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2017…The Year of the ‘Lean Learning’ Book

Happy New Year, everybody! I hope you all had a great holiday season and are ready to rock in 2017. I sure am. As you can tell from this blog’s title, I’ve landed on my one, super important resolution and am making it public to hold my feet to the fire. Needed A New Process […]

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Lean Frees Improvement

Force field analysis is a fantastic change management tool. It also beautifully encapsulates the difference between Lean and traditional improvement approaches. A force field analysis diagram looks like this: Force field analysis is useful whenever you want to improve performance or change behavior, for example yield, cycle time, infection rate, recovery time, sales, morale, responsiveness. All […]

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One-Learner Flow

During a recent lunch with one of my Lean Learning certification candidates, we discussed a key Lean concept that had really caught her attention. It’s called ‘one-piece flow’ and it means to satisfy individual customer demand immediately or, put more simply, ‘produce to order’. The word ‘piece’ comes from manufacturing and refers to a product. […]

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‘Lean’ Chicago Cubs-Style

After the Red Sox lost the American League Championship Series, it was an easy decision to root for the Chicago Cubs in the World Series. Why? Joe Maddon, their manager, is clearly someone who thinks and practices Lean. He’s known for his lengthy team meetings and press conferences and liberally sprinkles them with aphorisms and […]

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The Great Training Robbery

I’d love to take credit for this provocative title, but, sadly, I can’t. This phrase was first used 45 years ago when a study showing little or no relationship between training and work performance was published. Most recently, it was used this past August for the title of a Harvard Business School working paper which […]

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Funnel Lean Savings into More Customer Value (Not Lower Prices)

People focus too much on Lean as a way to reduce costs. Yes, that’s frequently one result, but Lean, at its core, is about creating more customer/patient value. Show ‘Em the LUV The perfect example is Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV). You’ll never see the word ‘Lean’ on their website or any corporate communications. And to my […]

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Don’t Be Scared Away From Lean

As you can imagine, I’m on a lot of mailing lists and social media groups about Lean and see it described and talked about in many ways. Recently, some of these have been really over the top and, quite frankly, do a disservice. Headlines like “Improvement Through Cultural Transformation!” either scare people away or are so vague and highfaluting that […]

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5S This Mess!!!

Well, July almost killed my wife and me. Packing, moving, traveling and coaching certification candidates while we were both fighting off one of the worst summer colds ever. It was not pretty let me tell you. But, we’re moved into our new house and clearly have lots of work to do. You don’t want to […]

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Focus on Value (Sales), Not Bureaucracy (Returns)

My recent experience returning a pair of shoes to Nordstrom was a perfect example of a company understanding my blog post, Small Wastes Get BIG Quickly. Nordstrom doesn’t actually have a formal return policy. Here’s what they say on their website about returns and exchanges. “We stand behind our goods and services and want you to […]

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Cutting Out Waste (or Cutting Your Own Throat?)

  In last week’s post, my Lean Waste Calculator showed you how the minutes that employees are forced to waste to accomplish work quickly turn into thousands of hours for the organization as a whole. These equate to full-time employees NOT adding value and the numbers get mindblowingly big. What was the impact of the […]

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