A Morning Market

In past posts, I have referred to an organization that implemented a “morning market” as a way to manage their problem solving efforts. Synchronicity being what it is: Barb, the driving force in the organization in my original story, wrote to tell me that their morning market is going strong – and remains the centerpiece […]

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The Importance of Heijunka

My friend Tom poses an interesting question to production managers: “If I ask you to produce different quantities and types of products every day, what quantity of people, materials, machines, and space do you need?” Of course the answer is usually, at best, inarticulate and, at worst, a blank stare. There isn’t any way to […]

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The Lean Plateau

Many organizations trying to deploy lean get great results for the first couple of years, then things tend to stall or plateau. This is in spite of continued effort from the “lean team.” We Still Don’t Have a Lean Culture This was the comment by the Continuous Improvement director of a pretty large corporation. They […]

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Prediction Doesn’t Equal Understanding

Sometimes people fall into a trap of believing they understand a process if they can successfully predict it’s outcome. We see this in meetings. A problem or performance gap will be discussed, and an action item will be assigned to implement a solution. Tonight those of us in the western USA saw the moon rise in […]

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Performance is the Shadow of Process

“Time is the shadow of motion” is an observation usually attributed to Frank and Lillian Gilbreth, pioneers of modern industrial engineering. What they realized was this: You want to save time. But you cannot directly affect how long something takes. You have to look at the motions, at the process structure that is casting the […]

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Where Toyota Kata Doesn’t Work

I’ll admit right up front that the headline is worded to attract search engines. If that’s how you got here, be prepared to think. Can You Prove That This Works This is something I hear a lot: “I can see where _____ applies to your example. But my process is __(different somehow) ___. Fill in […]

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Toyota Kata “A3 Problem Solving”

Over the years, I’ve been exposed a number of efforts to “implement A3 problem solving” in various companies. I worked for some of those companies, I’ve observed others. The results are nearly always the same. Here are a couple of examples. Let me know if any of these match up with experiences you have had. […]

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5S Audits – Part III

I would like to thank everybody for a really engaging dialog in the previous two posts about 5S audits. Now I would like to dig in and look at what an “audit” is actually finding, and how we are responding to those issues. Our hypothetical production area is getting an audit. The checklist says things […]

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Get Your Ducks In A Row For Lean Accounting

I have known Russ Field since working with him on a few projects in a large Seattle (now Chicago) based aerospace company. Recently he posted a very (typically Russ) thorough reply on NWLEAN to a question about value stream accounting. I asked him to take the same basic material, clean it up a little, and […]

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leanblog.org: Measuring for Improvement

Mark Grabon’s latest post hits the key difference between metrics that help improvement, vs. management-by-measurement that destroys trust and possibly drives unethical behavior. He quotes a U.K. hospital administrator as saying: “We’re trying to shift from collecting data for judgment to data for improvement.” I agree with Mark’s assessment: “Brilliant.” Metrics are a “Check” in […]

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