Administration & Support Articles
Building A Diverse and Capable Workforce from the Bottom Up
Combining lean thinking and practices with diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives builds more inclusive, engaged, and resilient businesses. Here's…Read article
How to Lead Physicians in Change
The Seattle Children's medical director of continuous improvement and innovation describes a successful method for standardizing — and improving —…Watch video
Integrating Finance into Operational Kaizen: The Operational Leader’s Perspective
Two lean practitioners explain how and why they include accounting and finance teams in all continuous improvement efforts.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
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
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 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Lean on Steroids: Why We Should Rely On Physical Measures, Not Financial Ones
"Lean has led me to question core business models, period," writes Doc Hall. "But while Lean focuses on improving a…Read article
Structured Experiments Into the Unknown
"For years we tried to find situations where we could apply lean tools," writes Linus Brodén of HP Tronic, an…Read article
"We in the Lean Community have no standing on whether a government should regulate any activity or provide any service,"…Read article
The Age of Manipulating Customers is Over
In his latest column for the Post, Boaz Tamir explains how the business landscape has changed since consumers have become…Read article
Short Stories and Quick Kaizens
Lean coach Danielle Blais continues to see opportunities for lean thinking just about everywhere she goes.Read article
Show Me the Money!
In his latest piece for the Post, Michael Ballé writes, "If we don’t get better at showing explicitly where the…Read article
The Thinking Behind Toyota’s Hiring Process
Lean coach Tracey Richardson reflects on Toyota's hiring process when she joined the company 28 years ago, why it was…Read article
Reducing Wasted Motion at a Conference: Collaborative Note Taking
Mark Graban reflects on the pros and cons of collaborative note-taking at conferences and offers up an invitation/experiment to Lean…Read article
A Real S&OP Opera
Have you been implementing Lean but are still losing money due to inconsistent customer demand? Well, don't blame the customer.…Read article
The Next Frontier: Lean Government
On a recent trip to Saskatchewan Dan Jones went looking for a Canadian healthcare example but in the process he…Read article
Alice Lee on the Challenges and Rewards of Applying Lean to Healthcare
Alice Lee, VP of Business Transformation at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, discusses BIDMC's unique application of lean…Watch video
When is technology in healthcare actually valuable?
Technology should support the worker (and the patient), not vice versa. Co-author of the book Perfecting Patient Journeys, Judy Worth,…Read article
Innovation Through Customer Collaboration
Lean Enterprise Institute faculty member Steve Bell shows you how to examine and improve your activities for learning the Voice…Watch video
What’s Really Underlying the Protests in Brazil?
The world looked on as protests and subsequent violence swept Brazil earlier in June. José Ferro explains the state's response…Read article
Lean Design and Construction Project an Extension of Lean Commitment at Akron Children’s Hospital
When the Ambulatory Surgery & Critical Care Tower opens in 2015, it will represent a three-year lean design and construction…View case study
Practicing Lean Fundamentals in an Office Environment
Applying lean principles in service organizations and administrative processes within manufacturing companies often confounds companies. Lean faculty member and author…Read article
Improving Information Technology Processes with Lean Principles: An Interview with Steve Bell
Steve Bell, a lean IT coach, practitioner, and author is a trailblazer in the use of lean to improve information…Read article
Lean Business-IT Integration, Part Five: Measurement – Finding Our True North
In the fifth article of a five-part series on Lean IT, LEI faculty member Steve Bell addresses measurement. Part One…Read article
Lean in Sales and Marketing — Addressing a Market Need: An Interview with Brent Wahba
A specialist in lean and problem-solving strategies and techniques, Brent Wahba is the author of The Fluff Cycle(And How to…Read article
Lean in Sales and Marketing
“Half my advertising budget is wasted – trouble is, I don’t know which half,” department store magnate and marketing pioneer,…Read article
Lean Business-IT Integration, Part Four: The Lean Learning Leader
In the fourth article of a five-part series on Lean IT, LEI faculty member Steve Bell addresses leadership and IT…Read article
How Can Our Back Office Sustain Lean?
Dear Gemba Coach: The improvement program at the back office of the bank where I am a lean facilitator is…Read article
Lean business-IT integration, Part Three: What is an integrated business-it value stream?
In this, the third article in a five part series on lean IT, LEI faculty member Steve Bell explores the…Read article
Lean Thinking Helps City of Chula Vista with Budget Crunch
After laying off 350 employees and still facing a continuing budget shortfall, the City of Chula Vista, CA, faced a…View case study
Lean Business-IT Integration, Part Two: Obstacles to Value-Stream Transformation
In this, the second of a five part series, LEI faculty member Steve Bell offers a framework to help overcome…Read article
Lean Business-IT Integration, Part One: Who Wants to Go Talk to IT About This One?
In this, the first of a five part series, LEI faculty member Steve Bell begins with the importance of lean…Read article
The Lean IT Challenge
View slides from the Lean IT workshop showing the roles IT can play in a successful lean transformation.Read article
What Is Information Waste?
Excess information — in our inboxes, hard drives, shared drives, intranet sites, data warehouses, etc., — is waste. This unnecessary…Read article
5S for Information
When a Lean Thinker asked how to apply the principles of 5S to the company server, Dan Markovitz responded with…Read article
Helpful Hints about Mapping off the Plant Floor in Support of Administrative Operations
Off the shop floor, the distinctions between material and information flows often blurs. Here are nine suggestions from LEI author…Read article
The Lean Service Machine
The Harvard Business Review details how Jefferson Pilot Financial applied lean principles to its insurance business, not only to cut…Read article
Creating the Course and Tools for a Lean Accounting System
A unit of Parker Hannifin used a financial kaizen and other lean accounting techniques to bridge the gaps between shop-floor…View case study
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
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 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
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 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 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
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
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
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
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
We need to think about redefining work. Until we – anyone who wishes to bring about organizational change – redefine…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
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
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
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
Too Much Information Can Destroy Effective Management
"A lean organization minimizes the amount of unnecessary 'junk' information and increases the amount of 'gold' (value-producing) information that is…Read article
Beyond Lean: Towards Compression Thinking
"Lean thinkers make things better by framing issues as Problems," writes Doc Hall. "Yet today our great challenges transcend corporate…Read article
Lean Communications: Why Old School is Cool
How often do you send an email when you could talk to somebody or pick up the phone? Read why…Read article
No Such Thing As a Funny Lean Joke?
Does a good lean joke exist? LEI staffer Josh Rapoza really wants to believe it's possible for Lean and humor…Read article
Starting Up, Growing Up, and Starting Over
In an essay first published in Gemba Walks (2nd Ed) and adapted for the Post, LEI founder and thought leader…Read article
Lean Transformation Starts with a Learning Culture
After attending a Lean Applied to Sales seminar, Tina Roach and Pete Mangan of ProMed Molded Products knew they needed…Read article
Continuously Improving Lean IT at Toyota
Pierre Masai, Vice President and Chief Information Officer of Toyota Motor Europe, weighs in on the changing face of Lean…Read article
WHO IS THE LEAN STAFF’S CUSTOMER?
If you want to succeed, figure out how you can improve your customer's life.Watch video
Do lean-minded finance professionals make a difference in appraising lean initiatives?
Dear Gemba Coach: I would like to ask lean-minded fellow finance professionals if they make a difference in appraising lean…Read article
Creating the Conditions for Effective Lean Learning
If lean is problem-solving and problem-solving is all about learning, lean practitioners must develop a learner's attitude in everything they…Read article
What Are the Different Types of A3s?
What are the different types of A3s and what are they used for?Read article
Value-Stream Mapping at FAA Office Improves Information Flow
Lean management principles and tools originated on the shop floor to improve manufacturing processes but in its first value-stream mapping…Read article
Fighting Cancer with Linear Accelerators and Accelerated Processes
A series of cross-functional lean improvement teams in the Radiation Oncology Department at the University of Michigan Health System (UMHS)…View case study
Creating Value or Shifting Wealth?
How do we judge the progress of the Lean Movement? One critical indicator is our success in extending lean thinking…Read article
Value-Stream Mapping in a Make-to-Order Environment
Tips from LEI author Mike Rother on applying value-stream mapping and continuous flow in high-variety, custom manufacturing environments.Read article
Competition Equals Lean?
Those of us in the lean movement know that even in highly competitive industries like autos, companies can go for…Read article
A Postcard — with Leadership Insights — from Nashville
A look back at LEI’s Lean Transformation Summit in 2018 shares a few tips from CEO keynoters on how to…Read article
Keep It Simple: Value-Stream Mapping at the Gemba
A veteran lean coach shares a story showing that even simple and quick value-stream mapping can be hugely helpful when…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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Leaders’ Actions Speak, but Their Talk Matters Too
How leaders talk to employees can either help or hurt efforts to create and sustain a culture of engagement and…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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
8 Tips for “Passing the Baton” with Suppliers and Customers
In a relay, the winning team isnít the one that runs the fastest leg, but the one that runs fastest…Read article
Why Skill-Based Learning is Harder Than You Think
Lean practitioner Joel Gross explains why skill-based learning (like learning how to problem solve using PDSA) requires active, hands-on practice…Read article
It’s About Best Practicing
"Just like practicing to learn to play an instrument, practicing the Improvement Kata helps us learn to view uncertainty more…Read article
We found your visit rather challenging … does “real” lean have to be such a struggle?
Dear Gemba Coach: The question I’m facing internally is whether “real” lean needs to be that challenging or is there…Read article
A Body Needs Skeleton and Muscle to Work
How do you create alignment across the organization when you have separate departments, value streams, and executives with conflicting priorities?…Read article
Leadership Q&A: Thomas Hartman, Senior Director, Autoliv Americas
From the LEI senior executive series on Lean Leadership: Autoliv’s Thomas Hartman describes the development of a lean problem solving…Read article
Challenge: Understand and Adapt for Sales Pace Growth
It's our first Lean Challenge post! Come up with a plan to help a machining business deal with the technical…Read article
Why One Startup Will Never “Change the World”
Nathan Rothstein, co-founder of Project Repat, calls for founders to stop pitching their companies as "world-changing" charitable organizations. Businesses should…Read article
How a Problem-Solving Culture Takes Root
Changing one's own leadership behaviors is no easy task, but it can be done. Leaders can shift away from giving…Read article
Managing By Not Wandering Around
“We’re still very early in our journey,” says Dan McDonnell, VP of Operational Excellence at Ingersoll Rand. “But we’re following…Read article
We are all trying to transform. That's what lean thinking and practice are all about: challenging us to reflect deeply…Read article
Problem Solving the Airlines
Rarely are process problems so clear as during the holidays! Have ideas for how to improve your air travel experience?…Read article
Lean Accounting’s Acceptance Makes Slow, Steady Headway in Academia
Professor Gerald DeBusk, PhD, winner of an Excellence in Lean Accounting Award from the Lean Enterprise Institute, reflects on the…Read article
Should I use an A3 report to kick off a problem-solving effort?
Dear Gemba Coach: Should I use an A3 report to kick off a problem? I encourage my managers to tell…Read article
Starting Points for Different Value Streams
No lean transformation story is the same. Read Dan Jones's take on gaining traction for lean learning within your organization…Read article
Part 2: What is the best lean way to understand VALUE (in terms of what our customers want)?
Dear Gemba Coach, What is the best lean way to understand VALUE (in terms of what our customers want)Read article
How do I convince senior management to visit the shop floor?
Dear Gemba Coach: How do I convince my senior management to get interested in our kaizen projects? In fact, how…Read article
What Is Your Purpose? Who Is Your Audience?
In this article, the third in a series of starting your A3, sensei David Verble suggest that you reflect more…Read article
Visual Management – the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Visualization is a good thing. We all know that. And many of us in the Lean Community practice it, to…Read article
It seems that lean these days is all about learning and coaching. What about the good ol’-fashioned just-in-time stuff of the earlier days?
Dear Gemba Coach: It seems that lean these days is all about learning and coaching. What about the good ol'-fashioned…Read article
Fulfillment-Stream Measurement Systems: Driving Action in Real Time
Derek Browning, a lean supply chain executive at LeanCor, takes time out from a lean logistics conference to answer questions…Read article
Performance versus costs, part 2
Dear Gemba Coach: I’ve read your recent column on performance versus cost with great interest, as I believe we’re currently having…Read article
Toyota Trouble: A Dialogue with Jeff Liker (AKA the Coffee Shop Talks)
With the appearance of Toyota's various quality and recall problems, Jeff Liker and I have been meeting in coffee shops…Read article
The Business Case for Kaizen
Dear Gemba Coach: I can see the benefits kaizen has brought our company, but find it hard to formulate the…Read article
So Long 2009 – Hello 2010!
Whew, what a year! Most everyone I know is eager to escort the hard times of 2009 out the door…Read article
5 Missing Pieces in Your Standardized Work (Part 1 of 3)
John Shook offers an overview of the five most frequent misunderstandings about this fundamental lean practice and expands on three…Read article
How Do We Reduce Costs with Lean?
Dear Gemba Coach: I have been asked to reduce the cost of a product by a significant amount. I believe…Read article
How Much Control Do I Need (and Need to Give Up) to Lead?
Dear Gemba Coach: I am interested in setting up a team for implementing lean. So far I have been trying…Read article
Gross Domestic Product Verses Gross Domestic Waste
I’ve always been fascinated by how humans count, especially the way we always seem to count the wrong things. Recently…Read article
The Big Opportunity
I started studying manufacturing performance††26 years ago this fall. We set out at MIT to perform the most exhaustive and…Read article
The Dramatic Spread of Lean Thinking
Without question, lean thinking was born in the factory. Then lean thinking spread to logistics, to tie supplier production tightly…Read article