Jon Miller

Total 1365 Posts

Breaking the Weak Link in the Value Chain

In the lean way of thinking, the value we deliver to the customer increases in proportion to effort when we connect processes and keep the activities moving along smoothly. Instead, Harvard Business School professor Thales Teixeira writes that “decoupling” is what has helped many startups succeed by disrupting established businesses.

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Avoiding the Productivity Paradox

Lean thinking and practice have the potential to improve outcomes in healthcare, software development teams, government services, business performance and even individual growth and well-being. For something that is so powerful and effective, Lean has many ways in which it can fail. This is because contrary to popular belief, Lean

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Lean Literacy

Michael Ballé wrote a thoughtful reply to the question of what should be included in an MBA-level course to teach Lean concepts. It is a tough question because as Michael points out, there are some deep differences that must be reconciled between MBA thinking and Lean thinking. The LEI blog article

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What Meetings Reveal About a Leader’s Beliefs

One of the simplest and most impactful things an organization can do in the pursuit of excellence is to reform how they hold meetings. And yet this is one of the most challenging changes. A recent conversation reminded me of this. The customer’s objection was to the idea of adopting

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Amazon’s New Waste Reduction Strategy: Batching

Amazon is trying something new in an effort to reduce packaging materials as well as the amount of fuel burned by making fewer deliveries. According to the article Amazon’s new waste reduction strategy: deliver only once a week, when Prime members enroll in the “Amazon Day” service, “Amazon will hold everything

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What is the Right Amount of Slack?

The Kraft Heinz company reported poor financial performance this past week, causing its stock price to dive more than 20%. It has lost nearly half of its value over the past year. A Wall Street Journal article said of Kraft’s management “cut costs relentlessly but failed to spend on new

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Words of Taiichi Ohno: Build a System that Loses Money

At one level, a lean transformation means improving existing systems and building new systems where required. People and organizations cannot avoid systems. We all work within systems, be they regulatory, financial, logistical, political or eco. These systems influence each other to varying degrees and at different rates. Some systems are

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Not All Costs Exist To Be Reduced

Taiichi Ohno declared, “Costs don’t exist to be calculated, costs exist to be reduced.” His point was that traditional accounting can fool us into justifying inefficient operations, building up inventory or acquiring assets because the numbers look good. Instead of being creative with accounting, Ohno advocated reducing cost by being

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The Life-Affirming Science of Tidying Up

When book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up was published a few years ago, I read it with interest. It describes an unintentional application of 2S principles in the home (sort & straightening / set in order). Author and consultant Marie Kondo has reportedly been obsessed with tidiness since childhood. As

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