How does Lean work? There are rational, that is to say scientific, explanations. It works because when outputs are increase and inputs decreased, profit follows. Lean works because flow, pull and visualization remove waste and expose problems. Solving these problems and maintaining flow reduces inputs. Lean works because humans working within flow production, solving problems
Talk about thinking outside of the box. Each spring crows entered the abandoned lower floors of the research center. They stripped away pipe insulation for their nests. They left behind feathers and droppings. What did the researchers do to stop the crows? They put up signs reading, “No Entry to Crows”. The crows stayed
Lately I’ve been involved in several conversations of “Is lean about tools or is it about principles?” Hardly anybody argues for the tools. The popular consensus is that Lean is about principles, but it is a vague and loose consensus at best. What do we mean by principles? One definition of principle is
While attending a recent event showcasing the ongoing lean transformation at a local hospital, I was reminded of the meaning of “journey”. Those of us practicing continuous improvement for our personal benefit or on behalf of an organization’s mission often speak in terms of a CI journey, a Lean journey, service
One of the greatest challenges for leaders of an organization is to keep people engaged in the work. Annual Gallup polls tell us that less than a third of U.S. workers are engaged. People who are engaged deliver better quality, productivity and service, whereas disengaged people perform worse and erode profit.
Nothing focuses the mind like… Most words that end this sentence are rather unpleasant. The hangman’s noose. Being shot at. Impending death. What these have in common is that they limit our future options. They are constraints, making us aware of how precious is our time. Lean is concerned with making the
The State of Washington boasts an active Lean community of large corporations, small startups, local hospitals, non-profits, state and local government. Both the State and King County, where Seattle is located, have Lean departments staffed by professional continuous improvement staff. It would have been great if the design of King County’s food safety system had
In my experience, the most so-called problem solving in this world is just solution-jumping. This is true in business, government policy, personal relationships, sports, personal health. We grease the squeaky wheel. We tamper with systems. We mask symptoms. We throw money at it. We temporarily relieve pain. Solution-jumping is insidious.
I recently joined a family member’s visit to a local medical center. A new visual control labeled “Provider Delay Board” was displayed prominently in the waiting area. The medical center in question is known for being a long-time practitioner of lean thinking and lean management so this caught my interest.
David Miller (no known relation) is a morality improvement consultant. That’s not morale, as in how people feel about their work, but morality, as in whether we are good people or bad people, in ethical terms. Featured in the Wall Street Journal article, the banker-turned-seminarian trying to save Citigroup’s soul, Dr. Miller is a