Content By Mike Micklewright

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By: Mike Micklewright

Fake news has fast become one of the most popular new phrases of 2017. We see it in Western politics, we listen to our news channels debate what is fake and what is not, and we hear our late-night comedians pan fake news with politically motivated jokes every chance they get.

The questions that are important for us to ask include, “Is fake news just as prevalent in the workforce as it seems to be in politics, and if yes, what can be done to combat it?”

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By: Mike Micklewright

Quiz time: What significance does the yin and the yang have in discussing standardized training? I suggest that you pause and guess (and then read on for the answer).

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By: Mike Micklewright

When considering any effort toward performance improvement, you should always start by looking at the organization’s principles and culture, and making sure these are aligned so they not only permit positive changes to occur, but also ensure that the changes will be sustained over the long run. By “principles and culture,” I mean things like respect for people, fostering a no-blame environment, and reducing wastes such as excess inventory and duplicative systems that destroy flow across value streams.

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By: 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 footage shows an aggressive attack by a police officer, a supposed person of service to the community, as he shot Laquan walking away from him and then falling to the ground after the first two shots were fired. Fourteen more shots were fired into his lifeless body lying in the street.

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By: Mike Micklewright

I’ve made the point many times that the quality function and the lean/continuous improvement/kaizen function within an enterprise are really one and the same. Treating them as separate value streams with their own documentation, procedures, and goals is wasteful, short-sighted, and disrespectful of employees and customers alike. Why? Because all that duplication impedes the ability to create flow and add value, which are what employees and customers are most interested in, anyway.

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By: 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 Friends. And yet, a kangaroo and Friends have a commonality in that each contains a “Joey.” Daily kaizen and SPC also share a special commonality: principles.

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By: Mike Micklewright

Finally... the new version of ISO 9001:2015 has been released. I can hear many of you screaming, “Hurray!” Or not. More realistically, I’m sure many of you living in the kaizen world are thinking, “Yeah, so what? This stuff has nothing to do with real kaizen, and in fact, it often creates bureaucracy and more waste.”

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By: Mike Micklewright

I mean it! If your company can’t master 5S, try “1S” and stop! Stop the entire lean transformation until 5S is mastered in at least one process-focused area of the facility.

It’s a tremendous waste for a company to spend thousands, if not millions, of dollars on a “lean transformation” only to see the old way of doing business resume because the company couldn’t sustain and build on the improvements it made.

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By: Mike Micklewright

You’ve heard of Bam Bam, Duran Duran, Zsa Zsa, so-so, tutu, and Reverend Tutu. And now we have... Gemba Gemba! But what is Gemba Gemba?

Quite simply, Gemba Gemba means going to the gemba for the purpose of observing others going to the gemba to ask, teach, learn, coach, and challenge. In this way, the skill of visiting the gemba can be done correctly and then improved, thus assuring a greater chance of process improvement.

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By: Mike Micklewright

Recently, while providing training for new clients, I heard a comment from two different people that went something like this: “That gemba walking stuff is really nothing new; it used to be called ‘management by walking around.’” Admittedly I was caught off guard, especially the first time I was told this, since I’d never heard someone say or even think of such an absurdity.