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Respect for People: Making the Job Easier for Workers

How a lean mindset and practices are reining in workplace disruptions, minimizing workers’ physical aches and pains, and improving flow…

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Lead from the Front, Lead from Behind

In my last letter I alluded to a common view in the Lean Community – shared by the broader business…

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The Human Element of TWI (Training Within Industry)

"When I’ve taught the TWI courses in countries all over the world, from India to Malaysia to Mexico to Germany,…

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

Editor’s Note: This Lean Post is an updated version of an article published on January 15, 2021. It is the first of…

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Managing the Work from Startup to Scaleup

How one company tapped lean thinking and practice to design its business management system — and as a countermeasure to…

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Improving the Value-Creating Work of Building Data Centers Around the World

Microsoft's head of data center lean construction describes how applying lean thinking and practices helps work teams complete their work…

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How to Respond to the ‘Great Resignation’

A trip to the gemba reveals an overlooked management strategy that could be the most effective way to keep your…

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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…

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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.

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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,…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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.

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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.

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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?…

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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…

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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,…

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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"…

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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,…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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The Ingredients of Lean

Lean practitioner Steve Brenneman finds shared values in his Mennonite faith and his lean practice: a strong set of values…

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What Do Managers Do?

After walking the gemba with sensei Hideshi Yokoi, Matt Savas learned three basic agreements between workers and management, and shared…

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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…

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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,…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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The Escalator of Issues

A daily management system with daily performance metrics gives caregivers the sense that managers are really paying attention, that problems…

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Avoiding Dashboard Wallpaper

Build a system of dashboards up and down the organization, says Leslie Barker. Connect them so ideas flow upward and…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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.…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Is a lean team leader a manager?

Dear Gemba Coach: How is a team leader not a manager?

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Why Visualize?

Dear Gemba Coach: Why do you insist so much on visualizing information?

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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…

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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…

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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?…

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Manager-Employee Communication: What Neuroscience Tells Us

Delving deeper into how humans’ innate social need to be connected and accepted explains why and how a managers’ interactions…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Working on the Management

Effective daily management is still hard to achieve for most organizations, says Jim Womack. But until line managers start tackling…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Six Personal Kanban Habits to Avoid

Jim Benson, kanban specialist, shares the six most common mistakes found on kanban boards.

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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?

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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How can I speed up my team’s lean learning?

Dear Gemba Coach: How can I speed up my team’s lean learning?

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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.…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Intentional Respect

"Most organizations fail to intentionally balance the technical tools side with the social side of Lean," writes Mike Orzen. "People…

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Safety Through Gemba

"When I do a gemba walk, I don’t necessarily ask questions about safety," writes Brian Fitzpatrick (a director of Health…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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The Lean Power Stance

"Yoga is more than the physical movement of postures," writes Rachael McKay, an industrial engineer at lululemon athletica and yogi.…

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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.…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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?

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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…

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Effective Supervision 101

One of the biggest challenges for lean thinkers is translating lean thinking into lean doing, writes Stan Shaw. One of…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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What do you actually do on the gemba?

Dear Gemba Coach: What is it you actually do on the gemba?

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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…

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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…

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Closer Collaboration for a Leaner Planet

Roberto Priolo, editor of Planet Lean, makes the case for lean learning and collaboration across the globe.

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Coaching Effectively Within Takt Time

When time is of the essence and work just needs to be done, how do you help someone improve their…

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KATA CASE EXAMPLE – GKN SINTER METALS

This month's video is a case example of deploying the Improvement Kata & Coaching Kata. Wayne Meyer illustrates GKN's application,…

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Are computer screens okay for visual management?

Dear Gemba Coach: Can I use computer screens for visual management or is that a big no-no?

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Three Steps Toward Lean Culture Change

"Culture change typically isn’t greeted with open arms unless there is a crisis to provide a sense of urgency," writes…

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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…

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Monozukuri Through Hitozukuri

Michael Ballé reflects on what it really means to "make people before parts" and introduces two more lean terms that…

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How to Develop Lean Leaders and Still Get Work Done

Three years ago the leadership team at Cardinal Health asked LEI to help them create a program specifically designed to…

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Acting Your Way to Horizontal Thinking

In this keynote presentation from the 2013 AME conference, James Womack, founder of the nonprofit Lean Enterprise Institute, and Ingersoll-Rand…

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Catchball Helps Us Get Past We Versus They

When employees dread going to work every day, your company loses. Read what Tracey Richardson has to say about boosting…

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Create Your Fantasy Island Organizational Culture

What would your dream organizational culture look like? What about your fantasy lean transformation? Tracey Richardson shares her advice for…

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A Total Shift in Mindset

Lean thinking isn't easy to put into practice, particularly for beginners. Ghassan Saleh, lean engineer at MaineGeneral Medical Center in…

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It’s Your Career, Own the Work

If an employee doesn’t have a vision for his or her own career, strengths and weaknesses, and development needs, why…

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A Good Night’s Sleep

How often do you find yourself jumping to a solution without understanding the problem? If we're really interested in solving…

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Lean Consortium Delivers Great Ideas to Improve Your Business

A key suggestion about how to improve flow from lean consortium members spares Steel Tech the cost of buying a…

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WHO IS THE LEAN STAFF’S CUSTOMER?

If you want to succeed, figure out how you can improve your customer's life.

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Leading and Learning the Toyota Way

Lean coach and LEI faculty member, Tracey Richardson, tells us why a learner's attitude is essential for effective leadership and…

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Why Starting With a Model Area is Key to Lean Transformation

Lean coach Danielle Blais explains why starting small, with one team in one area, is so important to leading an…

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In your opinion, is lean thinking a common sense way of working or is it counterintuitive? What makes you think that?

Here are all the submissions to the community sound off question: "In your opinion, is lean thinking a common sense…

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Why don’t middle managers practice A3 thinking?

Dear Gemba Coach: I’m a lean consultant, and have been hired by a large service organization to develop an A3…

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What are the biggest obstacles you are facing in your lean journey?

Company culture, weak management support, lack of lean knowledge – even federal budget sequestration – were among the answers you…

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Operator morale has suffered terribly since we implemented cell manufacturing, and the ideas that kaizens generate have been weak. Would you please share your insights on this situation?

Dear Gemba Coach: Operator morale has suffered terribly since we implemented cell manufacturing, and the ideas that kaizens generate have…

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What is the best advice you ever got about implementing lean principles?

From time to time, the Lean Enterprise Institute asks Lean Community members to share their knowledge and experiences by "sounding…

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When problems arise, what helps you keep your focus on the work?

Learning how to create and adhere to management standard work requires a clear understanding of where all team members add…

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Lean Management’s Key Concepts

 The technical components and underlying philosophy of lean, based on the Toyota Production System (TPS), work together to create a…

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Don’t Just Do Lean; Be Lean

A lean transformation cannot be just one of 10 elements of your strategy, according to former Wiremold Company CEO Art…

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How can we reconcile the lean principle of respect for people with our disrespectful atmosphere?

Dear Gemba Coach: My company's lean program stigmatizes competent people as “concrete heads” for disagreeing with the lean coaches, even…

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Lean Consortia: Sharing Experiences, Learning from Others

Manufacturers, healthcare organizations, government agencies, and others gain powerful benefits through collaborative learning and networking in lean consortia. Consortium members…

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Kaizen vs. the Suggestion Box

Mark Graban’s new book, Healthcare Kaizen (Productivity Press), co-authored with Joe Swartz, has lots of examples and practical advice for…

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How Should We Relate Lean Projects to KPIs in a Large Company?

Dear Gemba Coach: We have started a continuous improvement process with dedicated lean experts at each site. Until now our…

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Can you help us define the role of team leader?

Dear Gemba Coach: My lean team is creating a team leader role, and we are struggling to define this function…

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How Do I Address Resistance From Middle Management?

Dear Gemba Coach: Why does middle management resist lean transformations; how can they be brought on board?

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Leading with GTS²

Lean leadership is ultimately about behaving--and in this article Tracey Richardson explains why GTS squared enables leaders to not just…

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Gemba and Quality

Dear Gemba Coach: We’ve made good progress on quality with Six Sigma, but we’ve reached a plateau. I’ve met a…

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Why Create Poka-yokes—and Why Disconnect Them?

I’m a manufacturing engineer and since I have started participating in kaizen workshops, I have noticed that production supervisors tend…

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Want A Problem Solving Culture? Try Leading From the Middle

I spent fifteen years working with Toyota in North American and Japan, and discovered first-hand one of the most powerful…

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Making People Before Making Products

Dear Gemba Coach: I keep hearing about “making people before making products” but I have a hard time visualizing what this…

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When should I push and when should I praise?

Dear Gemba Coach: I am in charge of a service activity and have started a lean approach with a sensei. In…

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Developing a Kaizen Consciousness with Shingo Prize winner Michael Balle

Michael Ballé, co-author of The Lean Manager, published by the Lean Enterprise Institute (LEI), cautioned in a podcast interview with Business…

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Where do I start?

Dear Gemba Coach: I'm the operations manager of a healthcare training company. We conduct technical training to nurses in hospitals. We've…

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How Can I Address the Conflict that Lean Creates?

Dear Gemba Coach, I have just finished reading The Lean Manager, and I was very taken by the chapter on…

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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…

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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…

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The Lean Manager (Chapter 1)

The Lean ManagerChapter OneCUSTOMERS FIRST“He’s closing the plant!”Closing the plant meant losing his job. Losing his job meant losing Malancourt.…

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Managing To Learn in Sloan Management Review

John Shook discusses Managing to Learn in two Sloan Management Review articles

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Is Your Technical Person a Technical Problem or a People Problem …?

John Shook discusses the need for both technical and social skills

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No Excuses

There has been much drive-by observation of lean operations over the years. A drive-by will unveil a fair amount of…

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What is Lean Management?

If lean thinking means a different approach to business, then it must also imply a different approach to managing by…

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The Big Mura and Mean Leanness

How can we have dramatic short-term gyrations in an economy whose business is to supply what a relatively constant number…

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The Value Stream Manager

Objectives of This Paper:The Lean Enterprise Institute receives many questions about how to select the right person to be the value-stream manager. In…

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The Truth Lies in the Lies of Fiction

Twenty years ago, while flying to a final vacation before the onset of children, I found myself reading Eli Goldratt's The…

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An LEI New Year’s Resolution: No Wallpaper!

I've resolved that in 2002 no one in the lean community will turn their value stream maps into corporate wallpaper…

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Unlocking Your Team’s Potential: Practical Methods for Developing People

People development is the foundation of the lean enterprise. The Lean Enterprise Institute explores how to lead, train, and coach…

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Are You Organized for Leadership?

LEI President Josh Howell reflect on a recent learning tour to Toyota and GE Appliances, sharing insights the group gathered…

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Ask Art: What Is the Biggest Cultural Change Barrier to Lean?

Art Byrne tackles the biggest cultural barrier to adopting lean practices in companies: the resistance of CEOs and senior management.

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How to Go to the Gemba: Go See, Ask Why, Show Respect

Here are some guidelines I use when doing a gemba walk as an outside advisor.

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Lean in One Drawing

An LEI faculty member explains in a brief video why it’s vital to view lean thinking and practice as a…

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Why You Need to Map the Extended Value Stream

This case study from the LEI workbook Seeing the Whole Value Stream shows how the practice can help businesses optimize…

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Expanding the Purpose of Catchball

Learn how catchball, the process of colleagues tossing ideas back and forth to improve them iteratively, helps get the job…

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Making Jobs Better

A case study in improving an operator's work

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How Organizations Can Increase Profitability While Improving the Work Environment

A restaurant’s management team discovers that enabling cooks to stay focused on value creation improves business performance and makes them…

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How the Toyota Way and Toyota Kata Fit Together

The author of The Toyota Way explains where Toyota Kata fits with Toyota’s broader management principles — and how each…

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A Lesson for Enabling Leaders and Systems

An executive's gemba visit reveals the value of engaging value-creating frontline workers in improving their work processes — and how…

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6 Things You Can Do to Become a More Effective Lean Leader

This collection of articles from Lean Coach David Verble examines how the way managers and leaders talk to employees (and…

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Ask Art: How Do You Create a Lean Culture?

The author of the best-selling books The Lean Turnaround and The Lean Turnaround Action Guide and former CEO of The…

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Lean’s Role in Labor Shortages and the Supply Chain

LEI leaders talk about recent blame thrown toward Lean in the supply chain, the rising labor shortage, NFT's, and more.

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Ask Art: I Want to Convert My Company to Lean. What Are the First Steps?

The former Wiremold CEO explains the commitment you must make— and the expectations you must set—when you start your continuous-improvement…

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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.

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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.

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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?…

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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…

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Why Creating Better Jobs and Improving Work Matters

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

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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,…

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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.…

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Visual Replenishment Delivers for Zingerman’s

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

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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,…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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%…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Creating a Learning and Improvement Environment in a Virtual World

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

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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…

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The Deeper Purpose of Problem-Solving

Why problem-solving in a lean setting is a unique opportunity to think about how we think and develop expertise where…

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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…

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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…

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The Power of Yokoten

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

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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…

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Changing Routines

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

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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5 Guiding Principles for Tailoring a Path to Lean Transformation

Learn from top healthcare leaders who are transforming their organizations through lean thinking and practice.

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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…

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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…

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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.…

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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,"…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Active Caring

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

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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?

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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,…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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?

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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…

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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?

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Can lean management help with toxic managers?

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

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Isn’t flow the ultimate aim of lean?

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

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Feeling the Gemba Magic

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

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Should A3s be used for solving organizational or technical problems?

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

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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,…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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How Standardized Work Integrates People with Process

In this three-part series, John Shook argues that "the Toyota Way is a socio-technical system on steroids" that brings together…

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“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…

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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,…

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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…

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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…

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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,…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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,…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Sensing the Gemba

The next time you show up at the gemba to do a “go and see,” take a personal assessment of…

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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…

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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…

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The Cascade of Hoshin

A recent gemba walk at a Toyota plant reveals how the company operationalizes its hoshin plan — in this case,…

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PD C+ A+ In the Classroom

Looking back on her time as a teacher through a lean lens, the author suggests how the process of education…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Rethinking the Model Line

The model line, once seen as the key to helping organizations learn and share lean thinking, has served a critical…

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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…

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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…

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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.

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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.…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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.…

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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…

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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.…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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What Too Many Leaders Get Wrong with Coaching Kata

Think you can dive headfirst into Coaching Kata with your direct reports? Think again.

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Real Respect Feels Like Knowing You’re Being Heard

To establish or strengthen a culture of engagement and continuous improvement, leaders must understand that genuinely listening to employees is…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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.…

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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…

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“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…

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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…

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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?

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Want to Be a Better Leader and Coach? Listen to Yourself

Conduct this simple two-step analysis to learn whether you’re practicing the communication behavior that encourages a culture of engagement and…

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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…

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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?

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Webinar: The Real Work of Management

The Real Work of Management webinar featuring Jim Lancaster, author of The Work Management.

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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What do you mean by developing people?

Dear Gemba Coach: What do you mean by developing people?

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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.…

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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.

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Getting to Sustainability

Sustaining gains from kaizen thinking is one of the hardest, and certainly most misunderstood, aspects of this work. It’s misunderstood…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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What are your three most important problems?

Dear Gemba Coacg: What should I look for during a gemba walk?

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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…

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Thinking About Thinking

Don't believe everything you think. Practice scientific thinking and test your assumptions, because every step is an experiment!

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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?

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“Simple Ain’t Easy”

The essence of lean is simplicity, argues Orry Fiume, a theme that applies not only to great organizations, but great…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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,"…

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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…

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The Crucible of Innovation

Innovation is key to a successful successful development project, we always read. But innovation is a fickle term that gets…

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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…

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We’re installing an andon system – what should we expect?

Dear Gemba Coach: We’re installing an andon system – what should we expect?

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Succeeding by Failing

People often wonder what exactly constitutes "success" in a lean journey - it's a longstanding question. Cam Ford has a…

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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…

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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”?

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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.…

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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…

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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,…

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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.…

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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,…

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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…

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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…

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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?

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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…

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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…

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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…

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What is the difference between standard work and procedures?

Dear Gemba Coach: What is the difference between standard work and procedures?

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Redefining Work

We need to think about redefining work. Until we – anyone who wishes to bring about organizational change – redefine…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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How is leadership engaged and trained in lean?

Dear Gemba Coach: How is leadership engaged and trained in lean?

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Is lean just another word for productivity?

Dear Gemba Coach: Isn’t lean about productivity before all else?

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Accidental Soccer Coach

When she's not working on graphic design projects, LEI's own Lory Moniz now coaches her son's soccer team. The assignment…

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How to Create a Culture of Accountability

"Over time, accountability has developed a negative connotation," writes Erin Urban. "But the truth is: we want accountable, responsible employees…

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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…

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A Lean Management System Starts with Senior Leaders

"From events, projects, and A3s to focusing on a lean management system, we’re discovering a new way to run and…

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How Lean Tools Support the Principle of Respect (Part 2)

We first met Andy Ward when he was struggling to save his plant from closure in The Lean Manager. Since…

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What’s new in your new novel “Lead With Respect”?

Dear Gemba Coach: I see that you have a new lean management novel out called “Lead With Respect.” What's new…

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Are We “Doing Lean” All Wrong?

"Somewhere in Ohio is a small healthcare management company that is the best Lean company, EVER," says Brent Wahba. Why?…

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What? My Pull System Is Supposed to Fail?

Dear Gemba Coach: We’ve given up on installing a pull system – every time we try, our on time delivery…

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Leadership Then and Now

John Shook and the Leaper look toward the future of leadership.

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THE JEFF LIKER KATA INTERVIEW

This month's post is an inspiring 20-minute video that anyone involved in Lean will find beneficial. On the 10th anniversary…

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TWI Job Instruction As a Way of Sharing High Value Knowledge

"Before we try to create value, we first need to study the jobs — looking for those parts of the…

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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…

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Reinforcing Lean Behavior Through Visual Management

"Without having a visual management perspective in place, it’s difficult for people to know what good is, what the standard…

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Value at the Imperial Grill

"The Imperial Grill was a lean enterprise, and my folks, lean thinkers, though they would simply call it common sense,"…

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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?…

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Autoliv: Giving Power to the People

A case study looks at how Autoliv developed and sustained a lean-problem solving culture and how this global company shares…

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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…

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“How ThedaCare Created Its Own Management System”, Follow-Up Q&A

Kim Barnas, author of Beyond Heroes: A Lean Management System for Healthcare, answers questions that we couldn't get to during…

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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…

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Ask Art: How Much Lean Training Should We Be Doing?

Why aren't more companies successful at Lean? Art Byrne says it has to do with an over-focus on planning and…

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Hanging Up My Cape

"Managers and front line workers hustle to work around problems resulting from poorly designed work systems... and with such pride!"…

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Which Side Are You On?

Lean is based on developing every person’s kaizen mind, writes Michael Ballé, "not asking them to thoughtlessly apply a best…

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Bringing Respect for People to the World’s Sweatshops

Jim Womack weighs in on how we might use lean thinking and practice to tackle the ongoing, systemic problem of…

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Why do you lean guys always focus on shop floor processes? The lack of clarity and focus at headquarters is far worse!

Dear Gemba Coach: Why do you lean guys always focus on shop floor processes? The lack of clarity and focus…

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Observe Without Expectations

What does it really mean to go to the gemba and closely observe the work that takes place there? Are…

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Sustain Your Lean Business System with a “Golden Triangle”

When medical device maker Phase 2 fought off an overseas challenge by meeting the global price, margins took a big…

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Think Like Judoka

"Resistance in an organization can be a daunting foe to even the most highly skilled Lean practitioners," writes Joel Gross.…

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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…

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Lead Lean by Being Lean

Lean just doesn't work if leaders don't actively, consistently demonstrate lean thinking themselves. In his first piece for the Post,…

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Effective Leaders Tackle Challenges Systematically

"It's not enough to simply set a challenge," writes Dario Spinola. "We need effective ways of working toward challenges." Read…

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Kaizen Power

In his latest piece for the Post, Michael Ballé explains why "humble 100x1% is better than 1x100% kaizen." This kind…

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In TPM, Isn’t it needlessly costly to replace parts that are working fine? What do you think?

Dear Gemba Coach: I have a question about Total Productive Maintenance. My management has hired a TPM consultant who makes…

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Thinking Outside the Pyramid

Machiavelli said it's better to be feared than loved. Lean practitioner Daniel Fisher rejects this idea and argues it’s better…

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Bridging Two Lean Communities

Two very different lean communities came together when Eric Ries and LEI's John Shook participated in the Lean Startup pre-conference…

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My CEO would like to install a lean culture and has asked me to specify a few basic lean values we need to implement. Where should I start?

Dear Gemba Coach: My CEO would like to install a lean culture in our company and has asked me to…

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One Simple Thing You Can Do To Improve Your Coaching

When you put people on the defense, you miss out on a lot more than improved performance and results. Tracey…

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Managing to Reboot Leadership

"Despite sweeping changes to the business environment and real threats to organizational sustainability, too many managers remain stuck in traditional…

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Getting the Most Out of the 5 Whys

Are your 5 Whys leading you to dead ends? Emmanuel Jallas has some advice on how to really get to…

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How do I re-size supermarkets when demand changes or to keep pace with seasonality?

Dear Gemba Coach: How do I calculate re-sizing supermarkets when demand changes or to keep pace with seasonality?

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Adding Flavor to the Gemba Using SALT

Dr. Grant Greenberg, Associate Medical Director for Quality for the University of Michigan Faculty Group Practice, has come up with…

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Fighting fires vs. problem solving: what’s the difference?

Dear Gemba Coach: I hear that lean is about less fighting fires and more problem solving but I am unsure…

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Do you use Japanese terms in your lean transformation or purposely avoid them? Why?

Recently we asked our community "Do you use Japanese terms in your lean transformation or purposely avoid them? Why?" Below…

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Can a pull system with zero stock make the company more fragile?

Dear Gemba Coach: Can a pull system with zero stock make the company more fragile?

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No Really, Go to the Gemba

LEI coach Danielle Blais explains why it's so important for lean coaches, leaders, and all managers to regularly visit the…

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Lean Starts With the Need to Achieve

"The first step in a lean implementation is to identify employees with an intense desire to achieve," writes lean practitioner…

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Why reduce inventory further?

Dear Gemba Coach,We have a lot of machining operations in our process, and we carry inventory. What is the best…

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What do effective leaders actually do every day? GTS4

So many of us know the value of lean thinking and practice, but what do lean leaders actually do every…

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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…

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The Virtue of Small Data

"Small Data can be found everywhere, with every customer transaction and interaction," writes LEI faculty member and Lean IT expert…

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Emergency Departments Use Lean Principles in an Effort to Perfect Patient Journeys

Sixty hospital emergency departments in Michigan formed a collaborative to apply the value-stream improvement methodology to cut the length of…

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The Challenge in Providing Challenging Work

LEI's Mark Reich chimes in on the discussion of how to most effectively manage and coach the young generation of…

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Why aren’t the laws of lean articulated?

Dear Gemba Coach: Aren’t there laws of lean, just as there are laws of physics? And why aren’t these clearly…

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Why Are There So Many Points of View About What Lean Is?

Dear Gemba Coach: I’ve been interested in lean for over two years now, and can’t quite understand why after 20…

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When a Passion for Caring Becomes a Commitment to Process Improvement: Judy Worth and Karl Ohaus on Lean Thinking for Healthcare Organizations

LEI interviews lean practitioners and co-authors of Perfecting Patient Journeys Judy Worth and Karl Ohaus about the potential for lean…

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How do we get started with standard work?

How do we get started with standard work? The literature seems to say there can’t be meaningful kaizen without standards,…

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Why won’t senseis ever give a straight answer?

Dear Gemba Coach: Why won’t senseis ever give a straight answer?

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Why audit standard work? And what is the best approach?

Dear Gemba Coach: Can you help me determine the best way to conduct audits of standard work (SW)? The Toyota…

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Who Owns Your A3? (Part Two)

In this second of two columns, Mark Reich explains why people must own their A3 reports as a means of…

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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…

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Jim Womack on Lean Tools As Tools for Creativity

In this video, LEI founder and senior advisor Jim Womack answers the question: "What challenge do you think the lean…

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Where Lean Leadership Begins

As with all lean practice, leadership begins with grasping the current state. For lean leaders that means understanding the external…

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How do we mid-level managers convince the CEO and senior management that adopting lean practices is worthwhile?

Dear Gemba Coach: The recent webinar on the business case for lean was particularly useful for us because it raised…

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Anatomy of a Lean Leader (Introduction)

For 30 years, Jerry Bussell studied leadership while bringing lean practices to companies such as Medtronic and becoming a passionate,…

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How Do the Problems of Continuous Improvement Professionals Differ from Those of Line Managers

Dear Gemba Coach: How do the lean-related problems or responsibilities of ci professionals differ from those of line managers or business…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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What is Your Line of Sight?

Coach Tracey Richardson explains why having a line of sight aligns you with the organizations purpose, and helps you determine…

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How Do I Plan for the Long Term?

Dear Gemba Coach: I don’t know how to plan for two or five years out. As a plant manager, my…

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Engineering Checklists

Dear Gemba Coach: How do I apply standardized work to product development?

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How Many Whys Should I Ask?

Coach Tracey Richardson explains just how many whys to ask when conducting 5 Why analysis.

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How to Change a Culture: Lessons From NUMMI

The editors of MIT Sloan Management Review honored LEI CEO John Shook with the 2011 Beckhard Memorial Award for the…

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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…

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What Are the Different Types of A3s?

What are the different types of A3s and what are they used for?

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Method vs. Tool

Dear Gemba Coach: I think that TPM, JIT, SMED, Heijunka are methods and the 5S, VSM Kaizen are tools.  Perhaps…

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Getting Over Gemba-phobia

“I work in a company where leaders think gemba walks are scheduled visits to the factory to look at performance…

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For Lean Thinkers, “Clutch” Offers Lessons in Planning and Leading

Read an excerpt from Paul Sullivan's new book Clutch: Why Some People Excel Under Pressure and Others Don't, discussing what…

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Standards vs. Standardization

Dear Gemba Coach: We’re often told that “there can be no kaizen without standards.” But when do you start when there…

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The Trouble with Lean Experts

Dear Gemba Coach: I run a Lean Promotion Office (LPO)  and my team mostly conducts kaizen events across the company. We…

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Follow-up Q & A to the Webinar “Integrating Leader Standard Work with Visual Management Tools”

This webinar was one of our most popular and highly rated. From among the hundreds of questions that we received…

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A Fundamental Question

As I continue to visit your gemba and receive emails (over 500 and counting since I started in September), I…

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LEAN = TPS {KAIZEN + RESPECT}

Dear Gemba Coach: In the webinar, you’ve defined LEAN = KAIZEN + RESPECT. Isn’t it simplistic? Is that all there is…

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Follow-up Q&A to the Webinar “Lean Logistics and Supply Chain Networks: 8 Guiding Principles”

The Lean Enterprise Institute's webinar "Lean Logistics & Supply Chain Networks: 8 Guiding Principles" drew hundreds of questions from Lean…

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Follow-up Q&A to the Webinar: On the Mend – Changing a healthcare organizational culture to continuous improvement

The lean healthcare webinar “On the Mend: Changing a healthcare organizational culture to continuous improvement” drew an engaged audience that…

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Mutual Assistance Teamwork

Toshiko Narusawa, co-author with John Shook of Kaizen Express, illustrates Taiichi Ohno’s comparison of workplace teamwork to passing a baton.…

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How Does Pull Relate to Problem-Solving?

Dear Gemba Coach: I’ve been following the exchanges on The Lean Edge with great interest, and all the lean authors…

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How Can One Be A Better Sensei?

Dear Gemba Coach,Our operations VP is disappointed with our lean program. Despite his close personal involvement with the program, it…

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Standardized Work in Machine-Intensive Processes

Dear Gemba Coach,Most lean literature and case studies to date focus on assembly type manufacturing which utilizes very people-intensive operations.…

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Homicide by Example?

My LEI colleague Dave LaHote is fond of saying that managers - and especially senior managers - overestimate their effectiveness,…

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What Should I Be Looking For?

Dear Gemba Coach: I’ve just started working with lean with my team, and we’re doing a value-stream mapping project with a…

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Standards at workstations

Dear Gemba Coach: Our corporate production system asks us to post standard work at workstations, but we feel that the paperwork…

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Should I pursue waste elimination or lead-time reduction?

Dear Gemba Coach: We’re having a heated debate in our company over whether to pursue cost reduction through waste elimination by…

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The End Of The Line For GM-Toyota Joint Venture

LEI Founder and Chairman Jim Womack and Senior Advisor John Shook are among the key experts interviewed for this look at the…

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Is Toyota No Longer a Guiding Light?

Dear Gemba Coach: I'm the lean manager of a mid-sized company, and have been getting teased by many folks about Toyota's…

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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…

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It’s Not the Crisis; It’s How You Respond to It

He probably didn't ask for a problem of quite this magnitude, but like it or not, Akio Toyoda has his…

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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…

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Is Lean Scientific?

Dear Gemba Coach: I often hear that lean is like the scientific method. As a lean consultant, I facilitate kaizen events,…

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What Role Should a Quality Department Play in a Lean Organization?

Dear Gemba Coach: How can you improve quality overall while reducing the number of people who are developing policies, supporting…

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Five Missing Pieces in Your Standardized Work (Part 3 of 3)

John Shook circles back to offer an outline of how standardized work serves your Purpose, Process, and People, which can…

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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…

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Signs of Progress

Dear Gemba Coach: We've been doing lean for several years now, and the program has had its ups and downs.…

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You Gotta Have Wa

In July, just prior to the Major League All Star break, I introduced you to The Mental ABCs of Baseball.…

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5S Again and Again and Again

Dear Gemba Coach,†I've just inherited responsibility for our 5S efforts in our company. Any suggestions for how I can get…

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Michikazu Tanaka of Daihatsu on “What I Learned from Taiichi Ohno”

This week (and in some future columns as well, no doubt) I’ll indulge my deep interest in the history of…

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Forward to Fundamentals Webinar with John Shook and Jim Womack, Written Transcript

In recent years, most discussions around lean transformation have understandably evolved toward more managerial and strategic matters. Yet there remains…

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And You Forgot About Overproduction

John Shook discusses waste - specifically, overproduction

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GM Veteran Lou Farinola Responds to, “Why hasn’t GM learned from NUMMI?”

John Shook discusses how GM learned from NUMMI with a former GM executive

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Mega Mura Bubble Trouble

I started writing my monthly e-letter in October of 2001 to speak to the worries of the Lean Community as…

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The Worst Form of Muda

One of the souvenirs I collect on my visits to different countries is special reasons why lean is impossible in…

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From Staffs Conducting Programs to Line Managers Solving Problems

Jim Womack, founder and senior advisor of LEI, introduces the concept of 'touzen'—kaizen that should not have been necessary.

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Respect for People

For years I've visited companies where "respect for people" is a core element of the corporate philosophy. So I've asked…

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Ten Years and Counting

What do we at LEI -- and in the whole lean movement -- need to do now? This is the…

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Why Toyota Won and How Toyota Can Lose

Simon & Schuster has just re-issued The Machine That Changed the World, which Dan Jones, Dan Roos, and I co-authored…

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Little and Often

I still encounter a degree of confusion about one of the key mental models that gets in the way of…

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More Thinking About Lean Transformation

Recently we at the Lean Enterprise Institute have started a new research project trying to answer a simple question: “What…

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The Lean Way Forward at Ford

I’ve been reflecting on today’s remarkable headlines about the latest retreat by the Ford Motor Company as part of its…

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Lean Thinking: A Look Back and a Look Forward

The meaning of lean thinking, how lean got its name, and an example of how it improved a grinding process…

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Mura, Muri, Muda?

Twenty years ago this month, when my first daughter was born, the young men I supervised in MIT’s International Motor…

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Change in Implementation Approach Opens the Door at EMCO to Greater Gains in Less Time

Many lean thinkers ask how they can accelerate the pace of a transformation or spread it to other facilities. EMCO…

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Necessary But Not Sufficient

One of the hardest things in my line of work is seeing a company make enormous strides in getting lean…

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Lean Information Management

Recently I was walking through a manufacturing operation and found myself wondering about the principles of lean information management, in…

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The Backbone of Lean in the Back Shops

Learn why the lean concept of every part, every interval (EPEI) is the “backbone” of lean in this aerospace machine…

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The Wonder of Level Pull

Many years ago in Toyota City I first witnessed the twin concepts of level production and the smooth pull of…

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Lean Transformation Lives and Dies With Tools and Dies

The story of The Wiremold Company's lean transformation is familiar to many Lean Thinkers. But what isn't as well known…

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Lean Thinking Therapy Spreads Beyond the Shop

Medtronic Xomed expanded the lean transformation beyond the shop floor to areas such as international distribution, product development, and domestic…

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The Beginner’s Guide To Lean

Toyota has just overtaken Ford as number two in the global motor industry, and at the Tokyo motor show confirmed…

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Dueling Sensei and the Need for a Standard Operating System

Recently I witnessed a sight I’ve seen too many times before.  I was visiting a company when a new sensei…

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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…

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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…

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Discovering the True Value of the A3 Process

The challenge with the A3 process isn’t in learning to write an A3 report; it’s in understanding how to use…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Emerging Stronger

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

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Standardize Locally

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

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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,…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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.…

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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,…

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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…

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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?

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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?

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Lean Roundup: Jidoka

"Jidoka captures the principle of building quality into the production process—of designing work so that the people making the product…

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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…

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What are the elements of knowledge-based product development?

Dear Gemba Coach, What would be a knowledge-based approach to product development?

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Innovation in the Work

LEI's chairman explores the meaning of “innovation” and lean thinking’s relationship to it, bringing a fresh perspective to challenge traditional…

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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…

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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…

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Why Yoda Was Wrong

Aspects of lean can be found almost anywhere - even in a galaxy far, far away. Inspired by a new…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Focus: Process or Results?

"We cannot improve results “directly," writes LEI faculty member Orry Fiume. "It can only be achieved by improving those processes…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Tough Empathy

"When grasping the situation we always focus in on the process... What about grasping the situation as it relates to…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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How do you protect jobs while reducing lines and shifts?

Dear Gemba Coach: How do you protect jobs while reducing lines and shifts?

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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…

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Innovation at Smartphone Speed

Ever wonder what it takes to make those smartphone chips? Learn how IBM continuously improves smartphone technology using lean thinking…

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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…

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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…

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The Biggest Waste of All

"We can fix [problem symptoms] with basic lean thinking and tools, but unless our strategy is good, we will still…

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Gemba Walks: Are You Going To See or To Be Seen?

"Supervisors talked about the significant improvements they were making as a result of kaizen events," writes Dave LaHote, "But all…

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Building Capability, Transforming Organizations

How do we improve ourselves as coaches while developing the problem solving capabilities of others? Lean coach Katie Anderson suggests…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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The Leader’s Dilemma: Becoming a Learner

We build leaders up to be all-knowing, but leaders who act as 'knowers' (as opposed to learners) actually limit their…

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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…

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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…

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What’s the main quality I should look out for in hiring a lean coach?

Dear Gemba Coach: I’m in the process of hiring a Lean Coach for my team and I wondered if there…

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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…

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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…

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Transforming Transformation

We are all trying to transform. That's what lean thinking and practice are all about: challenging us to reflect deeply…

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Why do you lean experts still revere the Toyota Production System? Hasn’t any one come up with something better?

Dear Gemba Coach,Since Toyota formulated TPS 50 years ago, many other companies have come up with their own business systems…

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What happens after the lean coach leaves?

As a lean coach, after you move to a new management assignment, finish a training course, or run several kaizen…

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Get On Your Sneakers and Start Conversations, Learning How to Create End-to-End Excellence

Take a (gemba) walk on the sustainable improvement side with Ingersoll Rand.

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Standardized Vacation

Mark Donovan, co-founder of the women's knitwear company Wooden Ships, proposes that we all consider vacation as a standardized method…

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An Interview with Executive and Lean Practitioner Gary Berndt

Gary Berndt, who has led lean transformations in a variety of companies, answers questions about connecting lean efforts to strategy…

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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…

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Follow-up Q & A to the Webinar “Getting to Everyday Improvement: How to Connect the Science and Culture of Problem Solving”

A follow-up Q&A with presenters Judy Worth and Beau Keyte for the Lean Enterprise Institute's webinar on Getting to Everyday Improvement.

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Don’t Call It…Anything

Would lean be easier to teach and learn if it weren't called lean? If in fact it weren't labeled at…

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How Do I Reduce Buffers To Zero?

Dear Gemba CoachI run an assembly line for service station equipment. Our product is customized for each customer so we…

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Can Hospitals Reap the Deeper Benefits of Lean?

Dear Gemba Coach: As Health Systems globally wrestle with skyrocketing healthcare costs, many hospitals are jumping on the lean bandwagon,…

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Are lean principles universal?

Dear Gemba Coach: Can we really consider Lean principles as Universal? I am currently working on a case study about…

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How Can Lean Take Root in a Crappy Culture?

Dear Gemba Coach: I've done a lot of working with lean, and recently started my first coaching/consulting gig. And while…

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Leadership Q&A: Bill Hopkins, Akron Children’s Hospital board member and former vice president, technology/strategic initiatives, at Goodyear

From the LEI senior executive series on lean leadership:Hopkins on why Akron Children’s Hospital leadership decided to implement lean process…

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Are You Pulling?

Dear Gemba Coach:  We’ve made a substantial effort in training all our operators to standardized work (SW) by deploying Training Within…

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The Joy of a Greenfield

Last spring on a trip to Central America, I encountered that wonderful sight for process improvers, a “greenfield”. And I…

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The Tipping Point?

Early efforts to apply lean principles to healthcare faltered and for many years the challenge seemed to be too great.…

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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…

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How Come Toyota Veterans Don’t Use a Roadmap?

Dear Gemba Coach: Recently I spent a few months working with Toyota veterans at an automotive supplier. I was surprised…

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Do Managers “Get” Lean?

Dear Gemba Coach: You mentioned during the webinar that plant tours reveal how well managers 'get' lean. Can you be…

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Five Missing Pieces in Your Standardized Work (Part 2 of 3)

John Shook delves more deeply into two of the five most often neglected elements, demonstrating the importance of practice and…

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Toyota’s Secret: The A3 Report

The A3 report, with its logical series of boxes and graphics, looks simple in layout but the underlying thought process…

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Forward to Fundamentals Redux – Kaizen Express

Thanks to those of you who joined last week’s webinar. We had some great questions, only a few of which…

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Back to Basics

I often take advantage of relaxing holiday time to go over old things, take care of less pressing matters that…

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It Takes 2 (or more) to A3

No one can create a useful A3 in isolation. It takes at least two individuals and often many more. Developing…

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What Lean Thinkers Think About The Gold Mine

Questions and comments†from readers to co-author Michael BallÈ about his book The Gold Mine.

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Columbus Public Schools Use Process Thinking to Improve Academic Achievement

Principals and staff at Columbus, Ohio, schools created current states and future states of a diagnostic testing process in order to identify students'…

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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.

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The A3 as a PDCA Storyboard

Thanks to Dave LaHote for sharing this PowerPoint that explains what an A3 is and how it can be used.…

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Adding Cost or Creating Value?

I was out on tour this past week, listening to companies' stories as they try to achieve a "lean" transformation.…

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