‘Tis The Season for Management by Measurement

It must be that time of the year. I see traffic in the online forums asking about how to set key performance indicators for lean staff people so their performance incentives can be set. If anyone were to ask my advice here, it comes down to one word: Don’t. Two reasons. First, we have overwhelming […]

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Management by Measurement vs. a Problem Solving Culture

As I promised, I want to expand on a couple of great points buried in John Shook’s new book Managing to Learn, published by LEI. A while back I commented on an article, Lean Dilemma: System Principles vs. Management Accounting Controls, in which H. Thomas Johnson points out that Perhaps what you measure is what […]

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Push Improvement vs. Pull Improvement

I’m writing up a proposal for a benchmarking and study week, and just typed the term “push improvement” as a contrast to a true “continuous improvement culture.” I wanted to explore that a bit here, with you, and perhaps I’ll fill in the idea in my own mind. Push Improvement A few years ago I […]

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How Do You Measure Toyota Kata?

I’ve run into a couple of cases where there is an initiative from a corporate continuous improvement team to “implement Toyota Kata.” Aside from trying to proscribe each and every step of the way (which runs counter to the entire point of discovering the solution – “you omitted step 7b”), they also expect reports of […]

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Motivation, Bonuses and Key Performance Indicators

I have posted a few times about the “management by measurement” culture and how destructive it can be. This TED video by Daniel Pink adds some color to the conversation. Simply put, while traditional “incentives” tend to work well when the task is rote and the solution is well understood, applying those same incentives to […]

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Toyota Kata : the “how” of “engaged leadership”

Anyone who is following this blog knows my view of “engaged leadership.” As I read this book, I had two experiences. I found it validating. There were a lot of times I said “oh yeah!” I found it clarifying. Rother turns up the contrast on a couple of crucial points and I liked that. This […]

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Audits vs. Leader Standard Work

5S audits, standard work audits, and for that matter ISO-900x audits, are a frequent source of questions in various online discussion forums. At the same time, the topic of “leader standard work” comes up frequently, as it did in a recent question / comment on “Walking the Gemba.” I think the topic is worth exploring […]

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Reducing Inventory

Yesterday’s post on vendor managed inventory touched on a couple of things about “lean” and reducing inventory that I’d like to explore further. All too often “inventory reduction” has been a way to “sell” a lean manufacturing implementation. The reduction of inventory becomes the objective. While this isn’t inherently a bad thing, it is all […]

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The TPS In Four Words

In the world of science, great discoveries simplify our understanding. When Copernicus hypothesized that everything in the universe does not revolve around the Earth, explaining the motions of things in the sky got a lot easier. In general, I have found that if something requires a great deal of detail to explain the fundamentals, there […]

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