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Evolving Excellence

  • Airbnb and Uber – From Batch to One Piece Flow
    Some of the more interesting internet-driven companies these days are the likes of Airbnb and Uber. They call themselves part of the “sharing economy.” But let’s take a look at the word “share.” From the MacMillan dictionary, share is “t…
    - 18 days ago, 8 Nov 2014, 7:42pm -
  • On Asiana, Driverless Cars, and Factories
    I’ve always been interested in technology – its use, advantages, and disadvantages.  Regular readers know that I often advocate for manual solutions first, such as whiteboards to run factories and a handwritten notebook for notes. Some believe t…
    - 28 Jun 2014, 1:41pm -
  • Big Data, Small Data
    I’ve been following the panting exuberance of big data apostles for the past few years, rolling my eyes at most of it. Sure, it can be interesting, but maybe my age showing when I say “so what?” to most of it. What finally pushed me over the ed…
    - 17 May 2014, 5:02am -
  • The Devil on the Bus
    The other day while skimming LinkedIn I came across yet another one of those cheesy quotes that, unfortunately, have become all too common on the site: “Surround yourself with people on the same mission.”  I proceeded to get into an online discu…
    - 11 May 2014, 5:39am -
  • The Dangerous Lite Side of Mindfulness and Lean
    By Kevin Meyer I’ll preface this post by saying that yes, I’m from crazy California, I eat granola with fruits and nuts in the morning, am vegetarian (well, pescatarian), dislike wearing shoes, and practice yoga. At least I don’t have dreadlock…
    - 4 Apr 2014, 6:27am -

Lean Blog

  • Reflections: If I Hadn’t Moved From Lean Manufacturing to Lean Healthcare
    I just got back from Japan last night and I’m going to take it easy during this Thanksgiving week. Rest and family time are high priorities, of course, as I’m sure they are for many of you. I will be reflecting a lot on my trip and I’ll be writ…
    - 3 days ago, 24 Nov 2014, 10:00am -
  • Is “The Jerk” Good at Problem Solving?
    Four years ago, I parodied the style of GEICO commercial that they were running at the time with a “did you know that Steve Martin’s character from The Jerk was bad at 5S?” The other day, I was thinking about the scene in the movie where Navin…
    - 6 days ago, 21 Nov 2014, 10:00am -
  • “Quality Circles” Are Alive & Well in Japanese Organizations; We Might Call it A3 Problem Solving
    One question I was asked to ask during my Japan trip was to see if “Quality Circles” are still active in Japanese companies. I think the term was brought to the U.S. in the 1980s and 1990s, but generally wasn’t widely adopted for a number of re…
    - 7 days ago, 20 Nov 2014, 10:00am -
  • SAFETY – Question Your Assumptions
    Mark’s note: Today’s guest post is by Brian Buck, a fellow lean healthcare  practitioner who blogged until about two years ago at his site “Improve With Me.”  Recently, I took my son to his primary care provider and the doctor asked if I wo…
    - 8 days ago, 19 Nov 2014, 10:00am -
  • Our Toyota Tour Guide’s Kaizen
    We just finished our second day of our Kaizen Institute Japan Lean Tour and it’s been great so far. Follow us via the hashtag #KaizenTour on Twitter for more real-time updates. Monday afternoon, we visited Toyota’s Tsutsumi plant in Toyota City,…
    - 9 days ago, 18 Nov 2014, 10:00am -

Jamie Flinchbaugh

  • If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.
    If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door. Put up a knocker. Add a sign. And put a doorman out to steer opportunity your way. Where am I going with this? I see too much victim mentality and it drives me crazy. The worst kind is the jealous kind, s…
    - 20 days ago, 7 Nov 2014, 11:30am -
  • Should price be the primary metric of supplier management?
    Are you treating your suppliers right? General Motors, a company historically adversarial with their suppliers, long outlasting their 800-pound gorilla status, is working towards mending and building relationships with its suppliers. Some of their pl…
    - 22 days ago, 5 Nov 2014, 11:30am -
  • If we’re going to fight fires, do it like the pros
    This post originally appeared on the Lean Learning Center blog. Email comes in. React. Issue gets raised at a meeting. React. Customer calls. React. What do we call it when we spend all day reacting to the events around us? FIREFIGHTING! We all do it…
    - 24 days ago, 3 Nov 2014, 11:30am -
  • The Lean Starting Line [Lessons from the Road]
    It’s time for another installment of Lessons from the Road, my column for IndustryWeek. In the next few installments, I will talk about the lean roadmap, or how to handle the change management of the lean journey. This month, I am talking about the…
    - 56 days ago, 2 Oct 2014, 11:54am -
  • Saving childhoods one at a time
    Please help! For most kids, a childhood is defined by play, running, jumping, riding bikes, and all sorts of activities. There are several ways in which this can be lost. My daughter experienced Perthes, and spent an awful lot of time visiting doctor…
    - 78 days ago, 9 Sep 2014, 4:15pm -

LSS Academy

  • My Final LSS Academy Post
    I remember it like it was yesterday… it was January 2007 and I was sitting on my couch surfing the web while watching TV. I had just read a lean related blog article by my friend, Jon Miller, and wondered how hard it would be to start my own blog.…
    - 25 Apr 2014, 1:33pm -
  • Is Home Depot’s Expedited Checkout Lean?
    It’s warming up here in North Texas… as such businesses like Home Depot are EXTREMELY BUSY places. Yesterday I joined the crowd to buy some tomatoes and other vegetables to plant in our garden.  And, yes, the checkout line was backed up in a big…
    - 31 Mar 2014, 3:29pm -
  • Gemba Academy is 5 Years Old. Come Celebrate With Us!
    Five years ago I, and two good friends of mine, began what’s turned out to be an incredible journey. Specifically, in March of 2009 Gemba Academy was born. We had no way of knowing whether there would be interest in what we were doing… but we sta…
    - 6 Mar 2014, 4:16pm -
  • My Newest Stand Up Desk!
    Friends, I have a confession to make. In November of 2009 I wrote about my new stand up desk. I was quite proud of how I’d managed to prop an old desk up on some crates… I guess you could say I definitely used my wits over my wallet! Well, as it…
    - 23 Jan 2014, 6:48pm -
  • Lean Thinker Challenge #4
    Welcome to the first Lean Thinker Challenge of 2014! The Situation You’re the owner of a very successful manufacturing company. Your company began its lean journey 10 years ago and has realized tremendous benefits. In fact, lean thinking – along…
    - 7 Jan 2014, 5:30pm -

Got Boondoggle

  • Book Review The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right
    What makes a good checklist versus a bad checklist?  What are the limits in the power of a checklist?  Sure, checklists work for the weekly run to the grocery store or packing before we go on vacation but can they work to reduce errors in surgery?T…
    - 16 Jun 2013, 9:43pm -
  • Going from "Oh-oh" to "Ta-da" Faster
    As young children, we learn from our experiences through relentless trial and error. It does not take us long to figure out if we touch something hot, for instance fire or a hot skillet, it burns us and we quickly jerk o…
    - 14 May 2012, 3:01pm -
  • Lean Snake Oil Cures what Ails Ya
    Step right up Ladies and Gentleman! Do you suffer from bulging inventories? Are you feeling tired and wore down chasing problems everyday at work? Are parts of your organization afflicted by dislocation? Perhaps you suffer from irregularity of flow o…
    - 30 Apr 2012, 2:50pm -
  • Suffering from Sick Sigma?
    My good friend, Jonathan Sands, a Director of Operational Excellence for a large firm, recently told me about his experience with a company six sigma effort years ago. At first go around, he and other leaders undertook their black belt training with…
    - 3 Apr 2012, 4:11pm -
  • New Webinar "A Day in the Life of a Lean Supervisor"
    I invite you to please join me in a free webinar next week “A Day in the Life of a Lean Supervisor” hosted by Gemba Academy on April 4, 2012 at 1:00 pm – 2:00pm (USA-Central Time).Click here to register. In this webinar, I will help define stan…
    - 30 Mar 2012, 3:27pm -

Daily Kaizen

  • Why We Are Here
    The poem (below) jumped out at me from a therapist’s office wall.  A local team of our behavioral health providers were in Day 2 action, practicing and refining with real patients toward the ideal visit. I sat as still as possible, hoping to meld…
    - 61 days ago, 27 Sep 2014, 12:35am -
  • Waiting for Health Care – no longer ‘just the way it is’?
    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/obama-mulls-cleveland-clinic-ceo-head-veterans-affairs-article-1.1816789 The Cleveland Clinic’s capability to provide same day access for any specialty came up during a lunch break at a recent kaizen event.…
    - 25 Jun 2014, 8:14pm -
  • Why does it take so long to make things happen? by Sean Sessions
     This year I became a home owner.  With a new interest in the quality of life within my neighborhood, I’ve reached out to local community groups, hoping to combine my loves of civic involvement, and community service, with my passion for process…
    - 6 May 2014, 7:04pm -
  • Moonshine in the Home?
    As I watched a recent 3P team in action – I could no longer ignore it. a little voice saying: ‘for any home improvement, you must use the 3P moonshine principles!’ Make it physical with zero cost, and then simulate the process within that physi…
    - 6 Dec 2013, 10:38pm -
  • What Do Customers Want?
            Can kaizen activities be truly meaningful to the success of the business if we lose sight of what customers actually want versus interpreting the customer’s requirements through the lens of the business’s current capabilities? I am…
    - 22 Nov 2013, 10:00pm -

Gotta Go Lean

  • Develop Trust (Principle)
    Think about what trust is. It is, in effect, a shortcut. It means that you have faith in something, or someone, and have stopped double-checking on all expectations.The post Develop Trust (Principle) appeared first on Continuous Improvement at the F…
    - 1 day ago, 25 Nov 2014, 10:08pm -
  • Continuous Data
    Continuous data can have any value within a given range. Compare this to discrete data which is limited in the values it takes.The post Continuous Data appeared first on Continuous Improvement at the Front Line of Change.
    - 5 days ago, 21 Nov 2014, 6:43pm -
  • CRM / Customer Relationship Management
    CRM stands for customer relationship management. It essentially is the practice of taking an active approach to understanding how a company interacts with its customers and creating a strategy to manage that relationship for both current and future c…
    - 10 days ago, 16 Nov 2014, 6:02pm -
  • Genchi Genbutsu
    The post Genchi Genbutsu appeared first on Continuous Improvement at the Front Line of Change.
    - 12 days ago, 15 Nov 2014, 2:31pm -
  • PDSA / Plan-Do-Study-Act (or Adjust)
    PDSA stands for Plan-Do-Study-Act, or less commonly, Plan-Do-Study-Adjust.The post PDSA / Plan-Do-Study-Act (or Adjust) appeared first on Continuous Improvement at the Front Line of Change.
    - 12 days ago, 15 Nov 2014, 12:39am -

Lean Connections

  • Join Me at the Lean Accounting Summit in Savannah, GA October 20-22
    Join me as I present at this year’s annual Lean Accounting Summit, October 21-22 in Savannah, GA. As always, the Summit will deliver the best principles and practices of lean business management. Register with Promo Code “presenterguest” for 10…
    - 57 days ago, 30 Sep 2014, 3:34pm -
  • Your Career Advice for Generation Y
    In a recent nationwide survey, amazingly, just 35 percent of American parents indicated they would encourage their children to pursue a career in manufacturing. Are you be surprised? Now imagine your closest friend asks you: “My son wants to consi…
    - 96 days ago, 22 Aug 2014, 7:57pm -
  • Vice President Operations – Confidential New Executive Search
    Vice President Operations   $300 million Global Industrial Manufacturer Southern USA Confidential Executive Search Overview I have begun a confidential executive search for our client’s new Vice President Operations.  The company is a leading ma…
    - 14 Aug 2014, 10:16pm -
  • Gemba Academy Talks Lean Leadership with Adam Zak
    Ron Pereira of Gemba Academy posted a podcast interview we did just a few weeks ago. The primary focus of our discussion is how to hire the right executive to help you jumpstart your company’s Lean journey.  I’ve reprinted the key topics …[.…
    - 10 Jul 2014, 5:15pm -
  • Guru Review from Matthew May: Simple Excellence
    Matthew May writes about the new book Simple Excellence: Organizing and Aligning the Management Team in a Lean Transformation for American Express OpenForum readers. (from the Archives, 2010) Big Idea: Take Henry David Thoreau’s plea to “Simplif…
    - 1 Jul 2014, 5:12pm -

Curious Cat

  • The Importance of Leadership by Those Working to Improve Management
    This month Bill Troy, ASQ CEO, asked ASQ Influential Voices bloggers to explore the importance of leadership for every quality management professional. Leadership is important but also something that often is difficult to understand what exactly is m…
    - 2 days ago, 25 Nov 2014, 1:25pm -
  • Don’t Ignore Customer Complaints
    I find Paul Graham’s ideas very useful. I disagree with his recent tweet though. Update: See note at bottom of the post – Paul tweeted that his original tweet was wrong. Base your assessment of the merit of an idea … Continue reading →
    - 6 days ago, 21 Nov 2014, 12:39am -
  • Attracting Members and Volunteers to Professional Organizations
    This month Bill Troy, ASQ CEO, asked ASQ Influential Voices bloggers to explore recruiting members and volunteers amid a changing landscape. In most ways the answer is the same as any large question on directing an organization. We must figure … Co…
    - 23 days ago, 4 Nov 2014, 2:22pm -
  • A Strong Management System Handles the Transition of Leaders With Ease
    Part three (of three) of an interview of me with Bill Fox has been published. Leadership While Viewing the Organization as a System …So if I see the weak management system as the problem, the solution is not nearly as … Continue reading →
    - 29 days ago, 29 Oct 2014, 1:36pm -
  • Remembering Peter Scholtes
    Guest Post by Fazel Hayati Fall always reminds me of my friend Peter Scholtes. It was during 2008 annual Deming Institute fall conference in Madison, Wisconsin when Peter said farewell to his friends and colleagues. He gave a keynote titled … Conti…
    - 44 days ago, 14 Oct 2014, 2:28pm -

Learning About lean

  • A new writing project
    This blog has been rather quiet for the past couple of months, which reflects two concurrent facts. One is an incredibly busy period for my own manufacturing job.  Good stuff, but hugely time-consuming, filling work days and leaving little mental sp…
    - 3 Jan 2013, 2:59am -
  • Creating Interest
    Flow is a lot more interesting than batch. This occured to me in recent conversations with one of our team leaders who schedules work for her area.  A series of well-intended but misdirected steps had created a batch process in her area.  She coul…
    - 26 Oct 2012, 8:30pm -
  • Go Look at the Ears
    "You know, farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and you're a thousand miles from the corn field."Dwight Eisenhower, Address at Bradley University, Peoria, Illinois, 9/25/56Ike had it right.  Need we say more about getting out of t…
    - 11 Oct 2012, 11:13pm -
  • The Curse of Sophistication
    As long as I've worked at implementing a Lean strategy, I continue to find it amazing how a description of it seems to fall flat on others' ears.  A common reaction is "Well, it's just common sense." Which is truly a comment which dismisses it as a…
    - 9 Oct 2012, 1:11am -
  • Ten Years of Blogging
    Flying well under any publicity banner, today marks ten years of this blog.  My first-ever post, on September 14, 2002, got this whole thing going.  568 posts later, allow me a few reflections. Ten years ago, there were not many resources about Lea…
    - 14 Sep 2012, 10:00am -

Improve With Me

  • Test Beliefs Against Data
    I like this quote because it touches on a couple of other ideas I have read before. One author I like (Joiner) states that all leaders need to treat decisions as experiments.  Lean challenges HiPPOs (Highest Paid Persons Opinion) to use data in…
    - 4 Sep 2012, 2:00pm -
  • Seek Multiple Views
    This quote has been sitting with me a while and I hope it is relevant for you too.  So often, even a gemba experience may be different for people.  Even though facts are found at gemba, people may only see certain … Continue reading →
    - 28 Aug 2012, 2:00pm -
  • Change Through Repeated Action
    “Beliefs, behaviors, assumptions, and attitudes do not change through study, conferences, seminars, and training classes; they change through repeated action. This is not dissimilar to breaking unhealthy habits such as smoking or overeating. The co…
    - 21 Aug 2012, 3:00pm -
  • PDSA Is The Ultimate Success Formula
    I recently uncovered a box of books I thought was lost years ago (before I knew about 5S!)  This time capsule contained material I read about 15 years ago while still in college and managing my own direct sales business during summer … Continue…
    - 19 Jul 2012, 4:45am -
  • The Waste Of “Managing Up”
    Time spent trying to please your boss is processing waste and provides no value to your customers.  Leaders and staff need to recognize this as a major cultural problem because it will negatively affect the long-term success for your organization.…
    - 11 Jan 2012, 2:00pm -

Lean Insider

  • Lean is the Medicine that Healthcare Systems Require
    Last month, an important book titled The Lean Prescription: Powerful Medicine for Our Ailing Healthcare System, authored by Patricia Gabow and Philip Goodman, was published, and it details how Denver Health became the first healthcare organization to…
    - 20 days ago, 6 Nov 2014, 7:26pm -
  • The ”Just Do It” Approach to Strategy Deployment Has Proven to “Just Not Work”
    Randy Kesterson recently published a book titled The Basics of Hoshin Kanri, and it explains the basic steps to a strategy deployment and execution approach that has proven to be highly effective by companies such as Toyota, Danaher, and 3M.The boo…
    - 43 days ago, 15 Oct 2014, 12:55pm -
  • Eco-friendly = Profitable
    I came across a very interesting article over on the Ensia site titled Manufacturing Goes Lean and Green written by Justin Miller. The article focuses on Highwood -- a manufacturer of synthetic woods -- that considers its product and its manufactur…
    - 89 days ago, 29 Aug 2014, 4:53pm -
  • How the LEGO Group Built a Global Learning Organization Using TWI
    Patrick Graupp, the foremost thought leader on the topic of Training Within Industry (TWI), has authored an important new book titled Building a Global Learning Organization: Using TWI to Succeed with Strategic Workforce Expansion in the LEGO Group.…
    - 23 Jul 2014, 6:57pm -
  • Moving Production Back to the USA -- The Better Business Strategy for US Manufacturers?
    A new book by Tim Hutzel and Dave Lippert titled Bringing Jobs Back to the USA: Rebuilding America’s Manufacturing through Reshoring was published this month. This book continues the theme of their first book, Keeping Your Business in the U.S.A.:…
    - 16 Jun 2014, 3:27pm -

Lean Reflections

  • Leadership style and neural networks - Part 3
    A three-blog collaboration continues as Jeff Hajek hosts part 3 of our series on brain research and leadership style choices on his Gotta Go Lean blog. Co-blogging with Matt and Jeff has been rewarding because of the reviewing process before publicat…
    - 11 Aug 2014, 1:29pm -
  • Leadership style and neural networks - part 2
    Matt Wrye is hosting Part two of our neuro-leadership series on his blog, Beyond Lean. Thanks for sharing it with your readers, Matt. And if you don't know Matt or his blog, you are in for a treat.
    - 15 Jul 2014, 2:53pm -
  • Leadership style and neural networks - Part 1
    You’re probably familiar with the two leadership styles: task/objective-oriented leadership, sometimes called Theory X, or human/emotional-oriented, Theory Y. The American MBO model with its financial and quantitative goals leaves out the human dim…
    - 24 Jun 2014, 1:15pm -
  • Bad employees
    As I discussed in my last post, the article, “Bad to great: The path to scaling up excellence” in the McKinsey Quarterly evoked my ire. In it, the authors discussed how to identify “bad employees” and get rid of them -- the old “bad apple…
    - 7 Apr 2014, 4:59pm -
  • McKinsey proves that today's management culture has a long way to go
    The first issue of the McKinsey Quarterly for 2014 was entitled, “Shaping the future of manufacturing.” Proof that management culture, however, is still rooted in the past, is made plain in the article “Bad to great: The path to scaling up exce…
    - 30 Mar 2014, 4:41pm -

Shmula


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