Lean Article

Matthew Barsalou’s picture

By: 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 root cause risks a reoccurrence of the issue because the true root cause has yet to be addressed.

Scott Berkun’s picture

By: 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 misleading.

Ryan E. Day’s picture

By: Ryan E. Day

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Mike Richman’s picture

By: Mike Richman

Of all the tools in the lean toolkit, 5S is the one that has proven to be the most effective—and also the most elusive. It’s effective because the actions needed to sort, set in order, shine, standardize, and sustain mirror the deeper, critically important philosophy of thinking about value, waste, and flow with a “big picture” mindset. Once an organization has adapted lean thinking and initiated 5S projects, improvement begins to accelerate in all operational phases.

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Harish Jose
I recently read Jordan Ellenberg’s wonderful book, How Not To Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking (Penguin Books, 2014). I found the book to be enlightening and a great read....
    How does one define quality in the context of a warehouse? The perfect warehouse is clean, has everything in its place, and is easy to access. Your warehouse looks like the one below, right? You have a perfectly accurate database table that tells you exactly where everything is, correct?...
    Lean, also known as “lean manufacturing” or “lean production,” focuses on maximizing customer value by removing waste and eliminating defects. Lean tools are about understanding the process, looking for waste, preventing mistakes, and documenting what you did.  Let’s look at five lean...
    Lean says: Manage flow. Your brain says: My work isn’t linear. My day is filled with interruptions, and so I don’t have the “luxury” of flow. What’s at play here: functional fixedness. If there is one area where there’s not an obvious transfer of lean principles from manufacturing to knowledge...
    During the past year, I stopped responding to customer surveys, providing user feedback or, mostly, contributing product reviews. Sometimes I feel obligated—even eager—to provide this information. Who doesn’t like being asked his opinion? But, in researching media technologies as an...

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Chip Johns’s picture

By: Chip Johns

Reducing waste, implementing efficiency-promoting practices, and continuously improving operations are the main goals of lean manufacturing ideology. These tasks may seem daunting for a manufacturer at the start of an improvement program, but there are many concrete steps that can be taken to shift the culture at any company.

Walter Garvin’s picture

By: Walter Garvin

The foundation of lean manufacturing is kaizen, or continuous improvement. Although this principle usually targets manufacturing processes, it can also extend to the people who plan and implement lean projects—individuals that grow professionally and personally as a result of new skills and experiences they acquire by leading or participating in a project.

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By: George Chemers, Mike Moutrie, Kimberly Parpala

Chicago Public Schools (CPS), the third largest school district in the United States, decided to review the way it procures items and services throughout a school year with the goal of saving money. At the beginning of 2012, the district’s chief operating officer announced a “lean review” initiative with the goal to uncover wasteful practices and unnecessary complexity, and to suggest actions to rectify them.

Robert A. Brown’s picture

By: Robert A. Brown

Chances are you are not fully satisfied with the results of your lean initiatives. It’s also likely that lean thinking is not used to improve your employees’ skills in working together. That’s because you are using only half, probably less, of the power of lean thinking.

In 2001, Toyota declared that its success rested on two pillars: continuous improvement and respect for people. However, people in association with waste have been essentially ignored.

Kyle Toppazzini’s picture

By: Kyle Toppazzini

One of the most challenging issues I hear from people within the lean Six Sigma community is how to ensure that a lean Six Sigma project is sustainable. If your lean Six Sigma project is highly dependent on top leadership support to keep it going, there’s a risk of losing the focus and support when that leadership changes.

I have compiled a list of 15 methods you can use to improve the sustainability of your lean Six Sigma efforts:

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