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Sunday, May 23, 2010

First Year Hansei

One year ago today I started A Lean Journey and I thought some hansei was in order. Hansei is Japanese for "self-reflection".  It is the practice of continuous improvement that consists of looking back and thinking about how a process can be improved.  Without hansei you stop learning.

It is important to go back and revisit the beginning.  I had been following a number of bloggers like Mike Wroblewski, Jon Miller, Ron Pereira, Mark Graban, Joe Ely, Kevin Meyer and Bill Waddell, Jamie Flinchbaugh, and Lee Fried before I started.  These authors really inspired me to try a blog of my own.  There seemed to be a number of sites from proven Lean consultants or primarily on healthcare topics and I thought I could contribute from a manufacturing perspective.

I entered this endeavor more than a little naïve.  I can honestly say I had no knowledge of blogging, social media, web page design, html code, or anything else essential to blogging.  In the beginning there was no plan just a willingness to make it happen.  Writing is not something that comes easy for me.  It may or may not be obvious but I have to work at it.  This was a real phobia to overcome.  Seriously, how do you blog if writing is a weakness.  Like most lessons in life, with practice and hard work comes improvement.

Quickly, I realized I needed a plan.  It was one of those why aren't you using Lean Thinking moments.  So I set a relatively easy goal for the first year.  Increase the number of repeat visitors each month.  You may say, why this goal?  Well, it was really a build something from nothing kind of thinking.

What I didn't realize was the tremendous learning experience this year would be.  First, you learn more when you write about Lean so that others can understand what you are talking about you.  Second, I have met so many great Lean Thinkers this year.  That dialogue and interaction has created a whole new learning environment that I was not previously fully utilizing.  Third, learning about blogging, creating online content, and various social media platforms has been a great asset.  This has allowed me to work with AME (Association for Manufacturing Excellence) on utilizing social media at the national and local levels to support learning and best practice sharing.  Fourth, I really enjoy blogging.  I am glad that I got the courage to try this without knowing how or what to expect.

A number of people have been very supportive in this past year and I would be remiss if I did not acknowledging them.  For those, I previously mentioned thanks for inspiration and support.  In no particular order, John Hunter, Brian Buck, Jeff Hajek, Karen Wilhelm, Pete Abilla, Ankit Patel, JC Gatlin, Evan Durant, Liz Guthridge, Dan Markovitz, Mark Hamel, Jim Baran, Tony Manos, Jason Semovoski, Jeff Hoffstetter, Jon Wetzel, and Dragan Bosnjak were helpful over my first year.  A couple other notable mentions for support is Andy Novotny, AME Northeast Region Director; Scott Schiave, AME Marketing and Communications Director; and Kate Shane, graphic designer.  I would also like to thank my wife Jennifer, children, and my mother and father for moral support when I took on more than I could handle at times.

Even in this short year I have seen a number of blogs come and go.  I mark this first year as successful.  I accomplished something new and received rewards of friendship that I did not expect.

Now going forward I know I have a lot more to learn.  You likely will see more of the same from me in the second year.  I will be reaching out to more Lean thinkers in the community to dialogue and share ideas.  I will highlight this in the coming year.

As we learn in Lean we need to add value to the customer.  I want this blog to add value to the readers and the Lean community at large.  Feedback is always welcomed and appreciated.  Share your ideas on topics or ask questions you want answered.  Leave comment below or email directly.

If you enjoy this blog you may want to connect with me on Linkedin or follow me on Twitter.  You can also subscribe to this feed or email to stay updated on all posts.  For those Facebook fans join A Lean Journey on our facebook fan page.


  1. Congrats, Tim! Thanks for sharing your hansei. I've learned that building a blog audience is a long, slow, linear process.

    I agree that blogging has been a very social experience, something that might be unexpected when you start. I'm thankful that the lean and TPS blogosphere has been a very collaborative and friendly group without any rivalry. I'm glad that you also share that spirit.

    Best wishes for year two.


  2. Tim, it is a great pleasure to have you in the blogosphere and I hope to continue exchanging opinions and ideas in the years 2, 3, 4 ... of our lean journey!
    Best wishes and thanks for including me in the list

    Dragan Bosnjak

  3. Congrats, on your 1 year anniversary, Tim. I am glad you shared your reflection. I started my blog for the same reasons you mentioned. Writing does not come easy and I need to force myself out of my comfort zone. It is reassuring to see someone succeeding as I move forward. I wish you the best of luck as you embark on year 2.

  4. Congrats Tim. It is more work than you initially think to run a blog. You do an excellent job connecting with your readers here and other social media as well. Your site is a great resource.

  5. Congrats Tim. You've quickly become a notable voice in the lean community.

  6. Tim,
    Thanks for mentioning me in the list. I started in earnest just a little before you did. A lot of the same people on your list have helped me get started along the way. I've been amazed at how open the online Lean community is, and how eager most are to help each other out.
    Congratulations on the growth...

  7. Thanks for all the wonderful comments. As you might expect most in the lean community are very open and supportive. They like to share and pride themselves on value added interaction and dialogue. Great example for me to aspire to.

  8. We're glad you joined in the conversation with your own contributions.

  9. Tim,
    Thank you for the mention and your blog is fantastic! I hope you keep up with the good work!