Month: October 2010

Total 19 Posts

The Non-Standard Semantics of Standardization

The words standard, standards, and standardization with their associated concepts and meanings cause a lot of trouble for lean thinkers and others whose intentions are to promote continuous improvement without the lean label. A basic point of confusion is that the variants associated with “standard” seem to result in very

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Six Degrees of Taiichi Ohno

I was recently asked my view on an idea going around the community of lean thinking people. This notion goes that in order to be a sensei one must be separated by no more than two or three degrees from Taiichi Ohno. Without any disrespect to the people in the

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The Smallest Steps Towards Quality Improvement

There is a story about a consultant, apocryphal perhaps, who charged $10,000 for putting a chalk mark on the part of a machine that was causing big problems for his customer. When the customer complained that the charge was excessive for such a short amount of work the consultant replied,

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The “Lean Group” Syndrome

I had a recent discussion with a relative who works in a large Chicago based hospital. As it turns out, this particular hospital is attempting to use lean to improve their processes. During our discussion I could tell something wasn’t quite right. You see, my relative obviously knows I run

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Blog Action Day: Water

Most of us take water for granted. It is colorless, tasteless and runs within, on or around our bodies every moment of our lives. Water flows and forms around obstacles, freezes and cracks the hardest stone, evaporates and floats away as a free cloud. Water is essential to life, the

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Waste Rules the Empty Spaces Between Us

The latest episode in the chronicle of the lean journey at Group Health Cooperative in Washington State is A Story from the Front By Dr. Wellesley Chapman. Dr. Wellesley writes about the experience of launching the lean transformation at the GHC clinic in Burien, Washington: Because of Burien’s architecture, our

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Hand Washing Conundrum… at a Major Coffee House

I was recently washing my hands inside an establishment that sells coffee. I am not big on calling companies out, especially companies trying to improve… which this company is. Anyhow, after I washed my hands I went to dry them. This particular establishment has one of those super duper blowing contraptions

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