Question of the moment
The Lean Edge: How do you make time for improvements?
As CEO of my company I have a grasp of lean and have experienced it in my career, but now that I'm CEO, I find it difficult to ask my people to make time for improvement work. They’re already completely busy doing their regular work. Moreover, this company is in the outdoor sports industry, and many people join these companies because they want time to climb, backpack, canoe, etc., and I'm reluctant to ask them to work more hours and sacrifice time for these activities. Any advice?
Posted on March 28, 2014
Michael Balle

Michael Ballé: Lean is the strategy!

By Michael Balle, co-author of The Gold Mine and The Lean Manager - Last updated: Tuesday, April 22, 2014
The CEOs I know that have visible success with lean don’t see lean as something you do when you finally get around to it. They see lean as their strategy. There is an interesting Ohno comment about visiting the gemba doing more harm than good is work standards are not visible. Certainly, one of the main risks of managing by walking around is focusing on what people are doing right there ...

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Pascal Dennis

Pascal Dennis: Kaizen is the work

By Pascal Dennis, Author of Getting The Right Things Done, Lean Production Simplified, and Andy & Me - Last updated: Monday, April 7, 2014
Building on Dave’s excellent insights, who has time for the hugely wasteful & mechanical ‘five-day kaizen events’? Dave’s suggested 1-hour-per-week Quality Circle is not only more time-efficient, but reinforces the central TPS principle: Kaizen is the work. Absent of this core principle, is Lean any more than a set of tools? If we accept it though, Lean comes to life and allows us to take on more & more complex ...

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Art Smalley

Art Smalley: This is honestly more about leadership than lean

By Art Smalley, author of Creating Level Pull. Co-author of A3 Thinking and Kaizen Methods: Six Steps to Improvement - Last updated: Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Be forewarned - this response may come off as a somewhat brutal but I was frankly appalled by parts of the above question. Maybe I am just getting old and cranky? If so you have my apologies in advance. In order to explain my extremely visceral reaction to the submitted question I will address the statements made one by one for clarity. For starters you state that “As CEO of my ...

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David Meier

Dave Meier: In Toyota improvement ideas and efforts were expected but voluntary

By David Meier, - Last updated: Wednesday, April 2, 2014
As CEO of my company I have a grasp of lean and have experienced it in my career, but now that I'm CEO, I find it difficult to ask my people to make time for improvement work. They’re already completely busy doing their regular work. Moreover, this company is in the outdoor sports industry, and many people join these companies because they want time to climb, backpack, canoe, etc., and ...

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Samuel Obara

Sammy Obara: Conitnuous improvement is more than repetitive improvement

By Samuel Obara, Co-author of 'Toyota by Toyota: Reflections from the Inside Leaders on the Techniques That Revolutionized the Industry' - Last updated: Wednesday, April 2, 2014
As CEO of my company I have a grasp of lean and have experienced it in my career, but now that I'm CEO, I find it difficult to ask my people to make time for improvement work. They’re already completely busy doing their regular work. Moreover, this company is in the outdoor sports industry, and many people join these companies because they want time to climb, backpack, canoe, etc., and ...

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Jon Miller

Jon Miller: No Time for Kaizen? Check Your Assumptions

By Jon Miller, Author of 'Creating a Kaizen Culture' and the 'Gemba Panta Rei" blog - Last updated: Sunday, March 30, 2014
The Lean Edge: How do you make time for improvements? As CEO of my company I have a grasp of lean and have experienced it in my career, but now that I'm CEO, I find it difficult to ask my people to make time for improvement work. They’re already completely busy doing their regular work. Moreover, this company is in the outdoor sports industry, and many people join these companies because ...

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Mark Graban

Mark Graban: No time for improvement? Then find time

By Mark Graban, Author of the 'Lean Hospitals: Improving Quality, Patient Safety, and Employee Satisfaction,' winner of the Shingo Prize in 2009. Creator of leanblog.org, and Senior Fellow at the Lean Enterprise Institute. On twitter as @leanblog. - Last updated: Sunday, March 30, 2014
The Lean Edge: How do you make time for improvements? As CEO of my company I have a grasp of lean and have experienced it in my career, but now that I'm CEO, I find it difficult to ask my people to make time for improvement work. They’re already completely busy doing their regular work. Moreover, this company is in the outdoor sports industry, and many people join these companies because ...

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Karen Martin

Karen Martin: Start the conversation

By Karen Martin, Author of "The Outstanding Organization" - Last updated: Sunday, March 30, 2014
The Lean Edge: How do you make time for improvements? As CEO of my company I have a grasp of lean and have experienced it in my career, but now that I'm CEO, I find it difficult to ask my people to make time for improvement work. They’re already completely busy doing their regular work. Moreover, this company is in the outdoor sports industry, and many people join these companies because ...

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Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: The key is to learn to level the workload for improvement

By Jeff Liker, author of The Toyota Way and co-author of Toyota Product Development System and Toyota Under Fire - Last updated: Sunday, March 30, 2014
The Lean Edge: How do you make time for improvements? As CEO of my company I have a grasp of lean and have experienced it in my career, but now that I'm CEO, I find it difficult to ask my people to make time for improvement work. They’re already completely busy doing their regular work. Moreover, this company is in the outdoor sports industry, and many people join these companies because ...

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Tracey Richardson

Tracey Richardson: If you don’t have time to do it right first time, when will you have time to do it over?

By Tracey Richardson, - Last updated: Friday, March 28, 2014
The Lean Edge: How do you make time for improvements? As CEO of my company I have a grasp of lean and have experienced it in my career, but now that I'm CEO, I find it difficult to ask my people to make time for improvement work. They’re already completely busy doing their regular work. Moreover, this company is in the outdoor sports industry, and many people join these companies because ...

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The Lean Edge

The Lean Edge: How do you make time for improvements?

By The Lean Edge, - Last updated: Friday, March 28, 2014
As CEO of my company I have a grasp of lean and have experienced it in my career, but now that I'm CEO, I find it difficult to ask my people to make time for improvement work. They’re already completely busy doing their regular work. Moreover, this company is in the outdoor sports industry, and many people join these companies because they want time to climb, backpack, canoe, etc., and ...

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Steven Spear

Steve Spear: How do temps fit in with See, Solve, Sustain, Spread

By Steven Spear, Author of 'The High-Velocity Edge' and 'Chasing the Rabbit' - Last updated: Sunday, March 23, 2014
Whether or not temporary workers are a benefit or a hinderance to an organization depends on how senior leadership chooses to employ them. First, we have to recognize that certain sectors have large fluctuations in work load——isn’t HR Block the single largest employer of temporary workers each tax season——that flexing headcount is unavoidable. Second, let’s recognize the dynamics by which exceptional performance altitude is achieved. It depends on having a steep ...

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Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: A variable employee base (temps) is necessary to provide stable employment through the major ups and downs of the market

By Jeff Liker, author of The Toyota Way and co-author of Toyota Product Development System and Toyota Under Fire - Last updated: Tuesday, March 18, 2014
First off there is no real “lean stand” on this issue and perhaps no lean stand on much of anything as lean means so many different things to different people. Second, speaking strictly about The Toyota Way the two pillars are respect for people and continuous improvement. In order to accomplish respect for people as partners in the business, and invest the time it takes to develop their capabilities to ...

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Michael Balle

Michael Ballé: Start with the person and learn with them

By Michael Balle, co-author of The Gold Mine and The Lean Manager - Last updated: Sunday, March 16, 2014
Let’s look at this differently: let’s not start by wondering how to most efficiently organize temp labor, but let’s start from the fact that temporary workers are persons, just like any one else that works in the firm. Temporary workers are an essential part of the lean system because they help us be more flexible to volume variations no one knows how to handle internally. Temporary workers add value. Temporary ...

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Tracey Richardson

Tracey Richardson: As a leader at any level 50% of your job is to develop your people

By Tracey Richardson, - Last updated: Friday, March 7, 2014
So being raised at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky (TMMK), I had the pleasure of seeing our temporary worker program evolve over many years to meet the needs of the company in an ever-changing market. I was also fortunate to be involved in certain areas of curriculum and training in the mid 2000’s for the program. Internally the term “variable workforce” is often used which implies exactly ...

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The Lean Edge

The Lean Edge: What is the place of temporary workers in lean?

By The Lean Edge, - Last updated: Friday, March 7, 2014
Indeed, we know that Toyota works with temporary workers and engineers, but how does that fit with TPS and people development? What is the lean stand on temporary work?
Daniel T Jones

Dan Jones: Starting The Leadership Journey

By Daniel T Jones, Co-author of 'Lean Thinking' and 'The Machine That Changed the World' - Last updated: Monday, February 24, 2014
Let me add to all the excellent advice to start by building the problem solving capabilities to improve the processes or value streams that create value for customers. The one lesson I have learnt time and time again is that lean cannot be "done for you", you have to do it and lead it yourself. As the natural inclination of management is to reach for an expert to solve a ...

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Dave Brunt

Dave Brunt: lean transformation framework

By Dave Brunt, Co-author of "Creating Lean Dealers" - Last updated: Wednesday, February 19, 2014
With our colleagues at the Lean Enterprise Institute we at the Lean Enterprise Academy are constantly assessing how to articulate our approach to Lean Transformation. We use a house as a visual to articulate Lean Transformation and our view of what it takes. John Shook recently shared a video about this which you can watch here: http://www.lean.org/LeanPost/Posting.cfm?LeanPostId=135#.UvTSDf2KPLQ Firstly WHAT? A lean organisation attempts to create flow of value through systematic PDCA ...

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Samuel Obara

Sammy Obara: First aks yourself: “how not to start with lean”, then go find a good sensei

By Samuel Obara, Co-author of 'Toyota by Toyota: Reflections from the Inside Leaders on the Techniques That Revolutionized the Industry' - Last updated: Wednesday, February 12, 2014
The question on "how to start with lean" allows for a wide range of answers and perspectives, probably most or all of them correct. Without more background information, I guess a safe answer would be to find a good sensei. An easier question would have been how not to start with lean. Perhaps understanding that could be as helpful. Top places I believe you should never start: 1) learning how to use the ...

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Mike Rother

Mike Rother: Do You Want Type-I or Type-II Lean?

By Mike Rother, Author of Toyota Kata and co-author of Learning to See - Last updated: Sunday, February 9, 2014
Question:  How do I start with Lean? I think Michael Ballé is right to suggest you begin by asking, "What kind of Lean are we talking about?"  Specifically, you might first decide if you want Type I Lean or Type II Lean.  That decision will influence the spirit and everything you subsequently do to deploy Lean in your organization. Type I Lean is associated with increasing the efficiency of already-existing concepts of ...

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Jon Miller

Jon Miller: Get a good diagnosis

By Jon Miller, Author of 'Creating a Kaizen Culture' and the 'Gemba Panta Rei" blog - Last updated: Sunday, February 9, 2014
"How do I start with lean?" Loaded question. If you were a doctor and a new patient walked in and asked, "How do I get healthy?" what would you answer? Free advice has consequences. Pay to be asked some good questions. The might include... How will you be able to recognize lean culture? Why does your management want a lean culture? What behaviors does the management recognize today as non-lean? What level of personal commitment ...

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Michael Balle

Michael Ballé: Is it lean learning we’re talking about? Or lean squeezing?

By Michael Balle, co-author of The Gold Mine and The Lean Manager - Last updated: Saturday, February 8, 2014
It depends. What kind of lean are we talking about? First, there’s lean lite – you want to improve the operational performance of this or that process. In this case, find a consultant you can work with, do a model case, usually through mapping the existing process with a team and drawing out a future state process and then implementing it. Then, being convinced of the effectiveness of this approach (unless ...

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Karen Martin

Karen Martin: Start with a demonstration activity and engage the leadership team

By Karen Martin, Author of "The Outstanding Organization" - Last updated: Saturday, February 8, 2014
While I agree whole heartedly with all of the responses so far, I'm going to offer an alternative viewpoint from pragmatic perspective. Many of the organizations I've worked with that have made significant progress on the Lean journey, didn't begin with the ideal: "what problem do you want/need to solve?" In several cases, they had no idea what Lean was; they simply knew that they wanted to improve their performance. ...

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Steven Spear

Steven Spear: Start with a ‘model line’ so that leadership can learn to see and solve problems

By Steven Spear, Author of 'The High-Velocity Edge' and 'Chasing the Rabbit' - Last updated: Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Becoming an exceptional organization, one capable of short term reliability and longer term responsiveness and agility requires building skills that accelerate feedback, correction, and learning. The reliable mechanism is starting with a ‘model line’ incubator in which leadership is connected to creating and harnessing a problem seeing problems solving dynamic and then using that incubator as a developmental tool to propagate those skills broadly. PERFORMANCE LEVELS AS FUNCTION OF LEARNING ...

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Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: One of the first aims should be to develop people to use a systematic process for improvement

By Jeff Liker, author of The Toyota Way and co-author of Toyota Product Development System and Toyota Under Fire - Last updated: Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Many, many people have been in your situation. The top wants lean, which they have some understanding of from somewhere, and they want you to go get it. “Develop a plan. Find a consultant.” You are correct that there are almost as many flavors of lean as there are consultants. And who knows what flavor your management got exposed to from the conference they attended, or the board member, or ...

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Daniel Markovitz

Daniel Markovitz: Start by identifying a specific problem to solve

By Daniel Markovitz, Author of “A Factory of One" - Last updated: Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Start with lean by identifying a specific problem to solve — preferably one that has a serious impact on the company’s ability to serve its customers. One company I know that has made incredible strides started its journey with the president (upon seeing their D/C filled to the ceiling with unshipped goods), setting a corporate goal for same-day shipment of orders. Once a problem has been identified, I believe that ...

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Pascal Dennis

Pascal Dennis: What problem are we trying to solve?

By Pascal Dennis, Author of Getting The Right Things Done, Lean Production Simplified, and Andy & Me - Last updated: Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Very good question. Here are some thoughts for posting How Do I Start with Lean? I'd suggest you begin by asking the most basic & difficult question: "What problem are we trying to solve?" Growth? Profitability? Throughput? Quality? Safety? What are possible causes? Malignant market forces? Core technologies at risk of becoming obsolete? Empty new product pipeline? Decaying factories? Apathetic, stagnant or hostile work force? Dysfunctional mental models? You can begin your analysis with analytical ...

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The Lean Edge

The Lean Edge: How do I start with Lean?

By The Lean Edge, - Last updated: Wednesday, February 5, 2014
"How do I start with lean? My management has decided we must become a lean culture, and I've tasked to put a plan together, but there are so many different offers on the markets, books, consultants - what do you call them - senseis? That it's hard to know where to start without making costly blunders in the very first steps."
Michael Balle

Michael Ballé: continuous flow is the key to improving quality

By Michael Balle, co-author of The Gold Mine and The Lean Manager - Last updated: Tuesday, January 21, 2014
I find that creating continuous flow cells is still 1) as powerful as ever and 2) as difficult as ever. Lean tools, in my experience, have been used to improve the productivity of existing lines or cells, but people balk at creating cells wherever it’s not obvious. Sadly, they miss the opportunity to radically diminish lead-time. In one high-tech company, after several years of doing lean, the CEO finally rolled-up ...

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Art Smalley

Art Smalley: Lean Conformance vs. TPS Performance

By Art Smalley, author of Creating Level Pull. Co-author of A3 Thinking and Kaizen Methods: Six Steps to Improvement - Last updated: Tuesday, January 7, 2014
The main question asked here is "have workplaces moved to multi-purpose cells or do we still see isolated operators on the shop floor (現場 / Genba)"? The statement implies that was what “Toyota” was teaching us 20 years ago.  Well that last part I sort of doubt it. In reality that is partly what the observer was learning or partly what the instructor was relating at the time. Unfortunately that ...

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Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: TPS experts within Toyota will always want to drive in the direction of the ideal of one-piece flow

By Jeff Liker, author of The Toyota Way and co-author of Toyota Product Development System and Toyota Under Fire - Last updated: Monday, January 6, 2014
Experts within Toyota on TPS will always want to drive in the direction of the ideal of one-piece flow. They believe in this quite passionately. In a Toyota assembly plant this looks like a super long continuous flow line. The plastics plant look like a process island of molding machines though there is a clear flow of raw materials to finished bumpers that are built in sequence ...

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Jon Miller

What is the true value of a work cell?

By Jon Miller, Author of 'Creating a Kaizen Culture' and the 'Gemba Panta Rei" blog - Last updated: Monday, December 16, 2013
"Twenty years later, have workplaces moved to multi-process cells or do you still find many isolated operators?" The answer to this question is not either-or, but a "Yes" to both. Progressive workplaces are moving closer to cells, and we still find many isolated processes a.k.a. islands. Agile development, scrums, sprints and so forth engage in cell-like continuous flow within non-production environments. Hospitals and clinics are being designed for patient flow, moving ...

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Karen Martin

Karen Martin: Cells are rare in service environments because Flow is hard to achieve

By Karen Martin, Author of "The Outstanding Organization" - Last updated: Sunday, December 15, 2013
Cells—and a looser version that I refer to as co-location—are still rare in the service and knowledge work sectors. Part of the reason is that individuals, work teams and departments in these environments typically juggle many processes that support many value stream. To create flow and, therefore, reap the benefits of cellular structure, the first thing that has to happen is what I refer to as “work segmentation.” People have ...

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The Lean Edge

Twenty years later, have workplaces moved to multi-process cells or do you still find many isolated operators?

By The Lean Edge, - Last updated: Sunday, December 15, 2013
When I discovered lean twenty years ago, Toyota was mostly teaching us to move from muti-machine single process halls to multi-process cells that flow a complete product (it was the days of moving machines around during the night). As you visit gembas, has this transformation happened or is it still rare? I must admit that I still come across many plants with single process machines to a hall and a ...

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Art Smalley

Art Smalley: Toyota Insourcing For Competitive Advantage

By Art Smalley, author of Creating Level Pull. Co-author of A3 Thinking and Kaizen Methods: Six Steps to Improvement - Last updated: Friday, December 6, 2013
I honestly don’t know if there is a specific “lean way” for organizing value through out the supply chain. Lean is a pretty subjective term these days and I find as much difference of opinion on the topic as I do agreement. I expect a lot of different responses on this topic depending upon differing backgrounds. Speed, quality, value, feel good, profits, etc. take your pick and state your beliefs ...

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Michael Balle

Michael Ballé: Think of outsourced value in terms of capability and capacity

By Michael Balle, co-author of The Gold Mine and The Lean Manager - Last updated: Friday, November 29, 2013
One company I know manufactures high-tech equipment with fairly sophisticated human-machine interface screens. One day, we were with the CEO in the local Apple store wondering how come we used a piece of kit worth twenty times an iPad with less functionality. As the CEO followed that thought, he also discovered there existed an open-sourced interface software that served as a standard for human-machine interface in the industry. The company had ...

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Tracey Richardson

Tracey Richardson: Outsource to increase value

By Tracey Richardson, - Last updated: Sunday, November 24, 2013
There can be several ways to determine when outsourcing is an option for an organization. How I share my thoughts about it to others is based on my experience inside and outside of Toyota. I believe there must be a need to outsource a process, service or product. So what is that need or criteria? This means there should be an overall "value-add" to the company business indicators in making ...

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Mike Rother

Mike Rother: “I think I’m making progress” – Pablo Casals

By Mike Rother, Author of Toyota Kata and co-author of Learning to See - Last updated: Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Question:  How do you understand what to in-source and what to out-source? How about this as one criteria for keeping work inside or outsourcing:  Is it something you want to get better at for competitive advantage? Mike      
Pascal Dennis

Pascal Dennis: People feel good when work we sent away starts coming back

By Pascal Dennis, Author of Getting The Right Things Done, Lean Production Simplified, and Andy & Me - Last updated: Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Splendid answers, Steve, Jeff, Sammy and Jean. I'd simply add the following. The implicit deal between Lean companies & their employees is something like this: "You do the work that needs doing, & help us to improve, and we'll give you job security, continuous learning & challenge." As we get better, we free up human & machine time, floor space, capital etc., which all adds up to more capacity. We are able to do more with ...

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Jean Cunningham

Jean Cunningham: Is it part of your strategic value? Is it something you do weekly/daily? Does it require specialist knowledge?

By Jean Cunningham, Co-author of 'Real Numbers' and 'Easier, Simpler, Faster' - Last updated: Tuesday, November 12, 2013
In the office functions I feel the first test of outsourcing is three questions: is it part of your strategic value? ( keep it inside) Is it something you do daily/weekly and links with other processes?( keep it inside) Does it require highly technical knowledge and changing laws ( consider outsourcing) So on a practical level, payroll processing is often outsourced. It is not often strategic, does not tie to ...

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Samuel Obara

Sammy Obara: Insource when you can, outsource when you need capacity or competency

By Samuel Obara, Co-author of 'Toyota by Toyota: Reflections from the Inside Leaders on the Techniques That Revolutionized the Industry' - Last updated: Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Core competencies and problem solving capabilities as Jeff and Steve mentioned seem to be good indications that there are multiple reasons why Toyota would insource or outsource. I frequently had to do insourcing/outsourcing/nationalization of parts and components. That included feasibility studies on components ranging from wire harness to stamped/machined parts to roofing, etc, etc.. In some cases, the studies would point out that Toyota would need to hire more people rather than using ...

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Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: Outsiders can be insiders if they commit to intense learning partnerships

By Jeff Liker, author of The Toyota Way and co-author of Toyota Product Development System and Toyota Under Fire - Last updated: Monday, November 11, 2013
Automotive companies differ in how they define their core competencies, what they outsource, and their philosophy of how to deal with inhouse versus outsourced products and services. For example, Toyota makes their own plastic bumpers, makes a substantial number of their own seats, and makes some key components of hybrids such as batteries and switching circuits. As Steve Spear points out the structure of what you make in-house ...

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Steven Spear

Steve Spear: It’s not about formal boundaries between firms, but about the dynamics of improvement

By Steven Spear, Author of 'The High-Velocity Edge' and 'Chasing the Rabbit' - Last updated: Monday, November 11, 2013
In trying to understand what to in source and what to out source, it is first important to recognize what we are trying to accomplish: create the possibility for high speed problem seeing and problem solving as the engine for improvement and growth. The key point is that exceptional performance levels are won by exceptional rates of internally generally improvement. Improvement, in turns, means finding where problems are occurring and ...

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Anne-Lise Seltzer

Anne-Lise Seltzer: Is there a lean approach to organizing value throughout the value chain?

By Anne-Lise Seltzer, Sociologist of organizations - Consultant for Lab & Cie and partner of SOL-France - Last updated: Monday, November 11, 2013
Automotive companies tend to outsource all except body and engine, and service organizations such as banks and insurance companies are now arguing they should do the same in order to become lean. Is there a specific lean approach to where value should be in the supply chain? Is there a unique Toyota way of doing so?
Michael Balle

Michael Ballé: How can we enhance intense collaboration?

By Michael Balle, co-author of The Gold Mine and The Lean Manager - Last updated: Monday, October 21, 2013
I’ve been puzzled for years by how the Toyota Way 2001 document organizes topics around Respect and Teamwork. Respect is about 1) Respect for stakeholders, 2) Mutual trust and mutual responsibility and 3) Sincere communication. Teamwork, on the other hand is about human resources development 1) commitment to education and development and 2) respect for the individual and realizing consolidated power as a team. Hmmm – thoroughly confusing. How come ...

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Karen Martin

Karen Martin: A3 to instill system thinking in the DNA of the organization

By Karen Martin, Author of "The Outstanding Organization" - Last updated: Thursday, September 26, 2013
Here again is an issue that has both a philosophical element to it (we're one company, not a series of departments), but it also speaks to the real, pragmatic needs organizations have for getting results. Applying the scientific method across disparate silos requires that the functions/departments first have consensus (and perhaps a sense of urgency) that the problem is worth solving and that the time is "now" to solve it. A wonderful means for driving the ...

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Art Smalley

Art Smalley: Dynamics of Problem Solving

By Art Smalley, author of Creating Level Pull. Co-author of A3 Thinking and Kaizen Methods: Six Steps to Improvement - Last updated: Wednesday, September 25, 2013
This particular questions asks why it is so hard to cooperate across functions to solve problems by using the scientific method. Not the exact wording but close enough for short discussion. Problem solving via any method (scientific method or otherwise) is not all that simple when you stop and problem solve the process of problem solving. At least I have never found that to be the case. Solving actual production ...

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Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: Basic skills of active listening, facilitating, modeling behavior, giving and receiving feedback and more are all necessary to lead any people for anything and are critical for leading teams to improve processes.

By Jeff Liker, author of The Toyota Way and co-author of Toyota Product Development System and Toyota Under Fire - Last updated: Tuesday, September 24, 2013
In The Toyota Way to Lean Leadership the first step of the model is self development. Even that one step involves more then learning the scientific method. Toyota Business Practices, their scientific method for problem solving, is intended to not only solve problems but develop people to learn to follow the foundation of the Toyota Way--Challenge, Go to gemba to see first hand, kaizen methods, teamwork, and respect. ...

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Tracey Richardson

Tracey Richardson: One of the most overlooked forms of waste is the “under-utilization” of people and their ability to “think”

By Tracey Richardson, - Last updated: Tuesday, September 24, 2013
I often like to start off by discussing the scientific method (PDCA) by differentiating the "process" from the "tool" side of it. These are two very different things. When I visit clients or do public sessions my experience from grasping the current state that more people (various levels and industries) see it as a tool. Some would argue to say it is, my preference ...

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The Lean Edge

We learn to practice lean and take personal responsibility for solving problems by using the scientific method time and time again. What else does it take to learn how to cooperate across departments and functions?

By The Lean Edge, - Last updated: Tuesday, September 24, 2013
We learn to practice lean and take personal responsibility for solving problems by using the scientific method time and time again. What else does it take to learn how to cooperate across departments and functions?
leanedge event announcement

Lean Summit UK 2013 – 5th & 7th November

By leanedge event announcement, - Last updated: Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Lean Transformation: Frontiers and Fundamentals 5th - 7th November Wokefield Park, Reading, UK As part of our mission to help organisations with their Lean journeys the Lean Enterprise Academy is holding its annual UK Lean Summit at Wokefield Park near Reading. Our first UK Lean Summit was held in 1997 and since that time we have held a Summit each time we have felt that there was something important for the Lean Community to ...

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Steve Bell

Steve Bell: Leading your team in the practice of collaboration and experimentation

By Steve Bell, Author of "Run, Grow, Transform" and co-author of "Lean IT: Enabling and Sustaining Your Lean Transformation" - Last updated: Saturday, September 7, 2013
Not only can you contribute, but you and your teams should play a significant role. Over the past several years I’ve seen an interesting trend emerge. It wasn’t all that long ago when the enterprise avoided involving IT in a Lean transformation. Often, Lean practitioners viewed IT as an impediment to continuous improvement. And sometimes they were right – historically IT has often been unnecessarily complex, costly, risky, unreliable, and ...

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Michael Balle

Michael Ballé: IT needs to turn its purpose on its head first

By Michael Balle, co-author of The Gold Mine and The Lean Manager - Last updated: Friday, September 6, 2013
True, I can’t think of any lean transformation I’ve witnessed firsthand where IT is part of the solution, not part of the problem – apart from a few specific examples I’ll address further on. I’ve been wondering about that, and if we take a careful step back, there is a possible structural reason for this. To my mind, the deep value change that lean thinking involves is the following. Senior managers ...

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Daniel T Jones

Dan Jones: How can a CIO help a Lean Transformation?

By Daniel T Jones, Co-author of 'Lean Thinking' and 'The Machine That Changed the World' - Last updated: Friday, September 6, 2013
It is difficult to give specific answers to this question without knowing more about the type of organisation we are talking about, without being able to directly observe how the value creating work is carried out today and how management resolves problems and makes major decisions. But then it is not in the spirit of lean to give answers, which might or might not be taken up by the recipient. ...

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Tracey Richardson

Tracey Richardson: Let’s first figure out what we’re trying to do

By Tracey Richardson, - Last updated: Monday, August 5, 2013
When I see or hear this question, I pause and attempt to grasp the situation of what does a "major lean" transformation mean to an executive or the "process owner" of the lean journey. By answering this question it helps me understand their own ability to grasp the magnitude of what they are attempting and their role in it. Not many stop to ask this question and assumptions are ...

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Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: Start witht he IT implications of a model line, and get expert coaching

By Jeff Liker, author of The Toyota Way and co-author of Toyota Product Development System and Toyota Under Fire - Last updated: Monday, August 5, 2013
My first reaction is that if this is a new lean effort, e.g., less then 2 years into it, specific action by IT can easily do more harm then good. This happens when the core processes have not been well defined, and therefore their information needs are not well defined, and IT starts developing "lean software" that is a distraction and not what the value-added workers need. For ...

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Marie-Pia Ignace

Marie-Pia Ignace: How can the Chief Information Officer contribute to a lean transformation?

By Marie-Pia Ignace, President of the French Lean Institute and co-author of the first French book on Lean IT ("La pratique du lean dans l'IT") - Last updated: Monday, August 5, 2013
My company is going through a major lean transformation. How can I, CIO of a large group, contribute to this effort? And also...what's in it for me?
Dave Brunt

Dave Brunt: Lean in organisations with multiple sites

By Dave Brunt, Co-author of "Creating Lean Dealers" - Last updated: Wednesday, July 31, 2013
"How can lean be sustained across a decentralized group geographically spread out? 
A consumer-facing made-to-order manufacturing company has a significant service presence (sales associates, designers, customer service reps, logistics associates, installers) distributed across a wide geography in a somewhat decentralized organization structure. Each of the groups listed above is run by a different functional head. Sustaining Lean gains in a single plant is challenging enough -- doing so across several ...

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Michael Balle

Michael Ballé: Lean thinking spreads only as fast as each individual manager learns to think lean

By Michael Balle, co-author of The Gold Mine and The Lean Manager - Last updated: Sunday, July 14, 2013
This is a difficult question to answer because it begs, in the way that it is formulated, an answer that doesn’t exist (to my knowledge) in lean. Let’s face it: lean is not scalable. Or put it in another way, if any one knows how to scale lean, let’s patent it and sell it and make a quick buck. The key to spreading lean thinking (and obtaining the associated performance improvement) ...

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Tracey Richardson

Tracey Richardson: The importance of seeing through the same lens

By Tracey Richardson, - Last updated: Saturday, July 6, 2013
When I internalize this question and visualize it, I see that infamous PowerPoint slide we all have used or seen that shows arrows moving in various directions with no rhyme or reason. We usually refer to it as rather chaotic or difficult to sustain any order when everyone is dancing to the beat of their own drum. I think its very important for organizations that ...

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Daniel T Jones

Dan Jones: Lean across a decentralized network

By Daniel T Jones, Co-author of 'Lean Thinking' and 'The Machine That Changed the World' - Last updated: Thursday, July 4, 2013
Lean is not just about developing problem solving capabilities but about using them to improve the value creating processes that in turn deliver steadily improving results for the business. So as always the place to start is defining the exact nature of the business problems you are trying to solve. This will in turn show you where your processes are broken and where to focus your lean efforts to greatest ...

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Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: The people in the organization must learn a new way of thinking and acting, what also means unlearning, which is more difficult then learning for the first time

By Jeff Liker, author of The Toyota Way and co-author of Toyota Product Development System and Toyota Under Fire - Last updated: Monday, July 1, 2013
There is a lot of good advice from my colleagues. I would like to be the voice of reason and suggest that you are correct that this is a big challenge. The way I learned to deal with a challenge is to break it down into pieces and deal with it piece by piece, the basis of Toyota Business Practices. The problem is as follows: You have many different ...

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Mike Rother

Mike Rother: We Can Tell You How to Find the Answer

By Mike Rother, Author of Toyota Kata and co-author of Learning to See - Last updated: Friday, June 28, 2013
Question:  How can Lean be sustained across a decentralized group geographically spread out? The daily behavior of people -- the social side of Lean -- is primarily what defines a culture of continuous improvement. Lean behavior as observed at Toyota is fractal. That is, each element of the organization is using the same basic pattern of working -- the way we do things around here. This in sum produces the organization's ...

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Karen Martin

Karen Martin: The best way to assure sustainability is to establish a strong process management culture with clearly defined processes

By Karen Martin, Author of "The Outstanding Organization" - Last updated: Friday, June 28, 2013
I frequently work with large organizations with dispersed workforces and nearly always begin with tried-and-true value stream mapping to provide clarity about the interconnectedness between various work teams and to, ultimately, shift siloed thinking and behaving from function-centric to customer-centric. The next step I take is situational. It's often helpful to organize the company around value streams, while building the means to assure policy consistency within specific functions. In a highly structured company that's organization chart-dependent, this can ...

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Samuel Obara

Sammy Obara: sustaining requires well prepared and conscious leadership

By Samuel Obara, Co-author of 'Toyota by Toyota: Reflections from the Inside Leaders on the Techniques That Revolutionized the Industry' - Last updated: Friday, June 28, 2013
It sounds like you already have introduced lean to a great extent and that you were satisfied with what you did (otherwise you wouldn't be seeking ways to sustain). Your challenge is specifically in the sustainability of what you did in a decentralized organization that you have. Besides being decentralized, you may want to consider some other factors that typically make sustainability tougher: Size, larger organizations just ...

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Pascal Dennis

Pascal Dennis: Develop a shared language for improvement

By Pascal Dennis, Author of Getting The Right Things Done, Lean Production Simplified, and Andy & Me - Last updated: Friday, June 28, 2013
Aligning across disparate silos might be our biggest challenge. As you suggest, Joel, sustaining Lean in a single plant isn't enough. Decisions made upstream & downstream can quickly erode the factory's gains. For example, a chaotic scheduling process will hobble even the strongest factory, as will, expensive, hard-to-build designs. How to avoid this fate? Here are a few thoughts (from "The Remedy -- Bringing Lean Out of the Factory", by yours truly): 1. Develop a home-grown ...

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Jean Cunningham

Jean Cunningham: Start Local!

By Jean Cunningham, Co-author of 'Real Numbers' and 'Easier, Simpler, Faster' - Last updated: Friday, June 28, 2013
Start local! There will be plenty of waste and opportunity for improvement without the burden of tying it all together. The core change for the culture is totally unrelated to full global value stream integration. Learn how to listen to the voice of the customer. Learn how to identify the work that you do that your customers so not care about (waste). Learn how to use defects as way to see what ...

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Joel Stanwood

Joel Stanwood: How can lean be sustained across a decentralized group geographically spread out?

By Joel Stanwood, Partner, Operations, at American Industrial - Last updated: Friday, June 28, 2013
A consumer-facing made-to-order manufacturing company has a significant service presence (sales associates, designers, customer service reps, logistics associates, installers) distributed across a wide geography in a somewhat decentralized organization structure. Each of the groups listed above is run by a different functional head. Sustaining Lean gains in a single plant is challenging enough -- doing so across several dozen groups spread across North America is tougher still. ...

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Tom Ehrenfeld

Tom Ehrenfeld: Don’t cherry pick lean principles, lean is a complete business system

By Tom Ehrenfeld, author of The Startup Garden and A Leader's Study Guide To The Gold Mine - Last updated: Friday, June 28, 2013
There’s a massive amount of energy behind the lean startup “movement” today, which I find both exciting and a bit worrisome. Today I still see a gap between the loud buzz of the Lean Startup “movement” and broader cultural and widespread acceptance. N.B. when I say Lean Startup, for the time being I see this as the Lean (Software-based-Venture-chasing-Home-run-seeking) Startup. A subset of the overall startup world, to be sure, ...

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Art Smalley

Art Smalley: Reflections on the Lean Startup

By Art Smalley, author of Creating Level Pull. Co-author of A3 Thinking and Kaizen Methods: Six Steps to Improvement - Last updated: Monday, June 24, 2013
I think there is a lot to like about the book The Lean Start Up and certainly something to learn from it as well. The book has done extraordinarily well in terms of sales and recognition. There are some shortcomings of the book when it comes to actual Lean practices but I think it is more interesting to look at why the book is successful. For those not familiar the book ...

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Michael Balle

Michael Ballé: Learning from The Lean Startup movement

By Michael Balle, co-author of The Gold Mine and The Lean Manager - Last updated: Monday, June 24, 2013
I can see at least three divergent ways of answering this question – which makes it an interesting one to mull over! First, the Lean Startup clearly hit a good topic (and a nerve) by focusing on the numero uno principle of lean “understand value from the customer’s point of view.” Jim and Dan have been very clear on this point from the outset, but the lean movement has hitherto not ...

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Daniel T Jones

Dan Jones: The Lean Startup

By Daniel T Jones, Co-author of 'Lean Thinking' and 'The Machine That Changed the World' - Last updated: Tuesday, June 11, 2013
There is a lot we can learn from the Lean Startup movement. I am grateful that this question provoked me to read the book again more carefully, and I urge others to do so too. First it tells a good story well – better than most lean books. Second it is written by an entrepreneur and business person, rather than an expert or consultant, who has struggled to use lean ...

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Karen Martin

Karen Martin: Let’s focus on similarities and not differences and see Lean as a whole

By Karen Martin, Author of "The Outstanding Organization" - Last updated: Sunday, June 2, 2013
Great question! I'm happy to have a venue to share some thoughts I've been having myself about this subject. At its core, Lean Startup and "the original Lean" (as I call it) have a lot in common. And, in some ways, the Lean Startup movement has surpassed most companies' attempts to adopt Lean principles, practices, and tools. BUT... and it's a big but...I feel the movement is producing a fair amount of confusion in the ...

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Tracey Richardson

Tracey Richardson: If you develop people results will follow!

By Tracey Richardson, - Last updated: Saturday, June 1, 2013
So how "lean" is a lean start-up? What an intriguing; yet, difficult question to answer- there are so many tangents of this in my opinion. For me I suppose it has a lot to do with how you or your organization defines Lean itself. It's amazing when I ask this question across various industry's the answers I get that are so far away from the true ...

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Mike Rother

Mike Rother: Certainty Bias versus Reality

By Mike Rother, Author of Toyota Kata and co-author of Learning to See - Last updated: Thursday, May 23, 2013
Question:  What can we learn from the Lean Startup? I think the current popularity of the Lean Startup approach, with its emphasis on iteration, experimentation and a willingness to "pivot" based on what you learn from the experimentation, has the potential to help Lean thinking evolve. Given a choice between a statement of certainty and a non-certain statement we tend to prefer the certain statement. This bias is potentially dangerous because any ...

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Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: The challenge for a startup is Sales

By Jeff Liker, author of The Toyota Way and co-author of Toyota Product Development System and Toyota Under Fire - Last updated: Tuesday, May 21, 2013
I am not sure there is a special category or set of circumstances that make a start-up a unique organizational form for lean. What does make it different? 1. The company is brand new so there is a chance to start to build a lean culture from scratch. 2. People can be hired who fit the culture and philosophy the company is striving for. 3. It is a time ...

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Mark Graban

Mark Graban: Good lean practices which start with an obsession with customers

By Mark Graban, Author of the 'Lean Hospitals: Improving Quality, Patient Safety, and Employee Satisfaction,' winner of the Shingo Prize in 2009. Creator of leanblog.org, and Senior Fellow at the Lean Enterprise Institute. On twitter as @leanblog. - Last updated: Tuesday, May 21, 2013
I think the Lean Startup movement is off to a good start. When I first saw Eric Ries give a presentation about this at MIT in late 2009, I worried that it was just going to be a buzzword... but there's some real Lean Thinking there. It's not quite the complete management system and philosophy that Lean / TPS provides, but there are some good Lean principles that are spreading, ...

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The Lean Edge

The Lean Edge: How lean is the Lean Startup?

By The Lean Edge, - Last updated: Tuesday, May 21, 2013
"How lean is the lean startup? The lean startup movement is growing fast, now highlighted in the HBR yet no one in the lean movement seems to comment or connect - how do you feel about the lean startup? What can we learn from it?"
Art Smalley

Art Smalley: Houshin Advice

By Art Smalley, author of Creating Level Pull. Co-author of A3 Thinking and Kaizen Methods: Six Steps to Improvement - Last updated: Tuesday, May 21, 2013
For a company which is pulling in different directions I think that spending some time establishing and improving their Houshin process will yield significant benefits. The trick like in most things to make sure you get it right or the “tool” will not necessarily make you perform any better. It will require rigor and correct execution of the Plan Do Check Act cycle in order to function as desired. Since ...

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Daniel T Jones

Dan Jones: Hoshin and purpose

By Daniel T Jones, Co-author of 'Lean Thinking' and 'The Machine That Changed the World' - Last updated: Thursday, May 16, 2013
It is good to see the growing interest in Hoshin planning. It reflects the struggles many organisations are having in turning lean improvements into business results. But it is a mistake to reach for a new tool without first being clear about the business problems you are trying to solve in doing so. I first learnt about Hoshin from the outstanding management team at the Nissan plant in Sunderland in the ...

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Michael Balle

Michael Ballé: Strategy starts by grasping the situation on the the shop floor

By Michael Balle, co-author of The Gold Mine and The Lean Manager - Last updated: Tuesday, May 14, 2013
To be honest, I don’t believe I’ve ever gone into a company saying: OK guys, let’s do your Hoshin Kanri. Most companies have a management-by-objectives system in place, most companies do try hard to define overall goals and break them down into local objectives – and they certainly check performance against targets in order to pay out bonuses (or not). The question, to my mind, would be: what is specific ...

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Samuel Obara

Sammy Obara: Getting all the stakeholders involved to agree on the destination

By Samuel Obara, Co-author of 'Toyota by Toyota: Reflections from the Inside Leaders on the Techniques That Revolutionized the Industry' - Last updated: Tuesday, April 30, 2013
As a resource, I would suggest the book Getting the Right Things Done, by Pascal Dennis, or the Hoshin articles by Darril Wilburn. A common theme on those resources indicates that there is one tricky and sometimes difficult to accomplish element of Hoshin Kanri. And that is the early step of bringing all the "liars" to the room (at the same time). Even when that is possible, the job is far from ...

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Mike Rother

Mike Rother: A Practical Approach for Attaining Strategic Objectives

By Mike Rother, Author of Toyota Kata and co-author of Learning to See - Last updated: Monday, April 29, 2013
Question: Where to start with Hoshin Kanri in a not-yet-lean company? The Lean community has been talking about strategy deployment for 20 years. In short, the objective is arrows lined up (i.e., individual process improvement efforts working toward common goals) and an up-and-down dialog that keeps both the top and the operational levels informed about unfolding realities. So far so good. But the approach we took to operationalize this idea has not ...

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Karen Martin

Karen Martin: Start with 4-step “Hoshin Lite” to gain consensus on priorities

By Karen Martin, Author of "The Outstanding Organization" - Last updated: Sunday, April 28, 2013
In The Outstanding Organization, I address my concern that companies often attempt Hoshin planning prematurely, before they’ve established a strong foundation for success. I describe a 4-step “Hoshin-lite” approach I use for clients who aren’t ready for the full monty as it were. The significant behavioral changes that are needed for the successful and full deployment of Hoshin Kanri often take years to develop–and that’s if the leadership team is ...

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Tracey Richardson

Tracey Richardson: Hoshin Kanri’s aim is to establish line of sight

By Tracey Richardson, - Last updated: Saturday, April 27, 2013
Thanks Joel for your question, I think it is one that many can benefit from. Based on my experiences with various industry I feel that this is a key area that is often discounted, and somehow organizations think through osmosis that the people just somehow know what they should be doing on a daily basis that cascades upward to "something" but not always a defined strategic business plan. ...

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David Meier

David Meier: Hoshin Kanri is Direction Management

By David Meier, - Last updated: Saturday, April 27, 2013
I am sure someone else will mention that Hoshin Kanri is more specifically translated as “Direction Management.” Within any language there are words that describe conceptual aspects in a culture and are not directly translatable because the other language does not have the same exact thing. Hoshin is one such concept. It is a process and it is intended to get a group of people aligned around specific targets. It ...

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Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: hoshin kanri links the kaizen activities of leaders and work groups at all levels so they are working toward common goals

By Jeff Liker, author of The Toyota Way and co-author of Toyota Product Development System and Toyota Under Fire - Last updated: Saturday, April 27, 2013
In "The Toyota Way to Lean Leadership" we have a 4 step model of leadership development.   We place Hoshin Kanri fourth, after self development, developing others, supporting daily kaizen, and finally hoshin kanri.  What hoshin kanri can do is link together the kaizen activities of leaders and work groups at all levels so they are working toward common goals.   In a sport, for example, basketball, a game plan can do ...

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Joel Stanwood

Joel Stanwood: Where to start with Hoshin Kanri in a not-yet-lean company?

By Joel Stanwood, Partner, Operations, at American Industrial - Last updated: Saturday, April 27, 2013
A mid-sized manufacturing company is finalizing its strategic plan and believes that it is time to begin Hoshin Kanri. The company is not currently operating as a Lean Enterprise -- functional silos create significant amount of waste which results in poor product/service quality and high cost to serve. Additionally, different departments and regions of the company are "pulling in different directions." What advice, resources, and lessons learned ...

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David Meier

Dave Meier: People need challenges to engage in their work, but they also need success

By David Meier, - Last updated: Monday, April 15, 2013
I have to say that it is unfortunate that "Lean" (or TPS or Lean Sigma or whatever) gets used as a sort of "weapon" against workers. This is of course contrary to the actual intent, which is more to "humanize" work. But like many things about TPS and life in general, there are apparent contradictions in many things. Toyota certainly attempts to maximize the "value" ...

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Steven Spear

Steve Spear: In high velocity learning, standardization is about capturing the best known approach in design, and seeing flaws in production

By Steven Spear, Author of 'The High-Velocity Edge' and 'Chasing the Rabbit' - Last updated: Monday, April 15, 2013
To your quote: In France, the battle against lean is raging (as in: CEOs use lean for brutal productivity gains and Unions are dead set against it), Ironically, both adversaries in this contest share a common assumption: that standardization, visual management, and the like are for the purpose of control--management wants to exercise it, labor wants to avoid it. Also shared is the assumption that work ...

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Samuel Obara

Sammy Obara: Transparency allows for better productivity (and can be stressful)

By Samuel Obara, Co-author of 'Toyota by Toyota: Reflections from the Inside Leaders on the Techniques That Revolutionized the Industry' - Last updated: Monday, April 15, 2013
The same way we have different ways to handle manufacturing scenarios: slow or high mix, low or high volume, custom or standard products, etc, etc… I think there are some distinctions when we talk about office environments.  There are those transactional standard procedures with limited variations, such as the one a postal service clerk would have at the counter.  There are those that can ...

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Tracey Richardson

Tracey Richardson: First translate purpose correctly by answering what-how-why – What am I doing, how will it be done, and why is it important?

By Tracey Richardson, - Last updated: Sunday, April 14, 2013
It's funny (it's really not), no matter where I go to teach or what industry I'm in, there is always several folks in the group that define Lean as "less employees are needed"; this is a joke of course, but is it?   Art refers to it as something <mean>, I've heard many different types of analogies in my tenure as a trainer, I always ask why do we have ...

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Pascal Dennis

Pascal Dennis: We can have both pressure and mutual trust

By Pascal Dennis, Author of Getting The Right Things Done, Lean Production Simplified, and Andy & Me - Last updated: Friday, April 12, 2013
Visual management, within or outside of the factory, does indeed put pressure on workers. That's life.  Achievement requires commitment, which entails pressure. If there's mutual trust and an explicit understanding between workplace parties -- no problem. The deal goes something like this: Management: "We'll invest in your knowledge and capability.  We'll make you as marketable as possible.  We'll treat you with respect and share the bounty." Workers: "We'll help the Company succeed financially.  We'll show ...

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Art Smalley

Art Smalley: Degrees of Pressure

By Art Smalley, author of Creating Level Pull. Co-author of A3 Thinking and Kaizen Methods: Six Steps to Improvement - Last updated: Monday, April 8, 2013
I am not sure that this particular question is really about "Lean". I think this is mainly a question about performance in general and why certain groups excel in the long run while others slowly enter the gravitational field of decay. In the following paragraphs I’ll offer up some general perspective on what I consider the reality facing most organizations, describe various degrees of pressure, and highlight what successful organizations ...

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Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: A problem can be a treasure if leaders make efforts to eliminate fear of failure

By Jeff Liker, author of The Toyota Way and co-author of Toyota Product Development System and Toyota Under Fire - Last updated: Saturday, April 6, 2013
Certainly any tool or approach, technological or social, can be used for good or evil and people with power generally make the difference.   In a positive environment, that is fertile for lean, leaders makes a great effort to eliminate fear of failure.  It is often said that "a problem is a treasure."  This does not mean that you want to generate problems for the ...

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Karen Martin

Karen Martin: Managers must walk the talk and not blame when someone falls behind or deviates from standard work

By Karen Martin, Author of "The Outstanding Organization" - Last updated: Saturday, April 6, 2013
I work nearly 100% in office environments and the challenges are many for introducing Lean practices into a setting that is green with both measurement and continuous improvement, lacks standard work, and is often disconnected from external customers. Fear around being measured and seeking out variation is nearly always tied to experience with blame. I spend a significant amount of time with both front-line ...

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The Lean Edge

The Lean Edge: Is highlighting problems stressful and increased pressure on workers?

By The Lean Edge, - Last updated: Saturday, April 6, 2013
"In a Lean environment we want to be able to see deviations as a starting point for improvement. This requires a transparency that in office environments is often seen as 'increasing pressure on the ...

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Daniel T Jones

Dan Jones: Standardization and Lean

By Daniel T Jones, Co-author of 'Lean Thinking' and 'The Machine That Changed the World' - Last updated: Thursday, April 4, 2013
Discussions about standards and standardisation should always include a discussion of the context. Establishing standards in a traditional “command-and-control” environment or even using Tayloristic “do-it-to-people” consultants is very different to the intent and experience in a lean environment. What is important is how standards are established and for what purpose. In a lean situation standards are a manifestation of the scientific thought process that underlies lean thinking. Deeply understanding your own ...

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Michael Balle

Michael Ballé: Managers must be teachers: training is a key responsibility of a lean manager, and operators standards and standardized work training tools

By Michael Balle, co-author of The Gold Mine and The Lean Manager - Last updated: Monday, March 25, 2013
As you mention job instructions, I’m assuming that you’re referring to Operations Standards Sheets. This lists de specific standards that must be met in order to achieve standardized work – safety standards, training standards, equipment operations and maintenance work standards, quality of materials, components and operations standards. I’m not sure how often these would change. Sure, kaizen might lead to modify these standards, but this would involve other departments in ...

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Karen Martin

Karen Martin: The rate of improvement dependends on the culture and maturity of the organization, leadership alignment around priorities, and workforce involvement rather than training being any type of constraint.

By Karen Martin, Author of "The Outstanding Organization" - Last updated: Monday, March 25, 2013
Like Jeff, my question is whether you mean “work standards” or “standardized (standard) work.” I view them as two different animals. A standard might be, for example, that you always insert a needle with the bevel up. Or that you always apply X amount of torque to a bolt. Or that a legal document always includes a confidentiality clause. Standardized work, on the other ...

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