GA 037 | The Evolution of Lean with Chet Marchwinski

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Today’s guest is Chet Marchwinski, the Communications Director of the Lean Enterprise Institute. We sat down at the International AME Conference in Jacksonville, Florida and talked about all things continuous improvement. This includes how lean has evolved over the years, where it’s going next, and some of Chet’s personal anecdotes of LEI leaders James Womack and John Shook.

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

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • Chet’s role at LEI (2:45)
  • Firsthand stories about LEI Founder James Womack (4:18)
  • Things you might not know about current LEI CEO Jim Shook (7:30)
  • Chet’s take on the evolution of lean over the years (10:59)
  • What Chet thinks will be the hot topic of continuous improvement in five years (16:10)
  • What “Respect for People” means to Chet (21:10)
  • The best advice Chet has ever received (22:07)
  • Chet’s favorite personal productivity habit (24:17)
  • The two procedures Chet always sees in the best manufacturing plants (29:32)
  • About LEI’s Lean Lexicon: A Graphical Glossary for Lean Thinkers (32:09)
  • Chet’s final words of wisdom (33:57)

Podcast Resources

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If you enjoyed this podcast please be sure to subscribe on iTunes. Once you’re a subscriber all new episodes will be downloaded to your iTunes account and smartphone.

The easiest way for iPhone users to listen to the show is via the free, and incredible, Podcast app.

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?

Where will lean be in five years? What will we be talking about?

GA 036 | The Lean Startup with Eric Ries

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Today’s guest is Eric Ries, an entrepreneur and author famous for being at the forefront of the lean startup movement. This episode has plenty of great insight for those both in and outside of the lean startup realm, covering topics like consumer value, waste, and minimal viable products.

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

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • The quote that inspires Eric (2:12)
  • Eric’s background, and why it’s unusual (3:06)
  • All about Eric’s book, The Lean Startup (14:20)
  • How the content of the book applies to those outside the startup realm (19:46)
  • Eric’s role in introducing lean to those who don’t understand its manufacturing roots (29:58)
  • The most common mistake made in the lean startup world (32:12)
  • Eric’s opinion on bootstrapping (35:47)
  • What’s next for Eric (37:59)
  • What “Respect for People” means to Eric (39:50)
  • The best advice Eric has ever received (40:27)
  • Why Eric doesn’t have a productivity habit (42:12)
  • Eric’s final words of wisdom (50:10)

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If you enjoyed this podcast please be sure to subscribe on iTunes. Once you’re a subscriber all new episodes will be downloaded to your iTunes account and smartphone.

The easiest way for iPhone users to listen to the show is via the free, and incredible, Podcast app.

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?

Are you familiar with lean startup methodology? How does it differ from traditional lean? How is it similar?

GA 035 | Daman Products’ Lean Journey with Larry Davis

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This episode’s guest is Larry Davis, President of Daman Products. Daman makes hydraulic manifolds for everything from farm equipment to roller coasters. Learn how Larry and his company embarked on their continuous improvement journey, and how they operate today.

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

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • The quote that most inspires Larry (2:24)
  • How Larry first came to learn about continuous improvement (3:01)
  • How Daman Products evolved before they incorporated lean (9:06)
  • How Larry and his coworkers started their lean journey (12:52)
  • The effect lean has had on Daman Products (16:01)
  • How the company handles training (19:10)
  • Larry’s take on the relationship between the work environment and natural law (20:59)
  • What “Respect for People” means to Larry (28:25)
  • The best advice Larry has ever received (31:37)
  • Larry’s three small productivity habits  (32:46)
  • Larry’s final words of wisdom (38:11)

Podcast Resources

Subscribe & Never Miss New Episodes!

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Click to Subscribe in iTunes

If you enjoyed this podcast please be sure to subscribe on iTunes. Once you’re a subscriber all new episodes will be downloaded to your iTunes account and smartphone.

The easiest way for iPhone users to listen to the show is via the free, and incredible, Podcast app.

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?

Was/is your lean journey similar to Larry’s? Why or why not?

Skateboarding and A Path To Discovery

 This article was written by Steve Kane

mullenClarity of Vision

Vision, mission and values are often thought to be guiding forces of an organization. These ideas give us a sense of who we are as an organization and where we’re headed—what we aspire to be.

The fact that we aspire to be something greater implies there are improvements to be made. What, and when, improvements should be made may be clear to some in the organization and a mystery to others. Part of a leader’s job is to teach those who don’t understand or have clarity.

Last year, I attended TEDx Orange Coast and had the opportunity to hear Rodney Mullen speak. Mullen is a professional skateboarder who invented several skateboard tricks and was a pioneer in the sport. Getting up again was the theme of his talk. Part of the trial and error process in the skateboard community is getting up after a painful fall over and over again when learning a new move or trick.

One of Mullen’s ideas that really stuck with me was a bit about a learner watching a more expert skateboarder perform an advanced trick on video. The learner watches, then goes out to the street, begins a process of trial and error for hours, days or even weeks before successfully performing the trick demonstrated in the video. While the idea of watch and learn is simple, there is actually something more profound going on here.

The learner has a vision of being a better skateboarder, but the vision isn’t clear. What does it mean to be a better skateboarder? What moves or tricks does one need to be able to perform to achieve the desired level of excellence? Mullen explains, “a lot of people have good ideas, but it’s an entirely different thing to precipitate that vision into something tangible.” Something lies between the in-the-moment experience of skateboarding and realizing the vision.

Learning It Could Be Done

Mullen explains the learner didn’t learn the trick by watching the video. He learned that it could be done. How to perform the trick was never really the problem. Not knowing what trick to learn, particularly because no one else in his environment was doing it, was the issue impeding progress. Could this be a factor in the workplace?

There are far more opportunities for improvement than any leader (or other individual) could really know. We rely (or should rely) on all employees to make improvements at work. Oftentimes, improvements must be made in order to discover other, more significant improvement opportunities. While we work to realize the vision for our organization, we may not know or imagine our next step. We may not have the creativity to move forward without some sort of spark.

The skateboarder watching the video has the passion and drive to become great. He’s just lacking, at least at the moment, the creativity to invent a new maneuver. Maybe the path to greatness isn’t necessarily inventing something new, but mastering something that has already been invented.

The Barrier of Disbelief

“The biggest obstacle to creativity is breaking through the barrier of disbelief,” according to Mullen. Disbelief can be either active or passive. By this I mean one can consider an idea to be impossible (active disbelief), or not have the idea to believe in the first place (passive disbelief). Either way, disbelief is an obstacle.

I believe people are trustworthy and want to good job. I believe employees want to improve and make a significant contribution; they want the organization to be successful. If improvements are not being realized, we have to ask why. What are the obstacles to progress?

Mullen’s barrier of disbelief can come in many forms. My experience as a lean leader tells me that people often believe they do not have the authority to improve. They often believe they must wait to be told what to improve and when. Employees often believe improvement is a special project led by someone else instead of part of the job they do every day.

One of greatest hurdles leaders face is leading people beyond disbelief to discovery. A big part of a leader’s job is to teach, coach, mentor and inspire. I’m not so sure people need to be told how to improve so much as they need to discover what improvement is possible.

 

Watch Mullen’s TEDx Talk Here.

GA 034 | Becoming a Lean Leader with Steve Kane

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Note:  We’re releasing this episode one day earlier than normal… this way our American listeners will have something to listen to while on that road trip to Thanksgiving dinner!

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steve-kane-kencoThis episode is a little different. Our Director of Sales and Marketing, Steve Kane, gave a presentation to the Kenco team in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Steve shares his fascinating lean journey and what he’s learned over the years, with an emphasis on his time at Specialty Silicone Fabricators.

Subscribers, this episode is available as a full Gemba Live! series here. Not a subscriber? check out the trailer. An MP3 version is also available for download here.  

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • Steve’s background, including his education and discovery of lean (2:12)
  • How Steve used his newfound knowledge of lean at Specialty Silicone Fabricators, and what challenges he faced (5:15)
  • What Steve eventually learned was the basis for the problems at SSF (12:29)
  • Why it’s almost always the process, not the employee (18:06)
  • The three things every person deserves, and why (19:01)
  • Why Steve and his team decided to have a vision, not a plan (22:49)
  • What happened on the first day of SSF’s lean journey (26:55)
  • How the morning meeting changed (30:21)
  • How the SSF employees started asking for lean tools (35:00)
  • Examples of how lean drastically improved employee satisfaction and overall performance (37:09)
  • The more accurate translation of “Respect for People” (40:21)
  • Steve’s final key principles (48:00)
  • Steve’s call to action for the people of Kenco (55:56)

Podcast Resources

Free Lean Training DVDs Promotion

Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 5.25.39 AMOur most popular promotion is back for the month of November. Purchase a School of Lean or School of Six Sigma subscription and receive our entire DVD collection for free, including worldwide shipping.

These sets retail for $1,295 per school and include up to 54 DVDs,  so it’s definitely a good deal. Valid until November 30th or until we receive 500 orders, at which point the promo page will be removed.

Click here for more information.

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Click to Subscribe in iTunes

If you enjoyed this podcast please be sure to subscribe on iTunes. Once you’re a subscriber all new episodes will be downloaded to your iTunes account and smartphone.

The easiest way for iPhone users to listen to the show is via the free, and incredible, Podcast app.

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?

How do you feel about the concept of a customer-focused culture?

Lean Thinker Challenge #6

AME Conference AttendeesWelcome to another edition of the Lean Thinker Challenge!

The Situation

Several members of your team just attended the AME Conference in Jacksonville, Florida.

Today is their first day back to work and they’re far more pumped up and enthused than you anticipated.

They attended some incredible workshops and keynotes and have lots of ideas they want to act on.

The Challenge

And, while you’re very excited to see, and feel, their energy you know there’s only so much you can realistically act on in the coming weeks so you want to ensure they don’t attempt to bite off more than they can chew.

What should you do?

GA 033 | The Lean CEO with Jacob Stoller

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The Lean CEO

This episode’s guest is Jacob Stoller, journalist and author who is about to release his newest book, The Lean CEO. To write this book, Jacob travelled around the world and interviewed CEOs from 28 different companies regarding their lean journeys.

An MP3 version is also available for download here.  

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • How Jacob got started in the realm of lean (3:01)
  • Jacob’s favorite inspirational quote (5:35)
  • The process of writing “The Lean CEO” (6:45)
  • What Jacob learned in the process (9:44)
  • One company that stood out to Jacob (14:37)
  • Something that really surprised Jacob in the process (18:04)
  • Jacob’s take on “Respect for People” (19:33)
  • What “Kaizen Culture” means to Jacob (20:38)
  • The best advice Jacob has ever received (21:28)
  • Jacob’s personal productivity habit (22:45)
  • Jacob’s simple but powerful final words of wisdom (27:37)

Podcast Resources

Free Lean Training DVDs Promotion

Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 5.25.39 AMOur most popular promotion is back for the month of November. Purchase a School of Lean or School of Six Sigma subscription and receive our entire DVD collection for free, including worldwide shipping.

These sets retail for $1,295 per school and include up to 54 DVDs,  so it’s definitely a good deal. Valid until November 30th or until we receive 500 orders, at which point the promo page will be removed.

Click here for more information.

Subscribe & Never Miss New Episodes!

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Click to Subscribe in iTunes

If you enjoyed this podcast please be sure to subscribe on iTunes. Once you’re a subscriber all new episodes will be downloaded to your iTunes account and smartphone.

The easiest way for iPhone users to listen to the show is via the free, and incredible, Podcast app.

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?

What are you most looking forward to about The Lean CEO?

Airbnb and Uber – From Batch to One Piece Flow

uberSome of the more interesting internet-driven companies these days are the likes of Airbnb and Uber. They call themselves part of the “sharing economy.”

But let’s take a look at the word “share.” From the MacMillan dictionary, share is “to allow someone to have something you own.” Is that what’s happening here? Not really. It’s not free.

There is a small unit of demand in the form of a single room or a single car ride, and there’s a small unit of availability in the form of a room in a house, an apartment, an empty cab, or even someone with a car going in the same direction. The are matched, a value is being transferred, and there’s also a financial transaction representative of that value. That’s really micro supply and demand management.

Previously such small units of supply and demand were never taken advantage of, let alone optimized, unless aggregated. Now internet connectivity and computational power can dynamically and efficiently track, match, and transact such small units.

The results are rather astounding.

Since its founding, in 2008, Airbnb has spearheaded growth of the sharing economy by allowing thousands of people around the world to rent their homes or spare rooms. Yet while as many as 425,000 people now stay in Airbnb-listed homes on a peak night, the company’s growth is shadowed by laws that clash with its ethos of allowing anyone, including renters, to sell access to their spaces.

Over 400,000 rooms – on a single night. That’s the equivalent of over 3,000 average size hotels. Empty space that was being wasted, now going to good use, eliminating the need to build 3,000 hotels. Think about the positive impact on the environment, urban sprawl, energy use, and so forth.

Similarly, in March 2014, seven months ago and a lifetime in the timescale of a hypergrowth company, Uber was providing 1.1 million rides per week. In this case it is only partially displacing the required capacity of the old business model, taxis, as many taxi drivers are switching to the Uber platform. Still, think about the impact of that optimized micro capacity and demand utilization on the required supply of taxis – and hence steel, plastics, and gas.

I happen to be a big fan of Uber, and use their service almost every time I travel. The speed, convenience, and ease of transaction creates significant value.  Yes, their business practices may make me hold my nose a bit.

Other companies are looking at similar concepts. Amazon is looking at using micro units of delivery capacity in the form of taxis and Uber competitor Flywheel to provide same day – and perhaps same hour – delivery.

Very large numbers of previously wasted supply units being matched with demand in a very efficient manner. The batch unit of a large delivery truck, a bus, or a hotel is being broken down into units approaching one.  Obviously any change like this doesn’t come easily, and cities – often dependent on bed taxes – are pushing back on Airbnb while traditional taxi services are pushing back on Uber.  But value is being created in an efficient and popular manner, therefore change will occur.

Where have I heard about that concept before?

GA 032 | Exploring Western Toyota Culture with David Meier

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david meier podcastToday’s guest is David Meier. David has an impressive background as an author and former Toyota group leader. These days he runs his own consulting practice, helping other companies implement lean transformations.

An MP3 version is also available for download here.  

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • David’s background at Toyota (3:08)
  • What David’s consulting practice offers (4:06)
  • The quote that inspires David (5:22)
  • What David’s learning experience at Toyota was like (6:45)
  • The balance of philosophy and practical tools at Toyota (8:26)
  • David’s experience with the intensity of some Japanese Senseis (10:44)
  • What David noticed at other companies after leaving Toyota (13:13)
  • A common misconception people have about Toyota (15:09)
  • David’s take on Leader Standard Work (20:01)
  • How leaders can incorporate lean into the company’s strategic plan (23:27)
  • What “Respect for People” means to David (26:03)
  • The best advice David has ever heard (28:31)
  • David’s personal productivity habit (29:28)
  • David’s final words of wisdom (40:46)

Podcast Resources

Free Lean Training DVDs Promotion

Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 5.25.39 AMOur most popular promotion is back for the month of November. Purchase a School of Lean or School of Six Sigma subscription and receive our entire DVD collection for free, including worldwide shipping.

These sets retail for $1,295 per school and include up to 54 DVDs,  so it’s definitely a good deal. Valid until November 30th or until we receive 500 orders, at which point the promo page will be removed.

Click here for more information.

Subscribe & Never Miss New Episodes!

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Click to Subscribe in iTunes

If you enjoyed this podcast please be sure to subscribe on iTunes. Once you’re a subscriber all new episodes will be downloaded to your iTunes account and smartphone.

The easiest way for iPhone users to listen to the show is via the free, and incredible, Podcast app.

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?

What is the lean culture like at your organization? Is it more western or are the traditional Japanese values more apparent? How so?

GA 031 | Applying Lean Within the State of Washington with Hollie Jensen and Darrell Damron

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This week our guests are Hollie Jensen and Darrell Damron.

Both Hollie and Dan work in the Washington State Governor’s Office implementing lean practices and serving as overall continuous improvement advocates.

I think you’ll find it really interesting to hear some of the many ways lean can be used beyond the private sector.

To hear the podcast just press the “Play” button at the top of this post. An MP3 version is also available for download here.  

Visit Us at the AME Conference November 10-14 & Save 10% on Registration!

10-JacksonvilleMachinesToolsBannerAdSeries298x248NetworkingIf you plan to attend the upcoming AME conference November 10-14 be sure to stop by the Gemba Academy booth to say hello.

While I’m definitely biased I think you’ll find we give away some of the coolest “swag” at the conference!

We also plan to host an after hours “networking” event on Tuesday evening… free food and drinks!

You can RSVP to attend the party free of charge here.

Finally, if you haven’t registered for the conference and plan to be sure to use the coupon code GEMBA10 in order to save 10%. AME is definitely our favorite conference to attend so we hope to see you there!

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • Darrell and Hollie’s backgrounds (1:40)
  • The quotes that inspire Hollie and Dan (7:26)
  • How Results Washington is helping the state government adopt lean methodologies (9:40)
  • How working in the private sector is and is not that different from government work, in Hollie’s experience (13:26)
  • Which lean strategies have been helpful in implementing lean in the government (15:47)
  • What the Lean Fellowship program is all about (18:34)
  • How other states are pursuing lean journeys (20:38)
  • Some concrete examples of how lean is revolutionizing the Washington government (22:58)
  • What “Respect for People” means to Hollie (28:05)
  • The best advice Darrell has ever received (28:46)
  • Hollie’s personal productivity habit (30:04)
  • Darrell’s final words of wisdom (34:34)

Podcast Resources

Download a Free Audio Book

If you enjoy listening to podcasts chances are you’ll also enjoy listening to audio books.

And if you’ve never listened to an audio book today is your lucky day since you’re able to download a free audio book over at our favorite audio book provider – Audible. Simply click this link to claim your free audio book.

Please note you will need to sign up, which includes providing your credit card, but if you’re not happy with the service you can easily cancel the subscription after downloading your free audio book before your free trial expires.

Subscribe & Never Miss New Episodes!

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Click to Subscribe in iTunes

If you enjoyed this podcast please be sure to subscribe on iTunes. Once you’re a subscriber all new episodes will be downloaded to your iTunes account and smartphone.

The easiest way for iPhone users to listen to the show is via the free, and incredible, Podcast app.

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?

What other ways does lean apply to government? Have you seen evidence of lean in your city, state, or country?