6 Lean Leadership Keys from the Toast Guy

Image courtesy Wouter Hagens via Wikipedia


Bruce Hamilton is President of the Greater Boston Manufacturing Project and a seasoned Lean Practitioner.  He may be best known as the Toast Guy because of his popular training video Toast Kaizen.  I recently came across a great article Bruce wrote for Lean Leaders.  The six keys follow just to wet your whistle:

  1. Understand what is meant by improvement – waste often hides in plain sight.  Inventory, overproduction, defects, waiting, transportation, motion and under/over processing are all forms of waste.  Reducing any of these wastes improves time to market, cost, and operational availability.
  2. Demonstrate passionate commitment – your team will notice if you are not committed 100%.
  3. Learn the tools – articulate why tools are needed and use the tools.  Bruce says, “If you want to learn to ride a bike, you have to get on a bike and ride.”
  4. Make the job easier, better, faster, then cheaper – implementing improvements in this order shows respect for the employee, one of the pillars of true Lean Manufacturing.  It also gains buy-in which is critical to a sustainable continuous improvement process.
  5. Start small and expand from a solid core – most of the tools themselves are not that difficult to use.  The challenge is to use them in a way that results in the sustained improvements you desire.
  6. Banish the eighth waste – the waste of human creativity.  This is a challenge if you do not demonstrate respect for your team in a way that they recognize.  Think about the number of ideas that have come from your operators and have been implemented.  Are you tapping into your team?

[tweetmeme]I urge you and other lean thinkers to read the article, which you can find here.  As a Lean Leader, you need to hit the production floor with a fresh set of eyes to observe and identify new Kaizen opportunities.  What can you do today to drive waste out of your process?

Best regards,
Christian Paulsen
The Lean Leadership Blog
Written for www.ConsumerGoodsClub.com

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About Christian Paulsen

Christian Paulsen is an Executive Consultant with 20 years of Lean Manufacturing. Chris adds value to organizations by driving process improvement and bottom line savings. Chris intends to help others by sharing the lessons learned after a quarter century of operational leadership, marriage, parenting, and even longer as a Cubs fan. Your comments on this blog are welcome. You can also connect with Chris via LinnkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook in the right sidebar. Chris welcomes your comments. Christian's professional services are available by contacting him through LinkedIn (right side bar)
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4 Responses to 6 Lean Leadership Keys from the Toast Guy

  1. Christian,
    Thanks for pointing this article out to your readers. I also post once or twice a week to this blog: http://www.oldleandude.com.


  2. Daniel Karaszewski says:

    Excellent, these are more than back to basics they are a time proven foundation to real success. The only addition I would mention is to make the LEAN effort specific to your organization. Just like the variables within processes each organization is different.

    • Daniel,

      Thank you for your comments and insight. Your addition is a good one. Organizations must bring lean into their culture which means that successful lean efforts may look somewhat different from one company to the next.

      Thanks again,

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