Month: July 2009

Total 19 Posts

The 1950s Movie Guide to Lean Service

Ah, those irony-free halcyon days of naming films for what they were… The challenges facing the service business attempting to practice lean principles bear an uncanny similarity to those confronting the hero of a bad 1950s science fiction movie. The monsters are large, ludicrous and nobody believes us until it

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When Automation is Stupid

I don’t know how many times I’ve passed through this section of Narita airport. Only yesterday did it strike me how stupid this moving walkway was. It is all of 18 paces long. Hardly worth breaking your stride to step onto, only to have it give you a minimal speed

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The Power of U

My Japanese teachers often spoke about making processes flow “like a single brushstroke”. It was and still is a phrase difficult to translate. Often I would mimic picking up a calligraphy brush and sweeping it in a u-shape to demonstrate to others what the our sensei was trying to convey.

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One Point Lesson: Kamishibai

Prof. Jeffrey Liker has uploaded an excellent slideshow from 2005 titled The Toyota Way: A Sociotechnical Learning Organization in Action. The image above is from this presentation in which Liker touches briefly on the kamishibai board and its use. What is a kamishibai? In Toyota’s system of jidoka or building

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Inexpensive (But Powerful) Visual Controls

I love simple visual controls. And I love them even more when they don’t cost a lot of money! Thus the smile that came across my face when watching the “Lean Leadership” interview we recently did with a cell leader from a Washington based manufacturing company. This interview is part

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Boeing Gets a Grip

…on its supply chain, according to a Wall Street Journal article from July 2nd, 2009. Boeing is in talks to buy Vought and possibly other suppliers in an attempt to gain control over the supply of parts. It’s about time leaders at this company remembered that they are a manufacturing

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