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
Peter Handlinger

Peter Handlinger: Use standards as a rallying point, not in a punitive sense!

By Peter Handlinger, Co-author of "The One Page Report...Of Course" - Last updated: Friday, March 22, 2013
Before considering the question directly it might be useful to understand that it only applies to the uptown white bread world of organisations that actually have standards, however misguided/informed the underlying thinking that created them may have been. There is, in the real world, a huge heaving mass of the economic sector that has very little comprehension of the benefit that ‘standards’ can bring ...

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Mike Rother

Mike Rother: We Don’t Think About Standards the Way Toyota Does

By Mike Rother, Author of Toyota Kata and co-author of Learning to See - Last updated: Monday, March 18, 2013
Question:  Standards are often described as 'the best way known to perform a certain task'. How do you change a standard? We spent from approximately 2004-2009 researching how Toyota managers think. (You can't figure it out by asking them, btw.) Based on those investigations I can say that this sort of "standard = best way" question probably wouldn't make much sense to an experienced Toyota person. Their paradigm is just too different. What ...

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Art Smalley

Art Smalley: Standard Lean Logic Flaw

By Art Smalley, author of Creating Level Pull. Co-author of A3 Thinking and Kaizen Methods: Six Steps to Improvement - Last updated: Monday, March 18, 2013
This question unfortunately reminds me of the old adage in problem solving that vague fuzzy problem statements lead to poor causal analysis and then in turn poor countermeasure selection space. Any results will usually be limited in nature if they are evident at all. In this post I will point out some problems induced by the above definition of standards, the flaws in the logic at least with respect to ...

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Tracey Richardson

Tracey Richardson: Train to the what-how-why model when you make changes then there is more time to spend on proactive problem solving than reactive

By Tracey Richardson, - Last updated: Monday, March 18, 2013
This was a thinking process I had to get used to at Toyota, we never got to "settled in" before something changed on us.   At first it was frustrating, but then as the purpose was explained it became the "norm" then it was expected for us to do this without being told, you know, like our "job" imagine this :).  This was something that was evolutionary because you never ...

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Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: When standardized work is changed, every one who performs the job needs to be trained

By Jeff Liker, author of The Toyota Way and co-author of Toyota Product Development System and Toyota Under Fire - Last updated: Sunday, March 17, 2013
By standards I am assuming you are referring to standardized work.  There are many kinds of standards,   When standardized work is change everyone who performs the job, or audits the job, needs to be trained to follow the new standards--no question.   Presumably the change is for a reason in which case you would not want to ration out the changes over time based ...

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The Lean Edge

The Lean Edge: How do you change a standard?

By The Lean Edge, - Last updated: Sunday, March 17, 2013
Standards are often described as 'the best way known to perform a certain task'. Using Job Instructions, people are trained to work according to standards. Kaizen can then be used to improve standards. In this ...

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Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: Lean engineering tools can be lifeless or brought to life with exceptional leadership and teamwork

By Jeff Liker, author of The Toyota Way and co-author of Toyota Product Development System and Toyota Under Fire - Last updated: Saturday, March 16, 2013
With my associates at Liker Lean Advisors we have been working with product development organizations for the last ten years ranging from $1 billion businesses to Fortune 50 businesses.   As in all of my published work we believe in an organic approach, rather then an mechanistic tool-based approach.   There are many tools that Jim Morgan and I talk about in The Toyota Product Development System, such as a ...

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Daniel T Jones

Dan Jones: Lean in Product Development

By Daniel T Jones, Co-author of 'Lean Thinking' and 'The Machine That Changed the World' - Last updated: Monday, March 11, 2013
There is more to more to this question than meets the eye. I remember mapping the product development process for ready meals at Tesco fifteen years ago. We uncovered an enormous variation in lead times from concept to launch and eventually tracked the source of this variation to a bottleneck in the legal department several floors above the action. Nothing could progress until legal approved the proposed text on the ...

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Jim Morgan

Jim Morgan: Great people make great products

By Jim Morgan, co-author of "The Toyota Product Development System" - Last updated: Thursday, March 7, 2013
I would like to extend my thanks to Michael Balle’ for the opportunity to respond to this question.  There are already many very good responses; I hope I can make a small contribution.  For me, product development is the center of the universe, where unique value is created from nothing…. or it’s not.  And that’s truly what is at stake.  It can seem complex and a little daunting.  But there ...

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Michael Balle

Michael Ballé: Learn to solve your engineering problems of today to design better products tomorrow

By Michael Balle, co-author of The Gold Mine and The Lean Manager - Last updated: Sunday, February 24, 2013
First, beware:  there be dragons. My advice would be to take out “rapid” and “deploy” out of the vocabulary concerning new product development work. Any mistake made on the production shop floor can be fixed by putting the process back the way it was and catching up the missed production over the night shift or a week end shift. Mistakes in new product development won’t appear for a couple of ...

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Jim Huntzinger

Jim Huntzinger: It’s in the Relationship Process – Production and Product

By Jim Huntzinger, Author of 'Lean Cost Management: Accounting for Lean by Establishing Flow' - Last updated: Saturday, February 23, 2013
I will post my answer in more of a story form – probably more appropriately my “comments,” as I am not sure there is a very specific answer.  And, in my experience, Michael is correct in the “much larger impact” product development can have on an organization financially.  (Although the significant financial impact results from improved and better processes, not from managing the financials per se.) Developing better product development, PD, ...

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Art Smalley

Art Smalley: Define the driving need

By Art Smalley, author of Creating Level Pull. Co-author of A3 Thinking and Kaizen Methods: Six Steps to Improvement - Last updated: Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Toyota or Lean Product Development is a really large discussion topic. In all honesty I cannot begin to do justice to the entire content or even really suggest where to begin without greater knowledge of your situation. I’d want to assemble a better understanding of the situation before spouting off advice. For starters I will offer up some of my standard words of caution and then try to offer some ...

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Karen Martin

Karen Martin: Once product priorities are established, map the new product value stream

By Karen Martin, Author of "The Outstanding Organization" - Last updated: Tuesday, February 19, 2013
My advice is two-fold: First, applying a healthy dose of focus is the stuff champions are made of, so, yes, prioritizing is wise. In choosing which products to improve, there are many factors, such as margin (why spend your time on low margin or, worse, loss leader products?), technology (is this product’s technology being rendered obsolete in the short term?), customer relationships (put more ...

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Jean Cunningham

Jean Cunningham: Include finance/accounting in the lean product development process

By Jean Cunningham, Co-author of 'Real Numbers' and 'Easier, Simpler, Faster' - Last updated: Monday, February 18, 2013
If you have read about Lantech in the Womack and Jones, Lean Thinking, then you know that our application of lean principles in the product development processes yielded huge reductions in lead time.  And what better way to enhance margins than to have the first product to the market! However, the recommendation I have as you launch LPD, is to include Finance/Accounting as an essential ...

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Joel Stanwood

Joel Stanwood: How should we take Lean into Product Development?

By Joel Stanwood, Partner, Operations, at American Industrial - Last updated: Monday, February 18, 2013
A consumer-products company has recently begun its Lean journey by focusing on Lean fundamentals starting on the shop floor (standard work, 1-piece flow, pull, work to Takt).  The company is simultaneously refreshing its product portfolio.  Although the cross-functional New Product Development ("NPD") team members may have little experience working in ...

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Daniel T Jones

Daniel T Jones: Lean and Productivity

By Daniel T Jones, Co-author of 'Lean Thinking' and 'The Machine That Changed the World' - Last updated: Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Let me add another perspective to the excellent posts by my Lean Edge colleagues. For me the lean approach to productivity is distinguished by a wider as well as a deeper perspective, reaching beyond the shop or department to the whole value stream, ideally all the way from raw materials to the end consumer. This engages everyone in thinking about customer value and how their work contributes to delivering that. But ...

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David Meier

David Meier: Good units produced (total parts – scrap) / (Available work hours – wait Kanban) = GPPH (good parts per hour)

By David Meier, - Last updated: Wednesday, January 30, 2013
The first point I want to make is that any measure has flaws and will not completely reflect reality. They should be considered indicators and in some way all refer to some sort of “standard” or desired condition. This is the basis for problem identification, which is the main purpose. Any measure is a “snapshot” of conditions during a specific time period and reflects many variables that are occurring. Some measures ...

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Michael Balle

Michael Ballé: Who needs to use the metric and to what purpose?

By Michael Balle, co-author of The Gold Mine and The Lean Manager - Last updated: Wednesday, January 30, 2013
There are two ways to read metrics:  one, to drive behavior, the other to better understand a problem – or both. Taylorist thinking is deeply ingrained in all our mindsets, and the usual fallback for any desired outcome is to slap an indicator-and-incentive on it. This usually works, but at the price of unexpected side-effects, which can often negate the very impact one sought. Metric improvement behavior is well studied, ...

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Art Smalley

Art Smalley: Productivity and Improvement

By Art Smalley, author of Creating Level Pull. Co-author of A3 Thinking and Kaizen Methods: Six Steps to Improvement - Last updated: Tuesday, January 29, 2013
In theory this issue of measuring productivity is pretty simple but in reality it is usually complex for a variety of reasons…In general however I don’t like the question of “is there a specific lean way to measure productivity”.  I will elaborate on the topic with some background information and explain my concern and attempt to make some suggestions. First off here are a couple of quotes from the eminent British ...

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Peter Handlinger

Peter Handlinger: Straight Delivery Rate (SDR) basically measures how much of your product went through your process(es) within the design leadtimes and quality parameters

By Peter Handlinger, Co-author of "The One Page Report...Of Course" - Last updated: Monday, January 28, 2013
The adage that you get what you measure (and then some other bonus unexpected behavioural outcomes) is as true as ever. This has been lucidly described in this forum and in the literature. However, the central point still remains, and that is to achieve a specified result it is critical for one to understand the underlying processes. I recently listened to an interview with one of the South African Test cricket team members talking about how ...

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Mike Rother

Mike Rother: Pay Attention to Outcome *and* Activity

By Mike Rother, Author of Toyota Kata and co-author of Learning to See - Last updated: Monday, January 28, 2013
Question: Is there a Lean way to measure productivity? Of course there is. A short answer is that you measure both productivity and the process characteristics that affect productivity. Deming said and wrote as much many times, as has Professor H. Thomas Johnson. With Value Stream Mapping + the Improvement Kata we finally have a complete routine you can teach and practice to operationalize their principles. I'll summarize it briefly ...

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Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: Metrics create a focus for the company so changes lead to meaningful business results

By Jeff Liker, author of The Toyota Way and co-author of Toyota Product Development System and Toyota Under Fire - Last updated: Monday, January 28, 2013
I agree for the most part with the observations of my colleagues.  Summary:  "You get what you measure" translates into "Let's measure what we think we want and we will get it."  There are two problems.    First, we often cannot measure what we want.  We want engagement, we want people to pay close attention to quality and safety, we want engagement, we want people to produce more in less time, ...

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Steven Spear

Steve Spear: Measure outputs generated by pathways of connected activities

By Steven Spear, Author of 'The High-Velocity Edge' and 'Chasing the Rabbit' - Last updated: Sunday, January 27, 2013
For technical systems, the logic is self evident that we link independent variables (e.g., "settings") and dependent variables (e.g., "states") through a causal logic, and measure both to be sure we are tracking well.  When we are not, the gap between anticipated and actual is trigger for corrective action--both immediate containment and update to a better model of input-output causality. Organizational measurement often fails by the ...

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Jean Cunningham

Jean Cunningham: 4 criteria for good metrics

By Jean Cunningham, Co-author of 'Real Numbers' and 'Easier, Simpler, Faster' - Last updated: Sunday, January 27, 2013
What great input from the other bloggers on this question.  And here is what I have learned: If you ask 3 people how a metric is calculated and you get 3 answers, it isn't a good metric. The metric needs to be simple to understand and to measure, because it's purpose is to drive problem solving. If all your metrics are outcome metrics (sales per person, inventory turns, shipments per hour) then ...

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Tracey Richardson

Tracey Richardson: Group leaders have to compute their team’s productivity standards

By Tracey Richardson, - Last updated: Sunday, January 27, 2013
As the ole’ saying goes “you can lead a horse to water……”, well you can give a person a measure but you can’t ensure it’s going to be totally value added.   I think most people understand the concept of managing by the numbers or objectives it’s more common than not; if you tell me what you need and you are my boss then I will normally do what is necessary ...

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Orry Fiume

Orry Fiume: Look at families of metrics – any single metric can be dangerous

By Orry Fiume, Co-author of Real Numbers: Management Accounting in a Lean Organization - Last updated: Sunday, January 27, 2013
Great story Sammy and it is the perfect illustration as to why the use of any single metric can be dangerous.  That is why at Wiremold I always looked at "families" of metrics.  To me the most powerful "family" of metrics is Customer Service (i.e. on time shipment), Inventory Turns and Productivity.  If all three are simultaneously improving then you have to be doing a ...

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Mark Graban

Mark Graban: Focusing on staff morale, quality, and waiting times leads to better productivity, but as an end result not a primary goal

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, January 27, 2013
In hospitals, productivity measures are typically based on direct labor productivity or financial calculations (such as the oft-dreaded "Worked Hours Per Unit of Service" measure). These raw productivity measures are often easy to tabulate, but it doesn't mean that it's the most important thing or that it's meaningful to staff. A hospital can measure revenue per employee or the lab department can measure the ...

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Samuel Obara

Sammy Obara: Since metrics drive behavior, we want to be careful about how we establish them

By Samuel Obara, Co-author of 'Toyota by Toyota: Reflections from the Inside Leaders on the Techniques That Revolutionized the Industry' - Last updated: Sunday, January 27, 2013
old question but very current, A friend of mine, ex-Geek Squad, told me BestBuy created an incentive bonus to those store people who sold the highest number of gift cards that month. Gift card sales indeed went up that month, I'm not sure revenues did, though. He said he and his friends sold their gift cards by easily convincing customers to pay for their already planned purchases using a gift card. It worked like ...

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Lean Global Network

The Lean Global Network: Is there a lean way to measure productivity?

By Lean Global Network, - Last updated: Sunday, January 27, 2013
Many companies compare production hours to standard hours. Several still use indirect/direct ratios. Is there a specific lean way to measure productivity?
Art Smalley

Art Smalley: Line versus Staff Leadership

By Art Smalley, author of Creating Level Pull. Co-author of A3 Thinking and Kaizen Methods: Six Steps to Improvement - Last updated: Sunday, January 27, 2013
The question of how to staff a KPO (Kaizen Promotion Office) and with what type of leader is an interesting one and it deserves some thought. I don’t think the question is a trivial one or a “one size fits all” answer. The response depends upon the nature of the company, the situation it faces, resource development priorities, and the overall leadership style of the executive leading the organization. For starters ...

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Michael Balle

Michael Ballé: Pick you sensei with care, the sensei manages the learning curve

By Michael Balle, co-author of The Gold Mine and The Lean Manager - Last updated: Thursday, January 24, 2013
If you want live music for a party – do you decide how large the orchestra should be, or do you worry about picking the right conductor? There are two ways to look at this question: the taylorist-lean way and the Toyota-lean way. In the taylorist-lean way, the problem is quite mechanical. You’ve got a number of sites and processes, you want to apply the “waste-reduction” machine to each of these ...

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Daniel T Jones

Dan Jones: Lean Academies and KPOs

By Daniel T Jones, Co-author of 'Lean Thinking' and 'The Machine That Changed the World' - Last updated: Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Every organisation needs a home for developing its lean capabilities. They may differ depending on circumstances and will certainly change focus over time. The first and most ambitious exercise I was involved in from 1993 was to create the first corporate university in the UK to develop lean capabilities across the Unipart Group of Companies in auto parts manufacturing and after-market distribution. “Unipart U” as it became known was truly ...

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Mike Rother

Mike Rother: You already have a KPO… It’s called “Management”

By Mike Rother, Author of Toyota Kata and co-author of Learning to See - Last updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Question: What practical advice would you offer to companies as they establish their Kaizen Promotion Offices? Establishing a Kaizen Promotion Office (KPO) was a worthy Lean experiment and failed hypothesis of late 20th century Lean efforts in the West. As with any failed hypothesis, it's highly useful if we take the lessons it provides and use them to adjust our approach as we pursue the target condition. That target condition goes something ...

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Peter Handlinger

Peter Handlinger: KPO or Production Control function?

By Peter Handlinger, Co-author of "The One Page Report...Of Course" - Last updated: Sunday, January 6, 2013
The wording of the question takes as a given that a KPO should be formed and focusses on the practical aspects of creating and maintaining a KPO. The obvious linkage between OMCD in Toyota and a "KPO" is seductive to use as a template for other organisations. But one needs to be aware of the scale issue - Toyota's OMCD is a small group (around 25 people) ...

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Tracey Richardson

Tracey Richardson: You are always leading and learning!

By Tracey Richardson, - Last updated: Sunday, January 6, 2013
(a) What is the role of the KPO to serve the organization? When I see this question it takes me back to when I was taught the essence behind the Quality Circle Program and how they began at Toyota (back in the 1950’s) based on Taiichi Ohno’s vision of developing his people. I remember when I was in my assimilation hiring process (learning Toyota history) they discussed the fact with ...

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Jean Cunningham

Jean Cunningham: The culture transformation through personal engagement is the only chance of success for a “lean transformation”

By Jean Cunningham, Co-author of 'Real Numbers' and 'Easier, Simpler, Faster' - Last updated: Saturday, January 5, 2013
The role of the KPO is to launch the lean understanding in the organization by piloting and proving concepts and then later supporting the pull from the rest of the leadership for support/mentoring. Ultimately the KPO is the source of all future leaders in the organization as part of the organizational development efforts. I strongly support the idea of all the KPO team members sourced from within the company and using external coaches to develop this ...

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Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: Develop deep capability, don’t assign people to jobs in an office

By Jeff Liker, author of The Toyota Way and co-author of Toyota Product Development System and Toyota Under Fire - Last updated: Friday, January 4, 2013
It is always difficult to add value when I wait until someone else has answered on the lean edge, particularly someone with the thoughtfulness and eloquence of Steve Spear.  I could simply say:  "I agree," but I will add a few thoughts.  Steve talks about the two alternative purposes which I will summarize as quick and dirty one-off projects compared to creating a high performance ...

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Steven Spear

Steve Spear: The key differentiator is what leadership thinks it need accomplish: redesign of processes others use to conduct their business or acquisition of capability that they can cultivate, propagate, and engage energetically

By Steven Spear, Author of 'The High-Velocity Edge' and 'Chasing the Rabbit' - Last updated: Friday, January 4, 2013
What role a kaizen promotion office plays depends on what problem you are trying to solve.  Is it to make a single change in process design and performance or it is to change the ramp-slope at which an organization discovers its way to greatness? For the former, organizations might want to stabilize otherwise chaotic processes--both those that are physically transformative and also those that are ...

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Joel Stanwood

Joel Stanwood: What practical advice would you offer to companies as they establish their Kaizen Promotion Offices?

By Joel Stanwood, Partner, Operations, at American Industrial - Last updated: Friday, January 4, 2013
Building the KPO What practical advice would you offer to companies as they establish their Kaizen Promotion Offices?  At the beginning their Lean journey each company faces questions such as: (a)    What is the role of the KPO to serve the organization? (b)   How do we best leverage the KPO for leadership development? (c)    What is optimal size of the KPO organization? (d)   What is right mix of internal / external hires? (e)   Who ...

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Art Smalley

Art Smalley: Toyota and the Ringi-sho Process

By Art Smalley, author of Creating Level Pull. Co-author of A3 Thinking and Kaizen Methods: Six Steps to Improvement - Last updated: Wednesday, January 2, 2013
In all honestly I was not very excited to answer this question. I think a huge problem with the Lean movement in general is falling prey to Japanese buzzwords (Ringi, Nemawashi, Houshin Kanri, A3, Hansei, Yokoten, Yamazumi, Kamishiai, Muda, Kanban, Heijunka, etc.), and hyping a concept or practice. Buzzwords fail to create a practical improvement methodology in terms that all organizations can embrace. That shortcoming in my opinion turns off ...

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Michael Balle

Michael Ballé: Ringi is a tool to learn to define target conditions and practice meaningful hansei

By Michael Balle, co-author of The Gold Mine and The Lean Manager - Last updated: Saturday, December 29, 2012
There is always a temptation to see TPS tools as operational tools rather than learning tools. Ringi as an operational tool is nothing more than a corporate way to deploy hoshin kanri. So what? On the other hand, ringi as a learning tool is essential to both defining target conditions and practicing hansei – big topics! I had not thought much about ringi for a while. I first came across the ...

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Tracey Richardson

Tracey Richardson: Ringi-sho is the formal approval process linked to hoshin kanri

By Tracey Richardson, - Last updated: Saturday, December 29, 2012
I will have to admit when I saw the word Ringi in this question, it brought back many memories of my time at Toyota (TMMK).   It's not a word I've used or heard much since my time there, even though the thinking behind it could be more common if expressed differently. As others have mentioned above Ringi or (Ringi-sho) is not necessarily a Toyota creation, it is a Japanese term which when ...

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Mike Rother

Mike Rother: Really? More Stabbing Around for Solutions?

By Mike Rother, Author of Toyota Kata and co-author of Learning to See - Last updated: Thursday, December 27, 2012
Question: What is Ringi? Should that practice be adopted by Lean thinkers? The process of PDCA Thinking and Acting suggests we should experiment our way to a target condition. That is, when a step doesn’t work as intended (which happens all the time) you learn something valuable from that prediction error and you set up the next experiment based on what you just learned. In this way you create a chain ...

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Arthur Byrne

Art Byrne: If a company is approaching lean as their strategy and implementing it aggressively [no dabbling allowed] and it thinks it can benefit from using Ringi

By Arthur Byrne, Author of "The Lean Turnaround: How Business Leaders Use Lean Principles to Create Value and Transform Their Company" - Last updated: Sunday, December 23, 2012
Like most of the rest of you I never heard of Ringi before so I figured that I never used it. Then I looked up a definition, “a process where all those involved in implementing a decision have a say in making that decision in the first place”. Thinking of it that way, the way we always organized our kaizen teams more or less incorporated this approach. We always had ...

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Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: Ringi is a formal process of writing up a proposal and getting it approved

By Jeff Liker, author of The Toyota Way and co-author of Toyota Product Development System and Toyota Under Fire - Last updated: Sunday, December 23, 2012
This question is a little different then some in that it asks about the connection between a group of Japanese words.  Not every organization is enthusiastic about learning new Japanese words as the lean lexicon is complex enough.  Actually these are really very old words, and both ringi-sho and nemawashi are not specific to Toyota, but to Japanese management more generally.  Anyone who was studying Japanese management back in the ...

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Samuel Obara

Sammy Obara: Ringi as used by Toyota, ensures that resources will be allocated according to the Hoshin Kanri for that period

By Samuel Obara, Co-author of 'Toyota by Toyota: Reflections from the Inside Leaders on the Techniques That Revolutionized the Industry' - Last updated: Sunday, December 23, 2012
Great topic.   As to how widespread Ringi is in Toyota, I think most people in Toyota would be well familiar with this practice as it is used in all areas, from production to sales to IT.   In Toyota they refer to it as Ringi Sho, which is roughly translated to Approval Document.  But as some other Japanese or Toyota terminologies, this one should not be ...

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Lean Global Network

Lean Global Network: Can you clarify the role of “ringi” in lean?

By Lean Global Network, - Last updated: Sunday, December 23, 2012
"What is Ringi? The Lean Edge has discussed Nemawashi, but could you clarify the practice of Ringi? How is this linked to A3? How widespread is its use within Toyota? Should that practice be adopted by lean thinkers?"
Dave Brunt

Dave Brunt: Purpose, Process, People in Sales

By Dave Brunt, Co-author of "Creating Lean Dealers" - Last updated: Thursday, December 20, 2012
My initial reaction, when first reading this question is to quote the famous phrase from the Training Within Industry materials – “If the learner hasn’t learned, the teacher hasn’t taught.” However this is a good question and one that deserves some discussion. As someone who has spent 14 years helping create examples of lean in car dealerships I have some hypotheses and some experience of the challenges of implementing lean ...

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Daniel T Jones

Daniel T Jones: Why is lean in sales so hard?

By Daniel T Jones, Co-author of 'Lean Thinking' and 'The Machine That Changed the World' - Last updated: Thursday, December 20, 2012
I have struggled with this question ever since we compared the striking differences between car distribution in Japan, Europe and North America in the “Dealing with Customers” chapter of The Machine that Changed the World. I spent the next decade researching every aspect of car distribution in the International Car Distribution Programme (www.icdp.net) and helping the grocery retailer Tesco to pioneer lean in grocery distribution and sales. My colleague Dave ...

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Karen Martin

Karen Martin: Revenue growth is a key part of lean thinking

By Karen Martin, Author of "The Outstanding Organization" - Last updated: Sunday, December 9, 2012
This is an excellent question. I work with sales teams in at least 80% of the improvement work I lead, so it can and must be done. I agree with several of the Lean Edge team that part of the reason why Lean has been slow to capture the imagination of sales teams lies with Lean’s early, erroneous spin as solely a “manufacturing thing ” versus a broad and deep ...

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Tracey Richardson

Tracey Richardson: Understand the value stream from order to customer

By Tracey Richardson, - Last updated: Monday, December 3, 2012
This is a good question and one that doesn't facilitate itself for such a linear answer. I think all the responses so far have talked about many different ideas based on all our experiences out there with various industry and gives our readers some good perspectives to build on. I suppose being part of Toyota in the beginning (1988) when we were setting up ...

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Samuel Obara

Sammy Obara: Lean in Sales starts with Genchi Genbutsu and PDCA

By Samuel Obara, Co-author of 'Toyota by Toyota: Reflections from the Inside Leaders on the Techniques That Revolutionized the Industry' - Last updated: Monday, December 3, 2012
Interesting notes from different perspectives. The little I know about sales and its TPS practice comes from joint efforts when they were teamed up with us, production engineering, in my old days at Toyota. 1)      They did genchi genbutsu to its full extent.  A few examples:  Once, we went w/ sales people to the port of Santos in Brazil to follow up cars arriving from TMC ...

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Art Smalley

Art Smalley: Lean is sometimes a bad name…

By Art Smalley, author of Creating Level Pull. Co-author of A3 Thinking and Kaizen Methods: Six Steps to Improvement - Last updated: Thursday, November 29, 2012
I have a couple of different thoughts on the matter of this month's question and why lean fails to inspire so many people including sales teams. Some points are simple matters of history. Others pertain to how the Toyota Production System has been perceived and described in the United States and other countries around the world. I will elaborate on my thoughts below. For starters I agree with the assertion that ...

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Michael Balle

Michael Ballé: Learning to make hit products

By Michael Balle, co-author of The Gold Mine and The Lean Manager - Last updated: Tuesday, November 27, 2012
This is a very interesting question: how can lean help boost sales? There are two ways of looking at this: one, applying lean thinking to the sales function, or two, increasing sales with lean. As I don’t much about selling, I’ll tackle the latter – how can lean boost sales without touching the sales function? If we’re not focusing on selling, the product had better sell itself! There are four very ...

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Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: We must think of the whole enterprise as a continually evolving system

By Jeff Liker, author of The Toyota Way and co-author of Toyota Product Development System and Toyota Under Fire - Last updated: Monday, November 26, 2012
If you look at the comments of several of my colleagues about bringing lean to sales they point out how important this is--to really connect the value streams of design-build-sell--and Wiremold was brought up as a company that in its heyday had made a lot of progress at the lean enterprise level.  Personally if companies have an immature lean system in manufacturing I suggest they ...

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Jean Cunningham

Jean Cunningham: If we focus on eliminating the wastes associated with the selling process first, we can capture the imagination that lean and sales are great partners!

By Jean Cunningham, Co-author of 'Real Numbers' and 'Easier, Simpler, Faster' - Last updated: Monday, November 26, 2012
Lean failing to capture the imagination of the sales team…what a question!  Our sales team loved the fast lead times. Our sales team loved the improved quality. Our sales team loved rapid pace of new product offerings. We loved to leverage the web for selling.  But just as every other department outside of manufacturing, the improvement cycle was not grasped without some tangible structured introduction ...

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Arthur Byrne

Art Byrne: If the CEO sees lean as a business strategy, he/she will involve sales from day one

By Arthur Byrne, Author of "The Lean Turnaround: How Business Leaders Use Lean Principles to Create Value and Transform Their Company" - Last updated: Sunday, November 25, 2012
the answer to your question has to go deeper than just trying to explain “why lean has failed to capture the imagination of the sales team”. The issue isn’t so much sales but rather a lack of understanding of lean. If you think of lean as “some manufacturing thing”, and probably 95% of all companies and CEO’s view it this way then this should not be surprising. Heck, lean is ...

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Pascal Dennis

Pascal Dennis: The lean system comprises three ‘loops’ in fact: Design, Make, Sell.

By Pascal Dennis, Author of Getting The Right Things Done, Lean Production Simplified, and Andy & Me - Last updated: Sunday, November 25, 2012
Hi all, Good question. Building on Orry's points, the Toyota Business System is about growth -- and not simply efficiency. And you can't grow unless Sales is engaged. The system comprises three 'loops' in fact: Design, Make, Sell. As it happens, one of my favorite Toyota senseis, Shin-san, was a sales & marketing executive! Most Lean transformations focus on the Make loop -- and sub-optimize therefore. A chaotic, lumpy sales profiles will force even the most splendid ...

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Orry Fiume

Orry Fiume: Get field sales people to participate in shop floor kaizens!

By Orry Fiume, Co-author of Real Numbers: Management Accounting in a Lean Organization - Last updated: Sunday, November 25, 2012
I agree with the observation that the Lean movement has failed to recognize the importance of the sales team in capitalizing on Lean as a growth engine.  And I believe that the answer goes back to when we in the western world first started to become aware of what the "Japan, Inc" (AKAToyota) was doing.  It first manifested itself as "Just In Time" and we ...

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Joel Stanwood

Joel Stanwood: Why has the Lean movement largely failed to capture the imagination of the sales team?

By Joel Stanwood, Partner, Operations, at American Industrial - Last updated: Sunday, November 25, 2012
Most management teams who testify to having implemented Lean will describe financial impact in terms of shop floor efficiency improvement – direct labor productivity, overtime reduction, inventory velocity, floor space utilization, etc. Paradoxically, in terms of company economics, the most alluring promise of Lean is to boost sales, delivering ever higher variable contribution margins while delighting customers and winning in the marketplace. ...

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Arthur Byrne

Art Byrne: First link the logical value streams through product families, then get change over times under 10 mins

By Arthur Byrne, Author of "The Lean Turnaround: How Business Leaders Use Lean Principles to Create Value and Transform Their Company" - Last updated: Saturday, October 13, 2012
I assume that the parts made in the press shop are being consumed in the assembly shop. We had the same situation when I first joined Wiremold. We knew we wanted to get to a flow operation starting with the presses and going all the way to the finished box. We had a painting operation in between so it was even  a little more complicated. Where you want to go ...

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Mike Rother

Mike Rother: Depends on Your Goals

By Mike Rother, Author of Toyota Kata and co-author of Learning to See - Last updated: Monday, October 8, 2012
Question:  Where do you think we should start the Lean process in the Press Shop? Seems to me the answer to this question depends on what customer-related challenge your facility is trying to meet. In Lean terms, what does your 1-3 year, dock-to-dock future-state value stream map specify as the desired condition, on the way to the (dock-to-dock) vision of 1x1 Flow at Lowest Cost? This future-state map is a place ...

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Peter Handlinger

Peter Handlinger: Establish a daily pattern production schedule to sequence your presses

By Peter Handlinger, Co-author of "The One Page Report...Of Course" - Last updated: Saturday, October 6, 2012
There is a huge difference between the typical “assembly” line production and the manufacturing environment. We are all guilty, to some extent or another, of trying to replicate the ‘sequential production’ paradigm into a world that experiences ‘non-sequential’ work loadings – a world of high product variability, short runs and shared resources. Herewith some ideas for you to consider. 1.       Close the feedback loop by linking your output requirements (i.e. your customer) ...

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Michael Balle

Michael Ballé: Flow if you can, pull if you can’t

By Michael Balle, co-author of The Gold Mine and The Lean Manager - Last updated: Monday, October 1, 2012
I was recently visiting a large German factory that manufactures industrial equipment – huge mix, low volumes. When I first saw the site, sometime last year, it looked like a plane crash, with cells and half-completed product all over the place – not surprising for a high variety long process product largely managed by the SAP. The plant’s management team had tried to streamline their flow by Value Stream Mapping ...

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Art Smalley

Art Smalley: Lean Versus Historical TPS

By Art Smalley, author of Creating Level Pull. Co-author of A3 Thinking and Kaizen Methods: Six Steps to Improvement - Last updated: Monday, September 24, 2012
I think this is a pretty interesting question and reflects the current status of Lean in many companies I visit. I often make the distinction that modern day Lean and the actual historical development of the Toyota Production System (TPS) are two pretty different animals. I will try and explain my opinion, provide some examples, and answer the question in the following paragraphs. For starters if you study most of the ...

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Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: Don’t confuse JIT shipping with a JIT system

By Jeff Liker, author of The Toyota Way and co-author of Toyota Product Development System and Toyota Under Fire - Last updated: Monday, September 24, 2012
We did work for a JIT seat assembly plant that shipped in sequence to automotive.  They were proud of the plant for being "lean."  After all it shipped JIT.  Walking through the plant it was obvious it was far from lean.   Yes they had an assembly line for the seats and yes they shipped in the exact sequence of the auto assembly lines.  But in reality they were sequencing out ...

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Tracey Richardson

Tracey Richardson: Start with Production Control and Empower People through Standards

By Tracey Richardson, - Last updated: Saturday, September 22, 2012
Hi Andrew, I will answer to my personal experience in regard to this question.  I think its a good one, it can bring out many dynamics that fall under that umbrella of thinking "flow vs batch" so I will try to cover several of them within my answer.   When I was first exposed to the Toyota Production System (TPS) "thinking" in 1988 at Toyota Motor Manuf. KY (TMMK) I made ...

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Andrew Turner

Andrew Turner: Where do we start in a Press shop?

By Andrew Turner, MD Ramsay Engineering, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa - Last updated: Saturday, September 22, 2012
“Our company is split in 2 sections, the one a JIT assembly plant, the other a mass production Press Shop. Implementation of Lean in the JIT plant has been relatively simple (not that Lean is ever really simple), however, we are struggling with the implementation in our Press Shop. I know the importance of items like SMED and Heijunka in driving this journey, yet we are battling to get the ...

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Peter Handlinger

Peter Handlinger: Is nemawashi checking the relevance of a solution and enriching it with key field actors, or simply promoting / enforcing it ? It is both – and which one is applied is dependent on your intent.

By Peter Handlinger, Co-author of "The One Page Report...Of Course" - Last updated: Monday, August 27, 2012
Nemawashi is a double edged sword.  Both edges work equally well. Which edge to use is entirely dependent on the intent of the person initiating the engagement. I first came across the practice of nemawashi during new model launches. Especially during the (then) traditional sit down meetings to review project progress. Before we started to discuss and agree on the way forward, there was a tendency to every now and then ...

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Pascal Dennis

Pascal Dennis: Nemawashi literally means “going around the roots” — so as to prepare a tree for transplanting.

By Pascal Dennis, Author of Getting The Right Things Done, Lean Production Simplified, and Andy & Me - Last updated: Friday, August 17, 2012
Here are my thoughts. Nemawashi literally means "going around the roots" -- so as to prepare a tree for transplanting. The word evokes images of quiet, patient work: · Finding a the right spot for the tree, both physically and aesthetically, · Ensuring good sun, soil & drainage, · Digging new hole of the right depth & diameter, and then watering and fertilizing · Carefully transplanting the tree, filling in the hole, etc Thereby, we develop a ...

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Daniel Markovitz

Daniel Markovitz: Nemawashi is more than just lobbying

By Daniel Markovitz, Author of “A Factory of One" - Last updated: Thursday, August 16, 2012
Lobbying (and yes, I’m thinking cynically of what happens on K Street in Washington), is an attempt by a small group to influence policy for the benefit of that group. The welfare of the larger institution is secondary to the welfare of the sub-group. Moreover, lobbying isn’t a learning exercise: opposing or alternative views aren’t incorporated into the lobbyist’s position. Nemawashi is also designed to influence policy, of course. But there ...

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Tracey Richardson

Tracey Richardson: In my time at Toyota, nemawashi was as common as the word kaizen

By Tracey Richardson, - Last updated: Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Nema- what !? This is a frequent response I get when I use this term with clients or individuals who are on their lean journey.  I would like to take a minute to  just explain the word and its meaning because I feel many misuse this term/concept and sometimes getting everyone to see through the same lens is very helpful.  The Japanese often used metaphors like, "prepping the soil" or "digging around the roots" for successful ...

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Art Smalley

Art Smalley: Nemawashi in Toyota

By Art Smalley, author of Creating Level Pull. Co-author of A3 Thinking and Kaizen Methods: Six Steps to Improvement - Last updated: Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Nemawashi (根回し) is one of those Japanese terms utilized in the Lean community that I am not very fond of to be honest. I run into far too many organizations throwing around this term or other Japanese words like "Hansei" or "Yokoten" or "Kamishibai" instead of using plain English (or whatever your native tongue happens to be) for communication. I realize there are times that a foreign word has no ...

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Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: Nemawashi is about genuinely being interested in the ideas of others

By Jeff Liker, author of The Toyota Way and co-author of Toyota Product Development System and Toyota Under Fire - Last updated: Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Nemawashi was one of the distinguishing characteristics of Japanese management written about a great deal in the early 1980s when the Japanese seemed like an unstoppable business force that could do no wrong.  Over time as the "Japanese miracle" led to the lost decade, and it was no longer fashionable to imitate Japanese management fads it seemed to have become lost from discussions about business best practices.  At Toyota it ...

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Catherine Chabiron

Catherine Chabiron: Can we reduce nemawashi to lobbying ?

By Catherine Chabiron, Process Improvement (Lean Office) Manager at Faurecia - Last updated: Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Can we reduce nemawashi to lobbying ? Is nemawashi checking the relevance of a solution and enriching it with key field actors, or simply promoting / enforcing it ?
Mike Rother

Mike Rother: Keeping Your Lean Transformation Focused

By Mike Rother, Author of Toyota Kata and co-author of Learning to See - Last updated: Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Question:  How do we ensure constant focus and momentum in our Lean transformation? This may be one of the most discussed questions in the Lean community these days. Over the last 15 years there have been a lot of improvements, but lots of stagnation and slipping back too. In your question you mention you’ve been focusing on training people in visualizing, analyzing and solving problems. Interestingly, depending on what you mean that ...

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Art Smalley

Art Smalley: Houshin Kanri & PDCA

By Art Smalley, author of Creating Level Pull. Co-author of A3 Thinking and Kaizen Methods: Six Steps to Improvement - Last updated: Monday, July 30, 2012
This question centers upon how do you maintain focus and momentum on a Lean journey. In a nutshell that is why Toyota developed and utilized its form of Houshin Kanri and PDCA management. Toyota did not invent these tools but they apply them as well as any company that I have come across. Honestly it is easy for any company in the world including Toyota to get off track at ...

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Daniel T Jones

Dan Jones: Five years into lean

By Daniel T Jones, Co-author of 'Lean Thinking' and 'The Machine That Changed the World' - Last updated: Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Five years of lean progress should be rewarded with a vision of how the organisation is going to use the new capabilities of their staff and their value streams to exploit new opportunities that competitors will struggle to follow. By then I would expect top management to be setting the direction for lean, middle management to be focused on streamlining their value streams and the front line to be deeply ...

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Michael Balle

Michael Ballé: The company learns as long as the CEO learns at the gemba by supporting kaizen

By Michael Balle, co-author of The Gold Mine and The Lean Manager - Last updated: Sunday, July 22, 2012
The CEO of a construction company once told me that the day he was bored with the gemba, he’d better sell the firm. This, from a CEO who has more than quadrupled the value of his company in the past five years. This CEO has figured out that the company continues to learn as long as he continues to learn, and the gemba is where true fact-based learning happens. Senior management ...

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Pascal Dennis

Pascal Dennis: Sustaining focus & momentum requires effective connected checking — our organization’s nervous system

By Pascal Dennis, Author of Getting The Right Things Done, Lean Production Simplified, and Andy & Me - Last updated: Monday, July 16, 2012
Good question & good reflections. I would add the following. Sustaining focus & momentum requires effective connected checking -- our organization's nervous system. We call it Level 1, 2, 3 checking, Level 1 being the front line. To Sammy's point, it's hard to beat daily asaichi at the front line, supported by leader STW checking what's important. But front line asaichi needs to be connected to Level 2 & Level 3. (Some problems are beyond the ...

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Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: Self development leads to developing others

By Jeff Liker, author of The Toyota Way and co-author of Toyota Product Development System and Toyota Under Fire - Last updated: Sunday, July 15, 2012
Based on your description I cannot tell what you have done in the 5 years, and know nothing about your processes.  As a general rule focusing on training people in visualizing, analyzing and solving problems is a great thing, particularly training managers.  In our new book on Developing Lean Leadership the Toyota Way we describe how to develop leaders and we are arguing that they need to be trained in ...

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Samuel Obara

Sammy Obara: You get what you inspect, not what you expect

By Samuel Obara, Co-author of 'Toyota by Toyota: Reflections from the Inside Leaders on the Techniques That Revolutionized the Industry' - Last updated: Saturday, July 14, 2012
Ensuring a constant focus on lean efforts seems to be a current interest in many organizations. I believe that constant focus has always been a reward for constant inspection.   As manager Doug Jennings from NUMMI used to say, you get what you inspect, not what you expect. It would be very difficult if not impossible to keep the focus and momentum along the lean journey, if you don’t have a structure of ...

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Tracey Richardson

Tracey Richardson: Involvement and engagement of people at their process(es) where the work is being done must be a priority

By Tracey Richardson, - Last updated: Saturday, July 14, 2012
It's always music to my ears when I hear a company is willing to invest time in people development from the executives to the floor level of the organization.  I believe that the training of the concepts or values are just the beginning of the lean journey, the more difficult task is the sustainment, improvement and growth of leaders and their practices to ensure the company is doing business in a way that ...

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Klaus Peterson

Klaus Petersen: How do we ensure a constant focus and momentum in our Lean transformation after these years and what are the pitfalls we must avoid ?

By Klaus Peterson, Solar's Group process manager - Last updated: Saturday, July 14, 2012
We have been on the Lean journey for 5 years where we have been focusing on training people in visualizing, analyzing and solving problems. We have spend a lot of efforts in training managers to support the journey which they have done. How do we ensure a constant focus and momentum in our Lean transformation after these years and  what are the pitfalls we must avoid ?
Daniel T Jones

Dan Jones: Managing Horizontally as well as Vertically

By Daniel T Jones, Co-author of 'Lean Thinking' and 'The Machine That Changed the World' - Last updated: Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Silos are a symptom of a deeper problem in organisations. Getting rid of silos is not the answer to this problem. Traditional management systems organise expert knowledge into vertical functions and departments and use these to allocate resources across the organisation. So does Toyota. However following Toyota’s example, lean organisations also manage the flows of the work (or value streams) that create the value customers are paying for. This is ...

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Art Smalley

Art Smalley: Toyota’s Functional Organization

By Art Smalley, author of Creating Level Pull. Co-author of A3 Thinking and Kaizen Methods: Six Steps to Improvement - Last updated: Wednesday, June 27, 2012
I don’t have a very snappy answer with five insightful key points for the question posited this month. The question posed is a fairly common one and yet I fear that is potentially problematic in one regard. The question of “how do I…” (fill in the blank with most any topic) is actually referring to an action item that has been decided upon as a solution to a problem. For ...

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Mike Rother

Mike Rother: Time for Mindset Change?

By Mike Rother, Author of Toyota Kata and co-author of Learning to See - Last updated: Monday, June 25, 2012
Question: "What are the five major things we need to do to help us successfully transform a silo based organisation into one focused on business processes, and what are the biggest risks we need to look out for?" To change the silo focus you'll have to change people's mindset, which developed out of them having been led and managed a certain way. Habitual behaviors can be changed and there are a ...

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Jean Cunningham

Jean Cunningham: Walk through the process

By Jean Cunningham, Co-author of 'Real Numbers' and 'Easier, Simpler, Faster' - Last updated: Sunday, June 24, 2012
The first activity I would suggest is just walking a quote through until the order is completed, invoiced and recorded. Talk to the people about what their steps are.  Ask what they spend their time doing.  Ask how long it takes to do the main purpose (the value add) of the task, and then how long to do the task overall.   Ask which parts of the task are done in the IT system and what ...

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Michael Balle

Michael Ballé: Don’t reorganize! Learn to pull instead

By Michael Balle, co-author of The Gold Mine and The Lean Manager - Last updated: Sunday, June 24, 2012
Full disclosure : I wrote a book on re-engineering almost 20 years ago and I wish there was a recall procedure for published books :). As the book was put on the shelves I had reached the conclusion from evidence that a re-engineering project would stop the company working for about two years as every one tried to figure out their role and play musical chairs and the new “re-engineered” organization ...

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Tracey Richardson

Tracey Richardson: Without work standards there can be no kaizens

By Tracey Richardson, - Last updated: Saturday, June 23, 2012
This is a very interesting and complex question but one Im drawn to answer based on my experiences at Toyota on the production floor, a current instructor at Toyota, and as a consultant over the past 14 years.  I've had the opportunity to be very close to this situation with a couple of my clients who could be categorized as silo based organizations. It's difficult at times to have a linear ...

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Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: Changing the structure doesn’t change the work – don’t reorganize, teach teamwork

By Jeff Liker, author of The Toyota Way and co-author of Toyota Product Development System and Toyota Under Fire - Last updated: Saturday, June 23, 2012
I often think that questions like this suggest a misunderstanding of the problem.  Simply stating the problem is we have silos and we want to turn the organization sideways to focus on business processes is not a  good problem statement.   Presumably there is a process that cuts across silos and the silos need to work together to solve specific problems to achieve specific objectives. The reason they currently do not ...

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Klaus Peterson

Klaus Petersen: From silo based-organization to business processes?

By Klaus Peterson, Solar's Group process manager - Last updated: Saturday, June 23, 2012
"What are the five major things we need to do to help us successfully transform a silo based organisation into one focused on business processes, and what are the biggest risks we need to look out for?"
Michael Balle

Michael Ballé: Work standards are both individual and collective

By Michael Balle, co-author of The Gold Mine and The Lean Manager - Last updated: Saturday, June 23, 2012
I was in a plant this week where assembly operators filmed each other and compared how they work on the same station stopwatch in hand, and get to an agreement on the standard way to build a specific part. On most aspects they agreed there was a “best way” in the stopwatch sense, on some they agreed to disagree as each individually preferred to do this gesture this way or ...

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Jamie Flinchbaugh

Standardization, or high agreement

By Jamie Flinchbaugh, Co-Author of The Hitchhiker's Guide To Lean and co-founder of the Lean Learning Center - Last updated: Sunday, June 17, 2012
The question asked is "Are work standards individual or collective?" Standardization is a very difficult topic for most people in lean. The difficulty starts with a past practice and perception that standards are something we give people to force them to do work in a way that might not even be the most productive. Because of this, the perception of standardization is often far from its intention. Our preference is ...

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Art Smalley

Art Smalley: Standardized Confusion

By Art Smalley, author of Creating Level Pull. Co-author of A3 Thinking and Kaizen Methods: Six Steps to Improvement - Last updated: Sunday, June 10, 2012
If I had five dollars for every question I ever had to answer about Standardized Work or Standards inside of Toyota I’d be a very wealthy and retired individual! Seemingly this topic and associated themes pertaining to standards should be easy but that is not the case in reality. There is more than meets the eye with this topic and that is what I suspect is lurking behind the scenes ...

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Tracey Richardson

Tracey Richardson: We all individually had standards we followed as well as the team collectively and upward

By Tracey Richardson, - Last updated: Tuesday, June 5, 2012
I think from my 10 years at Toyota (TMMK) standards were the basis for everything we did, including 5S.   It really was the key to our success and the infrastructure for the culture.  Having the unique opportunity to be a team member, team leader and group leader within the company it was important to understand that we all individually had standards we followed as well as the team collectively and ...

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Samuel Obara

Sammy Obara: It depends on how many people you really need to make the effort on this specific improvement to take place with its adequate adjustment of standards.

By Samuel Obara, Co-author of 'Toyota by Toyota: Reflections from the Inside Leaders on the Techniques That Revolutionized the Industry' - Last updated: Sunday, June 3, 2012
Maybe the core question ends up being:  whose role is it to improve? The question seems too simple now: When we say we are improving specifically the "standards", and if by that we mean improving standardized work and its three documents, then very often that is done by a team as small as 2 people, the team member and his supervisor (or many times a process engineer), who can document, do time taking, record steps on ...

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Jean Cunningham

Jean Cunningham: Standard work is the best way that is currently know to do the work

By Jean Cunningham, Co-author of 'Real Numbers' and 'Easier, Simpler, Faster' - Last updated: Thursday, May 31, 2012
Standard work is the best way that is currently know to do the work.  As decided by the people who do the work.  To get the best possible standards, the people doing the work might have involved customers and suppliers of their work to better understand what is needed.   The standard will evolve over time as the work content changes, the understanding of waste improves, and the supplier and customer needs change.   The real question I ...

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Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: Standards might stem from an individual’s suggestion or it could be the result of a group discussion

By Jeff Liker, author of The Toyota Way and co-author of Toyota Product Development System and Toyota Under Fire - Last updated: Wednesday, May 30, 2012
In the Toyota Way the purpose of standardized work, or any standards for that matter, is to provide a baseline for kaizen.  If 5 people do the job differently than any individual with an idea will only apply the idea to her own work.  The individual will learn something, but the group will not.  In order for a group to learn they have to agree on a standard and then ...

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Cécile Roche

Cécile Roche: Are work standards individual or collective?

By Cécile Roche, Thales LEAN Director - Probasis - Last updated: Wednesday, May 30, 2012
"Standards of work: an individual or a collective discipline? I understand that standards are the basis of respect in Lean, established, followed and improved at a team level as the better way to identify successes and failures (and then act .). How to balance the individual effort of everyone and the collective contribution of the team?"
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