Team Involvement: Just Half of This Equation

The level of involvement in the change process for the operator on the floor has been an ongoing issue for years.  The operators are less likely to take ownership or even accept the new idea as a solution.  On the other hand, to little involvement of from leadership, project managers, engineers or the operators on the floor (all depending on the scope) can reduced the quality of the solution.  Pamela (Gladwell) Payton illustrates that the effectiveness of the change depends on both all of these factors. Continue reading

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Is Your Toyota Dealer Lean?

Is your car dealer Lean?

A white board catches my eye while at a Toyota dealer.  It reminds me of the many boards used to communicate Lean activities in manufacturing, hospitals, and other sites that are in pursuit of a Lean Transformation.  I ask the manager what the board is tracking and he tells me how they can’t afford to keep used cars on the lot for more than 60 days.  A small label is placed on a magnet to represent each used car in inventory.  Recently acquired used vehicles are placed under the current label to the left.  This label will be removed when the car is sold or moved to the right every 30 days.  Inventory that has been on hand for 60 days is sent to auction. Continue reading

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Remember, results are not the criteria….

Remember, results aren’t the criteria for success — it’s the effort made for achievement that is most important. 

~~John Wooden

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Lean Math

There is a new Lean blog out there and its name certainly implies that it is different than the rest.  Lean Math just launched last week but already has several interesting posts.  Here is what the authors have to say: Continue reading

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I don’t know the key…

Bill Cosby

Bill Cosby (Photo credit: tonynetone)

“I don’t know the key to success but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.”

~~Bill Cosby

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Taking Visual Management Another Step

Some of you remember this photo of that was posted on Lean Leadership some time ago (see here).


It’s good for a laugh but it also illustrates visual management that is clear and concise.  Gerhared Kessler often leaves insightful comments and had some helpful suggestions on this post.  Gerhard suggested that this set-up is a little harsh since there is no tolerance with the suggested speed.  The driver is either in the red by exceeding 65 mph or in the green.  To Gerhard’s point, visual management is usually best with a green-yellow-red system rather than either green or red.  In this case green might be anything below let’s say 60 mph, yellow 60-65, and red anything above 65….. Continue reading

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One More Classic Hit: Complex 5-Why’s

Transferred from http://en.wi...

Image via Wikipedia

Thank you for following Lean Leadership as we have reviewed the most popular posts in 2012.  Today’s installment is the last before of that review.  This post was originally written after dialog with readers who were commenting on  7 Steps of an Effective 5 Why.  One concern raised was that it’s not always that easy in the real world.  This post looks at the fact that a lot of issues have multiple root causes making the 5-Why more difficult and complex.   The following post is

Complex 5-Why’s — Multiple Path Solutions

Our Production Manager, John, is heading out to the production floor.  He sees that his highest priority line is down again.  “What is it this time?” he asks.  His top mechanic replies, “I can’t believe we are down for a conveyor.  We’ll be back up before long, if we have the right sprocket.”

John decides to do a 5 Why analysis even though this appears to be a simple fix.  In the old days they might have been satisfied with replacing the sprocket.  Today, John wants to make sure that the replacement does not fail prematurely.  He wants to address the root cause.

We have already looked at simple 5 Why’s.  Several readers commented that many real life examples are not that simple and do not have straight-line answers.  Today we’ll look at a complex, multiple path 5 Why. Continue reading

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Precise optimization….

“Precise optimization is not necessary. It would be too costly.”

~~Dr. W. Edwards Deming

Lean Leaders balance conflicting goals.

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Good morning – I will be speaking at the

Good morning – I will be speaking at the International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) in Atlanta this week. The first topic is Cost Effectiveness through Lean Six Sigma (Tuesday, 9-10 am). We’ll be discussing Lean Leadership (Wednesday, 9-10 am). I’m also planning to attend the reception on Tuesday. I hope to see you there!

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Simply Classic 5-Why’s

Recharging a dead battery, Seattle, Washington...

Image by Wonderlane via Flickr

It’s a cold and rainy night in late October. You hurry out to your car in an effort to keep dry and because you are running late. You are not too wet as you get in and put your key in the ignition. You turn the key and can’t believe it: “Oh no-Not now!” Your battery is dead….. Continue reading

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