GA 042 | Lean for Retail & Service Organizations with Josh Howell

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This episode’s guest is Josh Howell, a Senior Coach at the Lean Enterprise Institute. Josh’s role at LEI involves supporting co-learning partnerships, developing workshops, and running experiments to solve business problems across various industries.

Josh also spent nine years working for Starbucks, starting as a barista and ending up as a member of the company’s continuous improvement task force. The combination of his impressive background and accessible examples makes this episode appropriate for anyone at any stage of their lean journey.

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

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • Josh’s background and how he first learned about lean (2:50)
  • The quote that inspires Josh (5:46)
  • Why the retail sector is interested in lean (6:56)
  • Examples of improvements Josh made at Starbucks (9:05)
  • Other challenges Josh faced working in the retail sector (19:11)
  • What “Respect for People” means to Josh (24:17)
  • The best advice Josh has ever received (31:07)
  • Josh’s personal productivity habit (32:06)
  • Josh’s final words of wisdom (39:02)

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What Do You Think?

In what other ways does lean apply to the retail sector?


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