Fun With Measurement Systems Analysis – Part 2

Welcome back to the second, and final, part of this measurement systems analysis series.  If you didn’t read part 1 of this series please do before pressing on with this part.  We’ll wait on you!

Measurement System Analysis

Defined, MSA is used to quantify the amount of variation attributed to the measurement system rather than the product or process being studied. In other words, MSA allows us to understand how much of our observed variation is being caused by the measurement system.

When we’re working with variables, or continuous data, we’ll conduct what are called Gage R&R studies which is short for Gage Repeatability and Reproducibility Studies.  When we’re working with attribute data, we’ll conduct Attribute Agreement Analysis.

To be sure, MSA can be used throughout the DMAIC or PDCA process. In fact, you don’t even need to be doing a formal DMAIC or PDCA project to conduct an MSA.  As it relates to the DMAIC roadmap, MSA’s are usually done during the measure, analyze, or improve phases. Anytime you’re relying on data to make decisions, you should verify the measurement system can be trusted.  Put another way, if you’re ever unsure of your measurement system please perform a MSA no matter what phase of the project you’re in!Snip20150810_8

In fact, as an aside, I once worked with a team to improve the performance of an optical inspection measurement system. We spent around seven hours on the issue and the results were extraordinary since, as it turned out, this company was scrapping hundreds of thousands of dollars each week since their measurement system was rejecting good parts.

So, with this all said, let’s spend some time working through an actual example where we’re going to imagine we work for a company that produces nuts and bolts. For this particular study we want to know if we’re able to trust the measurement system used to measure the widths of the nuts that have a process tolerance of 0.5 mm.

Gage R&R Study

Since measuring the width of anything results in variables, or continuous data, we’ll be performing a Gage R&R Study.

For this study, we’ve chosen three operators – Bill, Kristen, and Tom – who will all use the same digital caliper to measure the widths of the 15 nuts that were selected.  All three operators will measure these 15 parts two different times.  Each nut has a unique marking that allows the operator to “grasp” it the same way each time to reduce noise in the experiment.  So, in summary, we have 3 operators, 15 parts, and 2 trials.

Tips for Setting Up Your MSA

Setting up a Gage R&R study is important so here are some suggestions.

First, you should randomly select between two and four operators. We find three to work extremely well. Next, the number of parts used should be enough so that when we multiply P, the number of parts, by O, the number of operators, the result is greater than 15.

If this isn’t possible or practical, you’ll want to increase the number of trials accordingly. We must do at least two trials, but for example, if P times O is less than 15, we’d want to do three trials.

We can use some simple math to ensure we set things up properly, but we can’t use math to help with what we feel is the single most important aspect of an MSA, and that’s setting the operators’ minds at ease.

If an operator has never been part of a formal MSA study chances are very good they’re going to be extremely nervous. Some may be downright scared. It’s absolutely critical that you let them know the point of the study is to better understand the process and that no one will be in trouble if they do poorly.

Finally, all the parts should be randomly handed to the operators.  Many times the facilitator will have the parts being measured organized behind a small wall or something so the operator doesn’t know which part is being handed to them.  Once the operator measures the part and announces the result the facilitator documents the results immediately.

Calculating With Minitab

Now, there are many ways to analyze a MSA.  For this article we’re going to show you how to analyze the results using Minitab.  We also share how to analyze a MSA using SigmaXL with our School of Six Sigma.  On a personal note, since I’m a Mac user, I love SigmaXL and use it often.

The first part of the Minitab output is a standard ANOVA table as shown below.  If you’re not sure what any of this means please be sure to check out our videos on inferential statistics.  We cover everything from the difference between the null and alternate hypothesis to what this talk of P-Values and such is all about!

And don’t worry if stats aren’t your thing… I personally promise you will understand it all by the time you finish our course materials.  We also do screen recordings so you know exactly what buttons to press within Minitab or SigmaXL.  No more 3-ring binders full of hundreds of slides with outdated screen shots needed!

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OK, as you see above, the Part P-value is 0.0 which means that the Part-to-Part variation is statistically significant. The interaction of Part x Operator is also statistically significant since its P-value is .016.  In most cases, any P-Value less than 0.05 will be assumed significant or, at a minimum, worthy of additional exploration.

Next, here’s the Gage R&R information. There’s definitely lots to take in here but we’ll point out the most important things we need to focus on.

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First, the % Contribution section summarizes the percent of the variation that each component contributes to the total variation. The % Study Variation section, which we’ll show in another image below, summarizes the standard deviation percentage of each source to the total standard deviation. And the % Tolerance section summarizes the percentage of variation of each source compared to the part tolerance.

While every organization will need to determine this for themselves, the Automotive Industry Action Group has come up with some suggestions as to how to interpret these values.

AIAG MSA Suggestions Gage R&R

Specifically, they suggest that % Contribution values less than 1% represent an acceptable system. While % Contributions between 1% and 9% represent marginally acceptable systems. Anything over 9% is considered unacceptable.

For % Study Variation and % Tolerance acceptable values are anything less than 10% while marginal systems will be between 10% and 30% and anything over 30% is considered unacceptable.

When we look at the results of this study, we see a Total Gage R&R Percentage Contribution value of 3.5% which could be considered marginally acceptable since it’s between 1% and 9%. Minitab also shows us how this value is derived, namely 2.31% is due to repeatability, or within operator variation, while 1.19% is due to reproducibility, or between operator variation.

These values can help us understand where to focus our attention as we work to improve the system. Minitab also breaks the reproducibility values down by operator and the operator by Part interaction in this section.

Finally, the Part-to-Part variation is also noted. Since our goal is to ultimately measure individual parts, we want to see this variation figure high since this means we’re able to distinguish the difference between parts.

Let’s move on to the next section which includes %Study Variation and %Tolerance Variation.

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Here we see our % Study Variation is 18.71% and our % Tolerance is 13.85% which means, again, we’re working with a marginally acceptable measurement system. Minitab also breaks these values down into finer increments here just like we saw in the section above.

Last, but certainly not least, our number of distinct categories is 7. Again, like we mentioned in part 1 of this series, we’d like to see this value greater than 5 which this value obviously is.

Let’s Get Graphical

In addition to these statistics, Minitab provides some nice graphs of this same data.

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In the components of variation section, we see a graphical view of the different variation sources. Again, we want to see our Part-to-Part variation higher than everything else since that means we’re able to distinguish between parts.

Next, we also see an R Chart by Operator. This is helpful as it can tell us where individual operators struggled. You can see where Tom, the third operator, obviously struggled with two parts so we may want to visit with him in order to better understand what may have caused this issue.

In a perfect world, we don’t want to see any special cause variation in this R chart, but as long as we intend to identify and counter the root cause of this variation, it’s normally okay to press on unless we see wildly out of control variation across all operators.

The Xbar Chart by Operator graph is an interesting one since contrary to any other control chart we’ve ever looked at in this course, we actually prefer to see special cause variation since this represents part to part variation, which again, is what we ultimately want to measure.

At the top right of the graph we see Data by Part. This can help us identify if one part was harder to measure than another. For example, it seems like part 14 has the most variation. Perhaps there’s something about this part that makes it hard to measure. We also see the Data by Operator, which again, can be very useful information to help us work with each operator when applicable.

Finally, we see the Part x Operator Interaction graph in the lower right corner. If we remember, we saw a P-Value of .016 for this interaction which means it is statistically significant. As we can see in this graph, it seems like the operators struggled a bit with part 9 and 14 so we’d definitely want to take a look at these parts to see if there is anything we can learn and improve.

Conclusion

In summary after looking at the results of this Gage R&R, we’d conclude that this measurement system is marginally capable. Some next steps may include investigating the measurements with high ranges while also trying to understand why some parts were harder to measure than others.

We’d then want to repeat this study as needed. For example, if we gained an understanding of what made part 14 so hard to measure and we’re able to implement a countermeasure, we could repeat the study and see how we do.

We’d also want to repeat the study with different operators while also doing the study with this same group at a later date to ensure that the measurement process is stable over time.

To be sure, MSA shouldn’t be a one and done activity.  If I had my wish every organization would have recurring MSA as part of their Standard Work.  It’s that important.

Thanks for sticking with me on this series.  I hope it was helpful.  If you have any questions please be sure to let me know in the comments section below.  You can also contact me directly using the Contact Form on our website.

Watch This Series in a Single Video

Now then, if video is your thing, or perhaps you need to run through all of this material one more time, we’d encourage you to watch the video below.

When you click on the image you’ll be directed to another part of our website where you can click on the “Gage R&R (15:15)” link.  Doing this will launch the video free of charge.  English, Spanish, and Chinese captions are also available (simply click the CC button).  Enjoy and happy MSAing!

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Fun With Measurement Systems Analysis – Part 1

By Ron Pereira

Over the years I’ve been fortunate to visit many different companies across the world.  During these visits I’ve seen some amazing examples of continuous improvement in action.

But, to be blunt, there is one aspect of continuous improvement I simply don’t see practiced enough – measurement systems analysis.

So, what I want to do in this article is offer an overview of what measurement systems analysis (MSA) is all about.  If you’d like to learn more please request a free trial to Gemba Academy where you can dig into this topic even more.

Variation

Being able to attack variation is an extremely important aspect of continuous improvement. But variation is a tricky opponent. The variation we see isn’t always what we think it is.  Allow me to explain with a simple diagram (click picture to enlarge it).

Gage R&R Variation

At the top, we see the observed process variation. In other words, this is the data that we’d use to conduct a Process Capability Study where obviously, we’re interested in understanding how our process variation is behaving.

Unfortunately, there are two things that make up our total observed process variation, the actual process variation and the measurement variation. Put another way, it’s entirely possible that the variation we’re observing is mostly due to the measurement system and continuing to attack the actual process variation won’t help at all.

Our actual process variation consists of short-term, long-term, and part-to-part variation. Measurement variation consists of several characteristics including accuracy, repeatability, reproducibility, stability, and resolution.

Measurement System Characteristics

Let’s spend some time discussing each of these important measurement system characteristics.

First, accuracy is the ability of the gage to measure the true value of a part on average.  In other words, it’s possible for a measurement system to have high variability but still be accurate so long as the average value of the measurements are close to the true value.

Next, repeatability, which is a component of precision, is attained when the same person takes multiple measurements and gets the same, or similar, results each time.

A close cousin to repeatability is reproducibility, the second component of Precision. Reproducibility is attained when other people get the same, or similar results, you do when measuring the same item.

While repeatability focuses on how well you measure something, reproducibility compares your measurement performance to other people’s measurement performance.

Next, stability is attained when measurements taken by the same person, or gage, vary little over time. In other words, it shouldn’t matter what day of the week or time of day it is. We should always be able to measure in an accurate and repeatable manner.

Last, but certainly not least, sufficient resolution means that your measurement system provides at least five, more preferably, distinct values in the range you’re measuring.

Sufficient Resolution

For example, let’s say we wanted to measure the heights of three children with a scale that only measures to the nearest foot. When we did this, our results were 3 feet for child one, 4 feet for child two, and 5 feet for child three. In other words, we only had three distinct values.

As it turns out, the key to ensuring we have adequate resolution is by determining the amount of discrimination our scale needs.  Discrimination refers to the number of decimal places that can be measured by the system.  Increments of measure should be approximately one‐tenth of the width of the product specification or process variation.

For example, let’s say that we’re working with a process that has an upper customer specification limit of 80 mm and a lower customer specification limit of 60 mm.

Discrimination GRR

When we subtract 60 from 80, we learn that our tolerance is 20 mm. In other words, this measurement system needs to be able to discriminate to at least 2 mm since 20 mm divided by 10 is 2 mm.

Measurement Systems Analysis

We’ve covered a lot of terms and concepts so far which may make you feel a little overwhelmed. The good news is we have an extremely powerful tool at our disposal that wraps everything that we’ve discussed up into a single statistical tool called Measurement Systems Analysis, or MSA for short.

But, since this article is getting pretty long… and your head may be spinning a bit right about now I’m going to continue this MSA story in a second article which, if you’re ready, you can now read here!

Again, if video is your thing, and you’re interested in learning MUCH more about MSA and many other topics be sure to request a free Gemba Academy trial and demo today.  Nick, Leslie, and the rest of our team are ready to help you out!

Fun with Tennis Balls

Snip20150703_5If you’re American and are reading this on July 4…  Happy Independence Day!

I recently delivered a live workshop to a group of printing professionals.  The talk was a combination of Practical Problem Solving and Quick Changeover (SMED).  And rather than having me ramble on for an hour I decided to work in a fun, and very easy to duplicate, lean simulation that involves 8 tennis balls!

You can see part 1 of this video below… to see the other 8 videos you’ll need to have a paid subscription to Gemba Academy.  But, since we prefer a totally stress free sales process, we do offer a no strings attached 7-day trial.

You’ll find the full presentation in our Gemba Live section of videos.  The full name is “Printers & Imaging Association.”

If you’re reading this via email or RSS feed you may need to click through to the article in order to see the video.

 

GA 064 | Leading in a Lean Environment with Kent Bradley

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Today’s guest, Kent Bradley, has more than 20 years of lean experience and an impressive career path. Kent and I have known each other for years, but we sat down to talk specifically about what it means to play a coaching and/or leadership role in a lean setting.

An MP3 version of this episode is available for download here

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • Kent’s background and what he’s up to these days (2:09)
  • The two quotes that inspire Kent (4:38)
  • What leadership coaching to engage teams is all about (6:47)
  • The first prerequisite to becoming a good lean leader (12:21)
  • The second prerequisite (13:37)
  • The third prerequisite (19:20)
  • One of Kent’s success stories with this method (23:35)
  • The role senior leadership plays in the transition (26:28)
  • What Kent would say to his younger self (27:52)
  • What “Respect for People” means to Kent (29:51)
  • The best leadership example Kent has witnessed (30:51)
  • Kent’s personal productivity habit (33:31)
  • What has surprised Kent in the last year (34:40)
  • What Kent does to recharge and refocus (36:01)
  • The skill Kent feels he needs to improve (36:58)
  • Kent’s final words of wisdom (39:19)

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What Do You Think?

What characteristics and/or behaviors make for a great lean leader?

GA 063 | Practical Problem Solving: Part Two with Jon Miller

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In the second part of our Practical Problem Solving course, GA Co-Founder Jon Miller and I dive deep into Step 4, which centers around root cause analysis. Together we discuss the do’s and don’ts of implementing this crucial step.

An MP3 version of this episode is available for download here

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • The quote that relates to root cause analysis (5:11)
  • Jon’s definition of root cause analysis (7:56)
  • Why there are likely dozens of root causes (15:15)
  • How just a handful of tools can solve your problems (16:25)
  • How to approach root cause analysis (18:40)
  • What the 5 Whys are and how to use them (23:28)
  • Why problem-solving isn’t always linear (30:06)
  • A few other ways to practice root cause analysis (34:12)
  • How to keep yourself from jumping steps (40:05)
  • A sneak peek of the next Practical Problem Solving installment (44:08)

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You can download it here. CLICK HERE to subscribe to the Gemba Academy podcast on iTunes.

You can also subscribe via Stitcher which is definitely Android friendly.

What Do You Think?

Describe your experience(s) with root cause analysis. How does it bring clarity to the situation?

GA 062 |Lean for the Long Term with Ken Rolfes

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Today’s episode features Ken Rolfes, a longtime lean thinker, author, and AME affiliate. Ken and I discussed a variety of continuous improvement topics, but we mostly focused on Ken’s exciting new book, Lean for the Long Term.

An MP3 version of this episode is available for download here

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • What Ken is up to these days (2:36)
  • The quote that inspires Ken (6:04)
  • All about Ken’s new book, Lean for the Long Term (8:25)
  • The meaning behind the title (11:56)
  • The role of lean versus cost accounting (24:24)
  • Why leaders need to be multilingual (27:26)
  • What “Respect for People” means to Ken (41:09)
  • The best advice Ken has ever received (42:30)
  • Ken’s personal productivity habit (43:58)
  • What has surprised Ken in the last year (46:07)
  • The skill Ken feels he needs to improve (47:41)
  • Ken’s final words of wisdom (50:17)

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You can download it here. CLICK HERE to subscribe to the Gemba Academy podcast on iTunes.

You can also subscribe via Stitcher which is definitely Android friendly.

What Do You Think?

Can you identify with Ken’s take on continuous improvement? What do you agree with? What do you feel differently about?

The Power of Essentialism

EssentialismGreg’s wife was scheduled to give birth to a baby girl on Friday.

Upon hearing this wonderful news Greg’s boss explained, in a rather direct way, “Friday would be a very bad day to have the baby.”

You see, as it turns out, Greg was needed at an extremely important client meeting this same Friday and missing it, no matter the reason, wasn’t acceptable to Greg’s boss.

Well, Friday came along and, as planned, Greg’s wife delivered a beautiful, and healthy, baby girl. Greg was there. That’s the good news.

The bad news happened shortly after Greg’s daughter was born. I’ll let Greg explain it.

“As it turns out, my manager picked me up from he hospital, took me to the appointment, and I was completely dazed the whole time. Afterwards they said to me, which I thought was interesting, they said, the client will respect you for the choice you’ve made. That isn’t the impression I got from the clients, to be honest. But even if it was, and even if some extraordinary thing had come from it, which it did not, surely I had made a fool’s bargain.

And this was where, at least looking back, I said, I’ve learned this lesson. If you don’t prioritize your life, then someone else will. And what I found is that I’m not alone.”

The “Greg” in this this true story is Greg McKeown, author of the bestseller Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less which, I can safely say, is one of the best books I’ve read in quite some time.

What is Essentialism?

Put simply, Essentialism is all about fighting the false idea that we can have it all if we do it all.

Let me be clear, Essentialism isn’t a new type of to-do list system or sophisticated time management program. Instead, the Essentialist simply strives to become more selective in what they choose to do.

Put another way, the Essentialist seeks out time to create space while developing routines and habits that allow them to focus on the vital few important aspects of their lives.

How Do We Do This?

The first step to becoming an Essentialist is to realize that we live in a busyness bubble… as such, we have to decide we’re going to become an Essentialist.

In the book McKeown shares a 4-part plan for making the transition and I’d definitely recommend you study it deeply… but there were a few things that really impacted me.

Is it a Hell Yes?

First, the Essentialist needs to become comfortable saying no. This is very hard for many of us since we don’t want to upset, or disappoint, others.

But, here’s the thing, when we say yes to everyone, and everything, we’ll most likely upset and disappoint many of people anyhow since we won’t be able to do a good job at anything since we’re simply stretched too thin.

So, if it helps, simply start by not saying “YES!” immediately. Instead, politely ask if it would be OK for you to think about the request.

Then, once you have time to reflect and think you’ll want to ask yourself a simple question. Is my answer to this request, or question, hell yes? If it’s not, chances are very good you should respectfully say no.

At Gemba Academy we’re constantly coming up with new ideas while also being approached by others with many exciting thoughts and proposals. In the past, we used to get bogged down and, at times, overwhelmed, with these new ideas and requests.

Now, we simply challenge one another with the simple question, “Is it a hell yes?” In just about every case it’s not which allows us to free our minds and truly focus on delivering maximum value to our customers.

And when we do respond with “Hell Yes!” (which, as an aside, we recently did with some new technology we’re now exploring) our team is totally energized and focused since we have clarity of purpose.

Creates Space

Next, the Essentialist creates space to think and prioritize.

My colleagues Kevin and Steve are my role models when it comes to this. They both start, and end, their day by journaling what they did and plan to do.

Put another way, they make it a point to plan their day around what they need to do instead of what others want them to do.

Sleep

Finally, we’ve covered the importance of sleep in our Culture of Kaizen course and McKeown also stresses how important sleep is for the Essentialist to thrive.

So, if you take nothing else from this article, or this book, this may be the most important advice of all.  We must protect the most important asset in our control – our mind and body – by getting enough rest.

Much More

Again, McKeown shares many more ideas and concepts in the book… but, at least for me, the ideas of saying no when it’s not “hell yes,” creating space to think and reflect, and getting adequate sleep resonated deeply with me.

Here’s a short video of Greg McKeown explaining more about the book. And here’s a longer video of a talk Greg gave at Google.

GA 061 | Adventurous Thinking with Sally Dominguez

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Today’s episode is a little different, in a fantastic way. As an architect, inventor, and overall innovator, Sally Dominguez, brings a fresh angle to the world of continuous improvement. I think you’ll really enjoy and benefit from her concept of Adventurous Thinking and her fascinating career anecdotes.

An MP3 version of this episode is available for download here.

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • Sally’s background and what she’s up to these days (3:16)
  • All about Sally’s upcoming speech at the AME conference (4:53)
  • The quotes that inspire Sally (6:40)
  • What Adventurous Thinking is all about (9:03)
  • Sally’s Five Ways (10:48)
  • More about Negative Space (15:08)
  • A deeper explanation of Backward Thinking (19:53)
  • Why failure is important (25:06)
  • Where to learn more about Sally and her teachings (27:38)
  • What “Respect for People” means to Sally (29:32)
  • The best advice Sally has ever received (30:15)
  • Sally’s personal productivity habit (30:34)
  • What has surprised Sally in the last year (32:17)
  • The area Sally feels she needs to improve (36:09)
  • Sally’s final words of wisdom (37:01)

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You can download ithere. CLICK HERE to subscribe to the Gemba Academy podcast on iTunes.

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What Do You Think?

What intrigues you about Adventurous Thinking? How would applying the Five Ways benefit you?

GA 060 | Practical Problem Solving: Part One

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Today’s episode is part one of a three-part series featuring Jon Miller, one of Gemba Academy’s co-founders. Jon is such a profound lean thinker and we are thrilled to have him working with us full-time. There are eight steps to practical problem solving, but in this particular episode Jon and I review the first three.

An MP3 version of this episode is available for download here.

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • What Jon is up to these days (3:18)
  • Jon’s inspirational quote, specifically related to problem solving (4:39)
  • Jon’s definition of practical problem solving (6:41)
  • What step one of the process is (11:16)
  • What step two of the process is (19:31)
  • What step three of the process is (27:26)
  • Jon’s definition of “Respect for People” (36:44)
  • The best advice Jon has ever received (42:50)
  • What has surprised Jon in the past year of practicing lean (46:44)
  • The routine Jon follows to recharge and refocus (49:20)
  • The skill Jon thinks he needs to improve (52:02)

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You can download it here. CLICK HERE to subscribe to the Gemba Academy podcast on iTunes.

You can also subscribe via Stitcher which is definitely Android friendly.

What Do You Think?

Do you use the practical problem solving process? Which aspects do you struggle with? Which come easily?

GA 059 | Lean Beginnings with Steve Stansbury

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Today’s guest is Steve Stansbury, an experienced lean practitioner with a diverse career background. Steve and I discussed how companies first get started on their respective lean journeys, specifically what they should focus on and what they should avoid.

An MP3 version of this episode is available for download here.

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • Steve’s background and what he’s up to these days (3:05)
  • The quote that inspires Steve (5:26)
  • Why quality is a part of lean (7:03)
  • Where Steve believes most lean start-up initiatives fail (8:03)
  • The most critical component of a lean start-up (9:47)
  • What to do when your leadership isn’t onboard (12:15)
  • The most important tools for the beginning of your lean journey (13:44)
  • Steve’s opinion on lean roadmaps (15:57)
  • The role of the lean leader in the conversion process (17:44)
  • What “Respect for People” means to Steve (20:10)
  • The best advice Steve has ever received (22:39)
  • Steve’s personal productivity habit (23:42)
  • What Steve does to recharge and refocus (25:43)
  • The skill Steve feels he needs to develop (27:09)
  • What Steve would tell his younger self (28:32)
  • Steve’s final words of wisdom (30:08)

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What Do You Think?

What was the beginning of your organization’s lean journey like?