Lean Article Features

Ken Levine's picture
Ken Levine
One poorly understood concept in lean Six Sigma is how much to “stretch” when setting S.M.A.R.T. goals. These letters are defined as S—specific; M—measureable; A—assignable, attainable, or...
Bruno Scibilia's picture
Bruno Scibilia
Sponsored Content Suppose that on your way to a summer holiday resort (a very distant place), your car breaks down. You might just call roadside assistance and wait for your car to be towed to a...
Kimberly Watson-Hemphill's picture
Kimberly Watson-Hemphill
Editor’s note: This is an excerpt from the new book, Innovating Lean Six Sigma, by Kimberly Watson-Hemphill and Kristine Nissen Bradley. Like every company, healthcare businesses do their work...
Tonianne DeMaria's picture
Tonianne DeMaria
I recognize that the title of this column might stir up some controversy, especially among fellow coffee enthusiasts. Not to mention it puts me at risk of getting exiled from my beloved adopted...
MIT News's picture
MIT News
In March 2011, Leonardo Bonanni was preparing to defend his Ph.D. thesis about Sourcemap, software that lets consumers map every connection of a product supply chain on a digital map, when tragedy...
Davis Balestracci's picture
Davis Balestracci
April Fool’s Day (today) and the opening of baseball season (this Sunday) are upon us. To mark the first event, I’ll let my distinguished colleague Donald Wheeler make some eloquent and crucial...
Matthew Barsalou's picture
Matthew Barsalou
The start of a failure investigation may involve brainstorming, but empirical methods will be required to actually identify a problem's cause. Implementing an improvement action without a confirmed...
Kevin Meyer's picture
Kevin Meyer
Those of us in the lean world are accustomed to discussing "flow"—where work is performed in an even manner to reduce mura or lack of regularity, one of the three forms of waste. Activities are...
Michelle LaBrosse's picture
Michelle LaBrosse
Your project teams seem to have all the right pieces—team members with technical proficiency, good internal communication, an organized project manager—but something still isn’t quite right. Your...
Jim Benson's picture
Jim Benson
When you are a consultant, or worse yet, seen as a thought leader, people hire you expecting that you’ll know “the answers.” At best, what you actually know are paths to make sense of problems...
Bruce Hamilton's picture
Bruce Hamilton
Here’s a personal reflection from my distant past that might describe a current state for some of you. When I began working in manufacturing during the pre-lean era, the quoted lead time for my...
Scott Berkun's picture
Scott Berkun
Many of our most popular stories of discovery are portrayed as accidents or matters of luck. We love these stories because they make creativity seem easy and fun. Nevertheless, they are...
Bob Emiliani's picture
Bob Emiliani
Nearly 30 years after the start of the lean movement, there is widespread agreement that things have not gone according to plan. Of course, there have been some notable successes (particularly from...
Michelle LaBrosse's picture
Michelle LaBrosse
When you run a small business (perhaps as small as just you), does failure ever really occur? I hear often in the media about this or that business being “too big to fail,” but in reality isn't it...
Mike Micklewright's picture
Mike Micklewright
In October 2014, 17-year-old Laquan McDonald was shot 16 times by a Chicago police officer. In November 2015, footage of the shooting was released and has been viewed all over the world. The...
Kevin Meyer's picture
Kevin Meyer
My lean journey of more than 20 years has changed my life in many ways, perhaps none as pervasively as recognition of and disdain for waste. Along with respect for people, waste awareness has...
Bruce Hamilton's picture
Bruce Hamilton
Mel Brooks fans will remember Spaceballs, his jocular jibe at the Star Wars franchise. In pursuit of a rebel ship, evil Lord Dark Helmet (played by Rick Moranis) orders his crew to accelerate their...
Bob Emiliani's picture
Bob Emiliani
Every day, thousands of people confuse lean management with “Taylorism,” properly known as scientific management. The negative association brings out the lean bigwigs and others who work hard to...
Mike Micklewright's picture
Mike Micklewright
To many people, the relationship between daily kaizen and statistical process control (SPC) might seem as remote as the relationship between a kangaroo and the past iconic American TV series...
Bruce Hamilton's picture
Bruce Hamilton
A piece of popular lore, provided by Shigeo Shingo, is that the original name for mistake-proofing (poka-yoke) was actually fool-proofing (baka-yoke). Shingo chided managers at Panasonic for...