Question of the moment
The Lean Edge: What would you do if you were a CEO and you tried lean the right way and were passionate about it but you seemed to be failing at every turn getting all your stakeholders angry?
What would you do if you were a CEO and you tried lean the right way and were passionate about it but you seemed to be failing at every turm getting all your stakeholders angry?
Posted on July 4, 2014
David Meier

David Meier: Do Lean with people rather than to people

By David Meier, - Last updated: Sunday, July 6, 2014
This sounds like a classic case of doing lean "to" people rather than with people. But let's go back to the original question- the fact of the matter is that the challenges of getting lean grow as you proceed. People think that if you get lean life is supposed to be easy. The opposite is true. Use the famous "low hanging fruit" analogy. After the "low fruit" (easy stuff) is ...

Continue reading this entry »

Arthur Byrne

Art Byrne: How much respect do you show your people?

By Arthur Byrne, Author of "The Lean Turnaround: How Business Leaders Use Lean Principles to Create Value and Transform Their Company" - Last updated: Sunday, July 6, 2014
He should a] get someone to help him that understands what to do and how to go about it. The right outside consultant and a strong internal KPO would help a lot. And, b] he should examine his own behavior and approach. Does he show respect for people. Does he communicate well to all stakeholders. Is he hands on and leading or does stay in his office and issue orders. Does he create a culture where ...

Continue reading this entry »

Jean Cunningham

Jean Cunningham: It must feel lonely at the top!

By Jean Cunningham, Co-author of 'Real Numbers' and 'Easier, Simpler, Faster' - Last updated: Sunday, July 6, 2014
It must feel lonely at the top. If we approach this as a lean problem, then let’s work on that gap. He feels alone and wants other people related to the organization to be with him. Let’s consider many supporters as the desired state. Let’s consider getting such great results that the question of "how" never arises as the desired state. Using 5 Why’s, we can begin ...

Continue reading this entry »

Tracey Richardson

Tracey Richardson: Watch out for conflicting KPIs

By Tracey Richardson, - Last updated: Sunday, July 6, 2014
This question/situation reminds me of the power-point slide we have all seen where the arrows are going in different directions. Since I'm not there to see it leaves me to make some assumptions because I do not have the ability grasp the situation, get the facts and ask why. At times when I'm at a conference I hear similar stories about lack of "buy-in" ...

Continue reading this entry »

Samuel Obara

Sammy Obara: Lean creates disruption as it challenges the status quo

By Samuel Obara, Co-author of 'Toyota by Toyota: Reflections from the Inside Leaders on the Techniques That Revolutionized the Industry' - Last updated: Friday, July 4, 2014
I think the answer to this short question will be a very long list of items to do or to stop doing. But at the same time, I believe we should be very cautious to make such a list past item #1. Item #1 in my view would be to perform a diligent genba assessment, finding then the causes and the root causes for the current situation. Only after item #1 has been concluded, we can ...

Continue reading this entry »

Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: A CEO might be a good at lean but poor at leading change

By Jeff Liker, author of The Toyota Way and co-author of Toyota Product Development System and Toyota Under Fire - Last updated: Friday, July 4, 2014
The reality is that if you are making a major change in an organization you are bound to create some enemies. You will be clashing with the interests of some people who either have an opposing viewpoint, or some personal issue with you succeeding, or perhaps fear you are going to make their lives more difficult. Lean has the potential to be very disruptive. Reducing inventory is designed ...

Continue reading this entry »

The Lean Edge

The Lean Edge: What would you do if you were a CEO and you tried lean the right way and were passionate about it but you seemed to be failing at every turn getting all your stakeholders angry?

By The Lean Edge, - Last updated: Friday, July 4, 2014
What would you do if you were a CEO and you tried lean the right way and were passionate about it but you seemed to be failing at every turm getting all your stakeholders angry?
Daniel T Jones

What about Kaizen events

By Daniel T Jones, Co-author of 'Lean Thinking' and 'The Machine That Changed the World' - Last updated: Wednesday, June 11, 2014
As with all lean tools and techniques their effectiveness depends on how they are used. I helped to introduce Five-day Kaizen events into the UK and later to Europe and they proved to be very powerful in demonstrating the potential for improving work and eliminating waste. In particular they helped lean pioneers learn what really goes on at their front lines so they could become more effective lean leaders. I also ...

Continue reading this entry »

Samuel Obara

Sammy Obara: Kaizen every day, everywhere, by everyone

By Samuel Obara, Co-author of 'Toyota by Toyota: Reflections from the Inside Leaders on the Techniques That Revolutionized the Industry' - Last updated: Tuesday, June 3, 2014
I think Toyota had some pressing reasons to make Kaizen part of their culture. But I can’t think of any one more evident than the elimination of waste itself. Perhaps that was what compelled Toyota into making Kaizen, a culture. It is a shared value and belief. It is everyone’s expectation. Kaizen every day, everywhere, by everyone. At Toyota Japan they call it Kaizen Teian, which is ...

Continue reading this entry »

Tracey Richardson

Tracey Richardson: Kaizen is not an event, it’s about Everyday-Everybody-Engaged

By Tracey Richardson, - Last updated: Tuesday, June 3, 2014
I always like to discuss the concept of Kaizen in my sessions. I feel it's often very misused and even misunderstood in the Lean world. As far as that goes you can say the same about Lean I suppose. There are so many different definitions and articulations of that concept out there across different industries. I always say Kaizen without value to the ...

Continue reading this entry »

Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: Kaizen events are mainly a tool to open the minds of the leadership

By Jeff Liker, author of The Toyota Way and co-author of Toyota Product Development System and Toyota Under Fire - Last updated: Monday, June 2, 2014
I have personally been involved, along with my associates, in leading kaizen events for over 15 years. We never used a very rigid format. They could range from 2 days to 5 days. I had associates who were formally taught by shingijutsu and preferred 5-day events and were exceptional at leading them. They were quite exciting and were especially so in the early days. There was ...

Continue reading this entry »

The Lean Edge

The Lean Edge: Kaizen events: good thing or bad thing?

By The Lean Edge, - Last updated: Monday, June 2, 2014
In what cases do kaizen events help and when do they hinder? How to best use kaizen events to leverage results and support the lean culture?
Tracey Richardson

Tracey Richardson: Learn the thinking, not just the doing, why, how, where, what, when?

By Tracey Richardson, - Last updated: Saturday, May 24, 2014
Looking through the lens I see lean through, I think the word "sensei" can be subjective.    I think each and every one of us can have a different definition of what a sensei is based on our own experiences.    These differences doesn't necessarily make any of us right or wrong, just perception I suppose; and what our current knowledge base is compared to others on the journey.   ...

Continue reading this entry »

Michael Balle

Michael Ballé: No real lean without a sensei

By Michael Balle, co-author of The Gold Mine and The Lean Manager - Last updated: Sunday, May 4, 2014
I believe the “sensei” idea was introduced in Lean Thinking for a reason: we seek new words when the current vocab doesn’t quite capture the specific thing we’re trying to describe. Sure, the word “sensei” originally means teacher in Japanese. Certainly, consultants will try to turn it into something they can put on their business card (regardless of whether they’re legitimate or not). Absolutely there’s an amount of unnecessary mystique ...

Continue reading this entry »

Samuel Obara

Sammy Obara: Sensei means professor

By Samuel Obara, Co-author of 'Toyota by Toyota: Reflections from the Inside Leaders on the Techniques That Revolutionized the Industry' - Last updated: Saturday, May 3, 2014
I am not sure what is just semantics when we differentiate a consultant from a sensei. Is consultant a title and sensei a role? Is that a matter of posture? In Japanese, sensei means simply professor. I strongly believe that a sensei can be a consultant and perhaps vice versa. In fact, some of my Toyota senseis became consultants after they retired. Now, how good a consultant were they? Some Toyota senseis ...

Continue reading this entry »

Jon Miller

Jon Miller: From whom do you wish to learn?

By Jon Miller, Author of 'Creating a Kaizen Culture' and the 'Gemba Panta Rei" blog - Last updated: Thursday, May 1, 2014
In lean we have a credentialing problem. At least in the United States, practically anyone can become a lean author, expert or consultant. Ironically, lean lacks good standards for credentialing. This problem has been covered up by the vast amount of low-hanging fruit that it is easy to hang up a lean shingle not fail too badly for a while. Enduring success on the lean journey however, the scientifically unverified ...

Continue reading this entry »

Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: A sensei lights the fire of the kaizen spirit

By Jeff Liker, author of The Toyota Way and co-author of Toyota Product Development System and Toyota Under Fire - Last updated: Thursday, May 1, 2014
A dictionary definition of a “sensei" is simply someone older then you as age is respected in Japan. It also is a formal title for a teacher of some sort. Most relevant it is a title to show respect to someone who has achieved a certain level of mastery in an art form or some other skill. This definition says it is earned, not granted by ...

Continue reading this entry »

The Lean Edge

What is the role of a sensei in lean?

By The Lean Edge, - Last updated: Thursday, May 1, 2014
What is your experience of working with sensei, and what advice should we give executives seeking to learn lean deeply regarding senseis?
Mike Rother

Mike Rother: Next Generation Lean Practice

By Mike Rother, Author of Toyota Kata and co-author of Learning to See - Last updated: Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Question:  How do you make time for improvements? 
I find it difficult to ask my people to make time for improvement work when they’re already completely busy doing their regular work. You may be making too much of a distinction between regular work and improvement. That might have sufficed in the 20th Century, when efficiency and cookie-cuttering the mass model seemed to be two universal business goals. A “Generation” is approximately the ...

Continue reading this entry »

Daniel T Jones

Dan Jones: Finding Time For Improvements

By Daniel T Jones, Co-author of 'Lean Thinking' and 'The Machine That Changed the World' - Last updated: Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Making time for improvement is a choice. The single most important thing a CEO can do is set an example by making time in their diaries. The successful lean pioneers I have known all spend a day a week out in the organisation and talking to customers. This sounds hard to do but if you think about it the place where the most expensive discretionary time exists in any organisation ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »


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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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. ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »


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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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. ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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. ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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) ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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. ...

Continue reading this entry »


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, ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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, ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

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 ...

Continue reading this entry »

Theme by Matteo Turchetto|Andreas Viklund