One of the challenges Lean philosophies have faced is the perception that they are applicable only on the shop floor. That view, though has been under assault for some time, most notably with the rise of the Lean Office and Lean Healthcare.
Lean has not enjoyed the same inroads in project work, though. Sure, 5S and [...]
The continuous improvement world is full of buzzwords. Two of them are seemingly at odds with each other.
The first is zero defects. The theory is that a company should never be tolerant of defects, and should strive for perfection from all their processes.
The other buzzword is ‘better, not perfect‘. This theory advocates spending your time [...]
A short while ago, Tim McMahon of the “A Lean Journey” blog and I hosted a webinar in which we talked about how to understand and evaluate the progress you are making as you reduce waste and increase value in your organization. (Note: the link above will take you to a discussion about the webinar [...]
When I hear people discussing their continuous improvement efforts, I sometimes wonder if they are speaking the same language to each other. It reminds me of a scene from one of the “Lethal Weapon” movies a few years back. Mel Gibson and Danny Glover were going to ‘Go on 3′. Before they actually “went”, though, [...]
I want you to think for a moment about how a golf ball flies. It may have a path of hundreds of yards in the air, but there is only one point where you actually have any impact on the ball. It is in the first few inches of motion. After that, there is little [...]
At its core, much of continuous improvement is about problem solving. Tools such as Standard Work, policy deployment, kanbans, and andons are all really just pre-packaged solutions to common problems.
Despite that focus on resolving issues, few people have well-developed problem solving skills. This holds true even in companies that have been on their Lean journey [...]
As I talk about making improvements, I invariably end up telling people they need focus more on their processes. Time and time again, just the simple act of gaining a deeper understanding of how work is done will shed light on what to improve. The spotlight shines even brighter when one crosses functional boundaries and [...]
Businesses are full of managerial approval loops.
An employee wants to take a break, and he must check in with the supervisor.
An employee wants to buy a hand tool, and she must go through channels to put in the request.
A back-office employee wants to do something to take care of a customer, and he has to [...]
There are two basic types of people. Those who are worried about trying an idea that won’t work, and those that are worried about not trying an idea that might work.
The first type can go a whole career with some degree of success. Every time I play golf, I realize that at my skill level, [...]
I heard an interesting story the other day about baggage fees. Although the decision to charge for extra bags has alienated travelers, it hasn’t seemed to reduce the number of fliers significantly. But the fees did, however, alter passenger behavior. Travelers take fewer bags with them now when they catch a flight. Of course, anytime [...]