

35. Designing the Future: A WLEI Podcast with Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe and former COO Jim Morgan

If you do not yet know the company Rivian you will undoubtedly know it very soon.In 2019 Rivian made waves in the…

Listen to podcast

Respect for People Means Taking Care with Your Questions

Asking effective questions is an art in and of itself, says Karen Gaudet, in this excerpt from her new book,…

Read article

The Value of A Visual Schedule is Developing Shared Understanding

People closest to the work should understand it best, so they are in the best position to share what the…

Read article

Do you find yourself surrounded by uneven workflows?

Do you find yourself surrounded by uneven workflows? Of course you do, it is natural. Almost everything has ebbs and…

Read article

What’s the Problem: Andrew Lingel Discusses Transforming a Family Business through Knowledge, Grit, and Outrage

In this What's the Problem podcast with Matt Savas, President Andrew Lingel of United Plastic Fabricating shares how he helped…

Read article

My managers are focused on monthly sales and quarterly profits – how can a lean guy like me interest them in quality?

Dear Gemba Coach: My managers are focused on monthly sales and quarterly profits – how can a lean guy like…

Read article

34. What’s the Problem: Andrew Lingel Discusses Transforming a Family Business through Knowledge, Grit, and Outrage

Andrew Lingel, President of United Plastic Fabricating, discusses leading lean transformation of a family business through knowledge, grit, and outrage.

Listen to podcast

Share Best Thinking Rather than Best Practices

Lean Coach Karen Gaudet argues that Best Practices don't always align with Best Thinking, and suggests that "the next time…

Read article

How Working In Oncology Has Reframed Failure and Success

Doctor Carlos "Fred" Pinto and his colleagues at IOV in Brazil have learned that resilience emerges when applying lean thinking…

Read article

How Ron Kelner Helped Build A System of Improvement at Deublin

In this podcast, Deublin COO Ron Kelner shares with Josh Howell the long learning journey of his company as it…

Read article

33. On the Job with Ron Kelner, President and COO of the Deublin Company

Ron describes the Deublin Company's business system built with lean thinking that puts human development at the center.

Listen to podcast

Isn’t the obsession with problem solving unnecessarily negative and depressing?

Dear Gemba Coach: Isn’t the obsession with problem solving unnecessarily negative and depressing?

Read article

Light Students’ Fire for Learning Through Teaching Lean

One of the greatest motivations for teaching for me is when I have a tangible impact on students’ thinking and…

Read article

After Lean Progress, Fighting the Challenges of Backsliding

After accepting the tough challenge of reducing deliver lead-time, CEO Nicolas Chartier and their entire team learned "to react at…

Read article

Why We Believe that Pull Flows Are Too Often Overlooked

In this incisive series of articles on the essential value of pulled flow, the lean sensei women argue, in the…

Read article

Coachable: Facilitating Peer-to-Peer Coaching for Effectively Spreading Knowledge

Join the ongoing conversation on coaching by listening to this new episode of the Coachable podcast series, as Deb McGee…

Read article

32. Coachable: A Model Story, Coaching Work Improvement

As this series continues to explore the implications and dynamic of “coaching” in a business environment, Bryant Sanders models the…

Listen to podcast

Working Hard…For One Minute

Anyone who doubts the ability of their people to work hard in enacting change--or who blames problems on their "people"…

Read article

Ask Art: What Happens When Standard Cost Accounting Meets Takt Time?

Trying to become a lean enterprise while retaining traditional standard cost accounting is an exercise in futility. It was developed…

Read article

How Lean Can Help Deliver Social Justice While Boosting Quality Health Care

In this podcast, developed from a talk at the 2018 Lean Transformation Summit learn how the Lynn Community Health Center…

Watch video

31. CEO Transition – an obstacle or an opportunity?

Too often, a change in executive leadership can bring a lean transformation to a grinding halt.  But that has not…

Listen to podcast

Are morning team huddles that go on forever a waste of time?

Dear Gemba Coach: Our company has made morning team huddles mandatory. I don't see how that helps. On my team,…

Read article

The Eight Wastes of Lean

Originally there were seven wastes identified by Taiichi Ohno for the Toyota Production System. As lean evolved into the rest…

Read article

Time To Make Time

When the people in a lean system don't value time, everyone is cheated, says John Shook, in this fascinating reflection…

Read article

Boeing Ex-Executive Alan Mulally Discusses a “Working Together Management System”

In this rare and revealing interview, Alan Mulally discusses lean management principles, including: the role of a CEO during a…

Read article

Dealing with Standard Costing in Lean Organizations

If you are in the accounting department in a lean manufacturing company, and your company uses a standard costing system,…

Read article

My Personal Turning Point: Reflecting on a Decade as a Lean Coach

Last year I sat in the offices of several "lean champions" at their companies, agents of change who are trying…

Read article

30. On the Job: My Personal Turning Point–Reflecting on a Decade as a Lean Coach

Josh Howell shares his decade-end reflections, focusing on why he left Starbucks in 2013. His reasons may surprise you. He…

Listen to podcast

How can kanban be useful in software since we never produce the same part twice?

Dear Gemba Coach: How can kanban be useful in software since we never produce the same part twice?

Read article

Does A Lack Of Physical Inventory Make Office Work “Different”?

While "waste" is easy to see and address in a factory setting, people working in an office environment have just…

Read article

Are These Two Non-learning Trends Hurting Your Company Culture?

The beating heart of continuous improvement is learning, concludes author and product development executive Jim Morgan, who has done pioneering…

Read article

Adopting a system driven mindset for continuous improvement

In this podcast, Dr. Pat Greco discusses how she managed to align students, teachers, administrators, and the board of education…

Read article

29. What’s the problem: A conversation with Pat Greco on transforming education through rapid problem solving

Pat Greco In 2011, Dr. Pat Greco began as the superintendent of the Menomonee Falls School District in Wisconsin. She faced no shortage…

Listen to podcast

Lean Accounting Podcast from OSU MBOE

It's a common misconception that lean in accounting equates to merely a cost-cutting tool. In this podcast from the Ohio…

Listen to podcast

Lean Accounting…No Thanks

“Lean Accounting” has been around for about 30 years, yet its adoption has not been widespread. Is that true?

Read article

Can a manufacturer use lean management to advance its environmental and social sustainability strategy?

Dear Gemba Coach: Can a manufacturer use lean to advance its environmental and social sustainability strategy?

Read article

Tackling the Problems at the Heart of Coaching

What is the best way to navigate the tough challenge of coaching someone productively? What is the best way to…

Read article

28. Coachable: Creating the Environment for Effective Coaching

December 23, 2019Featuring: Deborah McGee and Jeff SmithAs this series continues to explore the implications and dynamic of “coaching” in a…

Listen to podcast

Learning from Toyota Way Principles versus Copying Toyota practices

Toyota is an exceptional company, says Jeff Liker, who argues that the way of thinking is a model to learn…

Read article

How Do Lean CEOs Learn To Improve?

What, and how, do I have to learn? This key question confronts all CEOs who are practicing lean seriously, argues…

Read article

Lean Product and Process Development Learning Group Update: Technical Organizations Share Common Practices to Spread the Learning

Lean Product and Process Development Learning Group Update: Technical Organizations Share  Common Practices to  Spread the Learning 

Read article

How Lean Can Make Workplaces Safer and Healthier

The companies that are really going to solve the problem of unsafe work, just as they've done this for physical…

Read article

27. Dying for a Paycheck? Must work be toxic for employees, and how can a more sustainable approach emerge?

In his new book Dying for A Paycheck, Stanford University Graduate School of Business Professor Jeffrey Pfeffer argues that there…

Listen to podcast

Ask Art: What Do You Mean When You Say “Productivity equals Wealth”?

Productivity is the greatest wealth creator whether you talk about countries or companies, says Art Byrne. If you go about…

Read article

The Hard Work of Making Hard Work Easier

We persevere by struggling to overcome the challenges of hard work, argues Mark Reich. And, he says it is also…

Read article

Lean Financial Planning – How well does your budget serve its purpose?

How well does your budget serve its purpose? Asking this question can lead to a rich and revealing discussion with…

Read article

Grit, PDCA, Lean and other four-letter words

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the nature of what author Angela Duckworth calls Grit. She defines grit as a…

Read article

26. On the Job: A conversation with Dr. Lynn Kelley about sustaining change at Union Pacific

Dr. Lynn Kelley was hired by Union Pacific to lead the introduction of the “UP Way” company-wide. The UP Way…

Listen to podcast

Can lean management help with the start of production?

Dear Gemba Coach: Can lean management help with the start of production?

Read article

What Ever Happened to Mura?

If we really want to dig down into the root causes of waste, we need to bring the two lost…

Read article

Let Joy Power Your Organization’s Flight

Joy is a powerful word in life and, as it turns out, in business too, says Rich Sheridan. A company…

Read article

25. What’s the Problem: A conversation with Matt Lovejoy on how LEI is trying to create more lean thinkers coming out of university

How do we create more Lean Thinkers? That is the problem we address in today’s podcast with Matt Lovejoy, Chairman…

Listen to podcast

From Troubleshooting a Leaky Toilet Flapper to Innovating the Internet, a Comprehensive Problem-Solving Framework

Arriving at his hotel after midnight, author and business consultant Art Smalley just wanted to get some sleep before his…

Read article

The Lean Farm

A cold wet fall Saturday at the Talking Farm in Skokie, IL was a workshop day of learning for a group of…

Read article

Can lean management help with toxic managers?

Dear Gemba Coach: Can lean management help with toxic managers?

Read article

24. Coachable: Insights and approaches to situational leadership

Join my conversation with Art Smalley as he walks us through two models for situational leadership and coaching. Hersey, Blanchard…

Listen to podcast

Why Lean is a Time-based Strategy

Lean is a time-based strategy: it uses time to gain competitive advantage, says Orry Fiume. "Once I understood this I started…

Read article

Perspectives of a Chief Engineer on Starting and Sustaining Lean Product and Process Development

Steve Shoemaker, general manager at Caterpillar Inc., first applied lean product and process development (LPPD) practices as the chief engineer…

Watch video

OU ISE students use ‘Lean Thinking’ to improve operations, optimize space at Humble Design warehouse

The first grant from a new scholarship fund established by the Boston-based nonprofit Lean Enterprise Institute (LEI) is helping Midwest…

Read article

I’ve been improving process efficiency for years with value-stream mapping, why did you write that it is misleading?

Dear Gemba Coach: In your previous column you stated that value-stream mapping can be misleading. I’ve been using VSM for…

Read article

23. Lean Accounting Panel Discussion with Art Byrne, Jean Cunningham, Jim Huntzinger, Nick Katko, and Mike DeLuca

Many lean thinkers find the traditional accounting reporting completely out of alignment with the new lean management system. Part of PDCA…

Listen to podcast

Frame the Work For Safety and Learning

The most important skill to master as a leader is that of framing the work, says Harvard Business School Professor…

Read article

Ask Art: Why is Takt Time So Important in a Lean Turnaround?

Takt time represents the beat of the customer, or, the rate of demand, says Art Byrne: "As the primary focus…

Read article

The Challenges of Coaching

I’ve stepped into a new role recently, assuming responsibility for a variety of new-to-me jobs. One of my new jobs…

Read article

22. What’s the Problem: An interview with medical oncologist and CEO of Instituto de Oncologia do Vale (IOV), Dr. Fred, on reducing the cancer burden

Dr. Carlos Frederico Pinto (aka ‘Dr. Fred’) is a medical oncologist and CEO of Instituto de Oncologia do Vale (IOV),…

Listen to podcast

How We Improved Our Tiered Daily Huddles

At Cleveland Clinic, where he leads a continuous improvement team, Nate Hurle and others have discovered ways to build on…

Read article

Overcoming a Fear Of Failure Culture

Managers and teams can overcome the elements of a fear of failure culture, argues Andrew Quibell. His piece illustrates steps…

Read article

Isn’t flow the ultimate aim of lean?

Dear Gemba Coach: Isn’t flow the ultimate aim of lean?

Read article

21. On the Job: Discovering Strategy by Doing the WORK, a conversation with Dave Brunt, CEO of the Lean Enterprise Academy in the UK

In a conversation across the Atlantic LEI’s president, Josh Howell, talks to the Lean Enterprise Academy’s CEO, Dave Brunt, about…

Listen to podcast

Lean at Heart: Kanban

The underlying principles of lean can be found everywhere in daily life. In this article Masia Goodman identifies examples of…

Read article

How A3 Presentations Help Us Build Teamwork

CEO Nicolas Chartier shares a huge benefit of regular use of A3 among his team: "You realize as a CEO…

Read article

5S Is a Way of Thinking and Practice

It would be impossible to find a valid description of lean that does not include the importance of 5S for…

Read article

20. Coachable: Two Conversations Built on Trust, Inspiration, Experimentation and Transformation.

Meet two influential voices in my own coaching practice: Paul Serafino who first engaged me in a coaching way in…

Listen to podcast

Why We Believe that Lean is More Than A Manufacturing Approach

Is Lean thinking a thing of the past from glorious manufacturing times in the late twentieth century? Or, on the…

Read article

The Power of Inspiration

Lean thinker Paige Henry shares a call to action: let’s get our leaders and people to realize “it’s about the…

Read article

Where can I find information about visual management?

Dear Gemba Coach: I can’t find much written about visual management although it seems an important part of lean –…

Read article

19. Building A Fearless Organization: An interview with Harvard Business School Professor Amy Edmondson

How can one create a safe workplace where all employees are encouraged and expected to take ownership of their work?…

Listen to podcast

Want Better Relations and Results from Suppliers? Hear Two Execs Explain the Benefits of “Matched Pair” Leadership

New products and service development does not stop at the exterior walls of your company. Outside suppliers play critical roles,…

Watch video

How Hoshin Kanri Aligns Your Key Organizational Systems

Think of hoshin (strategy alignment) like the human body, argues Mark Reich: The body needs a strong skeletal structure (hoshin)…

Read article

Standardize Locally

A few weeks ago, during a day-long meeting with an executive management team, the topic of standardized work came up … again.…

Read article

18. What’s the Problem: An Interview with GE Appliance’s Rich Calvaruso on Solving Problems through Improving the Work

Rich Calvaruso of GE Appliances, a Haier Company sits down with Matt Savas to talk about problems. What problems are…

Listen to podcast

Why Doesn’t Lean Have a Seat at the Table?

Why hasn’t Lean spread more widely, asks Steven Spear, suggesting that it has not been framed in a way that…

Read article

Ask Art: At What Pace Should A Lean Turnaround Be Implemented?”

Changing from a traditional batch, make-the-month culture to a lean value driven culture takes a lot of time and effort,…

Read article

17. On the Job Podcast: One Pathologist’s Path an interview with Dr. Lisa Yerian of Cleveland Clinic

Dr. Lisa Yerian of the Cleveland Clinic sits down with Josh Howell, LEI President & Executive Team Leader, to talk…

Listen to podcast

Is my crazy new boss right that applying standardized work is the foundation of lean?

Dear Gemba Coach: My new boss is a lean fanatic crazy about standards. He’s created a new team to audit…

Read article

Smitten Engineers or Love at First Sight of a Solution?

Entrepreneur Tyler Schilling has felt the pain of engineering heartbreak – falling in love early with a solution only to…

Watch video

Believe in One Thing All the Way

Who is a “superhero” in our companies, asks Darril Wilburn in this inspiring piece: Is it the person that can…

Read article

Can 5S apply to coding?

Dear Gemba Coach: We’re exploring lean in software development. Can 5S apply to coding?

Read article

The Mythical Value Stream Manager

If you want to make a serious impact in your improvements, consider shifting your focus outward to a value-stream level…

Read article

Warning: What You Call Kaizen May Really Be Rework

If you begin your lean management transformation on the shop floor, you run the risk of having to rework processes…

Read article

Isn’t there a better way to manage inventory than just-in-time?

Dear Gemba Coach,  This is 2019. Isn’t there a better way to manage inventory than just-in-time by now?

Read article

Book Review: The Toyota Engagement Equation by Tracey and Ernie Richardson

In their book The Toyota Engagement Equation, authors Tracey and Ernie Richardson don’t hit you over the head telling you…

Read article

Ask Art: What Foundational Items Must I Be A Zealot About?

Be a zealot on the foundational items such as 5S, visual management, and setup reduction, says Art Byrne, and your…

Read article

Why implement lean when it fails so often?

Dear Gemba Coach: Is it true that lean often fails? What’s the point then?

Read article

What Is Your Leadership Model?

In this reflection based on his work as CEO Lean is a leadership model: for more than 60 years now…

Read article

Towards A More Lean Statement of Purpose

Reflecting on a recent Business Roundtable statement pledging a commitment to all of its stakeholders (and not simply maximizing shareholder…

Read article

Isn’t PDCA enough? Why do we always need to complicate things?

Dear Gemba Coach: Isn’t PDCA enough? Why do we always need to complicate things?

Read article

A Revelation at the Gemba

During my travels this summer, both personal and for LEI, I’ve been reflecting a lot on the Institute’s 20+ year…

Read article

Getting the Right Product Right, and Other Product Development Trends

As a lean product and process development coach John Drogosz, PhD, works closely with companies in a variety of industries…

Watch video

Reflections From Ten Years of Michael Ballé’s Gemba Coach

Since his first Gemba Coach column of ten years ago, Michael Balle has consistently tied his advice to a faithful…

Read article

Ask Art: What Do You Mean When You Say Run Your Company On Your Operational Excellence Goals?

The Lean company competes on its operational excellence goals, says Art Byrne. These stretch goals must be aggressive in nature…

Read article

Product Development Is Where to Cut Carbon Emissions; Here’s How

Consumers want products updated more frequently, which is great for consumers and business but not so great for the environment…

Read article

Why We Believe Lean is Worth Our Unwavering Commitment

Lean provides a powerful alternative to short-term enterprise driven solely by the goal of maximizing profits while externalizing human and…

Read article

The Power of Ma in Creating Cognitive Space

When we lead with respect for people, we need to truly understand that people work in different ways, argues Jim…

Read article

The Dark Side of Concurrent Engineering

One of the fastest ways to reduce development lead time from concept to market is to work concurrently. But as…

Read article

Lean Thinkers Are Systems Thinkers

Lean thinkers are systems thinkers, argues Rich Sheridan: "Intentional cultures thrive when the simple systems put in place reinforce every…

Read article

How can there be standards — or kaizen — in a service job when no two instances are the same?

Dear Gemba Coach: I’m in a service job and I struggle with the idea of standards. I read that there…

Read article

12 Wastes of Product & Process Development

The wastes found in manufacturing are well known and relatively visible. But as you move upstream into the very different…

Read article

Lean Accounting Is Simpler, Faster, Cheaper, and More Accurate Than Traditional Management Accounting, so Why Don’t More Companies Use It?

Five thought leaders of the movement recently held a special conversation about what lean accounting is and isn’t, why it…

Read article

Thoughts on the Birth of Lean

There is much to be learned from the history of Lean that applies powerfully today in every aspect of the…

Read article

I don’t get kanban — I don’t work in production so how would it apply to one-off work?

Dear Gemba Coach: I feel that I still don’t get kanban. I don’t work in production, and I fail to…

Read article

How Are You Supporting Your Own Lean Transformation?

When someone in our organization complains about something we hand them a Kaizen card, shares Lisa Yerian of the Cleveland…

Read article

4 Core Principles of Lean Product and Process Development Explained

The ability to consistently create “insanely great” products, as Steve Jobs would say, is the ultimate competitive advantage. But many…

Read article

Know someone who needs a compact introduction to Toyota Kata? This Summer’s 40-minute Kata video is exactly that.

Good introduction to what Toyota Kata is about, to share with anyone who needs it. Captured at the 5th annual…

Watch video

Can lean be used to turn around a company?

Dear Gemba Coach: Can lean be used in a turnaround situation? Does a burning platform make it easier or harder?

Read article

Feeling the Gemba Magic

After months of work at the gemba with his factory manager helping line workers grapple with problems, CEO Nicolas Chartier…

Read article

Ask Art: Where Will the Biggest Resistance to Lean Come From?

Resistance to Lean will come from every part of your organization, senior management included, says Lean veteran Art Byrne. Knowing…

Read article

Should A3s be used for solving organizational or technical problems?

Dear Gemba Coach: Should A3s be used for solving organizational or technical problems?

Read article

Profit and Cost At Toyota

Fresh off a tour of Japan where she observed how Toyota talks about costs and profit on the shop floor,…

Read article

Calling a Time-Out for Coaches

What's the most effective approach to coaching? Lean coaches Mark Reich and Laura Mottola share practical approaches that include methods…

Read article

Any advice for a team with a new boss who doesn’t know lean but wants us to switch to agile instead?

Dear Gemba Coach: We have a new boss who doesn’t know lean and is asking our lean team to switch…

Read article

Why Traditional Farming Is Ripe for Disruption

Uber disrupted the taxi business. Netflix disrupted entertainment. Amazon disrupted retail. Is farming, that ancient industry, ripe for disruption? Indiana…

Watch video

KAIZEN CHALLENGE: Lean Technical and Social Quiz

In this kaizen challenge, lean coach Jeff Smith invites you to help determine the optimal lot size to run through…

Read article

Should I bother reading lean management books or rely on experience implementing lean?

Dear Gemba Coach: Should I bother with reading lean books, or just work from experience? There are so many, and…

Read article

Tales Of Lean, Chapter One: Facing the Problem

What is the best way for a lean coach to support and guide her team? In this fictional tale of…

Read article

Talking Coaching with Lean Sensei Crystal Davis, Rich Vellante, Josh Howell, and John Shook

In advance of the Lean Coaching Summit, coaches Josh Howell, Crystal Davis, John Shook, and Rich Vellante discuss the finer…

Watch video

Talking About Lean: How Leaders Support Improvement With Words and Actions

In this comprehensive series of reflections, Lean Coach David Verble examines how the way managers and leaders talk to employees…

Read article

Questions and Coaching on A3 Thinking

In this Q&A, LEI's Deborah McGee shares insights into A3 thinking and problem-solving: "The A3 Management process is really a…

Read article

How do I implement 5S when operators think everyone does things a little differently?

Dear Gemba Coach: How do I implement 5S  in our small but growing shop where operators have the belief that…

Read article

How SBP Went From Intolerable Conditions to Constructive Discontent

In this keynote talk at the LEI summit, Zack Rosenburg of SBP talks about how this non-profit has evolved its…

Read article

Getting Home: Jacob and Claude Stoller Appreciate the Lean Lessons of this New Book

"Getting Home is a terrific book that puts lean to work on a problem that’s really significant. Let’s hope it’s…

Read article

What are the key factors within an obeya room?

Dear Gemba Coach: On YouTube and in books there is a lot about A3 storyboards. Did you ever see them…

Read article

Ask Art: How Can I Engage All Our Leaders to Learn and Teach Lean?

What's the best way to teach lean to your internal leaders? By forming teams who will learn by doing, shares…

Read article

Go and See: Where The Magic Is

To reconnect with the reality of your business, go to the gemba, advises CEO Nicolas Chartier of Aramisauto. But to…

Read article

Cost Saving is Tired–Value Creation is Hot!

Lean affects financial outcomes--dramatically so in firms that incorporate widespread lean thinking over the long term, says LEI Chair Jean…

Read article

I’ve just been named team leader with zero training and my team is not co-located – where should I start?

Dear Gemba Coach: I’ve just been named team leader with zero training and my team is not co-located – where…

Read article

Reflections from LEI’s New President, Josh Howell

Josh Howell, an experienced manager and lean management coach, is LEI’s new president and executive team leader. Read his note…

Read article

Cleveland Clinic’s Prescription for Creating a Culture of Continuous Improvement

Lisa Yerian, MD, medical director of continuous improvement at the Clinic, talks about a “model area” approach to improvement, how…

Read article

What Do Sensei Actually Do?

What do lean sensei do? Take you to the gemba, discuss what the real challenges are, prescribe exercises, teach PDCA,…

Read article

How do I know if someone is really incompetent or just struggling?

Dear Gemba Coach: How do I recognize when someone is really incompetent? Sometimes people don’t have results because they’re put…

Read article

Practicing Constructive Discontent At SBP

To become an organization of problem solvers, talking about problems couldn’t merely be something that we did, shares Zack Rosenburg…

Read article

Change Your “Pet” Problem Solving Method

Got problems with your problem-solving method? This interview by LEI's Chet Marchwinski with Four Types of Problems author Art Smalley…

Read article

Don’t you use kamishibai cards; you’ve never written about them?

Dear Gemba Coach: We use a kamishibai board along with standardized work and visual management to sustain our lean efforts…

Read article

How Does LPPD Help Create a Lean Enterprise?

What is LPPD? As noted by Jim Morgan LPPD is a set of principles and practices that promote collaboration, transparency,…

Read article

Rebuilding Homes and Disaster Recovery Processes

When Liz McCartney and Zack Rosenburg left their careers to help desperate victims of Hurricane Katrina rebuild, they knew nothing…

Read article

As head of a lean office, what must I do to really walk the talk?

Dear Gemba Coach: I am the head of a lean office. I’d like to lead by example, but it occurs…

Read article

How to Scale Up Positive Social Change

Far more households globally have access to a mobile phone than a toilet, notes Ann Mei Chang, a tech executive…

Read article

Why We Believe A Strong Customer Focus Is Needed To Drive A Lean Strategy

Is there any principle more core to the heart of lean than relentlessly focusing on the customer? In this collection…

Read article

Join the Conversation and Stop the Rework

In the spring of 1997, as I was starting the nonprofit Lean Enterprise Institute, I visited a company that I…

Read article

Ask Art: What Incentives and Bonus Programs Best Support Lean?

Bonus and incentive plans work best when they serve an underlying purpose, says Art Byrne, who advises that management design…

Read article

Sometimes Less Lean is Mo’ Lean

After seeing a great concert by blues legend Keb' Mo', Brent Wahba reflected on some lean principles embodied in the…

Read article

Got any recommendations for applying lean in the tool and die shop to stop our dies from crashing like crazy?

Dear Gemba Coach: We applied SMED to increase the flexibility in our production cells. Now our dies are crashing like…

Read article

Stop Asking Your Leaders to “Support” Your Lean Transformation

Helping others with shared work tied to broad improvement goals can be challenging for lean leaders. Continuous Improvement Director Lisa…

Read article

Cutting Carbon Emissions and Product Costs Through Lean Product and Process Development

As the need to reduce carbon emissions becomes clearer, the need to understand the impact and consciously consider it during…

Read article

Matched Pairs: To Improve Supplier Relationships, Start Inside Your Organization

Jim Morgan shares how adopting a Matched Pair strategy that teams supply chain and engineering leaders with a common plan,…

Read article

What should I look for so I don’t get burned taking a lean director’s job?

Dear Gemba Coach,I’ve been offered the job of a lean director in an industrial group. The offer sounds very attractive,…

Read article

Show Respect, Psychological Safety, and Social Neuroscience

Mike Orzen and David Verble examine the meaning and lean relevance of showing respect, creating psychological safety, and the links…

Read article

Lean Principles Speed Workflow in New Product Development

After successfully implementing lean principals in manufacturing, Solar Turbines took them to product development processes, reducing firefighting and boosting development…

Watch video

Not So Simple: Pioneering Lean Product Development

Jean Cunningham, LEI’s executive chair, offers lessons from her time as CFO of lean management pioneer Lantech when it successfully…

Read article

A Little Bit of Lean Product and Process Development with Very Large Results

Believing it had only enough land and budget for a badly needed new parking garage, a hospital was able to build…

Read article

Process Excellence Means Developing New Processes Along with New Products

The traditional way of developing new products or services in isolation from the processes that must deliver them almost guarantees…

Read article

How can I help middle managers handle contradictory instructions from top management?

Dear Gemba Coach: As a lean coach, how can I help middle-managers who are faced with contradictory instructions from top…

Read article

All Lean Is Local

When I think about the idea of “all Lean is local,” I think about the fundamental entry point question for…

Read article

How Purpose Shapes Culture

A purpose-driven culture is hard to build, says CEO Rich Sheridan of Menlo Innovations. It takes time. You will suffer…

Read article

VSM and Toyota Kata

Give us 20 years and we'll learn a lot! This month's Kata SlideShare features perspectives from Mike Rother and Jeff…

Watch video

The Gift of Yokoten

In this article originally published in Planet Lean, after a visit to Goshen, Indiana, Jim Womack shared thoughts on the…

Read article

As someone who is new to lean, is there something I’m not being told?

Dear Gemba Coach: I’m new to lean, and I find it fascinating. Is there something I’m not being told? Is…

Read article

The Ingredients of Lean

Lean practitioner Steve Brenneman finds shared values in his Mennonite faith and his lean practice: a strong set of values…

Read article

What Do Managers Do?

After walking the gemba with sensei Hideshi Yokoi, Matt Savas learned three basic agreements between workers and management, and shared…

Read article

What’s different about implementing lean in a low-volume, high-variety environment?

Dear Gemba Coach: I manage a plant that makes highly engineered, low-volume products. What do I have to do differently…

Read article

Ask Art: Why Focus on Why When Doing A Lean Turnaround?

In switching to lean, understanding the WHY is the most important thing, argues Art Byrne. It helps people overcome their…

Read article

Lean Is A Product-Driven Strategy

What is at the core of lean? Michael Balle argues, in terms of our best known example: "Toyota is not…

Read article

If lean is valid in all situations doesn’t that make it an ideology?

Dear Gemba Coach: Is lean really valid in all situations? That sounds like ideology to me!

Read article

How Standardized Work Integrates People With Process

In this three part series on SW, John Shook argues that "the Toyota Way is a socio-technical system on steroids.…

Read article

How do I practice lean when I don’t feel a strong attachment to my knowledge worker team?

Dear Gemba Coach: How do I practice lean consistently when I don't feel a strong attachment to my team? We…

Read article

“But TPS Doesn’t Apply to Us….”

Yes, cars are not weaving looms. Patients are not cars, either. Airplanes are not cars. Electric vehicles are not the…

Read article

Kanban As A Learning Strategy

Toyota’s Kanban legacy—and its underlying ideas—have far more direct lineage with today’s digital economy than most folks realize; and capture…

Read article

Designed In Quality

Extraordinary quality is not only designed into the product, it is designed into the development process itself, says Jim Morgan,…

Read article

Why do lean practitioners use so many Japanese terms?

Dear Gemba Coach: Why do we use so many Japanese terms? I guess experts really want employees and students to think…

Read article

Can Smart Manufacturing Replace the Art of Go and See?

Continuous improvement in a manufacturing environment has to happen at the spot where the work took place, shares Dave Westphal,…

Read article

How Accounting “Squirrels” Can Ferret Out Waste

While other functions are busy as beavers looking for waste during a lean transformation, your accounting staff is like a…

Read article

Ask Art: Aren’t You a Little “Old School” in Your Kaizen Approach To Implementing Lean Thinking?

When you say “kaizen is old school” you may be seriously off track, argues Art Byrne. Focusing on tools like…

Read article

Showing Respect: Here’s How Emmanuel Proposed A More Reliable Shipping Rack

As I reflect on Emmanuel's proposed countermeasures to a key problem, I am encouraged with every new discovery, says General…

Read article

What topics, tools, and techniques would you include in an MBA-level course on teaching lean concepts?

Dear Gemba Coach: I am designing an MBA-level course to teach lean concepts.  What topics, tools, and techniques would you…

Read article

Is Your Strategy a Plan–or a Hypothesis?

Success in a VUCA world requires senior executives to engage thoughtfully and frequently with company operations across all levels and…

Read article

Going Beyond Low-Cost Obsession with “Women Go Beyond”

Hear the chairman and co-founder of an apparel manufacturer with global operations explain how and why it invests in its…

Read article

Is value engineering just about cutting costs?

Dear Gemba Coach: My boss has hired a consultant to do value engineering, who has us looking for design opportunities…

Read article

Learning to Help Anna Elevate Her Game

Anna was trained by NUMMI to identify and solve challenges via experiments with her team, notes Jeff Smith, sharing a…

Read article

No Mani Pedi, But Keepers Improve Elephant Foot Washing

Supporting process owners includes stepping in for zoo keepers when their better idea for washing an elephant’s foot gets rejected…

Watch video

Lean Without Limits

We come up with many different types of answers that sort Lean conveniently into categories for easy understanding and storage,…

Read article

Do standards make any sense in a creative industry?

Dear Gemba Coach,Do standards make any sense in a creative industry, such as code development?

Read article

The Road to Becoming a Lean Leadership Team Has Potholes

Lean veteran Orry Fiume shares the story how the leadership team at The Wiremold Company took on the challenging work…

Read article

Why We Believe that Lean is About Changing Our Own Behaviors, and Not Just Accumulating New Knowledge

Lean repeatedly pushes us to develop new competences (or recover lost know-hows) through kaizen and problem solving. This collection of…

Read article

Why Meaningful Improvement Requires a “Growth Mindset”

Today is Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day, part of Engineering Week, Feb. 18 to 23. To mark Girl Day,…

Read article

Pi-Day, Robots, and the Joy of Making Things

To mark Engineers Week, Feb. 18-23, we’re reprising a story about celebrating Pi Day by Jim and Mary Morgan, a…

Read article

Why should I manage as if I had no power when power is the most effective way of getting things done?

Dear Gemba Coach: I’m tired of hearing I should manage as if I had no power. Surely power is the…

Read article

A Small Amount of Time Can Yield Big Results

Four minutes, well focused, can be a long time, notes Jean Cunningham. Without competing distractions, many words can be spoken,…

Read article

Good Night Sweethearts

On this Valentine's Day, GBMP President Bruce Hamilton laments this year's lack of Sweetheart Candies, reflecting that, "NECCO, like General…

Read article

4 Actions that Solved My Lean Management Identity Crisis

Mike Orzen had lean management down cold – or so he thought. After all, he makes a living teaching it…

Read article

Should we seek professional help for our sensei who talks to parts?

Dear Gemba Coach: My sensei has gone crazy; he’s talking to parts. Everyone is looking at him funny on the…

Read article

Flaatnes Elektro-Mek Reveals How Double Loop Learning Supports Lean Thinking and Practice

Every experience is a learning experience. However, we tend to only experience single-loop learning where we reaffirm what we already…

Read article

Ask Art: How Should I Re-invest the Gains from Kaizen?

Becoming lean through using kaizen activity allows you to remove a great deal of waste and deliver value to your…

Read article

S2. Ep. 3 What Cannot Be Grown Must be Mined – What is Lean in Mining with Laura Mottola and Mark Reich

"If it cannot be grown, then it must be mined." Practically everything around you exists because of mining. From phones, to…

Listen to podcast

What If Elon Musk Took Manufacturing Cars Seriously?

Jeff Liker asks of Tesla: What if it took Toyota’s help seriously in learning basic manufacturing before undertaking disruptive technology…

Read article

Building a Lean Culture at Turner Construction: A Talk with SVP Charlie Murphy

"Whether it’s safety, quality, production system, to me it just makes sense for us to contribute to the improvement of…

Read article

Lean thinkers tell me not to give answers but my sensei keeps telling me what to do; which is it?

Dear Gemba Coach: My experience is that if you want to get anything done you have to ask very specifically…

Read article

Improving Engagement One Kaizen at a Time

Engaging the employees at all levels with a clear and realistic understanding of how they inspire, drive and support getting…

Read article

Is Lean Thinking Art or Science? Yes

Calling the recent book Lean Conversations a landmark initiative on lean and the arts, John Shook observes that "If Jean…

Read article

Standardize Your Problem-Solving Approach? Why One Size Does Not Fit All

Lean management practitioners know what a powerful tool standardization is for continuously improving processes. Without standards, there can be no…

Read article

People First Leadership: A Conversation by Jim Morgan with Alan Mulally

Alan Mulally is a brilliant engineer who led historic transformations as CEO of Boeing Commercial and then Ford Motor Company.…

Read article

Cultivating Intuition at the Gemba

Our trainers conditioned us to water the seed of experience and use it not just to fire-fight but rather be…

Read article

Can you implement TPS if management doesn’t accept the fundamental values of the Toyota Way?

Dear Gemba Coach: How can we implement the principles of  TPS if our management doesn’t accept the fundamental values of…

Read article

And Now For Something Completely…Lean

Lean practice is no joke, argues Brent Wahba. And yet he draws lessons from great comedy to help address this…

Read article

Coaching to the Challenge

When coaching there is no black and white answer – everything depends on the criticality of the business situation, the…

Read article

Lean Warehousing and Distribution Benefits Your Company, Customers, and Supply Chain

Lean warehousing sounds like an oxymoron. But in this interview, lean practitioner and Toyota veteran David Graham explains how lean…

Read article

Alan Mulally, former Ford and Boeing CEO sits down with Jim Morgan to discuss Leadership, Designing the Future Special Ep. 2

“It seemed nothing short of a miracle could save Ford Motor Company in the mid 2000s.  Ford didn’t receive a…

Listen to podcast

How do I start to learn “real lean” when my company practices “fake lean”?

Dear Gemba Coach: I understand now there is “real lean” and “fake lean.” I suspect my company has been practicing…

Read article

Rosie the Riveter vs. Rosie the Robot

In this pithy yet wide-ranging discussion, Bruce Hamilton, president of GBMP and star of the hugely popular training video Toast…

Read article

4 Types of Problems: The Keys to Better Organizational Problem Solving

Join Art Smalley for this important, eye-opening webinar and learn why settling on a favorite problem-solving technique or two is…

Watch webinar

Will Artificial Intelligence Replace Shop Floor Thinking?

How does lean thinking help understand whether AI could replace shop floor thinking? Jacob Stoller argues that whether or not…

Read article

Learning a New Skill II – The Learning Curve

This month's 10-minute TK video (by Mike Boyd and his wife) is a clever visual description of the typical learning…

Watch video

I’m all in on our lean effort but how do I get my managers to be more supportive?

Dear Gemba Coach: As a business unit director, I am fully on board with lean, do gemba walks and support…

Read article

Ask Art: How is Lean A Time-Based Strategy?

Operating lean is the best way to compete on time, says Art Byrne, who notes that every time you remove…

Read article

3 Steps We Took to Change the Company Culture

The Lean Digital Transformation webinar with Bruno Guicardi, co-founder and president of technology services company CI&T, drew a global audience…

Read article

People Are Not Cars

Tyson Ortiz's challenge in helping his son through a heart transplant clarified to him what a healthcare provider said: "People…

Read article

Take Baby Steps Towards Improvement

As you think about your 2019 resolutions, ask yourself if you’re making the change too big and, therefore, too scary,…

Read article

Should producing products with zero defects be my top goal?

Dear Gemba Coach: Is zero defects really the first goal? The number of defects doesn’t necessarily relate to the user’s experience…

Read article

Lean Production Begins with LPPD

To create a "turbo-charged product-creating machine, start by designing clear processes with useful tools and a “people first” culture--which form…

Read article

Are You Building High-Performing Teams?

It is important to work hard at building a high-performance team. Not only does it lead to better performance outcomes,…

Read article

What do you do when your advice is wrong?

Dear Gemba Coach: How do you handle it when you find out you’ve been wrong; when you’ve advised people to…

Read article

Four Types of Problems, author Art Smalley digs in on problem solving

Author Art Smalley joins Chet Marchwinski to discuss problem solving and his new book Four Types of Problems from reactive…

Listen to podcast

Why We Believe People-Free Plants and Services Prevent Learning

We (Lean Sensei Women) are a group of women from different continents, horizons, and professions who share a commitment to…

Read article

Soliciting Suggestions in Ways That Don’t Backfire

Sometimes well-intentioned lean activities like asking for suggestions can backfire; Cheryl Jekiel shares specific ways to prevent mishandling ideas from…

Read article

We get good results with kaizen, but why don’t they stick?

Dear Gemba Coach: Our teams have good results with kaizen, but nothing seems to stick for long – any advice?

Read article

Transformative Steering

After three years of working with learning partner companies, LEI’s Lean Product and Process Development group observed that the companies…

Read article

Standardized Work or Kaizen? Yes

Some lean folks LOVE to quote the Taiichi Ohno observation that “there is no kaizen without standards," notes John Shook,…

Read article

How can I make sure my teams do kaizen the right way?

Dear Gemba Coach: How can I make sure my teams do kaizen the right way?

Read article

Ask Art: How Do I Get the Senior Management Team On Board with Lean?

Lean requires teamwork, and so getting your senior management team on board requires a great deal of work, including new…

Read article

“What Did I Transform Today?”

A lean approach to coaching is incomplete if nothing has changed for the better, says Josh Howell, who shares how…

Read article

Seafood Restaurant Fishes for Problems Customers Really Care About

The executive chef at Legal Sea Foods explains how the restaurants are cutting lead times from fishing boat to your…

Watch video

LPPD Under the Sea: Efficient Product Design with Subsea 2.0

In this excerpt from the new book Designing the Future, authors Jim Morgan and Jeff Liker share the case study…

Read article

An Innovative Framework for Designing Better Products and Services – and a Better Future

Because of the enormous “shadow” it casts over the entire enterprise for years, product development literally designs the future of…

Read article

How do you apply takt time to service work?

Dear Gemba Coach: How do you apply takt time in fields like services where customer demand is not known?

Read article

“Roll”-ing Out Lean at Kura Sushi

Self-professed "lean geek" Katie Anderson has eaten several meals at Kura Sushi restaurants and shares her observations on what she…

Read article

Lean Digital Transformation

Discover how the application of lean principles can improve entire corporate ecosystems to deliver digital services and products that customers…

Watch webinar

Putting Passion on Your Dashboard

Understanding what customers value requires more than a marketing approach, says Dave Pericak, explaining how he learned about customer value…

Listen to podcast

Review: Designing the Future

In his review of the new book Designing The Future, Michael Ballé points out that it “makes clear the central…

Read article

Book Review: Designing the Future

Forget frameworks, processes, rote step methods. Read this book and think back to the “Why?” before the “What?” and “How?”:…

Read article

Designing the Future Jim Morgan Talks Passion with Dave Pericak – A WLEI Special

In this special edition series, Designing the Future. Jim Morgan talks with Dave Pericak, the Chief Engineer of the 2015…

Listen to podcast

Lean Gratitude

As Thanksgiving approaches, Tom Richert notes that powering the TPS scientific mindset is a great deal of emotional energy. At…

Read article

What Problems Do You See?

Take a minute or two think about the problems you see everyday at your work. It can be quite daunting…

Read article

“We Are Unique”

While many people see Lean as applicable only in limited industries and situations and therefore can’t work in their unique…

Read article

Can Lean Succeed in a Strong Labor Environment?

Lean is all about people, says Art Byrne, regarding the question of making lean succeed in a union environment. He…

Read article

I have years of experience in operational excellence but if I were to start lean where should I start?

Dear Gemba Coach: I have years of experience in operational excellence and have always assumed that lean is just a…

Read article

Learning a New Skill

This month's 5-minute TK video is about deliberate practice for learning new skills. Specifically, Mike Boyd summarizes tips from his…

Watch video

Getting Started with Lean Product and Process Development

Learning and applying the concepts of LPPD is no different than learning any other new skill in life, says Andy…

Read article

How to Rehab Colleagues With Status Quo “Addiction”

If you work with leaders or colleagues who resist changing their behaviors -- maybe they literally can’t change. They could…

Read article

I Got 99 Problems and This Is How I’ll Tackle Type One

After an unintentional sending a mass email with an error from LEI, Lory Moniz reflects on the source of the…

Read article

How do we get our boss to stop confusing inventory management with lean?

Dear Gemba Coach: Our new boss is a lean supporter and had us reduce drastically all inventories. Now we have…

Read article

Season 2 Ep. 1 Leadership at the Gemba with Scott Heydon and John Shook

Former Starbucks Executive and Senior Coach at LEI Scott Heydon, joined author and LEI Chairman John Shook for a last…

Listen to podcast

Thinking About the Why of the What of Problem-Solving

When we talk about problem-solving, what we’re really talking about here is creating adaptive capacity, the deep capability of an…

Read article

What’s your problem

You learn through solving problems, failing, reflecting on failure, and adjusting course. That quote sounds like something from Deming or…

Read article

Did Red Sox Lean on Lean for World Series Victory?

For starters (and for that matter, for relievers), this World-Series-winning Red Sox team was simply an outstanding and absurdly talented…

Read article

Should we do lean maturity audits?

Dear Gemba Coach: Should we continue with lean maturity audits and, if so, how often?

Read article

Don’t Retire Your Knowledge–Reuse It

Companies can tackle the problem of the surge of retiring baby boomers by adopting the lean principle of knowledge reuse,…

Read article

Book Review: Four Types of Problems

If you are developing a problem solver in your personal life or on your team, or if you’re continuously developing…

Read article

There are so many lean management principles to know and tools to master at the start – is there an easier way to begin?

Dear Gemba Coach: Isn’t there an easier way to start lean? For a beginner, it seems like such a mountain…

Read article

Lean Product and Process Development Group Update: Leading Companies Share and Learn from Common Challenges

The Lean Enterprise Institute recently organized a meeting of the Lean Product and Process Development Learning Group that brought together…

Read article

Double Loop Learning at Kongsberg Maritime

Kongsberg Maritime, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Norwegian-based Kongsberg Group, tapped into a Kyoryokukai, or network for supplier innovation,…

Read article

Ask Art: Does Lean Really Work in A Non-manufacturing Company?

All companies and organizations, whether manufacturing or not, are nothing more than a group of people and a bunch of…

Read article

What can we do to instill some passion in leadership about our lean implementation?

Dear Gemba Coach: I’m in a company that is trying to implement lean but sees it simply as a series…

Read article

Jishuken, Part Two: The Power of Self-Learning

Consider Jishuken to be an intensive effort to drive individuals and the organization to a higher level, says Mark Reich,…

Read article

The Value of Sharpening Skills Through ‘Jishuken’

Jishuken, or self-learning, is a wet stone that grinds a worker's brain down to a start point, says Matt Savas--and…

Read article

Workers Unite for Better

The local strike by hospitality workers in Boston has led Josh Howell to contrast this situation with the lean culture…

Read article

Is agile project management simply lean thinking applied to software development?

Dear Gemba Coach: You seem to distinguish between agile and lean, but to my understanding, agile is simply lean thinking…

Read article

Thoughts on Digitization, Work, and Continuous Improvement

The opportunities and changes presented by digitization are issues for all lean practitioners not only those in IT. Here are…

Read article

Four Types of Problems (Introduction)

An excerpt from Four Types of Problems IntroductionThe four types of problems are:Type 1: Troubleshooting: Reactive problem solving that hinges upon quick…

Read article

Factory physics was once the rage, but I don’t hear about it any more — was it wrong?

Dear Gemba Coach: What happened to factory physics? It used to be all the rage some years ago, but we…

Read article

Not Every Problem Is a “Nail” But Companies Typically Reach for the Same Old “Hammer”

Learn how you can avoid the frustrating, ineffective, but widespread “hammer-and-nail” problem-solving pitfall by recognizing four main problem types so…

Read article

Can Lean Know-How Come Home?

When you decide to stop making things, you lose the ability to make things, argues Eric Buehrens: not just the…

Read article

Use Lean Development Principles to Avoid “Traveling Hopefully” Down the Wrong Path

Lean development is less about creating highly detailed plans based on things you can’t possibly know in the beginning of…

Read article

Will changing the standard for supervisors’ morning gemba walks make them pay more attention?

Dear Gemba Coach,  We have a standard gemba walk for supervisors to check their areas every morning. I’ve noticed that after…

Read article

Developing Meta-Habits at Baptist Memorial Memphis Hospital Emergency Department

After teeing up a problem in the Baptist Memorial Memphis Hospital ED using a Kata routine, Nursing Manager Melanie Mays…

Read article

Deploying Improvement Habits: From Starter Kata to Meta-Habits

Learners using the Kata routine approach every problem with the “skeleton” of the Kata routine, and understand that they are…

Read article

Lean Transformation? Not Buying It

Companies often describe their transformation efforts in terms of an end-state: focusing on targeted results. They see transformation as a…

Read article

Does it matter if we call lean “lean”?

Dear Gemba Coach: If it works, why worry if it’s called lean, operational excellence, or the company’s excellence system? As…

Read article

Ask Art: Why Does Boosting Inventory Turns Matter So Much?

If you want to deliver more value to our customers such that you can grow and gain market share then…

Read article

A Great Company Culture Takes Purpose

If you’re determined to move your culture from good to great, listen to CEO Tyler Schilling as he describes two…

Watch video

TPS, the Thinking People System

The twin pillars of just-in-time and jidoka help support a full model about how to achieve customer satisfaction from employee…

Read article

We’re working hard on problem solving so why don’t I see any improvement in our problem-solving capability?

Dear Gemba Coach: We're working hard on problem solving, asking "why" repeatedly, and looking for root causes, but I'm afraid…

Read article

VSM + TK: Navigating to your desired future

A short video by emsstrategies.com to address the issue that once you've drawn a future-state map, how do you effectively…

Watch video

The Escalator of Issues

A daily management system with daily performance metrics gives caregivers the sense that managers are really paying attention, that problems…

Read article

Avoiding Dashboard Wallpaper

Build a system of dashboards up and down the organization, says Leslie Barker. Connect them so ideas flow upward and…

Read article

How to Lead with Values

A former health system CEO says it’s “strategically sound” for leaders to define a set of values that they and…

Watch video

Why does visual management at a Toyota plant look so much different than at ours?

Dear Gemba Coach: We have been deploying lean visual management in my company for a while now, and I am…

Read article

Real Leaders Think and Act Differently

Are your management routines and Gemba Walks suffering from the superficial observations of the day-tripper? Or are your leaders adding…

Read article

Toyota the Disrupter

Toyota may not be the first company you think of for disruptive product and process development, but perhaps they should…

Read article

Getting Out of the Habit of Telling

In this engaging talk at the Lean Transformation Summit in Nashville, Katie Anderson talked about learning how to keep from…

Read article

What is the hardest conversation you ever had during gemba walks?

Dear Gemba Coach: What is the hardest conversation that you have during gemba walks?

Read article

How Does Asking Questions Create Change?

Lean is not a sum of processes to acquire and apply which then will make things magically work better. It’s…

Read article

Confessions of an Aspiring Coach

What I have found most striking about how managers approach building their coaching skills is the need to be more…

Read article

Are You Learning to Learn Faster? A Conversation with Steve Spear

Learning to close the gap in our learning cycle is critical to keeping our promises and achieving our goals, argues…

Listen to podcast

We mapped a process, improved it, but six months later, performance is as bad as it was before – what are we missing?

Dear Gemba Coach: We’ve drawn the value-stream map of one of our complex production processes (17 steps), identified the key…

Read article

Ask Art: What’s Wrong with Organizing By Function?

While you might be able to survive and be profitable using a traditional functional structure the fact is that you…

Read article

Cardboard, Duct Tape, and String: The Do-First Mindset

Whatever field you work in, if you are responsible for kaizen in your company, strive for quick change in your…

Read article

React Less and Improve More by Using SPC More Effectively

When we stop reacting to “noise” in a metric, we can better focus our improvement efforts, waste less time, and…

Read article

Ep. 11 Closing the Learning Gap with Steven Spear

Today's podcast features a conversation about closing learning gaps between LEI's CEO Eric Beuhrens and Steve Spear. Steve is author…

Listen to podcast

What’s your definition of lean?

Dear Gemba Coach: My company is adopting lean, which has so many definitions that I find it confusing. What's your…

Read article

Sensing the Gemba

The next time you show up at the gemba to do a “go and see,” take a personal assessment of…

Read article

Fresh Eyes Bring Lean Problems into Clarity

“Fresh eyes” reviews are an indispensible part of developing new value. It’s amazing what you can learn from the input…

Read article

As Toast Kaizen Turns 20, Bruce Hamilton Shares How This Famous Video Came About

Watch this "director's cut" video by Bruce Hamilton sharing the backstory behind what has become a classic lean resource: Toast…

Read article

What personal qualities should I work on to improve my practice of lean?

Dear Gemba Coach: What personal qualities should I work on to improve how I practice lean?

Read article

From Port to Plate: How Legal Sea Foods Is Improving Through Lean

Legal Sea Foods is working with LEI to help launch a movement to change everything about the way traditional restaurants…

Read article

The Cascade of Hoshin

Toyota President Akio Toyoda and the senior leadership team have decided that the simultaneous emergence of autonomy, alternative energy, shared…

Read article

PD C+ A+ In the Classroom

Looking back on her time as a teacher through a lean lens, Allison O'Neill suggests way in which the process…

Read article

Why haven’t lean tools changed our culture?

Dear Gemba Coach: I’m part of a team that has been tasked to implement lean tools across the company to…

Read article

Thinking About Waste Helps Build A Learning Culture Everywhere

Developing people to reduce waste in everything from using toilets to saving one second of work is key to creating…

Read article

Getting Started with Lean

I managed to get Jim Womack in our recording studio (well, its a room that has recording equipement, so I…

Watch video

What is Lean Process & Product Development (LPPD)? Animation

This animation offers an overview of a proven approach to new product, process, and service development.

Watch video

I’m thinking about outsourcing some administrative activities to be more flexible, but what does lean say about outsourcing?

Dear Gemba Coach: Financial results do not allow me to have excess people. After two years of struggling, I'm thinking…

Read article

Lean Lessons from Tesla

This piece throws no shade at Tesla, a company that serves as a highly-charged conduit for many a heated debate…

Read article

Five Whys Animation

The practice of asking why repeatedly whenever a problem is encountered in order to get beyond the obvious symptoms to discover the…

Watch video

Ugly Babies, Silent Enemies and Other Short Stories from a Continuous Improvement Conference

Besides the lessons, challenges, and results that belong to a company’s lean transformation, there are personal journeys as well. Here’s…

Read article

Ep. 10 Port to Plate, Lean Changes the Restaurant Industry with Legal Sea Foods’ Executive Chef Rich Vellante

Can the restaurant industry change they way they've worked for decades? Legal Sea Foods has been on their lean journey…

Listen to podcast

Ask Art: Why Should I Be Able to Make Every Product Every Day?

Working on the goal of "every product every day" helps all companies realize the benefits of lean as a strategy,…

Read article

Is lean problem solving different from regular problem solving?

Dear Gemba Coach: How is lean problem solving any different from regular problem-solving?

Read article

Leadership and Having an Effective Plan

You wouldn’t want to be known as a source of “fake news” but are you practicing

Read article

Yes, Lean is About Cost Reduction

Why focus on cost reduction? Because many of the cost-saving kaizens of are simpler and require less engineering resources, and…

Read article

Build Awareness Through Seeing How Eliminating Waste Reduces Costs

As we grow our people we must continue to add new dimensions of thinking to engage them in their work…

Read article

Tending the Roots of Lean with Lean Farmer Ben Hartman

Matt Savas shares the Lean roots found at Ben Hartman's Clay Bottom Farm in Goshen, Indiana, illustrating the many ways…

Read article

Five Tips on Lean Coaching

Here are some key coaching tips culled from content written by some of the top lean coaches.

Read article

As a business unit manager who is new to lean, what is the one thing I must know to get it right?

Dear Gemba Coach: I’m a business unit manager new to lean, and our CEO has decided to embark us on…

Read article

Thoughts on Coaching from John Shook and Edgar Schein

Excerpts from an in-depth conversation between John Shook and Ed Schein on the nature of coaching, humble inquiry, and the…

Read article

Lesson From Japan: Day Five

On this final set of shared lessons from Japan, our lean learners reflect on the spirit of kaizen and the…

Read article

A Humble Conversation

For the past two years, John Shook and Edgar Schein have enjoyed the honor of engaging in an on-stage dialogue.…

Read article

Lessons from Japan: Day Four

On day four of the Lean Learning tour in Japan, the participants share their lessons, which are tied to this…

Read article

Lessons From Japan: Day Three

Is Toyota improving productivity or developing people? What we saw today suggests not just that the answer is both but…

Read article

Lessons from Japan: Day Two

A group of lean learners are touring world-class enterprises in Japan; here are postcards capturing their daily lessons gleaned from…

Read article

Lean Lessons from Japan: Day One

This week, LEI is in Japan with 19 eager learners. The purpose of this trip is not just to see…

Read article

Sometimes Smaller is Better – and Better is Lean

LEI CEO Eric Buehrens reflects on how lean relates to the deeply hopeful story of renewal, reconstruction, and citizen engagement…

Read article

Value Stream Walk, Management Walk or….Just Walking Around?

Gemba Walks can raise consciousness about problems and the possibilities for dramatic improvements, says Jim Womack. Or they can serve…

Read article

Do I have the right attitude during gemba walks?

Dear Gemba Coach: How do I know if I have the right attitude during gemba walks? We’ve started doing those…

Read article

Try These Three Deliberate Practices of Lean Coaching

A lean coach doesn’t do PDCA; she or he has three deliberate practices that keep the PDCA gear rolling with…

Read article

Surviving CEO Change, Evolving Through Culture and Being a Humble Leader

Dr. Mahaniah was kind enough to sit down with LEI’s Chairman, John Shook to talk about growing up in different…

Listen to podcast

Ep. 9 Leadership, Building Consensus, and Embracing Culture with Dr. Kiame Mahaniah and John Shook

Two things to think about. Challenges and Culture.Challenges shape who we are. I think we can all look at who…

Listen to podcast

Ask Art: Why Do People Reject Proof that Lean Works?

Despite compelling proof, most people will find a way to doubt the power of lean to improve their particular work,…

Read article

What is your psychology of change?

Dear Gemba Coach: Do you have a psychology of change? And if so, what is it? Where should we start?

Read article

Practical, Actionable Tips for Re-Engaging People with a Suggestion System, Part 2

Companies, responding to surveys showing that a troubling number of people are disengaged at work, respond with perks like nap…

Read article

Practical Tips for Re-Engaging People with a Suggestion System

Companies, responding to surveys showing that a troubling number of people are disengaged at work, respond with perks like nap…

Read article

What Are the Most Valuable Ways You Learned Lean?

Each approach to learning lean brings value into my work and improves my capabilities. There isn’t one way (for me)…

Read article

JoePa and Other Biases to Avoid

A recent viewing of the biographical film Paterno led LEI Senior Coach Mark Reich to reflect on the way many…

Read article

Can I change a company’s attitude that people can’t be trusted to do their jobs unless they are scared into complying?

Dear Gemba Coach: A major assumption in lean thinking is that people genuinely want to do a good job, and…

Read article

The Formula for a Successful Management System: LB * OS = MS

In order to reap the benefits of an effective management system it is important that the operating system and leadership…

Read article

Are You Managing By The Right Numbers?

Knowing the key metrics to track will help you and your team start your learning journey, says Tracey Richardson. She…

Read article

Coaching the Uncoachable Comes Down to Rock Paper and Scissors

Breaking out of a thinking cycle that is already too full to learn anything can be found in thinking about…

Read article

Stability Before Innovation

Given its foundational strengths of stable and robust product development, production, supplier development, and general management system, Toyota is well…

Read article

Mindfulness and Leading with Respect

Mindfulness is both more essential today than ever, and a foundation for organizational lean excellence. Here John Shook and Mike…

Listen to podcast

Why ‘Yes Chef!’ Is No Longer the Answer

In order to meet the changing demands of today's restaurants, chefs must learn to evolve from old-school methods of the…

Read article

Ep. 8 Mindfulness and Leading with Respect with Mike Orzen and John Shook

Author and and LEI faculty member Mike Orzen discuss connecting with people through leading with respect with John Shook.The conversation…

Listen to podcast

Why don’t I see any significant performance improvement from obeya rooms?

Dear Gemba Coach: We’ve deployed obeyas all across our organization, but I can’t see any significant improvement in our results.…

Read article

Expanding Our Perspective on Lean, Part 3: Lean is a Practice in Search of a Language

To explore the idea that there may be other angles for understanding lean management than business or analytical perspectives, a…

Read article

How to Create a Lean Management Book Club that Executives Will Actually Attend

At the start of a lean transformation, a continuous improvement leader convinced her division president that a book club would…

Read article

Postcard from Nashville

John Shook looks back at the key theme of LEI's Nashville summit on the theme of how to be better…

Read article

Lean Roundup: Respect for People

Respect for People is one of the most abstract and yet most concrete tenets of lean, a guiding principle that…

Read article

Any thoughts about lean and Industry 4.0?

Dear Gemba Coach: What about lean and digital? Any thoughts? And on Industry 4.0?

Read article

Finding a Lean Cure that Respects the Health of Healthcare Workers

In his prognosis of the health care system, LEI CEO Eric Buehrens says we need to improve the work to…

Read article

Expanding Our Perspective on Lean Management, Part 2: Lean has its Roots in Spirituality

To explore the idea that there may be other angles for understanding lean management than business or analytical perspectives, a…

Read article

Ep. 7 Is Lean Thinking Japanese Culture? Jim Womack and Matt Savas Discuss What They Saw While Touring Toyota in Japan

Jim Womack interviews Matt Savas about a recent trip to Toyota Motor Kyushu, Japan.Matt and Jim share their observations on…

Listen to podcast

Why does no one ask about production flow anymore?

Dear Gemba Coach: As I read lean posts and papers, no one seems to have problems like this anymore, but…

Read article

Ask Art: Am I Showing Respect for People by Asking for Fast Action?

Lean is a “learn by doing” exercise not a classroom training approach. The best method I know to achieve this…

Read article

Mapping a Reading List to Lean

We humans want to see what is happening, understand how we and our colleagues best collaborate, solve problems, make good…

Read article

Respect the Customer By Respecting Your Worker

Lean provides us with a different approach to this vicious cycle. Build a management system in your company that allows…

Read article

Out of Fertile “Pre-Lean” Soil Bloom Lean Leaders

A new generation of leaders varies in individual styles but shares common beliefs that create a foundation for successful lean…

Read article

Toyota chief engineers have no power? Really?

Dear Gemba Coach: We often hear that Toyota chief engineers have no power. Really? So how does that work? Why…

Read article

The Road to Production Hell is Paved with Lack of LPPD

The real work of companies like Tesla who face stupendous challenges in launching a product should have happened long before…

Read article

The Quiet Factory

Could noise be considered another waste to be reduced in the system? Matt Savas ponders the implications of a Toyota…

Read article

Fighting Poverty with Lean Product & Process Design at MIT D-Lab

D-Lab at MIT is using lean product and process design to help solve problems in the developing world, and are…

Watch video

As CEO, how do I get my management team to support the lean effort?

Dear Gemba Coach: As a CEO, lean has enabled me to renew our company’s profitable growth, so I love it.…

Read article

Learning to Teach the Soft Side of Lean

If there’s one common theme among virtually any failed effort, it boils to a failure to engage people in the purpose,…

Read article

EP. 6 Fighting Poverty with Lean Product/Process Development at MIT D-Lab

D-Lab at MIT is using LPPD thinking to help solve problems in the developing world, and are truly making the…

Listen to podcast

Rethinking the Model Line

The model line, once seen as the key to helping organizations learn and share lean thinking, has served a critical…

Read article

Seeing the Work of a Daily Management System

Daily management systems tap visual elements that expose problems, and also use obeyas as thinking spaces for reflecting on broader…

Read article

What’s wrong with taking a tools approach to lean management?

Dear Gemba Coach: I keep hearing that a tool approach to lean is wrong, but tools deliver results – how…

Read article

Lean Management Meets Artificial intelligence, Machine Learning, the Internet of All Things

What part, if any, will lean principles – or humans – play in a manufacturing future of artificial intelligence, machine…

Read article

9 Tips for Better Design Reviews

Design reviews can be the heartbeat of a healthy operating system. Here are some tips are creating better design reviews.

Read article

Ask Art: Why Do I Need to Switch From Batch to Flow?

Moving from batch to flow reveals the waste in your processes and simplifies your work at a systems level, says…

Read article

Valuing The Tradition of Learning and Sharing Lean: a new WLEI Podcast

This new WLEI podcast, recorded live at the 2018 summit, features a panel discussion with Jim Womack and three lean…

Watch video

Expanding Our Perspective on Lean Management, Part 1: A Creative Ethic

To explore the idea that there may be other angles for understanding lean management principles than purely business or analytical…

Read article

Ep. 5: The Lean Farm and Sharing Your Gift Live from the 2018 Lean Transformation Summit

Live from the 2018 Lean Transformation Summit in Nashville, Jim Womack interviews Ben Hartman, author of the Lean Farm, Joel…

Listen to podcast

How effective is a book club?

Dear Gemba Coach: How effective is a book club? Should we invest in book clubs?

Read article

Developing People Not Robots Through Karakuri

"Karakuri demonstrates that Toyota’s working currency is brainpower, grown through rigorous problem-solving and mentors who challenge their students," writes Matt…

Read article

Striking With The Zen Stick

A key part of lean coaching is the practice of striking with a zen stick, says Dan Prock. This helps…

Read article

How do I know people are displaying the right visual information in an office?

Dear Gemba Coach: We’ve been quite successful with lean in our operations, and I’ve been tasked to bring it to…

Read article

Toyota Kata at Zingerman’s Mail Order

This month's Toyota Kata video is about the early days of TK practice at Zingerman's Mail Order. Decision-making can be…

Watch video

Master the Meaning of “Giri”

"Giri" represents the profound obligation of the student has toward their teacher, the apprentice to the journeyman or the child…

Read article

“People who can’t change their minds can’t change anything else”

Many people argue that if lean management really was a powerful strategy, rather than an operational tactic, then more companies…

Read article

Ep. 4: Tracey and Ernie Richardson with John Shook Live at the Lean Transformation Summit

Tracey and Ernie Richardson, authors of the Toyota Engagement Equation join John Shook on the main stage at the Lean…

Listen to podcast

Eric Buehrens Keynote at the 2018 Lean Transformation Summit

LEI CEO Eric Buehrens looks at ways that lean thinkers can help contribute to the future of work.

Watch video

Why do you keep referring to Toyota; does it still matter?

Dear Gemba Coach:  I’m very interested in lean, but fail to see why you guys keep referring to Toyota. What does…

Read article

Jim Womack’s Keynote Address from the 2018 Lean Summit

Catch the presentation of Jim Womack on the topic of how to develop better employees by becoming a better employer.

Read article

Becoming My Own Gemba

Like me, thousands of people suffer from undiagnosed or more complex medical conditions that mimic other conditions. And my TPS…

Read article

Ep. 3: Amazon and Buffet Tackle the Healthcare Tapeworm with Eric Buehrens and Chet Marchwinski

A few weeks ago Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffet, and JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon announced…

Listen to podcast

Ask Art: Why Should I Set Stretch Goals?

Art Byrne urges you to take the lean leap and set stretch goals. Setting ambitious goals shows respect for your…

Read article

HR Strategies for Successful and Sustainable Lean Transformations

The interest in strengthening employee engagement is sometimes considered a separate topic from lean transformations. Cheryl Jekiel, who has over…

Read article

The Magnificent 7 of Lean Manufacturing

How do you establish stability on a shop floor that’s chaotic? Andrew Quibell recommends “7 manufacturing basics,” his personal selection…

Read article

Is kanban relevant to office work?

Dear Gemba Coach: I understand that kanban is an important part of lean, but I work in an office environment,…

Read article

The Battle for the Soul of Lean

When elements of lean management began to infiltrate management ranks decades ago, a ìgreat divideî quickly formed, according to author…

Read article

Lean Principles Apply to Fuzzy R&D Too

Lean principles work not only for incremental innovation and repetitive R&D work but for the “fuzzy” or disruptive part of…

Read article

Ep. 1: Lean and Tesla with John Shook and Jim Womack

Lean thought leaders Jim Womack and John Shook discuss Tesla.Related Articles:Tesla vs. TPS: Seeking the Soul in the New Machine While…

Listen to podcast

Ep. 2: Shook & Womack discuss the creation of the books Learning to See and Managing to Learn

20 years ago the book Learning to See was published, bringing with it the concept of Value Stream Mapping. Now…

Listen to podcast

Andon Cues Service Center to Respond to Customer Queue

An Ohio Mutual service center has no andon cord to stop a production line but the principal is the same…

Read article

I read everywhere that in lean we should focus on process over results – does that mean we ignore budgets?

Dear Gemba Coach: I read everywhere that in lean we should focus on process over results – does that mean…

Read article

Human Resources and Lean; It Really Is About People

Despite an expert’s exhortations to “do more kaizen, develop kaizen mind” this lean transformation failed. Find out why from someone…

Read article

Moving People Around as Key to Unlocking Financial Outcomes of Lean

As lean accounting pioneer Jean Cunningham will tell you, there’s much more to understanding lean’s financial benefits than looking at…

Watch video

If lean is all about people, why are the discussions impersonally cold and rational?

Dear Gemba Coach: Lean thinkers say it’s all about people, but the debates are then all so cold and rational. Where…

Read article

Mindset and the Andon Cord

When it comes to Andon, we like to talk about visual management, fast response, supporting employees, and other technical aspects.…

Watch video

Tesla vs. TPS: Seeking the Soul in the New Machine

While Tesla has excited customers and drawn praise for innovative design and bold thinking, author Jeff Liker believes that it…

Read article

Your Consultant Doesn’t Have the Answers

Inspired by a true story from his tenure at the Toyota Production System Support Center, LEI Senior Coach Mark in…

Read article

Any advice for someone (me) in sales who fails to see how lean can help?

Dear Gemba Coach: Our company has a long history of lean in manufacturing, but I work in the sales department.…

Read article

A Reflection on Competition

A meta-analysis of research shows that among the three main ways of achieving business goals, collaboration beats competition and individualism…

Watch video

Tips for Proving the Financial Value of Lean to Leadership

Of the many aspects of lean accounting, one that has proven especially useful is the principle of “cost avoidance.” Today…

Read article

How do I fix our main delivery processes — again?

Dear Gemba Coach: I’m part of a large logistics organization and our on-time-delivery is simply disastrous. We’ve done a first…

Read article

Ask Art: Why do you say the CEO needs to become a lean expert?

A key first step for any CEO leading a lean conversion is to call 1-800-lean-consultant to find an expert to…

Read article

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways – on a Valentine’s Day A3

The question lean practitioners Tracy and Ernie Richardson get more than any other isn’t about problem-solving, takt time, standardization, or…

Watch video

But when should we use design thinking or lean thinking?

Dear Gemba Coach: I read your latest and very interesting Gemba Coach column comparing design thinking and lean thinking. But…

Read article

Is there a crack in the model of continuous improvement?

Is this a case of déjà vu all over again? The Wall Street Journal says the sterling reputation of “Japanese…

Read article

Doing Versus Being – How Mindfulness Supports Better Lean Thinking, Part 2

Most companies don’t get the desired results from lean transformations, according to Mike Orzen, lean practitioner and LEI faculty member.…

Read article

Unique Industries Continue to Share and Learn from their Common Challenges: Fall 2017 LPPD Learning Group Activity

The Lean Enterprise Institute (LEI) organized the second Lean Product and Process Development (LPPD) Learning Group event of 2017, which…

Read article

3 Therapies to Purge the Healthcare “Tapeworm”

LEI CEO Eric Buehrens, former COO and interim CEO of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, has three suggestions for…

Read article

The Lean Farm: Better Food, Productivity, and Profits — with Less Work

Farming may be the next industry ripe for disruption. For example, Ben Hartman grew up on a 500-acre corn and…

Read article

Be a Better Coach; Learn to “Force” Reflection Part 2: Forcing Managers and Execs to Reflect

Most of the people on your team don’t learn from practicing continuous improvement. The reason is that their brains are…

Read article

Be a Better Coach; Learn to “Force” Reflection, Part 1

Most of the people on your team don’t learn from practicing continuous improvement. The reason is that their brains are…

Read article

Are Design Thinking and Lean Thinking the Same?

Dear Gemba Coach: As a practitioner and advocate of design thinking, I’ve been curious about lean, but it seems to…

Read article

Thinking Fast and Slow and Lean with John Shook

On the 20th anniversary of Lean Thinking, John Shook delivered this Lean Talk on the principles the book introduced, how…

Read article

Fixing Lean’s “Sales” Problem

When companies begin lean transformations, IT systems too often are viewed as obstacles. So, some lean thinkers may view Jacob…

Read article

Starter Kata for Coaching

The latest Kata SlideShare (and embedded 8-minute video) traces an arc of practice and learning of coaching skill. Establish a…

Watch video

Learning to Lead, Leading to Learn

Hear how a personal lean transformation supported a crucial organizational transformation following a financial crisis at a large medical center.…

Watch video

Doing Versus Being – How Mindfulness Supports Better Lean Thinking

Most companies don’t get the expected results from their lean transformations, according to Mike Orzen, lean practitioner and LEI faculty…

Read article

The 5 Diseases of Prioritization

Prioritization is rarely a problem by itself. Instead, it’s a symptom of a set of illnesses: Swervy, Thickets, Costeoporosis, Planemia,…

Read article

Thank you, Tatsuro Toyoda

John Shook remembers the late Tatsuro Toyoda, former president of Toyota.

Read article

What would “process points” be in software development?

Dear Gemba Coach: Thank you for your previous column that has raised profound questions for me to work on with…

Read article

Lean Principles Are the Bread & Butter of this Retail Transformation

Entrepreneurs explain how their chain of bakeries and retail stores used lean continuous improvement to profitably expand, engage employees, and…

Watch video

How Do I Tell Good Obeya Rooms From Bad?

Dear Gemba Coach: Obeyas are popping up everywhere in our organization, and I don’t know what to look for to…

Read article

Your Favorite Lean Posts of 2017: A Lean Post Holiday Special

2017 has seen another terrific year of content on the Lean Post. Over the past 12 months we've released dozens…

Read article

Shook Addresses Current State of Lean Thinking After U.S-Turkey Tiff Compels Keynote Countermeasure

Indefatigable presenter John Shook quickly made this video as a countermeasure to being denied entry to Turkey, where he was…

Read article

A (Work) Pie in the Face to All Bad Jobs

Want Better Employees? Be a Better Employer

Read article

If lean really is about innovation, why does so much of it seem to be about logistics?

Dear Gemba Coach: If lean really is about innovation, why does so much of it seem to be about logistics,…

Read article

The Time for Healthcare Leaders to Implement Lean Is Now – Stat!

Pioneering healthcare leaders have demonstrated that lean applied to healthcare can help solve the problems of quality, delivery of care,…

Read article

Want Better Employees? Be a Better Employer.

Every nation in the world is on a quest to create more jobs. As they should be. But, we don’t…

Read article

Organization Follows a Lean-like Vision for Eradicating Poverty

Meet the anti-poverty movement's Taiichi Ohno.

Read article

ASK ART: “Why do you say lean is all about people?”

Lean is all about people, says author and former CEO Art Byrne, who has been successfully turning around companies for…

Read article

What does “separation of human work and machine work” mean?

Dear Gemba Coach: I’ve been trying to learn more about Jidoka and I keep coming across references to “separation of…

Read article

7 Elements of Quality on the Shop Floor

"How do you lean out a quality approach that can work on the shop floor (maybe even compatible in a…

Read article

The Lean Bakery: A Q&A with 365’s Staff

In their first interview with The Lean Post, Leo and Agus Tena, children of the authors of the new LEI…

Read article

What Too Many Leaders Get Wrong with Coaching Kata

Think you can dive headfirst into Coaching Kata with your reports? Think again.

Read article

When should we do an A3 or use a different problem-solving tool?

Dear Gemba Coach: I would really appreciate your perspective on the following: (1) When should we do an A3 for…

Read article

The Future of Lean Healthcare: A Faster Type of Transformation?

We all know that lean transformations take a long time to occur, and in some senses, they never end. But…

Watch video

The (Real) Lean Firefighter: Bringing Lean to the Grand Rapids Fire Department

Brad Brown had no lean experience when he joined the Grand Rapids Fire Department (GRFD) in 2003. But as the…

Read article

Why don’t people learn from experience?

Dear Gemba Coach: On the gemba, we have many problems to manage every day. People don’t seem to learn from…

Read article

Advice from the Gemba: Getting More Suggestions without Incentivizing Employees

Improving the work is difficult, if not impossible, without suggestions from those who actually do the work. But in many…

Read article

Ask Art: Can Lean and “Make-the-Month” Co-exist?

"Make-the-month" programs are not unusual in manufacturing organizations. But, many people have asked Art Byrne, are such programs compatible with…

Read article

Don’t Start with Tools!

Starting off your lean transformation with one of the various tools at your disposal is certainly tempting. But according to…

Read article

How do we ensure sustainability of a successful lean effort?

Dear Gemba Coach: We used training and workshops to roll out a lean program with good early results – what…

Read article

The “Playbook” of Sustaining Change

In a world where most lean transformations fail, what can we do to learn from others' mistakes and help our…

Read article

It Starts Within: The Lean Journey of CI&T

The lean transformation of Brazilian tech company CI&T was unique in that it began with an implementation of hoshin kanri.…

Read article

It’s Not All About the Cash: How to Help Leadership Understand Lean’s Financial Benefits

Lean's cost savings might not show up immediately on the income statement -- but that doesn't mean there were no…

Read article

Advice from the Gemba: The Most Frustrating Types of Waste (and How to Eliminate Them!) II

If you've ever lost sleep over a particularly frustrating source of waste in your organization, you're not alone. Today we…

Read article

What do you recommend — clarify roles and responsibilities first or reengineer the process first and then define R&R?

Dear Gemba Coach: What do you recommend – clarify roles and responsibilities first or reengineer the process first and then…

Read article

Lessons Learned from the Cleveland Indians’ Historic 22-Game Winning Streak

In the wake of the Cleveland Indians' record-shattering 22-game winning streak, George Taninecz reflects on some important business lessons that…

Read article

Can a Lean Mentality Help You in a Crisis?

We all know lean's power when problem solving. But what power does it have in resolving crises, which are more…

Read article

Is There a Tradeoff Between Employee Morale and Productivity?

"Is there a tradeoff between employee morale and productivity?" is a question oft-discussed in lean circles. Ken Eakin has his…

Read article

How big should my lean promotion office be?

Dear Gemba Coach: How large should my lean promotion office be if I want to achieve quickly a lean culture…

Read article

Phases of Practice

Pierre Nadeau of soulsmithing.com talks about learning new skills, and phases of learning called "Shu Ha Ri." Those phases are…

Watch video

How Do You Know What Your Product or Service Needs to Be?

What does it take to know what your product or service needs to be? The obvious answer, it would seem,…

Read article

Why Bother Making It Visual?

What to do when you need to make the work visible, but your people aren't behind it? Leslie Barker has…

Read article

As a facilitator, how much do I have to know about an area targeted for improvement?

Dear Gemba Coach: As a lean "facilitator" in my organization, how important is it to gain a deep understanding of…

Read article

Lean Was a Lot Simpler Back in the Day…

Lean transformations aren't easy. But, according to Brent Wahba, they weren't always that way. In his newest Post, Brent discusses…

Read article

Advice from the Gemba: Top Mistakes Lean Leaders Make III

Mistakes are just a part of lean, even for leaders. Luckily they're also a great opportunity for improvement. Today three…

Read article

Lean Coffee-Inspired Coaching

Lean Coffee has been praised for making meetings more productive by giving all participants a say in creating an agenda…

Read article

Is the digital revolution a more important business development than lean?

Dear Gemba Coach, Isn’t the digital revolution, especially in services, a more important business development than lean?

Read article

Follow-up Q&A for Jim Lancaster’s Work of Management Webinar

“The Real Work of Management” webinar drew very engaged attendees who submitted hundreds of questions. We now present some of…

Read article

When A3s Get Personal

Think A3s are just for organizational problems? Think again. Katie Anderson discusses how to adapt A3 thinking to guide our…

Read article

Ask Art: “Do lean conversions actually go smoothly, like in the books?”

Art Byrne receives many inquiries from people wondering whether lean transformations really are as smooth as they seem in books,…

Read article

Is lean different from creating a culture of problem-solving?

Dear Gemba Coach: I’m an OD coach interested in lean, and wonder how lean is different from creating a culture…

Read article

The Art of Productive Inquiry

Last month Andrew Quibell released a sketch outlining a process for effective silent observation. His new sketch shares what to…

Read article

Advice from the Gemba: Making Repetitive Tasks More Exciting

Repetitive tasks can create a drag on workers' morale and motivation as boredom sets in, and a disillusioned workforce will…

Read article

5S – The Way to Start Your Lean Journey…or Is It?

Many people think that a 5S implementation is the perfect way to kickstart a full lean transformation. It can be…

Read article

Is a lean team leader a manager?

Dear Gemba Coach: How is a team leader not a manager?

Read article

Back-to-School Lean: Lunchbox Kanban

Lean thinking is just as impactful on the home front as it is at work. In honor of back-to-school season,…

Read article

Better Design Reviews, Better Products

"Design reviews are a common process in product and process development," writes Katrina Appell. And they're common for good reason.…

Read article

Back to Basics: Jim Womack on Why Managers Need a “Lean State of Mind”

In this classic eletter from 2009, Jim Womack explains the crucial importance of a "lean state of mind" if a…

Read article

SBP Has a Helping Hand in Hurricane Harvey

Learn how SBP (formerly Saint Bernard Project) is using lean to help victims of Hurricane Harvey and other natural disasters…

Read article

Back to Basics: Jim Womack on Why You Should Never Create an A3 Alone

In this eletter from 2008, Jim Womack (in honor of the then-recent publication of "Managing to Learn") shares invaluable advice…

Read article

Back to Basics: John Shook on the Role of Questions in Coaching

In this throwback to the classic John Shook eletter "Coaching and Questions; Questions and Coaching," we learn the impacts of…

Read article

What lean concepts are most difficult to teach?

Dear Gemba Coach: In your experience of teaching lean, what do you find most difficult to teach?

Read article

Why You Should Think of Lean Tools as Frames

Michael Ballé, co-author of the recent book "The Lean Strategy" with Dan Jones, Orry Fiume, and Jacques Chaize; discusses why…

Read article

Real Respect Feels Like Knowing You’re Being Heard

"A simple fact of human nature: we listen all the time but we seldom pay real attention to what we…

Read article

Do You Practice Routine Personal Development?

Once we learn lean we often start seeing it everywhere, even in places we might least expect it. In this…

Read article

It’s All About the Mindset on Gemba Walks

Darren Walsh believes that there are few things more critical to a successful gemba walk than the right mindset. Do…

Read article

How Obeya Improved Our Product Development Efforts

As a followup to John Drogosz's piece on the stages of obeya from last week, Andy Houk, a client of…

Read article

Why Visualize?

Dear Gemba Coach: Why do you insist so much on visualizing information?

Read article

Yes, Lean is a Strategy!!!

Is lean a strategy? Absolutely YES, says lean author and thinker Orry Fiume. Replying to feedback on his new book,…

Read article

The Art of Silent Observation

Silent observation is not as intuitive as it may sound. Andrew Quibell often meets people who think it's as simple…

Read article

Ask Art: Is there a balance between lean and full automation?

As a followup to his piece last month dealing with another aspect of lean and automation, Art Byrne now explores…

Read article

Follow-up Webinar Q&A with Jim Lancaster, Lantech CEO and author of the Work of Management

"The Real Work of Management" webinar drew an engaged audience that wanted to know more about the daily management system…

Read article

Why do lean management experts differ on how to apply lean principles?

Dear Gemba Coach: I’ve worked with several managers who worked at Toyota or Toyota suppliers who were considered experts in…

Read article

Lean Transformation: “Shock and Awe” vs. “Slow and Grow”

When leading a lean transformation, is it better to use the "shock and awe" method or the "low and slow"…

Read article

Developing Your Obeya, Stage-by-Stage

In his years as a LPPD coach, John Drogosz has seen that "most teams do go through several stages of…

Read article

Any advice for how to implement real pull across the company?

Dear Gemba Coach: My boss, the operations VP, has asked me to implement a pull system across the whole company.…

Read article

The “Dimensions” of Lean

In this exclusive interview from the 2017 Lean Transformation Summit, LEI Director of Education Karen Gaudet shares her own take…

Watch video

Riding the Goodyear Wheel to Innovation Excellence

Norbert Majerus of Goodyear shares the Womack and Jones-inspired model that helped his company overhaul its product development operations.

Read article

Assessing Problem Solving Capability in Job Candidates: A True Account

Last month, Derrick Redding shared three questions that you can ask job candidates to assess their problem-solving capacity. As a…

Read article

5 Steps to Empowering Your Team

Empowering an entire team can seem daunting, but it doesn't have to be. You just need a good background understanding…

Read article

Getting Religious About Problem Solving

Have you ever heard of a lean transformation guided by scriptures? The people at LifeWayChristian Resources' distribution center in Tennessee…

Read article

Uncovering Lean’s Soul

Dr. John Ehrenfeld argues that lean as a different way of being is still woefully undervalued in lean transformations today.…

Read article

Why don’t you use plain English instead of confusing Japanese terms such as “monozukuri” or “hitozukuri”?

Dear Gemba Coach: Why do you keep using confusing Japanese terms such as “monozukuri” or “hitozukuri” rather than plain English?…

Read article

Summer Kata Video: Example Coaching Cycle

The five Coaching Kata questions are just the main headings for a coaching cycle, and prompts to help reveal how…

Watch video

The Story of an Error

As a followup to his popular article from earlier this summer about lean profit-sharing plans, Orry Fiume delves deeper. He…

Read article

Ask Art: Is there a conflict between automation/IT and lean?

An oft-heard debate in lean circles revolves around automation and IT. Do IT/automation complement lean? Or do they clash with…

Read article

Book Value: The Mental ABC’s of Pitching

"With both the All-Star Game and our Lean Coaching Summit approaching, I got to thinking about ways that non-lean books…

Read article

Our hoshin plan failed. What do we do now?

Dear Gemba Coach: How do we deal with hoshin kanri when things don’t work out as planned?

Read article

You can do a lot by doing a few things

"Developing a good strategy and actually executing it is really hard," writes Leslie Barker. "What I didn’t fully realize was…

Read article

“Do I have to be a team leader for the rest of my life?”

In this reprint of his latest e-letter, LEI Chairman and CEO John Shook reflects on the powerful lessons in the…

Read article

Do I have to be team leader for the rest of my life

At his talk at the Lean Transformation Summit earlier this year, and at conferences since then, including Industry Week and…

Read article

Will a real andon system bring the factory to a full stop?

Dear Gemba Coach: What would happen if we practiced andon for real – wouldn’t the factory simply stop?

Read article

Want to Be a Better Leader and Coach? Listen to Yourself

In the third installment in his series on the importance of proper communication from managers to their employees, David Verble…

Read article

Manager-Employee Communication: What Neuroscience Tells Us

In yesterday's Post, David Verble introduced us to the importance of proper, tactful communication from leaders to employees. Today he…

Read article

Leaders’ Actions Speak but Their Talk Matters Too

"Many organizations are investing in lean continuous improvement programs, systems and staff," writes David Verble. "Frequently there are critical pieces…

Read article

How can I tell good lean consultants from bad?

If lean’s not a scam – but there are scammers -- how can I distinguish good lean consultants from bad?

Read article

Daily Management, Daily Sustainment: The Remarkable Story of Lean Transformation at Lantech

Jim Lancaster attended the 2017 Lean Transformation Summit in Carlsbad, California to speak about Lantech's journey to create a daily…

Read article

The Concept Paper for a New Product: The Kickstart of a LPPD Project

Lean product and process development is not an easy undertaking, neither to understand nor execute. Luckily, there is a tool…

Read article

Ask Art: Does lean compromise innovation?

To some, lean and innovation seem counterproductive. But Art Byrne is not one of them. Find out why he says…

Read article

Advice from the Gemba: Top Mistakes Lean Leaders Make II

Everybody makes mistakes, lean leaders included. Our previous list of mistakes made by lean leaders was the highest-performing installment in…

Read article

7 Things Coaches Need to Get Over

"Over the years, I have noticed some common misperceptions about coaching effective problem solving skills and developing lean thinking," writes…

Read article

I’ll Follow You into the Dark…

We all know that lean transformations can happen in any industry or environment. But have you ever thought about a…

Read article

Painting the Vision for Your Organization

To successfully deploy a new initiative, leaders "need to paint a vision to engage employees at every level, from executives…

Read article

How a Retailer’s Distribution Center Exemplifies the Lean Precept “Respect for People,” and Reaps the Benefits

To make sure training engaged and resonated with people after previous attempts at a lean transformation faltered, LifeWay matched lean…

View case study

Follow-up to your comments on the “lean is a scam” column

Dear Gemba Coach Readers: I’ve been following the “scam” discussion with interest. Thank you for reading and taking the time to…

Read article

3 Interview Questions to Gauge Candidates’ Problem-Solving Capacity

It's always great to promote from within when trying to fill lean leadership roles. But what if you have to…

Read article

Your Gemba Isn’t the Only Gemba to Walk

We all know the critical importance of gemba walks in our organization. But what many of us forget is that…

Read article

Advice from the Gemba: Personal Kanbans for Lean Beginners

Kanban boards. For many of us, they were the first visual management tools we used that taught us the benefits…

Read article

Managing to Win: The Remarkable Lean Transformation of Phase 2

Revisit the enlightening case study of Phase 2's lean transformation in the face of losing its biggest customer, plus insider…

Watch video

When Do You Stop Learning?

Lean is about learning continuously and asking the right questions, not just providing answers. But, Orry Fiume wonders, does the…

Read article

Isn’t lean just a scam to squeeze teams for more production?

Dear Gemba Coach: Lean is a scam. People like you who write about “respect” are pushing a smoke screen that…

Read article

Are You Prioritizing Efficiency Over Value?

A major element of lean is efficiency, but it's certainly not the ONLY element. While it may seem logical that…

Read article

Job 1?

Ford CEO Mark Fields just decided he needed to cut costs. Then he suddenly realized he had 1400 people he…

Read article

Ask Art: Is Lean a Strategy?

The debate over whether lean should be considered a strategy, philosophy, methodology, etc. is a long one. Merriam-Webster defines a…

Read article

Webinar: The Real Work of Management

The Real Work of Management webinar featuring Jim Lancaster, author of The Work Management.

Watch video

Lean Roundup: Lean in the News

"While few business leaders seem to be discussing lean explicitly these days, there are certainly a great deal of tangentially…

Read article

How can we tell if gemba walks by our CEO are actually improving the business?

Dear Gemba Coach: We’re instituting a program of gemba walks by our CEO. How will we know if we’re progressing?

Read article

“Too Busy to Walk the Gemba”

Chris Weisbrod of Catalysis explains why healthcare leaders often claim they're too busy to walk the gemba and shares a…

Read article

A Tool That Every High-Mix, Low-Volume Leader Needs to See

"High mix, low volume operations are a difficult concept to grasp," writes Greg Lane. But it doesn't have to be…

Read article

Toyota Kata Practice – Run Charts

Tony Webster provides an excellent 15-minute video guide for creating and using run charts, which are an essential practice in…

Watch video

Want to Respect Your People? Share the Profits!

People and profit are key in any company, not just a lean one. But too often, an organization's drive for…

Read article

Shouldn’t lean focus on solutions, rather than problems?

Dear Gemba Coach: Why is lean so focused on problem solving? Isn’t seeing everything as a problem negative? Shouldn’t we…

Read article

How Team Leaders Should Divide Their Time

"Through my career, I’ve seen one group of individuals on the shop floor who need the most support and training…

Read article

Advice from the Gemba: How Do People Accidentally Make Change Unsustainable?

The only thing tougher than change is SUSTAINING change, we often hear. But does sustaining change need to be SO…

Read article

How Lean Changed My Work: Lean Without Knowing It

Last month LEI sent out an email asking the lean community how lean changed their work. For Jeremy Venable of…

Read article

Technology-Driven Improvement Initiatives (and Other Amazing Magic Tricks)

"In my experience, projects based on the scientific method are more likely to succeed than projects focused primarily on Information…

Read article

Ask Art: Why do so few companies that implement lean do it successfully?

We've all heard the stories of failed lean implementations, as well as the hotly debated question of "Why did it…

Read article

What’s your opinion on setting specific criteria before brainstorming countermeasures?

Dear Gemba Coach: What’s your opinion on setting specific criteria before brainstorming countermeasures?

Read article

Changing High School Culture with Lean Coaching

Nearly eight years ago, headteacher Tony Lamberton of Christleton High School was struggling with poor reviews of his school. After…

Watch video

“You Gotta Kata,” Now What?

After executing a plan to incorporate kata into his organization's daily routines, Craig Stritar was surprised to find that nobody…

Read article

Advice from the Gemba: Top Mistakes Lean Leaders Make I

Making mistakes is a natural part of lean thinking and practice. Here, three LEI faculty members share some common, yet…

Read article

Isn’t lean all about culture?

Dear Gemba Coach: Isn’t lean all about culture, really?

Read article

What Too Many Lean Leaders Forget about Gemba Walks

Lean Coach Darren Walsh of the UK's Lean Enterprise Academy has seen many lean leaders make a troubling, yet highly…

Read article

Faster than a Speeding Kanban…

"All of us living in Leanworld are well-trained to look for problems, identify gaps, and cure root causes," writes Brent…

Read article

Enabling Fast and Innovative Product Development at Bose

Bringing products to market as quickly as possible is a key cornerstone of lean product and process development. With this…

Read article

What do you mean by developing people?

Dear Gemba Coach: What do you mean by developing people?

Read article

Developing Better Habits Using A3 Thinking

Think A3 thinking is only for solving organizational problems? Think again! LEI faculty Katie Anderson shares her secrets for using…

Read article

Launching and Sustaining a Lean “Pop-Up”

"It’s not unusual for a lean leader or lean practitioner to feel alone, especially in a company or enterprise early…

Read article

PDCA thinking and the NCAA March Madness tournament

"There is so much thinking that goes into this thing called 'Bracketology,' which gives sports fans a way to 'grasp…

Read article

The Future of Continuous Improvement

"Do not feel absolutely certain of anything." (From: Bertrand Russell's Ten Commandments of Teaching)

Watch video

What do you think are the pros and cons of merging lean and TOC?

Dear Gemba Coach: In the DevOps movement, the amalgamation of agile, lean, and IT service management practices, there is a…

Read article

Lean Roundup: Pull

A pull system links all production activity to actual customer demand--and creates what one lean thinker calls "an architecture for…

Read article

Do You Own Your Lean Learning?

LEI COO and Toyota veteran Mark Reich is back with a new series on the role of consultants and OpEx…

Read article

Working on the Management

Effective daily management is still hard to achieve for most organizations, says Jim Womack. But until line managers start tackling…

Read article

How do we deal with a command-and-control boss?

Dear Gemba Coach: Our boss always says, “It’s not my job to tell you how to do yours!” But then…

Read article

Creating Trust: The Role of the Supervisor as Coach

"Organizationally, I believe that the coaching role needs to be fulfilled by the supervisor," writes Dave LaHote. But all too…

Watch video

Ask Art: Is there a formula to predict or evaluate the success of a lean implementation?

Art Byrne is often asked how to best measure the success of a lean transformation -- but does such a…

Read article

A Week of Kaizen in Just One Day

"Often when I hear people talk about kaizen, they are under the impression that this is some huge event with…

Read article

Advice from the Gemba: How Can I Change a Culture?

One of the most common questions asked by lean leaders is the question of culture change. How, they ask, can…

Read article

Live Updates from the 2017 Lean Transformation Summit: Day One

Another Summit is here! This year we're in beautiful, sunny Carlsbad, Cali. reporting the latest. Tune in today to learn…

Read article

Is there a lean way of delegating?

Dear Gemba Coach: I’m an entrepreneur and I used to micromanage everything, quite successfully. Now the firm has grown and…

Read article

Looking for split seconds, it can mean a NASCAR race WIN!

Tracey and Ernie Richardson explore how NASCAR pit crews use visuals for safety and speed.

Read article

EWABI, Earth Corporations (E-CORPS) & Electric Bamboo Bikes

Can electric bamboo bikes made in Bali offer a potential solution to global social, economic and environmental injustice? What does…

Read article

How to More Effectively Change Mindsets through Coaching

In her many years as a coach, Karyn Ross has found an alternative to the current paradigm of changing mindsets.…

Read article

We meet daily to examine a new customer complaint. What do we do next?

Dear Gemba Coach: We’re a start-up and have taken your advice: we now have a customer wall and we meet…

Read article

Lean Roundup: 5S

LEI's Senior Editor Tom Ehrenfeld provides an engaging insight into the web's best resources on 5S, a fundamental lean tool…

Read article

What are the key traits I should look for in a potential Chief Engineer? A Q&A with Katrina Appell

The Chief Engineer is a key cornerstone of lean product and process development. Katrina Appell has been asked many times…

Read article

What’s the lean take on learning?

Dear Gemba Coach: Our previous CEO used to preach “servant leadership,” but now’s he’s left and the new style is…

Read article

Accelerating Justice with Lean Forensics

One of our most popular subjects on The Lean Post is the use of lean in unorthodox places. But one…

Read article

Lean in One Drawing

LEI faculty member, Dave Lahote, shares his concept of thinking about lean as a system and to demonstrate the linkage…

Watch video

Muda Corporation: The Pitfalls of 5S

In the latest installment of his "Muda Corporation" series, Marius Gil shares nine common mistakes he has seen people make…

Read article

Does lean change how you think about business?

Dear Gemba Coach: I can see that lean changes how one thinks about business, but can’t quite put my finger…

Read article

Lean Quotes from John Shook to Inspire You and Your Team

We share with you some inspiring quotes from LEI CEO John Shook.

Read article

A Thriving Community of Practice – Book Report

I am often asked why the “lean movement” has outlasted so many business improvement movements that have come and gone.…

Read article

Research, Reflections, and Challenges: John Shook’s Closing Keynote of 2016

At the end of every Lean Transformation Summit, Lean Enterprise Institute Chairman and CEO John Shook gives his traditional closing…

Watch video

Ask Art: Is “We are customer-driven” a good lean strategy?

Art Byrne is often asked if "customer-driven" is a good lean strategy. The answer is yes - as long as…

Read article

Planning Meetings Around A3s

"How many times have you sat in a meeting to discuss solving a pressing, urgent or serious problem – and…

Read article

Is “lean” now just an over-hyped word that is losing its value?

Dear Gemba Coach: I have spent the day with a group of people in the LeanIT, Agile, ITSM, IT4IT, DevOps,…

Read article

Managing to Create Problem-Solvers: A Lean Transformation Summit Roundup

Countless people have asked us over the years, "My organization can't be lean without a problem-solving culture. So how do…

Read article

Lean Roundup: Continuous Problem-Solving

Continuing his popular Lean Roundup series, LEI Senior Editor Tom Ehrenfeld covers a key topic in lean circles that also…

Read article

Cracking the Talent Code

This month's installment is a fuzzy video by a sharp guy. Author Dan Coyle talks about how we acquire new…

Watch video

Lean Leadership at Legal Sea Foods: An Interview with Roger Berkowitz

Watch the video to hear Legal Sea Foods CEO Roger Berkowitz explain the effects lean has has on his own…

Watch video

Should value-stream mapping come before 5S?

Dear Gemba Coach: Shouldn’t VSM come before 5S so we see the whole picture first?

Read article

Ask Art: How high is up with lean?

Art Byrne explains that continuous improvement really is continuous and that there is no limit to the “up” in lean.

Read article

What’s a good “small step” to start off my LPPD transformation? A Q&A with Katrina Appell

A lean product and process development transformation may seem daunting, but all you really need to get started is a…

Read article

Is promising that lean will make work more meaningful disrespectful to people?

Dear Gemba Coach: Can lean really make work more meaningful for everybody? Isn’t this overpromising to workers and disrespectful to…

Read article

Six Personal Kanban Habits to Avoid

Jim Benson, kanban specialist, shares the six most common mistakes found on kanban boards.

Read article

Getting to Sustainability

Sustaining gains from kaizen thinking is one of the hardest, and certainly most misunderstood, aspects of this work. It’s misunderstood…

Read article

Lean and Agile: Finding a Role for Your Leadership in Your Transformation Model

"Lean and Agile are two of the most commonly discussed (and hotly debated) principles for managing a business, particularly when…

Read article

What kind of conversation should I expect during a gemba walk?

Dear Gemba Coach: What kind of conversation should I expect during a gemba walk?

Read article

A Sweeter Type of Lean

In one memorable lean project, Carlos Moretti found himself assisting a Brazilian sugar-cane supplier for the ethanol industry with a…

Read article

Advice from the Gemba: TPS Mythbusting

Despite its fundamental role in a lean transformation, the Toyota Production System is not an easy thing for many to…

Read article

What are your three most important problems?

Dear Gemba Coacg: What should I look for during a gemba walk?

Read article

Advice from the Gemba: Best Tips for Designing a Work Experience

When designing a work experience, the benefits of having an experienced coach to guide you cannot be overstated. In this…

Read article

Ask Art: Why Is Something As Simple As Lean So Difficult to Do?

"Recently my good friend Paul Akers of FastCap and lean blogging fame asked me why lean, which appears to be…

Read article

From Chaos to Kaizen: The Visual Way

In another of his visual depictions of the fundamentals of lean, Andrew Quibell illustrates the process of transforming a chaos-plagued…

Read article

Does implementing lean mean creating a lean management system?

Dear Gemba Coach: My understanding is that implementing lean means setting up a lean management system. You seem to disagree.…

Read article

An A3 Antidote to the Opiate Epidemic

Opiate use in America has been spiking at an alarming rate. Many healthcare organizations, such as the University of Michigan…

Read article

How Does Shop-Floor Lean Compare to Lean Product and Process Development (LPPD)? A Q&A with Matt Zayko

Matt Zayko was recently asked, "Is my knowledge of shop-floor lean enough for me to get by in product development?"…

Read article

Why does my team resist multi-skilling?

Dear Gemba Coach: I’m trying to introduce multi-skilling in my team but am surprised by the amount of resistance I…

Read article

Innovative Companies Continue to Learn from Each Other: Fall 2016 LPPD Learning Group Event

Find out what learnings took place at the Fall 2016 LPPD Partners' Meeting in Davis, California.

Read article

Lean Books Roundup

"Several years back, LEI CEO John Shook discussed the need to explore the “frontiers and fundamentals” of lean..." writes Tom…

Read article

You Can’t Manage a Secret

How did the obeya management system come to be at Toyota? How has it been refined since its beginning as…

Read article

Do andons apply to software development?

Dear Gemba Coach: I work in software development, and I really don’t see how andon applies – what am I…

Read article

Experiential Change: Using PDCA to craft a new department structure

"In January 2016 the Human Resources department at the University of Michigan Health System (UMHS) was restructured into a High-Impact…

Read article

Thinking About Thinking

Don't believe everything you think. Practice scientific thinking and test your assumptions, because every step is an experiment!

Watch video

Advice from the Gemba: The Most Frustrating Types of Waste (and How to Eliminate Them!)

If you've ever lost sleep over a particularly frustrating source of waste in your organization, you're not alone. Some forms…

Read article

Mindfulness: A Practice, a State of Being, an Essential!

Many of us are familiar with the term "mindfulness," especially in the context of being aware of our surroundings. But…

Read article

What the Books Don’t Tell: Explaining the Financial Benefits of Lean

It's a curious fact that very few books about lean address the topic of finance. Questions about lean's financial benefits…

Read article

Does a Lean Company Need Explicit or Implicit Leadership?

Dear Gemba Coach: Explicit leadership or implicit leadership? Does an explicit style sustain a lean organization?

Read article

Thrustmaster Comes Around

The following Lean Enterprise Institute case study reveals how Thrustmaster of Texas successfully adopted lean thinking and practices to make…

View case study

Why We’re Thankful For Lean

Thanksgiving is a time of year when Americans take a day to step back and appreciate everything they have to…

Read article

A Deeper Dive into Visual Management at Toyota

"In a previous sketch I introduced Toyota’s approach to visual management, or Floor Management Display Systems (FMDS), including the six…

Read article

Cowabunga! Implementing Lean at a Surfing School

Lean is difficult for many companies to grasp at first, often due to the cultural shift. If the organization's people…

Read article

Fresh Baked Lean: The Story of Cafe365’s Lean Transformation

When you think of environments for a lean transformation, does a bakery come to mind? Probably not, but growing pains-plagued…

Watch video

Fresh Baked Lean: The Story of 365 Café’s Lean Transformation

When you think of environments for a lean transformation, does a bakery come to mind? Probably not, but growing pains-plagued…

Watch video

Ask Art: What sets lean accounting apart from traditional accounting?

"You can’t really become a lean enterprise without making the shift from traditional standard-cost accounting to lean (i.e. plain English)…

Read article

Does lean have an ethical perspective other than goal-oriented efficiency?

Dear Gemba Coach: As a follow-up to your previous column on the question of whether lean has a spiritual dimension,…

Read article

When Lean Gets Personal

Lean is not simply about making things better; Jim Morgan shares how his experience with lean healthcare taught him how…

Read article

“Simple Ain’t Easy”

The essence of lean is simplicity, argues Orry Fiume, a theme that applies not only to great organizations, but great…

Read article

How Do You REALLY Put Yourself in Your Customers’ Shoes? A Q&A with Eric Ethington

The customer is king in lean. That's why it's critical to know their values, needs, interests, etc. in order to…

Read article

Is there a spiritual dimension to lean?

Dear Gemba Coach: Is there a spiritual dimension to lean?

Read article

Scientific Thinking for Everyone

Scientific thinking is not difficult, it's just not our default mode. Anyone can learn to think more scientifically, by practicing…

Watch video

Lean Expansion: Spreading Lean from One Store to a Region at Starbucks

Scaling up is a challenge often talked about in lean circles. How can we best leverage our individual or small-scale…

Read article

Green from the Start

LEI faculty member Jim Morgan shares his insights with Kelly Singer, managing editor of the Lean Green Institute, on how…

Read article

Big Problems? Start Small

"In problem solving, we’re taught to ask a simple question, “Is this problem within my scope of control?” If yes,…

Read article

What’s the difference between a sensei and a consultant?

Dear Gemba Coach: Is there a difference between a sensei and a consultant? Beyond the way they market themselves, don’t…

Read article

Lean Roundup: Jidoka

"Jidoka captures the principle of building quality into the production process—of designing work so that the people making the product…

Read article

Bringing Lean to Your Sales Team

LEI faculty member Brent Wahba discusses the importance of bringing lean into your sales department as well as where to…

Read article

Ask Art: How is lean the opposite of everything people have been trained to do?

Art Byrne explains why, and how, lean practice is the opposite of what most people have learned about work in…

Read article

What should I know about lean management that I won’t find in books?

Dear Gemba Coach: I’m new to lean and reading all I can find about it, but is there something specific…

Read article

An Overview of Visual Management at Toyota

"Implementing visual management (VM) is a cornerstone of any lean transformation," writes Andrew Quibell. "And few companies know that better…

Read article

Students “Shocked” that Lean Accounting Isn’t More Widespread

Lean accounting seemed “so logical” to her students that they asked Professor Pencak, winner of a Lean Education Advancement Foundation…

Read article

How Do You Know If You’ve Created a Meaningful Challenge?

"Have you ever issued what you thought was an inspiring challenge for your team, only to discover they were underwhelmed…

Read article

How We A3 at Goodyear

Just as lean is situational, A3s are situational too - companies like Goodyear have a variety of types of A3s…

Read article

Focus Your Operating System To Bring Your Strategy to Life

A strategy can just turn into wallpaper if you don't have the right systems in place to support it. Jim…

Read article

Lessons Learned from Sunpower’s (C)Lean Transformation

Sustainability is a key part of any lean transformation - but Sunpower of San Jose, Cali. took that word a…

Read article

Making Things Better – Visual Value in Health Information Management

Have you ever struggled to make "invisible work" visual for your leadership? Laura Shue of the University of Michigan Health…

Read article

Our new boss doesn’t ‘get’ lean; what can I do to convince him?

Dear Gemba Coach: We’ve had spectacular lean results with our old boss, but our new boss doesn’t get it. He’s…

Read article

Making Things Better – 5S-ing the Community

Do you use any lean tools to make your community a better place? Tony Heath has, ever since he was…

Read article

Making Things Better – Lean Streets: Improving Road Maintenance in Washington State

Ever feel like your home city or town needs to step up its game in maintaining road conditions? People in…

Read article

How can kanban or lean possibly apply in an office?

Dear Gemba Coach: You often say that one can’t do lean without kanban, and that continuous improvement without kanban is…

Read article

Lean Thinking at 20, Part 2: A Q&A with Jim Womack and Dan Jones

Twenty years ago Jim Womack and Dan Jones helped launch the lean movement as we know it today with their…

Read article

Lean Thinking at 20: A Q&A with Jim Womack and Dan Jones

Twenty years ago Jim Womack and Dan Jones helped launch the lean movement as we know it today with their…

Read article

Lean Thinking: A Roundup

In honor of the 20th anniversary of the publishing of Lean Thinking, by Jim Womack and Dan Jones, Lean Post…

Read article

What are the elements of knowledge-based product development?

Dear Gemba Coach, What would be a knowledge-based approach to product development?

Read article

Manufacturing Balancing Act: Pull Versus ERP

In this follow-up story to our case study about Phase 2 Medical Manufacturing, Inc., the company faces an enviable dilemma:…

View case study

Innovation in the Work

"Innovation is a popular – and important – concept," writes LEI Chairman and CEO John Shook. "So, here are three…

Read article

Summit Reflections: Knowing What You Need to Improve

"As leaders, sometimes the things that we feel like we can more easily change are not the things that we…

Read article

100 Years of Innovation in the Work Animation

Learn how innovating the work is the cornerstone of lean.

Watch video

Making Things Better – Engineering Isn’t Always Right

"Have you noticed a tendency at your company to automatically take Engineering's advice?" writes Gary Stewart of Fiat-Chrysler. "If you…

Read article

Ask Art: Is Lean Inward-Focused?

Art Byrne has been asked over and over if lean is inward-focused or customer-focused. There are aspects of lean that…

Read article

Problem-Solving: One Size Does Not Fit All, Part 1

Problem solving is at the core of any lean transformation. But both beginners and experts will tell you that it…

Watch video

Muda Corporation: Improving Your Suggestions System

Anyone who's had to implement a suggestions system in their organization knows it's not an easy task, especially from a…

Read article

Baby Steps for Behavior Change

Don't start with a 20-mile run! Effective change often begins with small tweaks to behavior, which build on one another…

Watch video

3 Common Problems in Government that A3 Thinking Can Help Solve

I’m always surprised at how little the public sector uses A3 thinking to tackle their toughest challenges. It’s the same…

Read article

Does respect for humanity mean the same as respect for people?

Dear Gemba Coach: Does respect for humanity mean the same as respect for people? I hear that the literal translation…

Read article

Why Yoda Was Wrong

Aspects of lean can be found almost anywhere - even in a galaxy far, far away. Inspired by a new…

Read article

Orchestrating Your Product Development Process with Milestones

"Effective milestones are an important part of a company’s development process, especially in today’s era of team-based sprints and stand-ups,"…

Read article

Dear Professor, Am I Ever Glad You Covered Lean in Class!

Since 2008, the Lean Enterprise Institute has sponsored the Excellence in Lean Accounting Award to fund scholarships helping pairs of…

Read article

You Can’t Know If You Don’t Know

Recently LEI Chairman and CEO John Shook found an interesting blog by Dr. Helen Kales of the University of Michigan,…

Read article

What Do I Tell My Leaders When Experiments Fail?

When experiments fail, it's natural for a leadership team to get nervous. But in the context of lean, they shouldn't…

Read article

Does a lean transformation boost a company’s stock price?

Dear Gemba Coach: You’ve worked with a lot of different companies in the public and private sectors. How have the…

Read article

Accounting for the Lean Accounting Award

In this series, we talk to past winners of the Excellence in Lean Accounting Award to learn what impact the…

Read article

Just Trying “Stuff” Is Not A Real Experiment

"Today it seems like you can’t throw a stick of butter without hitting someone who is “running a lean experiment”…

Read article

Ask Art: People are Nervous about Too Much Change, Can I Lead Lean Incrementally?

Resistance to change is a classic part of lean transformation, and it's not uncommon to see efforts to skirt around…

Read article

What is leader standard work?

Dear Gemba Coach: Is there such thing as a leader standard work, and, if so, what is it?

Read article

“What Do I Need to Know?”

"What do I need to know?" A simple, but powerful, question to ask at the gemba and beyond. Kelly Moore…

Read article

A3 Thinking Roundup

Following last week's immensely popular Posts on the origins of A3 thinking, LEI Senior Editor Tom Ehrenfeld compiles a collection…

Read article

A Kata Classic

The research that led to the book Toyota Kata ran from 2004 - 2009. The objective was to gain a…

Watch video

Rising to the Challenge: The Lean Journey of Phase 2 (video)

In this video, Adam Prime, president of Phase 2 Medical Device Manufacturing shares some insider info on his organization's lean…

Watch video

Reflecting to Learn: Takeaways and Reflections on the A3 Process

In the wake of yesterday's interview with Mr. Isao Yoshino on the roots of the A3 process at Toyota, LEI…

Read article

How the A3 Came to Be Toyota’s Go-To Management Process for Knowledge Work (intro by John Shook)

A3 thinking is synonymous with Toyota. Yet many often wonder how exactly this happened. Even if we know A3 thinking…

Watch video

Do we need more research to understand what works and what doesn’t when implementing lean healthcare?

Dear Gemba Coach: There are controversies over whether lean/TPS works in healthcare or not. Authorities in lean practice suggest conducting…

Read article

Lean Accounting Summit Impacts Dissertation

Since 2008, the Lean Enterprise Institute has sponsored the Excellence in Lean Accounting Award to fund scholarships helping pairs of…

Read article

CLean and Green: How SunPower Used Lean to Address Sustainability

After years of lean practice, solar-device manufacturer SunPower wanted something more. They wanted to continue their journey of continuous improvement…

Read article

You Need More Smoke Detectors: Countering Firefighting with Leader Standard Work

Excessive firefighting is a major threat to lean transformations - it may seem easier to time-strapped managers, but it does…

Read article

The Crucible of Innovation

Innovation is key to a successful successful development project, we always read. But innovation is a fickle term that gets…

Read article

How do we pass the baton from one lean leader to the next?

Dear Gemba Coach: What are your thoughts about ensuring that a lean transformation persists past a leader’s tenure at an…

Read article

Waste in Process: Squeeze Before You Lean

"It seems intuitive to start applying lean to our processes, right?" writes Andrew Quibell. "Maybe so, but all that says…

Read article

It’s About the Tools, Not the Terms

"I’ve never been a big fan of lean lingo," says John McCullough of Crayola. "It may sound expert-like, but I’ve…

Read article

Ask Art: Is There More to Becoming Lean than Conducting Kaizen Events?

Kaizen events may be a key part of lean transformation, but they're certainly not the only aspect of it. They're…

Read article

We’re installing an andon system – what should we expect?

Dear Gemba Coach: We’re installing an andon system – what should we expect?

Read article

Put the ‘i’ Before the Apple

Apple is a company with a reputation for keeping its customers' needs at the forefront of its product development decisions.…

Read article

Advice from the Gemba: Keeping Senior Leadership Committed

The cost savings of lean are not always apparent in the short term. If your senior leadership was skeptical going…

Read article

A More Prepared Coach

"Many coaching situations we enter...with so little knowledge about the situation and how things work," writes Josh Howell. "Instead we…

Read article

What does “daily problem solving” really look like in practice?

Dear Gemba Coach: I hear the phrase “daily problem solving” a lot. But what does it really mean in practice…

Read article

Lean Transformation: Have You Hit the “Lean Plateau?”

After realizing that that their five-year track record of continuous improvement was leveling out, Craig Stritar and his team knew…

Read article

Mining Gold and Improvement Ideas at Kinross

Unless it changed how it did business, the fluctuating price of gold would determine the fate of Kinross, a Nevada…

Read article

Where Does Our Curiosity Go?

As children we seem to be naturally curious and try things in a kind of scientific manner, but as we…

Watch video

Succeeding by Failing

People often wonder what exactly constitutes "success" in a lean journey - it's a longstanding question. Cam Ford has a…

Read article

The Hidden Waste in Inspection

When looking for areas of muda, your inspection department probably isn't the first place that comes to mind. But you…

Read article

Raised by Toyota: A Question and Answer with Tracey and Ernie Richardson

In this extended interview, Toyota veterans Tracey and Ernie Richardson share how they learned at the source, explain how they…

Read article

Why does kaizen feel like chaos?

Dear Gemba Coach: Why does kaizen always feel so destabilizing?

Read article

Take Your Product Testing to the Extreme

Many of the principles of lean product and process development can seem counterproductive at first glance. For example, what if…

Read article

Ask Art: How Are Lean Teams Different?

"Teamwork in lean is a much bigger deal than the way most people think about it, and it's crucial to…

Read article

Establishing Lean Healthcare Believers When Professional Society Allegiance Impedes Engagement

When implementing lean in a healthcare organization, it's not uncommon to encounter resistance from medical professionals set in their traditional…

Read article

Lean + Circular Principals = a New True North for Manufacturer

SunPower's lean journey resembled most others until it defined a new mission, a new True North. The mission statement changed…

View case study

Is there “mudagement” in your organization?

"Mudagement." What a strange word. But to Tony Lamberton, the concept behind that word has made all the difference in…

Read article

More than a New Product – A New Way of Thinking

"Successful entrepreneurs, whether they are lone figures toiling in garages or supporting new work at major companies, are rightly celebrated…

Read article

How can I keep our lean management effort from becoming bureaucratic?

Dear Gemba Coach: Isn’t there a risk that all these lean tools in the workplace turn into yet more bureaucracy?

Read article

Why Value-Stream Mapping is So Difficult in the Public Sector

Identifying value in an organization isn't the easiest task to accomplish. If you happen to work in the public sector,…

Read article

Standard Work Roundup

Several terrific articles have appeared recently, emphasizing the importance and complexity of a key lean practice: standard (or standardized) work,…

Read article

Leading Companies Gather for a Two-Day Lean Learning Exchange

The latest LPPD Learning Partners' learning event was held at GE Appliance Park in Louisville, Kentucky. Thirty-five people from five…

Read article

You Are Not Different: Make universal lean principles work locally

Lean principles are universal, argues Orry Fiume, but the application of them is always local. Don't use this challenge as…

Read article

How important is it to consider differences in roles between our current project manager and a chief engineer?

Dear Gemba Coach: Management wants us to start lean in product development, but refuses to consider the difference in roles…

Read article

The Tesla Way vs. The Toyota Way

Does Tesla offer a Way of working that can challenge TPS? Perhaps a bit more time, and the development of…

Read article

Is Lean Getting “Fat?”

"Yes, lean has successfully spread around the world and gone from manufacturing to nearly every other type of value stream,"…

Read article

How do I keep visual management from becoming “wallpaper?” A Q&A with John Drogosz

"Many managers try to convince everyone (including themselves) that they are visually managing their projects or departments," writes John Drogosz,…

Read article

I’m struggling to understand exactly what people mean by a “lean system”?

Dear Gemba Coach: I’m struggling to understand exactly what people mean by a “lean system”?

Read article

It’s Not All About the Data on Value-Stream Maps: An Interview with Judy Worth

Data is a critical component of value-stream mapping. But it's not the only component you should be concerned about. All…

Read article

Small Batch: Hand-Picked Articles from the Global Lean Community (Vol. 10)

Our editor's picks for the best recent articles from our sister publication, Planet Lean. This time we're sharing stories from…

Read article

Do You Have a Capacity Problem or Flow Problem?

"Sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint the exact root cause of a problem," writes Adam Hillsamer of Arnett Hospital in Indiana,…

Read article

How do I implement standard work in an office environment?

Dear Gemba Coach: I really enjoyed reading your article on the difference between standard work and procedures back in December.…

Read article

Ask Art: What’s So Important About Standard Work?

Standard work is one of the cornerstones of a lean transformation. But that doesn't necessarily mean it's fully appreciated. "People…

Read article

Generating Multiple Alternatives is Not Necessarily Waste

I was once asked: 'How is set-based design lean? Isnít designing multiple alternatives creating waste and the opposite of lean?'î…

Read article

Are You Fixing the System or Just a Person?

"How often do our solutions fix a person (or single event) rather than a system?" wonders Kelly Moore. Hopefully not…

Read article

Our technical guys are really resisting the idea of standard work. What should we do?

Dear Gemba Coach: Our technical guys are really resisting the idea of standard work. They believe they each have their…

Read article

Conveyance: The Perfect Place for Waste

In the latest installment of his series of sketches and animations covering areas of waste in manufacturing, Andrew Quibell gives…

Read article

Reflections on Hansei

For many of us, Japanese lingo has become synonymous with lean. But according to Dan Markowitz, this just makes things…

Read article

The Importance of Embracing Development Conflict

Conflict is something almost all professionals have been told to avoid at all costs. Jim Morgan begs to differ. "Whenever…

Read article

How to Avoid Team Disinterest and Management Disappointment with Huddles

Team huddles are rapidly becoming a day-to-day staple in the lean organization. But too often the problem-solving aspect of huddles…

Watch video

Executive Egress: Why Many Healthcare CEOs Distance Themselves from Lean Transformations. An Interview with Jack Bowhan

A troubling issue in lean healthcare that Jack Bowhan has seen too many times is a lack of CEO engagement…

Read article

The Role of Strategic Design Events in Lean Healthcare: An Interview with Mindy Hangsleben

Faced with a new incoming healthcare policy, Mindy Hangsleben and her team at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services…

Read article

Any step forward in a lean transformation is a good step — right?

Dear Gemba Coach: Surely a step forward in a lean transformation is a good thing, even if it’s not completely…

Read article

Kata Skill at Novice Level

LEI IK/CK instructor Beth Carrington illustrates five common themes when you find yourself at Novice level.

Watch video

Ask Art: What Lean Books Should I Start With?

Art Byrne shares with us his book recommendations to newcomers on insights into the philosophy and general approach behind lean.

Read article

Your Value Stream Map Looks a Little Different…

If you think there’s a different way of applying a tool, ask, “Are we changing the tool to prevent us…

Read article

View from the Hospital Floor: How to Build a Culture of Improvement One Unit at a Time

In this follow-up to our earlier case study "Transforming Healthcare: What Matters Most?", we examine how the Cleveland Clinic is…

Read article

What do you think about a new boss who wants us to use A3s to solve problems rigorously?

Dear Gemba Coach: My new boss wants us to use A3s to “teach us how to solve problems rigorously” –…

Read article

Kaizen Means You Care

"Lean leaders, and lean consultants (like me), often talk about the organizational benefits of kaizen: lower costs, bigger profits, shorter…

Read article

Focus: Process or Results?

"We cannot improve results “directly," writes LEI faculty member Orry Fiume. "It can only be achieved by improving those processes…

Read article

Seeing and Understanding the Work in Product and Process Development

"The role of most lean tools is to enable problems to be identified or to enable problems to be solved,"…

Read article

Why won’t operators use andons?

Dear Gemba Coach: We’re struggling with andons. We’ve set up a button for operators to press and call for help,…

Read article

Just-in-Time Roundup: Great Lean Reads from Across the Web (Vol. 17)

Our latest compilation of the best lean reads from around the web, this time featuring content from Forbes, Manufacturing.net, and…

Read article

Inventory Waste: The “Hidden Killer” in Manufacturing

Andrew Quibell is back with the next sketch in his series on the four main areas of waste in manufacturing.…

Read article

Boatloads of Muda

Ken Eakin saw his fair share of waste during his 13 years in the ocean-shipping industry, especially in the transportation…

Read article

Rather than narrow problem solving, shouldn’t we look for disruptive breakthroughs?

Dear Gemba Coach: How can a narrow focus on problem solving help us to find innovative solutions? Shouldn’t we be…

Read article

3 Tips for Accurately Assessing Your Current State

"Just because everyone remembers to include the current state [on a value stream map] doesn’t mean it’s always done as…

Read article

The Snowstorm on Your Server

When looking for a place to implement 5S, your company's server or shared drive might not be the first to…

Read article

Value Stream Mapping in a Product Development Context: A Q&A with John Drogosz

Lean Product and Process Development Senior Coach John Drogosz answers countless questions about LPPD every day. Now, in his first…

Read article

Kata Classics: The Improvement Kata in 10 Minutes

Bill Costantino's classic explanation of the Improvement Kata is back, now as a video.

Watch video

Even Visual Management Starts from Need

Have you ever implement a visual management tool at your gemba after seeing it used successfully somewhere else? If so,…

Read article

CI Sustainment: A Hiding Place for Complexity

"How many times has your continuous improvement solution wound up being more complex than the original problem?" muses Lynn Kelley.…

Read article

The Problems Inherent in Change – and What You Can Do about Them

Anyone who's been involved in an organizational transformation knows that its challenges go well beyond resistance. Katrina Appell sheds some…

Read article

What are the pitfalls of implementing hoshin kanri?

Dear Gemba Coach: I’ve heard of hoshin kanri, and I’d really like to try it in my company – what…

Read article

Small Batch: Hand-Picked Articles from the Global Lean Community (Vol. 8)

Our picks for the best high-impact learning stories and columns from Planet Lean.

Read article

How do I introduce kaizen to IT?

Dear Gemba Coach: Based on your experience, what is the best strategy to introduce kaizen as social, ongoing events without…

Read article

Ask Art: What to Look for in a Lean Team Leader

One of Art Byrne's most-asked questions is, "What are the key traits for a lean team leader?" His recommendation might…

Read article

Just-in-Time Roundup: Great Lean Reads from Across the Web (Vol. 16)

Our editor's picks for the best lean news from around the web, this month from Harvard Business Review, FedScoop, and…

Read article

What Too Many Value Stream Maps Completely Miss

Believe it or not, up to half of all the value-stream maps that cross Drew Locher's desk are missing something…

Read article

How is lean different from Taylorism?

In a special column, Michael Ballé breaks from his standard practice of answering readers’ questions to weigh in on the…

Read article

The Manufacturing Waste Series: Introduction

In the first installment of his new series on waste, Andrew Quibell's latest sketch introduces his take on why kaizen…

Read article

Carrington on Kata

In this 17-minute video, LEI Instructor Beth Carrington describes how practicing the routines of the Improvement Kata & Coaching Kata…

Watch video

Change Management: Is it Necessary?

"There are varying views on the role of change management in a lean transformation," writes Katrina Appell. In her latest…

Read article

TPS Fundamentals in a Knowledge Work Environment

A recent LEI cleaning project reminded Business Editor Cam Ford of something he learned in a recent workshop - that…

Read article

Does lean apply to sales?

Dear Gemba Coach: Does lean apply to sales? We’re trying to introduce lean thinking throughout the company and have found…

Read article

Creating New Value and a Lesson in Fundamentals

After a recent trip to Toyota's headquarters in Japan, Jim Morgan made an epiphany about the Toyota Production System and…

Read article

Small Batch: Hand-Picked Articles from the Global Lean Community (Vol. 7)

Our picks for the best high-impact learning stories and columns from Planet Lean.

Read article

Malpractice in the New England Journal of Medicine

Several weeks ago, the New England Journal of Medicine published an article by two physicians bashing lean and questioning its…

Read article

Accountability: Not What You Think it is…

"When managers and associates hear the term [accountability], they often flinch!" writes Mike Orzen. "This is a major problem for…

Read article

Problem? What Problem?

"Whether using A3s, the 5 Whys, DMAIC, Value Stream Mapping, or any other problem-solving methodology, many organizations don’t spend the…

Read article

What does “separating human work from machine work” mean?

Dear Gemba Coach: What does “separating human work from machine work” mean? How does it matter?

Read article

What is the best way to start gemba walks and keep them focused ?

Dear Gemba Coach: We are looking to implement gemba walks in our facility. This is new to everyone including myself…

Read article

Watch John Shook’s Keynote at Lean Construction Institute’s 17th Annual Congress!

This past October, LEI Chairman and CEO John Shook delivered a keynote at Lean Construction Institute's 17th Annual Congress in…

Read article

Interoperability: The Human Dimension of Design Excellence

Did you know only 51 percent of new product development efforts are meeting schedules, and a mere 56 percent meet…

Read article

To A3 or Not to A3

"Not every tool is a hammer, and not every problem is a nail," writes Norbert Majerus of The Goodyear Tire…

Read article

What is your opinion about transformation process steps?

Dear Gemba Coach: What is your opinion about transformation process steps? First we choose a problem and start problem-solving processes…

Read article

Book Clubs Help Agricultural Company Cultivate Lean Culture

Two continuous improvement leaders explain how they successfully use book clubs to spread and align understanding of lean management at…

View case study

Small Chart, Big Impact: How a Simple Spaghetti Chart Led to Huge Wins at Thrustmaster of Texas

Sometimes the simplest lean concepts can make all the difference in ensuring a successful transformation. Marine-propulsion manufacturer Thrustmaster of Texas…

Read article

The Value of Key Performance Indicators in a Lean Transformation

We all know to watch out for key performance indicators (KPIs) in the workplace - but are you tracking the…

Read article

Why and How to Engage Finance in a Lean Transformation. An Interview with Jean Cunningham

There's often a disconnect between an organization's lean and finance departments, especially when a lean transformation is underway. In her…

Read article

Kata Puts the “Continuous” in Continuous Improvement

In this 6-minute video, Drew Locher of Change Management Associates makes the 'Case for Kata’ by explaining what it takes…

Watch video

How do I convince management to run to takt time, not as fast as possible?

Dear Gemba Coach: I have always struggled with convincing management about the importance of running to takt time, since the…

Read article

The Lean Management System: The Key to Sustainability and CI. An Interview with Joe Murli

Achieving wins is only half the battle in a lean transformation - you also need a way to sustain those…

Read article

Small Batch: Hand-Picked Articles from the Global Lean Community (Vol. 6)

Our picks for the best high-impact learning stories and columns from Planet Lean.

Read article

The Importance of Team Leaders on the Shop Floor

Why does upper management often fail to invest in team leaders on the shop floor? Andrew Quibell has his money…

Read article

How does continuous flow apply to healthcare or other service industries?

Dear Gemba Coach: I work in healthcare and I struggle with how the concept of flow, which I can well…

Read article

Just-in-Time Roundup: Great Lean Reads from Across the Web (Vol. 14)

Our editor's latest pics for great lean reads from across the web, this month from Forbes, IndustryWeek, and The New…

Read article

No Shortcuts: Creating a Lean Environment the Right Way

As much as we may wish there was a way to pull off a lean transformation with only a basic…

Read article

How do I quantify kaizen’s small improvements?

Dear Gemba Coach: How do I quantify kaizen's small improvements?

Read article

The Problem of Partial Participation: Why Failing to Fully Commit to Lean Is Not An Option. An Interview with Chris Vogel

It's surprising how many lean implementations fail due to an organization's employees not fully embracing the idea. There are many…

Read article

Ask Art: How One-Piece-Flow Supports Quality

"One-piece-flow is the key to quality improvements," writes Art Byrne. "In my experience it is pretty common to get a…

Read article

It’s the Productivity, Not the People

In one memorable lean project, Craig Stritar found himself on a large fish-processing vessel in the Bering Sea that was…

Read article

Let’s Stop Being Hypocrites: Work is Work

"We often talk about knowledge workers as though they need to be treated differently from shop floor workers," writes Dan…

Read article

Why Your Lean Journey Needs a Self-Evaluation

Every company on a lean journey needs to occasionally step back and evaluate where they are, where they have gaps…

Read article

A Principles-Based Approach to Changing Healthcare Management

"This year alone over 250,000 Americans will die due to medical error," writes Dr. John Toussaint. "How can so many…

Read article

Habits for Continuous Learning and Improvement

What routines can you practice to develop a culture -- a habit -- of continuous improvement? The Improvement Kata and…

Watch video

What is the difference between standard work and procedures?

Dear Gemba Coach: What is the difference between standard work and procedures?

Read article

Small Batch: Hand-Picked Articles from the Global Lean Community (Vol. 5)

Our picks for the best high-impact learning stories and columns from Planet Lean.

Read article

How do you introduce visual management into a product development facility?

Dear Gemba Coach: What steps do you start with to introduce visual management into a product development facility?

Read article

Is There No Other Lean Exemplar Than Toyota?

"I believe that while Toyota isn’t the only lean exemplar out there," writes Michael Ballé, "it still gives us a…

Read article

TPS or the Toyota Way?

"Students of lean are often confused by the variety of ways Toyota explains the Toyota Production System," writes Michael Ballé.…

Read article

Kaizen Learning vs. Traditional Problem-Solving

"Lean offers a fundamentally different approach to problem-solving than most traditional companies practice," writes Art Byrne. "Most [traditional] companies delegate…

Read article

Just-in-Time Roundup: Great Lean Reads from Across the Web (Vol. 13)

Our latest collection of lean reads from around the web, this time featuring articles from The Wall Street Journal, the…

Read article

What is the lean approach to quality – is that what six sigma is all about?

Dear Gemba Coach: I’m a frequent reader of your columns and you always seem to emphasize quality first, but I…

Read article

Put Your People at The Center of Your Development System

"It is your people that provide the skills, energy and creativity," writes Jim Morgan. "They are the single most important…

Read article

Your Favorite Lean Posts of 2015!

With 2016 fast approaching, we'd like to take a step back and reflect on the most popular Lean Post articles…

Read article

TOYOTA KATA AT COOKSHACK

Stuart Powell and his team at Cookshack in Ponca City, Oklahoma strive to differentiate Cookshack from competitors by strategically applying…

Watch video

Using A3 Thinking to Solve Recruiting Problems: An interview with Gavin Martin

It's a shame that A3s are often thought of as being meant to solve manufacturing problems. The reality is they…

Read article

How can I speed up my team’s lean learning?

Dear Gemba Coach: How can I speed up my team’s lean learning?

Read article

Mapping Out Your Gemba Walks

"Gemba walks may sound like Lean 101 but they still require 110% of your undivided attention," writes Andrew Quibell. "And…

Read article

Small Batch: Hand-Picked Articles from the Global Lean Community (Vol. 4)

Our picks for the best high-impact learning stories and columns from Planet Lean.

Read article

Personal Kanban: You Can’t Manage What You Can’t See

Think personal kanban can't be applied to knowledge work? Think again. Drawing on examples from Jim Benson and Tonianne DeMaria…

Read article

Goodyear’s Great Year: An LPPD Success Story

Lean product and process development (LPPD) successes can be found at companies of every size and industry - such as…

Read article

Just a Fish Stick: The Perils of Forcing Your Change Agenda onto Others

Change agendas may look good on paper, but that doesn't necessarily mean they're foolproof. Brent Wahba shares his thoughts on…

Read article

Why you can’t convince your boss to support lean activities, unless …

Dear Gemba  Coach: I work as a deployment champion in a manufacturing company, but I don’t have the support of…

Read article

Practical Guidance for Using Humble Inquiry in PDCA Problem Solving and Coaching

David Verble, a Toyota veteran and LEI faculty member, explains to lean coaches and continuous improvement professionals why "Humble Inquiry"…

Read article

Ford’s Focus: Lean Lessons from the Recession’s Greatest Success Story

After listening to Jim Morgan talk about Ford Motor Company's lean turnaround strategy during the Great Recession, Cam Ford (no…

Read article

Just-in-Time Roundup: Great Lean Reads from Across the Web (Vol. 12)

Our latest compilation of lean reads from around the web, this time featuring articles from Stanford Medicine, the Association for…

Read article

Are You Responsible for Two Key Fobs?

In her first Lean Post article, Syngenta Continuous Improvement Lead Kelly Moore muses on a recent experience at a rental…

Read article

Gemba Walking on Mars

Lean is all around us in our daily lives - including at the movies, as Lean Institute Brasil president Jose…

Read article

Lean Thinking and My Navy Experience

When you think of lean organizations, does the U.S. Navy come to mind? Probably not, but it's an organization with…

Read article

Governance Matters

"The very term “governance” seems somewhat antithetical to lean," writes Mark Hamel. "Yet...over my 20-plus years of lean learning, I’ve…

Read article

Why are there so many different opinions about what lean management is and isn’t?

Dear Gemba Coach: I have attended several lean conferences and am deeply interested in the topic, but puzzled about the…

Read article

KATA CREATES CULTURE

Tilo Schwarz and his team at Festool (Germany) used practice of the Improvement Kata & Coaching Kata routines to make…

Watch video

What I Could Only Learn from a Sensei

Some aspects of lean can be learned through experience, but other aspects can only be taught by an experienced sensei.…

Read article

Towards a More Perfect (i.e. Lean) Union

"Over the past few years, we have seen an upward trend in the number of government agencies and states beginning…

Read article

Apples & Oranges: Value Stream Mapping in a Low-Volume/High-Mix Environment

"Making improvements using lean principles in a low volume/high mix (LVHM) manufacturing environment can be difficult, especially when trying to…

Read article

Coaches Need Improvement Too

"Whether you are a coaching client or a coach yourself," writes Brent Wahba, "you both have decided to pursue the…

Read article

Small Batch: Hand-Picked Articles from the Global Lean Community (Vol. 3)

A roundup of the best recent articles and interviews from our friends at Planet Lean, this time from Spain, Israel…

Read article

How to Lead with Respect

Showing respect to employees falls far short of leading with respect. Discover the seven core practices that true lean leaders…

Read article

Narrowing the Scope of Kaizen Activities

Are you having trouble implementing kaizen activities? If so, the solution could be as simple as narrowing down your targets…

Read article

Leading with Respect is Not a Soft Skill: An interview with Mike Orzen

By definition, a hard skill is a skill that can be defined, measured, and taught. Does that sound like it…

Read article

My Lean Journey: The 5Ss

Do you remember the first time you realized the true potential of lean in improving work output? Lean newcomer Cam…

Read article

How do I reconcile the lean healthcare goal to organize around the patient with management demands to cut costs?

Dear Gemba Coach: I’m the lean director at a hospital where the board keeps investing and then asking us to…

Read article

Key Traits and Behaviors of Great Lean Consultants

"If you want to accelerate your lean practice I highly recommend reaching out to a good lean consultant to serve…

Read article

What the Best Lean Leaders All Have in Common

What characterizes a truly exceptional lean leader? With years of first-hand observations behind him, Tom Ehrenfeld weighs in with his…

Read article

Avoiding the Pitfalls of Leader Standard Work

What are some problems a lean practitioner might run into when implementing leader standard work? Ken Abbs and Scott Ullman…

Read article

How and Where Should I Start Using Andons?

Dear Gemba Coach: I understand the andon is an essential part of a lean system, but it seems very far…

Watch video

IK/CK at Modine

Modine Manufacturing views practicing the Improvement Kata and Coaching Kata as a way to lead, manage and develop people... in order…

Watch video

Lean Fitness: The Individual vs. the Organization

"For both the individual and the organization, the problem is the same," writes Dan Markovitz. "There may be a stated…

Read article

Turn on the Spigot: Create Flow in R&D

"Flow in R&D is as critical as in manufacturing," writes Terry Barnhart. "It is a little more difficult to see,…

Read article

People Don’t Fail, Processes Do

Terry Smith, a lean web developer, shares two examples of real-life companies who used the "5 Whys" to drill down…

Read article

Is your obeya room used for real learning or as a glorified action plan?

Dear Gemba Coach: How can I use an obeya for learning rather than for project management?

Read article

Small Batch: Hand-Picked Articles form the Global Lean Community (Vol. 2)

Our picks for the best high-impact learning stories and columns from Planet Lean.

Read article

Is there a way to define standard work for senseis?

Dear Gemba Coach, I’ve been working on lean projects for years and my CEO has now asked me to act as…

Read article

Lean in Japan: The Benefit of an Outsider’s View

"Sometimes when we know a process, culture, or organization too deeply, we struggle to view things as they actually are..."…

Read article

How to Know If Your Team is Ready for Kaizen

"Do we even know what the Kaizen aim of “engaged employees” means, beyond the clichés?" asks lean coach Lesa Nichols.…

Read article

Bad Data: The Elephant in the Room

"The goal of IT is to enable people to perform their jobs well by providing access to complete and accurate…

Read article

Gemba, workplace, genchi genbutsu, go-and-see … What’s the difference?

Dear Gemba Coach: Is there a difference between “gemba” as used in lean texts and “genchi genbutsu” as they appear…

Read article

You Can’t Learn Lean by Talking About It

Larry Navarre, instructor at Kettering University with 20 years experience in industry, shares what he's learned about teaching lean thinking.

Read article

Tough Empathy

"When grasping the situation we always focus in on the process... What about grasping the situation as it relates to…

Read article

What Type of a Leader Do You Choose to Be?

Plenty of people want to become better leaders. Few people want to change. Michael Bremer shares his advice for more…

Read article

6 Ways to Lay the Groundwork for More Effective Meetings

"Even in organizations working hard in pursuit of lean production systems [and] employee capability development – the failure to host…

Read article

Is a lean CEO’s job different from a traditional CEO?

Dear Gemba Coach: How does the role of CEO in lean management differ from that in traditional management?

Read article

5 Ways My Thinking Changed With the Help of a Lean Coach

"Coaching for development is different than being managed," writes Deborah McGee. "Lean coaching in our case was not directing an…

Read article

Small Batch: Hand-Picked Articles from the Global Lean Community (Vol. 1)

A roundup of the best recent articles and case studies from our friends at Planet Lean - this time from…

Read article

Three Core Capabilities in Any Lean Product and Process Development System

"Good development leaders work in earnest to create a 'safe culture' for people to share issues. Working to [drive out…

Read article

Hazards at the Huddle Board: How to Coach a Team Away from “Fast Thinking” to Disciplined PDCA

Lean practitioner David Verble, an LEI faculty member and former HR manager at Toyota, is noticing that problem-solving at huddle…

Read article

Just-in-Time Roundup: Great Lean Reads Across the Web (Vol.10)

Our latest picks for great lean reads across the web, this time from 99u, strategy + business, a hotel app…

Read article

The Lean Genie Problem

"For leaders and CI professionals, it’s not practical to rely on the team you’re working with to institute every change…

Read article

Does being “sensei-ed” show respect for people?

Dear Gemba Coach: If lean is based on respect for people, why are sensei gemba visits reputed to be so…

Read article

Standout Lessons from the 4th Annual Lean Coaching Summit

"A coach’s role is to help someone better understand their own process," writes Katie Anderson. How will you bring greater…

Read article

Lean Physician, Heal Thyself!

"We [need] to equip people with the right tools to address the problems they must solve," writes Phil Coy. "New…

Read article

PDCA, Fitness Apps, and Using Social Media to Improve Our Health

"Health isn't about always being perfect," writes lean coach Tracey Richardson. "Just like in our organizations, we all have imperfect…

Read article

Lean Thinking for Quicker Police Emergency Response Time

Bob Downing and Erin Magee reflect on the results of a collaborative project they worked on last year when their…

Read article

THE ROLE OF ‘CHALLENGE’ IN THE IMPROVEMENT KATA

The first step of the Improvement Kata, "Understand the Direction or Challenge," is often overlooked, yet it is the important context…

Watch video

Rethinking Disaster Recovery on the 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina

As the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaches on August 23rd-29th, read about how lean thinking is changing how New…

Read article

LEI’s Lean Transformation Model Animated

Need a simple way of explaining lean thinking to your team? LEI has released a new animated video of how…

Watch video

What the heck is a dojo?

ear Gemba Coach: What is a “dojo”? I hear about it but don’t find it referenced in the lean tools.…

Read article

The Lean Transformation Framework

This brief animated video offers a guide to the five fundamental questions that help lean practitioners and thinkers understand the…

Watch video

Is Your Improvement Project Headed Down the Road to Nowhere?

"The scientific method applied consistently [can mean] beginning a continuous improvement journey that lasts, well... forever," writes Tim Kane. Read…

Read article

Lean Product Development at Cathedral Hill Hospital

Read Baris Lostuvali's case study on bringing LPPD to the Cathedral Hill Hospital in San Francisco.

Read article

Am I doing lean right? How can I tell?

Dear Gemba Coach: I’m spending a lot of time at the gemba, but how do I know if I’m doing…

Read article

Surfer Culture Meets Standardized Work

Can surfing instructors and students really learn standardized work? Read the surprising story of how lean coach Sammy Obara worked…

Read article

Start Up By Diving Deep

"The important thing is answering some fairly core questions about your business before spending time and money developing solutions," write…

Read article

The Joy of Lean Innovation: A Case Study of Menlo Innovations

Richard Sheridan and James Goebel of Menlo Innovations set out to create a joyful enterprise, one that they, their team,…

Read article

Step 1: Open Mouth, Step 2: Insert Foot

Joshua Rapoza, Customer Strategy Officer at LEI, reflects on whether working longer hours necessarily means more productivity and the power…

Read article

My CEO, who supported lean, has left and been replaced by a pure finance guy. It doesn’t look good for the lean effort. What should I do?

Dear Gemba Coach: My CEO, who supported lean, has left and been replaced by a pure finance guy. It doesn’t…

Read article

Toyota Partners with Nonprofit to Rebuild Homes and Lives

When the flood waters of Hurricane Katrina receded, they uncovered tens of thousands of ruined homes in devastated areas like…

View case study

Standardized Work Hangs Ten with San Diego’s Surfing Culture — Meeting the Challenges of Leadership, Culture, and Resistance

Instead of wiping out with a Southern California surfing school, the lean management principle of standardized had a positive impact,…

View case study

Just-in-Time Roundup: Great Lean Reads Across the Web (Vol.9)

Our picks for interesting lean reads, this time from Modern Healthcare, Harvard Business Review, Bloomberg View, and Nikkel Blaase.

Read article

Using Cynefin to Solve Problems While Navigating Uncertainty

Kim Ballestrin, an agile coach, explains how her team at Telstra (an Australian telecommunications and IT company) uses a problem…

Read article

Intentional Respect

"Most organizations fail to intentionally balance the technical tools side with the social side of Lean," writes Mike Orzen. "People…

Read article

Value Stream Mapping and Obeya: Key Enablers for Better Product Development

For an organization to be continually relevant and profitable, it needs to develop products and processes that consistently create value.…

Read article

How can I tell if people “get” lean thinking; what signs should I look for?

Dear Gemba Coach: I’ve been training teams to do lean, intensively at first, and with paced-out coaching later. How do…

Read article

Lean, Agile, Joy

Rich Sheridan, CEO of Menlo Innovations, shares his thoughts on why the lean software and lean manufacturing communities need each…

Read article

Want to Instill A3 Thinking? Teach A3 Behaviors

A3 thinking is all about A3 behaviors, says auto-manufacturing veteran Andrew Quibell. "Only by applying a step by step mentality,…

Read article

Safety Through Gemba

"When I do a gemba walk, I don’t necessarily ask questions about safety," writes Brian Fitzpatrick (a director of Health…

Read article

Design Thinking for Lean Practitioners

"You don’t have to look very far to see that lean problem-solving has a reputation of perfecting something that already…

Read article

Leadership Stories From One of Lean’s Fastest Growing Communities of Practice

On the heels of the Lean Healthcare Summit earlier this month in Dallas, Texas, we've gathered three stories in which…

Read article

Two managers I relied on a lot are still fighting a two-year-old pull system and creating a lot of conflict on the team. Is this normal?

Dear Gemba Coach: I’m two years into establishing a pull system through my plant and two of my key managers…

Read article

What it Takes to Bring Lean Thinking to Healthcare: One Leader’s Candid Reflections

Keith Murphy, a Senior Lean Process Improvement Leader in a healthcare organization, shares his greatest lessons learned with regard to…

Read article

Serious Games

Boaz Tamir (President of Lean Institute Israel) and lean coach Smadar Cohen Isvoranu share their reflections on a recent lean…

Read article

Personal PDCA and How I Learned It

"In 23 years at Toyota, I had many assignments and different bosses, I managed many people," writes Mark Reich, "but…

Read article

Lean Startup: The Most Revolutionary Idea Since SMED?

"From my view, Lean Startup is quite simply the most revolutionary idea to advance the way business is practiced since…

Read article

Work

We need to think about redefining work. Until we – anyone who wishes to bring about organizational change – redefine…

Read article

What “Co-Learning” Across Industries Looks Like in Practice

"In April, as part of a 2-day capstone learning event for Cardinal Health, we brought the newest wave of Lean…

Read article

Just-in-Time Roundup: Great Lean Reads from Across the Web (Vol. 8)

Check out our picks for high value lean reads you may have missed - this time from Inc., Harvard Business…

Read article

Could hoshin kanri be too bureaucratic for my small tech company?

Dear Gemba Coach: I get frustrated with being the only one seriously concerned with experimenting and learning new systems, so…

Read article

Visualize the Invisible: Connect Improvement Work to Real Business Needs

Reflecting on one of her most powerful learning experiences, Lesa Nichols writes, "It struck me that I hadn’t coached my…

Read article

Lean Product and Process Development – Stories from the Field

Jim Morgan shares stories of his field work and research for LPPD at LEI.

Read article

Tried and True Strategies for Leading Lean Practice

"In my 30 plus years of leading Lean in a wide range of companies, I’ve learned common practices that work…

Read article

Why Lean Fails in Job Shops… and What to Do to Succeed

Like many job shop owners, LEI faculty member Greg Lane struggled with implementing lean principles early on. The experiences and…

Read article

Lean is About Building Organizations that Learn to Learn

In April, LEI's John Shook spoke at the LeanUX NYC conference about how the lean movement has changed (and not…

Watch video

KATA SUMMIT KEYNOTE: JEFF LIKER

In this 16-minute video from February's Kata Summit, Professor Jeff Liker gives a revealing personal discussion of Toyota Kata from…

Watch video

Connecting Lean Thinkers With Nonprofits in Portland, Oregon

Matthew Horvat tells the story of Lean Portland, a lean community of practice connecting lean thinkers with nonprofit professionals in…

Read article

Transforming Healthcare: What Matters Most? How the Cleveland Clinic Is Cultivating a Problem-Solving Mindset and Building a Culture of Improvement

Imagine if you could create a culture of excellence and improvement in a large healthcare organization. That’s the challenge that…

View case study

Let the Work Define the Process

We’re all short on time, but think for a moment with your team about the real work to be done…

Read article

Leadership Q&A: Lisa Yerian, MD, Medical Director of Continuous Improvement, Cleveland Clinic Foundation

From the LEI senior executive series on lean leadership: Lisa Yerian, MD, director of Hepatobiliary Pathology and medical director of…

Read article

My management team feels tense and pressured about going to the gemba. Is this normal?

Dear Gemba Coach: I’ve decided to take my management team to the gemba to get them to solve real problems…

Read article

Construction Safety: It’s a Respect for People Issue

A stock photo showing unsafe working conditions at a construction site (used and shared via The Article) sparks an important…

Read article

The Messenger is As Important as the Message

What do people look for in a change agent that will help them be more open to the risky business…

Read article

What it Takes to Share One’s Wisdom: A Q&A with Tracey Richardson

"When you make a decision to change the way you do business, it should hold you accountable for certain leadership…

Read article

John Toussaint on What a Complete System Transformation Looks Like In Healthcare

John Toussaint, CEO emeritus of ThedaCare and CEO of the ThedaCare Center for Healthcare Value, shared his guiding principles for…

Read article

Why Coaching is the Hardest Job I’ve Ever Had

"In 2011 a new term entered my company... we went 'lean'," writes Kasey Corbishley. "The office buzzed with anxiety as…

Read article

10 Tips for Getting the Most Value from Value Stream Mapping

Most people see only a small amount of what is to be gained from value stream mapping. "Such an exercise…

Read article

Enabling Change Through the Power of Story

Roberto Priolo, editor of Planet Lean, shares why not just reflection, but writing (and storytelling) is so helpful for the…

Read article

The Chief Cause of Problems is Solutions

"In complex organizations, we [oversimplify] problems, try to fix them as painlessly as possible, cross our fingers, and move on…

Read article

Kaizen Event “Malpractice” and What to Do About It

Performed properly, kaizen events create the technical and cultural foundation for daily continuous improvement. Performed improperly, they can get you…

Watch video

The Hidden Benefit to A3 Thinking

"A3 thinking helps us think, solve problems, and strategize," writes José Ferro. "But it also helps us calm down, concentrate,…

Read article

Putting Financial Value on Lean Transformation

What is the ROI on a kaizen event? How does Lean stack up against other revenue generation or cost-saving initiatives?…

Read article

Just-in-Time Roundup: Great Lean Reads From Across the Web (Vol. 7)

Five recent articles from across the web to help you reflect on your organization's approach to lean transformation or your…

Read article

Continuous Improvement is Good, But Is It Lean?

Take a look at your organization. Is Lean clearly directed and connected to strategy? Are senior leaders directly involved in…

Read article

The Lean Power Stance

"Yoga is more than the physical movement of postures," writes Rachael McKay, an industrial engineer at lululemon athletica and yogi.…

Read article

How is leadership engaged and trained in lean?

Dear Gemba Coach: How is leadership engaged and trained in lean?

Read article

WE ARE ALL APPRENTICES

Don't assume that your narrative is reality. Practice the Improvement Kata pattern to learn scientific thinking! Destin Sandlin of Smarter…

Watch video

Heijunka: Mastering the Peaks and Valleys

Struggling to run different types of products down one line? Lean coach Jeff Smith explains the lean manufacturing concept of…

Read article

Lean Thinking in Construction: From “What” & “How” to “Why”?

"Construction is fraught with conditions of poor quality, cost overruns, and late projects," says Nick Masci of Lean Construction Institute.…

Read article

Training Within Industry for the 21st Century

"How about a program that does for senior leaders today what Training Within Industry did for Japanese management in the…

Read article

Getting a Jump on Unplanned Changes

Andrew Quibbell, veteran of the auto industry, uses graphic recording to share lean concepts. Here's a visual of how Quibbell…

Read article

Editor’s Picks for Lean Posts to Help You Improve Your Work Monday Morning

Our picks for the most practical, "how-to" style posts we've published on the Post to date. These posts are chock…

Read article

Using Value Stream Management to Better Care for Stroke Patients

"To make value stream management really work, the most significant cause for transformation lay simply in the shifting of team…

Read article

I’m Karen Martin, Ask Me Anything

Ask author and lean coach Karen Martin anything you wish on lean thinking and practice! She'll be here all day…

Read article

5 Barriers to Lean in Government

"There are many challenges for lean in government... The structure of the workforce, disincentives for risk-taking at all levels, complex…

Read article

How do you protect jobs while reducing lines and shifts?

Dear Gemba Coach: How do you protect jobs while reducing lines and shifts?

Read article

Why a Plan for Every Part Is Essential to Lean Transformations

“What’s needed instead is system kaizen in which the material-handling system for an entire facility, supplying every value stream, is…

Read article

Do the Words You Use Create Clarity or Chaos?

"If words matter, shared understanding of words matters even more," writes Cindy Priddy. "The word coach reaches much further back…

Read article

No Change is Easy: The Starbucks Siren Steps into Dunkin Donuts’ World of Orange and Pink

Lean is about a willingness to experiment and if necessary, change our approach to our work and our daily routine.…

Read article

Why Toyota is Still My North Star

"In the past five years the local lean engineering community has gained a deeper hands-on appreciation of how intermeshed product…

Read article

Strategy Deployment at The Lean Enterprise Institute

Is your organization “chasing too many rabbits?” It’s a tendency too many companies have of annually setting more strategic objectives…

Watch video

5 Ways to Help Every Team Member Contribute Ideas for Improving Work

"Engaging staff in problem identification and suggestions for improvement is essential for any organization," writes Dan Fleming, Continuous Improvement Manager…

Read article

TPS 2.0?

Jim Morgan and Jeffrey Liker chime in on Toyota's announcement of their TNGA program (Toyota New Global Architecture). "The impetus…

Read article

Improving a Complex Process that Saves Lives: Lean Transformation at LifeShare Donor Services of Oklahoma

"This is a model, like a lot of good leadership models, where you teach people the thinking and then need…

Read article

How Do I Measure People Development?

Dear Gemba Coach: What is the metric for people development?

Read article

Be More than a Coach, Be a Coach Who Listens

"When we hold on too tightly to our own assumptions of a problem and what we think are solutions, we…

Read article

Crossing Silos: Connecting Disconnected Communities at LeanUX NYC

LEI’s John Shook will give a talk, “Lean is About Building an Organization That Learns to Learn" at this year's…

Read article

From Victim to Partner: The Evolution of a Manufacturing Development System

"Excellence in product development is not 'an engineering thing'; it is an enterprise thing," writes Jim Morgan. And it's helpful…

Read article

Why do we hear less and less about lean in manufacturing?

Dear Gemba Coach: Why do we hear less and less about lean in manufacturing? Is it that most companies have…

Read article

Value Stream Maps and Battle Plans – Are They Worth Nothing?

“I’m reluctant to say maps are nothing, but there’s a difference between maps and mapping," Judy Worth says, paraphrasing Eisenhower’s…

Read article

Are You Serving “Internal Customers” or Your Real Customer?

Are teams in your organization working in silos? Do processes feel fractured? Do upstream or downstream steps occurring in different…

Read article

Just-in-Time Roundup: Great Lean Reads from Across the Web (Vol. 6)

Check out five recently published articles we think may help you improve your work or think about your work differently…

Read article

The Secrets of Lean

"The key to Lean is that it creates understanding, not knowledge," write John Ehrenfeld (Executive Director of the International Society…

Read article

Leadership Without Giving Solutions (from a Fire Fighter’s Perspective)

LEI faculty member Greg Lane shares a lean coaching story from his own life, in which he finds himself advising…

Read article

Latondra Newton on the Toyota Production System and Social Innovation

The success of Toyota’s lean management principles in manufacturing, healthcare, product development, and other areas is well known and well…

Read article

Building as Product

"A building project, although it has many different moving parts and players, is a product. It’s a uniquely different product…

Read article

What does customer focus really mean?

Dear Gemba Coach: We’re discussing improving our customer focus, but we’ve realized we’re not quite sure what the phrase really…

Read article

Why Practicing Lean Thinking Matters (Even if Your Bosses Don’t Care)

"If your boss doesn't get [lean thinking], don't expect to convince him/her," writes Michael Ballé. "Do expect to get him/her…

Read article

Book Value: What Every Manager Should Know About Training

Jeff Morrow, lean coach and faculty at Bainbridge Graduate Institute, reviews and recommends Dr. Robert Mager's 1999 book, What Every…

Read article

Counteracting the Big Project Blues

Lean thinking is well and good, Erin Urban says, but often it takes time to see the real fruits of…

Read article

Why Leadership Needs to Drive the Bus

"Lean change can start from the bottom-up, I won’t say that it can’t, but the situation needs to flip quickly…

Read article

How demanding can a lean leader be while remaining respectful of staff?

Dear Gemba Coach: How demanding can a lean leader be while remaining respectful of staff?

Read article

KATA AT THE PHOTO STUDIO

This month's Kata video is an example of what happens when a team practices a scientific way of working, rather…

Watch video

Three Types of Lean

"We’ve all heard 'Lean is great for 'that' company, but not for the business I lead,'" says Chris Vogel. Learn…

Read article

Training as a Crutch

Your organization has a problem. Something has gone wrong. A process that was previously working fine is no longer working.…

Read article

Understanding the True Cost of Care

"Today, frontline clinicians are being asked to provide even more cost-efficient care to patients yet few understand how to do…

Read article

Is there a difference between executive coaching and lean coaching?

Dear Gemba Coach: Is there a difference between executive coaching and lean coaching?

Read article

Defining LEI’s Customer: Understanding Your Real Problems & Needs

"Our customer is part of everything we do, but defining them and their needs… well, it’s like describing the air…

Read article

Sharks & Tortoises

"A small number of firms have grown spectacularly in revenue, employees, and stock price by using [lean] to execute crisply…

Read article

Just-in-Time Roundup: Great Lean Reads From Across the Web (Vol. 5)

Check out our editors' picks for 5 high value lean reads you may have missed, this time from Industry Week,…

Read article

Lean Principles Are Changing How the U.S. Recovers from Tornadoes & Floods

When the flood waters of Hurricane Katrina receded, they uncovered tens of thousands of homes in devastated areas such as…

Read article

After improving processes with help from a consultant, how do I sustain kaizen in my department? My teams are hard to motivate.

Dear Gemba Coach: How do I sustain kaizen in my department? We’ve had a consultant help us with workshops, and…

Read article

Experimenting with LEI’s Transformation Model

Josh Howell, senior coach at LEI, reflects on LEI's Lean Transformation Model. "We set out to better understand the model,…

Read article

Developing Students, Improving Universities

"Today, lean thinking in higher education is uncommon," writes Theresa Coleman-Kaiser of Michigan Tech University. "As a rule, institutions that…

Read article

We’re Ernie and Tracey Richardson: Ask Us Anything

It's our second "Ask Me Anything" post, this time with lean coaches Tracey and Ernie Richardson. With a combined 54…

Read article

Look Around You, Find Your Lean Inspiration

After an awful experience with an online travel agency and way too much time spent trying to fix an error…

Read article

How can I estimate the savings from using visual management boards?

Dear Gemba Coach: I work on a lean team and I was asked to estimate the savings from using visual…

Read article

Making a Football is a Contact Sport

With football on the brain after the Superbowl, Lesa Nichols reflects on the football manufacturing process. "There's a concept called…

Read article

Hoshin at LEI: Connecting More Closely with Our Customer

Whether you’re deploying hoshin in a small nonprofit or a huge organization, the struggles are the same," writes LEI Senior…

Read article

Sam MacPherson on the Green Beret Way to Develop Leaders

Training leaders to perform at high levels during a lean transformation or in the Army’s vaunted Green Berets has more…

Read article

The Case for Lean Thinking in Retail and Service Organizations

Josh Howell, senior coach at LEI, recently joined Ron Pereira at Gemba Academy for podcast conversation on coaching, lean thinking…

Read article

How Do You Spread a Lean Transformation from One Site to Many?

Dear Gemba Coach: My CEO has asked me to spread lean to 30 other sites. How should I go about…

Read article

KATA AT HOME

Start 'em Early! Create Scientific Thinkers. The Improvement Kata & Coaching Kata's practice routines for scientific thinking can be applied…

Watch video

Make the Shift: From “Churn and Burn” to Learn

Already practicing PDCA? Not so familiar with it? "If you’re not squarely in the PDCA camp, please accept this invitation…

Read article

Everyday Kaizen

"With the right teaching and guidance, a good process, and a target of one kaizen activity per day, team leaders…

Read article

What Strategy Is and What It’s Not

"In my career, I was always more interested in what it would take to create and sustain competitive advantage than…

Read article

In IT, can we do virtual gemba walks?

Dear Gemba Coach: I am part of an IT creation and support organization. How do you do a gemba walk,…

Read article

Rich Sheridan on How to Succeed by Building a Strong Learning Culture

Rich Sheridan, CEO of the software company Menlo Innovations, talks with LEI's Chet Marchwinski about Menlo's unique learning culture, taking…

Read article

Gather the Facts: How Does Your Organization View Lean?

It’s worth asking, what's your organization's REAL, honest perception of Lean? Do you hear words and phrases like engagement, problem…

Read article

Three Lean Healthcare Success Stories From Across the Globe

Read a summary of 3 lean healthcare stories from the Lean Global Network, including reflections on what seems to make…

Read article

Maximizing People Systems in a Lean Transformation

Don't make the mistake of overlooking the important role that human resources plays in a lean transformation. Learn how to…

Read article

Effective Supervision 101

One of the biggest challenges for lean thinkers is translating lean thinking into lean doing, writes Stan Shaw. One of…

Read article

Kata Konfusion

Author and LEI faculty member Drew Locher explains why it is important when using the kata improvement methodology to not…

Read article

The Obstacle is the Path

Deborah McGee, LEI's Learning Activities Manager, reflects on the most common obstacles she sees people facing when they first try…

Read article

Is there a lean strategy?

Dear Gemba Coach: My team demonstrated the benefits of kaizen to the CEO who then asked us what our strategy…

Read article

Just-in-Time Roundup: Great Lean Reads from Across the Web (Vol. 4)

LEI editors share an interesting assortment of lean-themed and lean-related articles from across the web, this time from Harvard Business…

Read article

New Year’s Reflection

Happy New Year! Even if you are not one of those who makes New Year’s resolutions the new year is…

Read article

The Lean Thinker Who is Capable of Creating Other Lean Thinkers

LEI faculty member David Verble explains what it means to be an effective manager or lean coach and why it's…

Read article

Lessons Learned from My Lean Sensei about “Customer Service”

"To 'get' Lean we have to change our specs, and no longer see processes as sequences of dependent tasks, but…

Read article

Two Years in Tanzania and a Whole New Understanding of Purpose

Mike Grogan quit his job in corporate America and moved to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania where he began working with…

Read article

How do I set up an obeya room?

Dear Gemba Coach: I’d like to set up an obeya room – where should I start? What’s the simplest way…

Read article

How Wrong Assumptions about PDCA Problem Solving Destroy the Effectiveness of Lean Coaches

Problem solving based on the plan-do-check-act (PDCA) cycle is very different from what we typically call problem solving. Here's why,…

Read article

Make Broccoli (Or Lean) Taste Better Through Experiments

"Whether it’s eating healthy, saving for retirement, or pursuing Lean, we are all biased towards maximizing the here and now…

Read article

Too Busy to Improve

"The number of people I meet who tell me, 'I don’t have time to make improvements to my work,' amazes…

Read article

Why Effective Problem Solving Begins With a Good Problem Statement

"Let’s solve world peace" or "let’s state our predetermined solution as a problem" aren't real problem statements, says Dave LaHote.…

Read article

The Cure for Bad Meeting Syndrome

"Anyone who leads a group needs the ability to design and plan a meeting," writes Alice Lee. "This isn’t just…

Read article

Any tips for conducting daily stand-up meetings with my team?

Dear Gemba Coach: I’ve been told I should conduct daily stand-up meetings with my team to solve problems collaboratively. I’m…

Read article

WHAT IS LEAN ABOUT?

The Kata SlideShare for January presents some thoughts (and video) as we in the Lean community mark the 25th Anniversary…

Watch video

Jim Womack and Dan Jones on the Evolution and Future of Lean

At the UK Lean Summit last month, Roberto Priolo caught up with Jim Womack and Dan Jones to talk about…

Watch video

And the Best Articles from 2014 Are…

Two weeks ago we asked for your favorite Lean Post articles of 2014 and the results are in!

Read article

I’m not sure I understand solving problems one by one.

Dear Gemba Coach: I’m not sure I understand solving problems one by one. I thought listing problems and pushing hard…

Read article

Just-in-Time Roundup: Great Lean Reads from Across the Web (Vol. 3)

LEI editors have gathered another five articles that either teach us something new about lean practice or show us where…

Read article

Public Service: Lean’s Next Frontier?

John O'Donnell and Lex Schroeder share the thinking behind LEI's new Public Service Value Network and invite you to contribute…

Read article

How Do Lean Concepts Apply in an Office Environment?

Dear Gemba Coach: How does lean apply in an office environment? I’m excited by the ideas but can’t figure out…

Read article

Are You Training People to Think or to Follow a Checklist?

"Without attention to why continuous improvement is important, the purpose behind [PDCA], when tools should be used, and when to…

Read article

Lean Practitioners Gather to Share Ideas that Grow the Bottom Line by Growing People’s Knowledge

We were among the nearly 2,000 lean thinkers attending the 2014 AME conference, organized around six value streams: Engaged People,…

Read article

You Can’t Kaizen Chaos

LEI coach Danielle Blais shares why she believes lean thinking means little without practice, explains the importance of stable work…

Read article

Is lean just another word for productivity?

Dear Gemba Coach: Isn’t lean about productivity before all else?

Read article

One COO’s View on Learning, Leading, and Teaching

Dominic Paccapaniccia, COO of a regional healthcare center, reflects on why he and his organization chose to begin using a…

Read article

“Learning from Manufacturing” Versus Learning To Think Differently

Beau Keyte talks lean thinking and practice in non-manufacturing settings. "The big challenge now isn’t to learn lean thinking the…

Read article

Lean Thinking On Purpose

Katrina Appell reflects on a provocative op-ed by Nicholas Kristof in The New York Times from earlier this year and…

Read article

HOW KATA FITS IN

With this month's SlideShare Mike and Jeff address a common question in the Lean community: "How do the Improvement Kata…

Watch video

Book Value: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Is clutter at work or at home getting you down? LEI Senior Editor Tom Ehrenfeld reviews Marie Kondo's new book,…

Read article

The Angry Team Member and the Changing Organization

Toyota veteran and lean coach Lesa Nichols reflects on one of the most challenging and ultimately rewarding conversations she had…

Read article

Is momentum loss normal during a lean transformation?

Dear Gemba Coach: One of our outpatient wards reduced waiting time by 75% and got an award for their lean…

Read article

GTS6 + E3 = DNA (Break the Code for Standardization, Sustainability, and Kaizen)

There's no "formula" for doing Lean well, but there are principles and practices that keep you on track. Read Tracey…

Read article

Why Creating Products Customers Actually Want Requires a Great Process

80% of the cost (and hence, waste) is committed for a new product or service by the time product designs…

Read article

How do we solicit feedback from the shop floor without being overwhelmed by the enormous amount of ideas?

Dear Gemba Coach: I think we all know that the "suggestion box" has gone by the wayside.  How do we…

Read article

Grasping the Real Situation

Emmanuel Jallas visits a well-respected company that is vocal about its lean transformation. Upon further investigation he finds that like…

Read article

The Five Poisons of Big Company Disease

What's "big company disease"? The tendency of any large company to worry about clearly defined territories, rules and procedures, and…

Read article

What Should Lean Mean to Us?

Brent Wahba offers lean beginners a few tips for how to be most impactful. "If you are working on how…

Read article

Innovation at Smartphone Speed

Ever wonder what it takes to make those smartphone chips? Learn how IBM continuously improves smartphone technology using lean thinking…

Read article

Not a High-Volume Widget Manufacturer? Lean Still Makes Sense for High-Mix, Low-Volume Production

If your organization deals with a wide variety of products that incur fluctuating demand and your customers are ever increasing…

Read article

What Experience Tells Me About How Change Happens

Dave LaHote reflects on his earliest experiences learning lean thinking and practice. "We all became increasingly better at making improvements…

Read article

Want Your Organization to Survive Over the Long Haul? Value Process Over Results

"There are two ways to run your business," writes Doc Hall. "Focus on value, or focus on results... Interestingly, when…

Read article

Can creative people, like product developers, follow such a structured method such as lean?

Dear Gemba Coach: For product development you need creative (maybe even chaotic) people. Are those people suited to follow such…

Read article

Just-In-Time Roundup: Great Lean Reads from Across the Web (Vol. 2)

Check out our editors' picks for great lean reads you may have missed, featuring stories from The Atlantic, The New…

Read article

Using TWI Job Instruction to Supplement CDC Guidelines

"Healthcare organizations across the country have been implementing lean practice into their work, but not without some resistance," writes Patrick…

Read article

Jim Morgan on What It Takes to Transform An Organization’s Product Development System

Jim Morgan, Senior Advisor for Product and Process Development at LEI, shares his view of what's required for organizations to…

Read article

Digital Marketing: What’s the Problem?

"Digital marketers need to make sure their departments are working together and that [users] are brought into the decision-making process…

Read article

What do you actually do on the gemba?

Dear Gemba Coach: What is it you actually do on the gemba?

Read article

10 RULES FOR FAILING WITH TOYOTA KATA

Looking for tips to successfully practice the Improvement Kata and Coaching Kata in your organization? In this month's Kata SlideShare…

Watch video

Lean Thinking and Information Flow

"Most of my career has been spent on making the production floor more efficient, i.e. the delivery of a product,"…

Read article

For Distribution Managers, Lean Means a Sea Change in Roles

Making the leap to lean management in the warehouse or the supply chain requires the same kind of cultural shift…

Read article

Lean & Scrum: Complementary Methods with a Shared Lineage

Lean coach Steve Bell shares his thoughts on Jeff Sutherland's presentation at the Lean IT Summit earlier this month in…

Read article

My boss has asked me to take on the sensei role for the company. What does that mean?

Dear Gemba Coach: How do I become a sensei? My boss has asked me to act in the sensei role…

Read article

How To Get Out of the Habit of Telling

How do we get out of the habit of just “fixing” the immediate problem at hand ourselves (or telling others…

Read article

Keep It Simple: Value Stream Map at the Gemba

Sometimes we build value stream mapping up to be a much bigger process than it needs to be, forgetting to…

Read article

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

"What the leader demonstrates as important is what the team will focus on," writes Erin Urban. "If we are to…

Read article

How is standardized work different from the Taylorist one best way?

Dear Gemba Coach: How is standardized work different from the Taylorist one best way?

Read article

Lean Thinking for Warehousing and Distribution: How to Know Your Business

"The vast majority of warehouse or distribution center managers have nowhere near the level of detail about the business that’s…

Read article

Think You Know Your Warehouse or Distribution Center? Think Again

The vast majority of warehouse or distribution center managers have nowhere near the level of detail about the business that’s…

Read article

I Don’t Know What I Don’t Know, But Spread the Word

In her first piece for the Post, Lesa Nichols reflects on one of her most powerful learning experiences while working…

Read article

Board Responsibilities and the Lean Management System

"A board needs to go far beyond checking performance measurements and actually hold senior leaders accountable for management systems and…

Read article

Leader Standard Work: Where to Start

Striving to be an effective lean leader or manager is well and good, but without the discipline of leader standard…

Read article

Just-In-Time Roundup: Great Lean Reads From Across the Web

We're trying something new on the Post rounding up some of the best or more interesting lean-themed articles from around…

Read article

What Does “Waste” in Government Processes Mean Anyway?

"It is commonplace in the US Federal Government to see placards and signs admonishing us to be on guard for…

Read article

Are You Managing People or Making Way for Their Creativity to Shine?

"The role of the [lean manager] entails three main parts: clear definition of goals; provision of significant and consistent feedback;…

Read article

How can I train technical experts who know more about the work than I do?

Dear Gemba Coach: I understand I have to train people, but I work in a very technical area and they…

Read article

EUROPEAN LEAN EDUCATOR CONFERENCE REMARKS

This month's SlideShare is composed of the slides and comments Mike Rother presented at the recent 'European Lean Educator Conference',…

Watch video

Front-loading Product Development

Anyone in product development is familiar with the agony of late-stage changes, sometimes called loopbacks. The common advice to head…

Read article

John Shook on Where Lean Thinking and Practice is Headed Today

LEI's John Shook shares his view of how and where lean thinking can be used most effectively today. Insights on…

Read article

Why Leadership and “Respect” Are Fundamentally Entwined

Hear the word "respect" and most of us can think of a time we've wanted our boss, team member, or…

Read article

Show Up On Time (And Other Instructions from a Cook)

Lean practitioner Matt LeVeque reflects on the concepts of 5S, (JIT) Just-in-Time, and "respect for people" throughout history.

Read article

How to Lead with Respect — Follow-Up Q&A to the Webinar

At the end of the lean management webinar “How to Lead with Respect,” we had a couple of hundred questions…

Read article

I’m a six sigma black belt and have now been ask to do lean. I’m not sure where to start with my team. Any advice?

Dear Gemba Coach,I’m a six sigma black belt and have now been ask to do lean. I’m reading the literature…