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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Lean Roundup #8 - January, 2010

Selected highlights from the Lean Blog Community from the month of January, 2010.

Top 7 Behaviors to Change in 2010 – Jon Miller starts the new year off looking at seven wasteful human behaviors that should be improved.
10 Habits of a Lean Construction Professional – JC Gatlin describes ten lean habits that are applicable in all professions.
The Anatomy of PDCA – JC Gatlin describes the seven steps of the Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle.
10 Lean Things to Not Say in 2010 – Mark Graban shares some non-lean phrases that really should be avoided.
Flexibility a License to Accept Waste – Kevin Meyer talks about the concept of flexibility from the book “The Lean Manager”.
Building A Strong "Lean Culture" – Paul Cary shares advice about implementing Lean systems.
3 Lean Tools For Improving Construction Reliability – Michael Lombard talks about the use of visual workplace, preventative maintenance, and job instruction to improve reliability.
9 Tips to Make Your Kaizen Process More Effective – Jeff Hajek shares tips on making your next kaizen event more effective.
Visibility in the Supply Chain: What You Can't See Can Hurt You – John Westerveld talks about looking at you suppliers health financially as well some other risks.
Hopelessly Lost But Making Good Time – Bill Waddell talks about the flaws in annual budgeting processes compare to continuous improvement through continuous management.
Womack's 'Beyond Toyota' is Wrong Challenge...'Beyond Lean' is – Steven Spear writes about not improving Toyota but improving Lean with relentless innovation.
Is Lean Anti-Technology – Jamie Flinchbaugh writes about lean-thinking organization’s use technology as solutions to problems not just for technology sake.
Introducing the 5 Why "So What" Test – Ron Pereira shares a method to check cause and effect relationship of the root cause by asking “so what” after each why.
Five Change Management Errors That Make You Wish You'd Read This Article Sooner – Jon Miller shares five mistakes to avoid to make implementing change successful.
Four Levels of "selling" on Linkedin – Karen Wilhelm talks about a four-level approach to marketing yourself, your product, your service, or an idea on social networking similar to going to a party.
The Value of Thinking – Gregg Stocker takes about transforming a business to a culture where thinking is critical.
Are you Looking Up & Out, Not Just Down & In? – Liz Gutheridge reminds to stop take a break every now and then to look up and out at our surroundings.
Kanban Imagination – Evan Durant shares a Gemba kaizen story about improving a Kanban which was more then he imagined.
Can You Become Lean without Sales On Board – Joe Dagger talks about the need to have sales and marketing on board with lean transformation.
Fives On Mind – TWI explains the 5N’s or needs every leader needs related to knowledge and skills.
Lean: Letting Our Human Characteristics Flourish – Mark Graban explains the real meaning of Toyota’s “Respect for People” from John Shook.
Overburdened With Andon Calls – Mark Rosenthal talks about a system to deal with answering the help call through a time based escalation method.
Being Lean Is Not Enough – Gregg Stocker says there four more objective equally as important as lean for success.
Gemba Walks...Dont Forget To Teach! - Bryan Zeigler reminds us to go to the Gemba with purpose, the purpose to teach how.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Lean Quote of the Day - January 29, 2009

On Friday’s I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

Feel free to share some of your favorites here as well.

It is not the employer who pays the wages. He only handles the money. It is the customer that pays the wages. ~Henry Ford, 1922
If you haven't started down the path of Lean accounting maybe now is the time.  Consider these tips on implementing Lean accounting from Watlow Electric

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The "Hot Stove" Rule of Discipline

In a recent supervision class I learned of an interesting analogy between touching a hot stove and applying positive, corrective discipline. The similarities are: immediacy, advance warning, consistency, and impartiality.

  1. A hot stove burns immediately. Likewise, discipline should be applied quickly after an infraction. There should be no question in an employee’s mind as to cause and effect.

  2. A hot stove radiates heat and gives a preliminary warning – so should discipline.

  3. A hot stove always burns when touched. Likewise, discipline must be applied consistently.

  4. A hot stove plays no favorites. Neither should discipline.
While I don’t directly supervise people anymore I still found this analogy useful. I am sure anyone with kids has had to discipline them at some point. It would be ideal to avoid discipline and we should work toward this but sometimes it is necessary. Are you impartial, immediate, consistent, and do you give warning when discipline is needed. Just think of touching a hot stove before you act.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The 6 P’s of Leadership

When you hear the word “leadership” what comes to mind? There are numerous definitions of leadership. For me leadership is ultimately about creating a way for people to contribute to making something extraordinary happen. Effective leadership comes down to people. It is about the ability to successfully engage and maximize all human resources for the attainment that vision.

In keeping with this idea that leadership is about people, there are 6 qualities of leadership starting with the letter P:

Principles - You have to have a moral compass as a leader. It starts with basic beliefs and values. It's important to make clear to the people in the organization what those are, so you're transparent. They have to be consistent with the values of the organization, or there will be a problem.

Perspective - That's an ability to dream, visioning that leads to strategies. It starts with a broader view of the world you live in. It's about value to the consumer.

Passion – It is not style. There are a lot of different styles -- charismatic, quiet, confident. But it all comes down to this motivating sense of commitment to what you do. Vince Lombardi said “the difference between success and failure is energy … fired with enthusiasm.”

Perseverance - That's sticking with it through the good times and the bad times -- mostly the bad. It means picking yourself up every day to go after it.

Plan – It's great that you have a dream and a vision but how are you getting there? If people see that you have a passionate purpose but get the feeling that there's now way you'll get there, how likely are they to buy into it? Not very to say the least. Build a plan and use it.

Partnerships - Seek co-operative working relationships both internally between functions and externally with suppliers and customers. Seek to use teams, not individuals. Seek to build trust. Create win-win solutions.

While there are people who seem to be naturally endowed with more leadership abilities than others, I believe that people can learn to become leaders by concentrating on improving these particular leadership skills.

It's important to remember that results count. Effective leaders are those who increase their company’s' performance by creating value profitably.

If you enjoy this post and want to continue learning you can subscribe to A Lean Journey, join the discussion on LinkedIn, and follow me on Twitter with links on the right hand side of this page.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Lean Quote of the Day - January 22, 2010

On Friday’s I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

Feel free to share some of your favorites here as well.

"Trying to change people's habits and their way of thinking is like writing in the snow during a blizzard.  Every 20 minutes you have to start all over again. Only through constant repetition are you able to create change "
        - Donald L. Dewar (author of A Serious Anomaly: Quality Circles without TQC)
Check out this post on coping with resistance to change to learn about the common reasons people resist change and how you can overcome those conditions.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Guest Post on The Lean Way

Today I have a guest blog post titled Learn to Unhook the Old on Ankit Patel’s blog The Lean Way

Ankit did a post here a few weeks back on Happy Employees = Happy Share Holders.

Ankit is the CEO of The Lean Way Consulting, specializing in improving business operations and culture through the approach of Lean Manufacturing in any size organization.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Respect for People One Cup at a Time

This is a guest post by Rebecca Kane Dow, Marketing and Communications Manager for  CONNSTEP.   CONNSTEP is Connecticut's NIST/MEP affiliate, helping Connecticut's small and midsize manufacturers compete and grow through highly personalized services tailored to the specific needs of companies.  Rebecca is also the voice behind @CONNSTEP on twitter.

I visit Dunkin Donuts far more than I should. With the ease of a drive-thru at most every location and one directly across the street from my office, the convenience of getting a quick coffee is often too hard to resist… or so I had thought.

During one visit in late November, I became incredibly frustrated by having to repeat my order three times at the microphone and then again when I got to the drive through window only to realize, when I got to my office, that my coffee had no cream and all sugar, and my bagel had cream cheese, not peanut butter - exactly the opposite of what I requested. But the real disappointment lie in that, at no time, during that whole transaction, did I get a simple “thank you.”

So, for the next few days, I waited. After the transaction was completed and there was no “thank you,” I waited, and when the employee annoyingly asked, “what?” I simply said, “you’re welcome.” This exercise got me a few annoyed, “thanks” or for the most part absolutely nothing.

I called and spoke with three store managers – nothing changed – and after reading about how Comcast and Dell use Twitter for customer service, I developed the “12 Days of Dunkin Donuts” campaign (as it was the holiday season). Each day, I would use my allotted 140 characters to share my experiences – good or bad (mostly bad) - to illustrate how unvalued I felt as a customer with the hopes of getting corporate attention, and by day three, I got a direct message from the voice of corporate Dunkin Donuts. We chatted, I got a lovely gift of coffee and a travel mug for my time and follow-up calls from the managers of the stores that I specifically highlighted.

Sadly, though, poor customer service seems endemic regardless of franchise, so I continue on with my campaign to highlight the poor customer service culture at the largest coffee chain in America. But what does this have to do with Lean?

The two basic tenets of the Toyota Production System, the genesis of Lean, are “Just-In-Time” and “Respect for People” and they are equal in importance.

During the times I have been inside a Dunkin Donuts, I’ve noticed the successful implementation of some Lean principles including single piece flow, kanban, point of use storage, FIFO and takt time, however, I believe it is the intense focus on takt time or, as they call it, the “customer wait time,” that is partially to blame for the degradiation of customer service. And witnessing how managers treat employees and employees treat each other, the root cause of poor customer service is glaringly obvious - if you don’t work in an environment where there is “respect for people,” then how can you pass respect on to the customer? Dunkin Donuts is out of balance.

DD’s biggest competitor, Starbucks, provides health insurance, benefits and a higher paywage to their employees and the culture of customer service is evident throughout your visit - from the greeting when you first arrive in the store through to the appreciation from the barista when you receive your coffee. Granted their coffee is more expensive, but I feel valued – and that value is worth paying for.

Every customer has choices today – from the customer who buys coffee to the customer who buys actuators or circuit boards or fuel systems – and in this commoditized market, how do you differentiate your company from that low-cost supplier?

Respect and value your employees, they will in turn respect and value your customers.

And don’t forget to say thank you.

If you enjoy this post and want to continue learning you can subscribe to A Lean Journey, join the discussion on LinkedIn, and follow me on Twitter with links on the right hand side of this page.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Lean Quote of the Day - January 15, 2010

On Friday’s I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

Feel free to share some of your favorites here as well.

"Culture does not change because we desire to change it. Culture changes when the organization is transformed; the culture reflects the realities of people working together every day." - Frances Hesselbein - The Key to Cultural Transformation, Leader to Leader (Spring 1999)
Follow these ten factors for making culture change stick in your organization. 
If you enjoy this post and want to continue learning you can subscribe to A Lean Journey, join the discussion on LinkedIn, and follow me on Twitter with links on the right hand side of this page.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

New 5S DVD To Get You Focused on Eliminating Waste

This is a guest post by Jeff Hofstetter, the President of Xtreme Lean Consulting.  I previously wrote about Jeff and his company in this post on Xtreme Lean's 5S Quiz and Learning Videos.

5S is a powerful improvement process that gets impressive results.  It is an essential part of Lean manufacturing because it focuses heavily on the elimination of waste.  This is also a great place to begin a Lean program for any business.

The main challenge of implementing 5S is developing a shopfloor understanding of its key points and tools. It is important for all employees to have a good working knowledge of 5S before you begin, and this new DVD uses easy to understand graphics and animations which clarify what 5S is, how it works, the numerous benefits, and how 5S can be implemented at your business.

This DVD will make it easy for your entire workforce to comprehend all of the principles of 5S with examples of Sort, Set-in-order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain being explained in detail, and how they can be applied at your business.

5S will help your business eliminate much of the waste found in almost all manufacturing processes. When you implement 5S and become Lean you will realize all of the benefits 5S has to offer your business. You can purchase the full version of this DVD by visiting this website, and then you too will be on your journey to a leaner more competitive business.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Coaching for Safe Behavior

Note: Coaching is founded on Dr. E. Scott Geller's Coaching philosophy, the second principle of his ground breaking People-Based Patient Safety® paradigm.

Coaching is basically a process of one-on-one observation and feedback.  Coaching can be applied to safety by systematically observing the behaviors of another person and offering constructive feedback to reduce the occurrence of any at-risk behaviors. The letters of COACH represent five fundamental steps of safety coaching: Care, Observe, Analyze, Communication, and Help.

Care…Show you actively care about each other's safety and health.  Looking out for each other is the right thing to do.  Do on to others and you want done onto you.

Observe…Take a few minutes every day to observe people working and their behaviors.   When observing, remember you are not looking for just risky actions, but also for safe behaviors to support or encourage.

Analyze…Think about why your co-worker might be doing what they're doing.  Use the ABC Model to help figure out why:
            A = Activator
            B = Behavior
            C = Consequences
An Activator directs a Behavior which leads to a Consequence that either encourages or discourages us to perform the behavior.
Figuring out why safe or risky behaviors happen helps you know what motivates safe behaviors and what causes risky ones.

Communicate…In order to be a good coach, you need to communicate behavior based feedback in a helpful, non-threatening way.  When you communicate: you want to teach, and you want the message to be heard.

Help…There are many ways to help people be safer and incident free.  One way to help is to educate and teach; another way to help is to offer assistance.  You and your co-workers must rely on each other to choose safe actions or behaviors.  Helping everyone to act safely requires a team effort.

When people sense you truly care about them, and you want to listen to what they have to say, you make them feel valued.  Then they will be much more willing to accept your input.
If you do all these things, you will be a great COACH.  When everyone in a workplace is a coach, the whole team wins.

This coaching process is clearly relevant for improving behaviors in areas other than safety and in settings other than the workplace.

If you enjoy this post and want to continue learning you can subscribe to A Lean Journey,  join the discussion on LinkedIn, and follow me on Twitter with links on the right hand side of this page.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Quote of the Day January 8, 2010

On Friday’s I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

Feel free to share some of your favorites here as well.

"A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new. " - Albert Einstein

Learn how making failure acceptable is an important factor when changing the culture to support continuous improvement.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

American Innovation Challenging Business Once Dominated By France

John Stossel does a series called "What is Good about America?" where he highlights American greatness.  In the most recent story John talks about the improvements US Wine Manufacturers have made in recent years.  This has resulted in the US wining in a recent blind taste test against the prominent French wines.

So what does this have to do with Lean?  Well the key to the wine manufacturers success is at the heart of Lean Thinking.

Some of the key phrases from the video include:

Experiment & learn something
Try something new - Innovate
Micro-management stiffles innovation
Too many rules are restrictive
New technology feeds new innovation

As you watch the video US Wine Industry Gaining Ground look for these key Lean concepts.

What wasn't mentioned in the video but had to be done was meeting the customers expectations.  The US manufacturers developed wines that the market needed and wanted resulting in profits from repeated business.

As the wine industry demonstrated in this video your business can do the same thing.  Think Lean.  Experiment, learn, try again, break down walls, empower people, and innovate products and services customers want.

I hope you enjoy this since I think it is always nice to reflect on a good story of American ingenuity.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Ten New Years Resolutions for Lean Managers

Note: The following article is reprinted with permission from the author Patricia Wardwell and distributed by GBMP (Greater Boston Manufacturing Partnership). 

Lean thinking brings about many changes in the way companies do business and operate processes.  New ways of defining customers, value, total cost and measuring elapsed time for fulfilling customer needs are just the beginning.  Everything from the redefinition of what constitutes "work" to breaking away from batch and queue mentality requires a paradigm shift, and employees are expected to support these changes, abandoning old ways of thinking and acting in new ways that may not always be intuitive or comfortable in the beginning. 

However, have you ever stopped to think about the essential changes that managers in a lean organization need to make to their own processes and styles in order to pave the way for change and accelerate the paradigm shifts?   This list offers some suggestions on how managers can commit to changing the way they work in order to help themselves and others adapt to and embrace the changes that are necessary in any successful lean implementation. 

As we head into a new year, I have chosen to put these thoughts in the form of manager "resolutions", with the hope that those who read this article will make a personal pledge to "practice" them in 2010.  Some of them will take a portion of you out of your comfort zone and that is a good thing!  Some will perhaps strike you as too time consuming and you will ask yourself "where will I find time on top of all the other things I have to do?"  The simple answer is you have to make the time.  Striking a balance between daily work and improvement is a critical responsibility of any manager who is going to support and lead lean in a meaningful way.  In fact that leads us to your first resolution!

1.      Set aside time each week to actively and openly nurture the lean journey in your organization. You must understand that one of your most important jobs as a lean manager is to develop and nurture other lean thinkers and to do this you must be engaged with them on a regular basis and be willing to put a high priority on improvement activities for yourself and others.    

2.      Get out of your office and walk the value stream at least once per week.  There is no better way to experience the flow of value (or lack thereof) than taking the same journey that an order, new product, patient or other takes through your processes.  Start where the order, product or person enters your value stream and "go see" all the places they go from start to finish. Look for all forms of the 7 wastes^ and when you see them, think about "why" they exist.  Do this often in order to gain a true understanding of your processes.  What happens on Monday is not necessarily what happens on Friday. See if you can discover why on your Gemba walks.  

3.      Resolve to use your eyes and ears more than your vocal chords when on the shop floor.  Shigeo Shingo noted that improvements come from the "common sense and experience of the people who do the work".  You need to look and listen to what the many intelligent, creative people who make your business run have to say about what goes on in their world each day.  If you don't do this regularly how will you have a prayer of knowing how to support their improvement efforts or gain their trust and commitment to change for the long haul?  

4.      Ask 5 different people who work for you "what can be improved" at least once a week.   This may sound like a simple one but if you ask, you must also be prepared to offer support and provide time and resources to allow them to make the improvements they suggest.  If you do so, you will very likely see your improvement efforts bloom!  If they see you are truly interested in their ideas and are willing to allow them the time and materials needed to change the small things that bug them regularly, you will be surprised how muchthis will mean to them. And your business will benefit at the same time.   

5.      Participate in an improvement project team meeting, training session or kaizen event at least once per month.  Be a visible, active participant in lean training and improvement efforts.  If a manager makes time to participate or attend, it sends the message to employees that the activity is important.  The opposite is also true. 

6.      Ask to be shown an implemented improvement idea from all areas reporting to you at least once per month.  Recognition is an important component of all good lean programs.  When you take the time to "go see" some of the ideas that people have implemented and, better yet, thank them in person for a job well done, you are recognizing and reinforcing desired behaviors. You'll also get an important opportunity to learn more about both your employees and your processes.   And when you ask to see improvements you are also setting the expectation that there will be some!

7.      Read at least one new lean article or book a month.  Lean managers recognize that learning is a life-long endeavor that needs to become as natural to employees as breathing.  The idea behind reading on lean subjects is to become a sponge, soaking up what others who have been on the journey longer than you have learned, and then think hard about how you and your organization can use this knowledge. Don't be surprised if you begin to accumulate your own lean library very quickly once you commit to becoming a reader!

8.      Attend a conference, plant tour or participate in a webinar or podcast on lean topics once per quarter.  Better yet, take a few people along for the ride when you participate in these activities.  Networking, benchmarking, and seeing and hearing about experiences of other companies and people are not only desirable but are expected in the world of lean practitioners.  When a team of people from your company participates together you instantly increase the likelihood that the learning will be more widely shared upon your return and you create a unique way to foster team work and stimulate lean dialogue.  

9.      Vow to visit at least one external customer or supplier each quarter.  The value stream does not stop at your four walls.  Instead it extends both to your suppliers on the one end of the value chain and to the customers who pay the bills on the other end.  The more you know and understand about these key stakeholders, and vice versa, the greater the chances that you can improve your extended value stream.  

10.  Develop your own "Manager's Standardized Work".   How many of you have a written routine that you follow as you go about your daily work?  I imagine if I asked you to list what you do, you would be able to list many things that have to get done in the course of the day, week or month.But nary a one of you would be able to say with great confidence that the order and time required to carry out those activities is entirely repeatable or predictable.  Why not formalize your list and establish your own set of manager's standardized work?  It will help you and the people who work for you more than you know. Write down, in the sequence you will follow, indicating how much time will be devoted to each task and when it will be done each day, the repeatable activities you will undertake on a daily basis, a weekly basis and so forth. It is ok to reserve times for the "unknown" things that invariably come up.  After a few weeks of practice you will have a pretty good sense of how much time you need to hold aside for these activities.  How much more productive and efficient would you and others be if a large majority of your routine tasks were planned and scheduled out on a regular basis?  Once you write it, make the list visual by placing a copy on your desktop, your door, and circulating it to people who work for you. Want to know what I will be doing at 9:00 am on Monday mornings?  Just look at my standardized work.  Am I open for a potential meeting at 2 pm on Thursday, just look at my standardized work.  If a manager can commit to creating and following standardized work, what message does this send to the rest of the organization about its importance? 

These resolutions are intentionally designed to cover activity changes that are in the direct control of most managers.  Therefore there should be few excuses that you can't carry them out because someone won't let you.  Yes, I realize that managers are people too, and may find change hard, but I sincerely encourage you to give them a try. The rewards will far outweigh the risks or sacrifices if you put them into practice.The behaviors you model if you enact these resolutions will demonstrate a personal commitment to lean and a tenacious respect for people, two of the most fundamental characteristics of a strong lean leader - which you are going to become in 2010, right? 

--Pat Wardwell, COO
Greater Boston Manufacturing Partnership

Pat is the Chief Operating Officer for GBMP, Shingo Prize Recipient, SME Lean GOLD Certified Examiner and Chair of the National Lean Certification Oversight and Appeals Committee. GBMP is a not-for-profit organization based at the University of Massachusetts Boston campus working with companies all over the world. They are your one-stop resource for Continuous Improvement education and facilitation. View a video about GBMP's approach and philosophy toward continuous improvement and lean training.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Management Improvement Carnival of 2009

Many of you are familiar with John Hunter the voice behind Curious Cat Blog and his Management Improvement Carnivals.  John has taken the idea of sharing best practices to the blog community where selections of posts are highlighted on a regular basis by those in the community.  This year John's idea for the Annual Management Improvement Carnival was to have bloggers review some of their favorite posts from blogs of their choosing.  You can follow this link for a list of the 2009 improvement blog carnivals.

I am honored to participate in the carnival this year where I have chosen to review Lean Reflections, The Lean Way, and Gotta Go Lean.

Lean Reflections is authored by Karen Wilhelm.  She has been sharing her opinion and lean stories since 2005.  Karen is a writer and editor by profession with notable work SME and AME.  I have had the pleasure to work with her on a new endeavor where she chairs the social media council for AME.

Karen's Lean Reflections blog is written from the heart.  She shares stories with personal connection and also those from current activities she is involved in.  Here are a few of my favorite posts from this year:

When Customer Experience Comes First is a post where Karen shares a personal story related to customer service and making the customer first.

Are Americans Working Harder and Getting Paid More? is a review of several reports about productivity and wage statistics.

New Networking Skills Can Help You Restart your Career is about the importance of networking on sites like LinkedIn and others.

More Web Based Career Development Tools is a follow-up about forums and discussion groups for enrichment and networking.

Lean Team Competes With Asia -and Wins is a story about a chair manufacturer who used lean to improve efficiency and create its own economic recovery.

The Lean Way Blog is the work of Ankit Patel.  Ankit is the CEO of Lean Way Consulting.  He is new to the Lean blog community but a very active contributor.  We have shared many stories and lessons learned in Lean and blogging this year as we are both new comers to this community.

Ankit enjoys sharing a story and teaching a lesson with his blog.  It is written from years of experience in manufacturing.  His posts are current and relatable to everyone.  Some of my favorites are:

To Err is Human...To Error Proof is Divine is about taking mistakes and learning to prevent them with error proofing.

Whether You Think You Can or Can't, You're Right is where Ankit shares some guidelines on culture change.

How Comfortable Are You With Being Uncomfortable? explains the need for some discomfort if you wan to make changes/improvements.

Being Lean: Not Just for Fat People relates being Lean in a company to that of being lean physically and draws a number of similarities.

Smooth Is Fast is about teams working smoothly instead of as fast as you can.

Gotta Go Lean Blog is written by Jeff Hajek.  Jeff is an author of "Whaddaya Mean I Gotta Be Lean?" and founder of Velaction, a continuous improvement company.  His blog is written from the gemba for front line employees and leaders.  I find Jeff posts are informative and thought provoking.  Some of my favorites include:

Productivity Incentives That Work is about several key points to work place incentive program that are effective.

Customer Value: The Five Principles of Lean Customer Value, Jeff explains customer value principles to keep in mind when looking at your processes.

Lessons from Japanese Consultants is a piece where Jeff shares some 17 lessons he has learned from consultants from Japan.

Process Observation: Watch Before You Ask is about a an observation process commonly referred to as Ohno's observation circle.

Psychology of Lean explains some of psychological concepts and how they affect workplace behaviors in a Lean company.

I hope you enjoy these blogs and find them as valuable as I do.  If you already follow them great but if haven't experienced their blogs check out the content I highlighted above.  Let them know what you think of their hard work because they like to share their experiences with everyone as well as take the opportunity to learn from others.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Quote of the Day January, 1, 2010

On Friday’s I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

Feel free to share some of your favorites here as well.

"If you don't know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else." ~Lawrence J. Peter

It is important to remember as you start this New Year you start with a vision of what you want to accomplish.  Whether it is a personal New Year's resolution or a new business objective you need to set a goal or target condition.  From this a plan can be made to achieve your goal.  You can then monitor your progress toward your goal and adjust accordingly.  In 2010, think Lean, have a vision, and use PDCA otherwise it is anyone's guess where you'll end up.

Jamie Flinchbaugh wrote a nice post on New Year's Resolutions.  He recommends forgoing the resolution in favor of planning and action.  Check out his advice on goal setting before you tackle your own.