Thursday, March 31, 2011

Lean Roundup #22 – March, 2011

A selection of highlighted blog posts from Lean bloggers from the month of March, 2011.  You can also view the previous monthly Lean Roundups here.

3 Key Skills that Enable Innovation – Jamie Flinchbaugh explains three fundamental lean behaviors that drive innovation: customer focus, problem solving and learning.

The Toyota Way has worked as it's suppose to, helping the company to face its challenges – Mike Balle talks about how Lean is alive and well despite the issue that surrounded Toyota in recent months and some lessons learned.

The Angry Myth – David Kasprzak explains why getting angry with people who then give in doesn't mean they see things our way.

How to Refresh Your Lean Implementation: 3 Tips to Get Back on Track - Tabitha Zamarripa says don't give up on your Lean implementation if you get stalled; get back on track with these simple tips.

Learn by Seeking Knowledge Not Just from Mistakes – John Hunters explains that experimenting and seeking out new knowledge is even better than learning from mistakes.

13 Ways to Apply Lean Principles to a Small Business – Jeff Hajek writes about 13 ways to bring Lean thinking to your small business. 

It's about throughput not capacity – Dan Markovitz explains that getting things done is not about capacity but throughput.

Lean Standard Work in Our Everyday Lives – Steven Prince talks about standardized processes in our daily lives to make life more relaxed and less hectic.

Don't Be Lazy Get Out And Lead – Matt Wrye talks about those manager that say they support Lean but don't get involved.  It is not a spectator sport.

10 Tips to Immediately Boost Productivity – Ron Pereira provides some things you can do right away to improve your productivity.

Why Before What – Mark Rosenthal advocates explaining why not what when making the case for Lean by understanding your beliefs.

Capital is a resource of last resort – Jamie Flinchbaugh answers the question of Lean and capital by explaining why you should improve first and use capital only after improvement.

Are You "Under New Management" Yet? – Brian Buck talks about the management changes needed for Lean Leadership to be successful.

Updating "A Vision for a Lean Hospital" – Mark Graban shares some thoughts from the final chapter of his new book describing what a Lean Hospital would be like.

Supply Chain Risk 101 – Bill Waddell explains the math around the supply chain risk in the wake of disruptions from Japan.

How to do Yokoten – Jon Miller explains Yokoten, horizontal deployment or best practice sharing as we refer to it in the west.

Standardized Work – Tony Manos talks about standardized work in our routine and the resistance people normally feel.

5 Life Lessons Learned from Multitasking – Pete Abilla writes about the negative impact of multitasking and doing more by doing less.

TWI , the origins and how it is connected to Lean – Dragan Bosnjak answers a readers question explaining TWI and it's integration in Lean.

3 Lessons from the Gipper - Another Look – Christian Paulsen shares 3 lessons we can learn from "The Great Communicator" Ronald Regan.

My Continuous Improvement: Personal Kanban – Matt Wrye shares his story on personal productivity improvement inspired by yours truly.

When Did Accountability Become Modern Taylorism? – JC Gatlin questions if accountability is what we are after or is it ownership implying teamwork and personal responsibility.

Does Setting a Goal for the Number of Kaizens Violate "Kaizen Spirit"? – Mark Graban explores a common question in transforming Lean environments.


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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Speed of Improvement

In an earlier post I talked about "The Lean Way to Tie Your Shoes" which illustrates the fastest method to tie your shoe. This post highlighted a number of lean lessons for everyone. A similar cleaver video also demonstrates a number of lean lessons. Before you look at the video let's examine those lessons:

1. Recognition of time as a valuable asset. We don't want to waste our time.
2. Making improvements in things we do everyday. Something Paul Akers calls "improvement in what bugs you."

3. Visual cues are important in demonstrations for accentuating your point.
4. Solutions don't need to be complicated nor require technology to be successful.
5. Sharing best practices with others helps them learn to solve their problems.



What do you think? Is this video a good example of everyday Lean Thinking?


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Monday, March 28, 2011

Cultivating Empowered Employees

To "empower" means "to allow or enable."  Successful leaders conduct themselves in such a way that employees feel good about working with them.  How do they do this?  By enabling and allowing employees to succeed.  Empowered employees feel ownership for their work, a critical element  to creating a motivated workplace.  The ten steps that follow are necessary to cultivating empowered employees.

1. Delegate meaningful jobs, not just the "junk" stuff you don't want to do. Workers don't want to perform trivial tasks on a regular basis any more than you do. If the tasks are truly unimportant, maybe they should be deleted altogether. If they are necessary, consider setting up a rotating schedule so workers can take turns performing the task.

2. "Let go" once you delegate (supervisors have a tendency to oversupervise). If you delegate a task, make sure the person you give it to has the skills, the instructions, and the resources necessary to carry it out. If you don't have the confidence in the person's ability to do a satisfactory job, you shouldn't give the task to that person to begin with.

3. Show you trust your employees by accepting their ideas and suggestions. Seek out employees' ideas on a regular basis. Employees feel ownership of a process or a task when they've had input into it.

4. Whenever possible, provide opportunities for employees to work in self-managed or self-directed work teams. Allow these teams freedom to determine the best course of action for meeting agreed-upon goals and objectives. Employees will see firsthand the results of there decisions and feel the pride of group achievement.

5. Give credit where credit is due. A sure way to earn distrust from employees and squelch their enthusiasm is to take credit for their good ideas and performances.

6. Create opportunities to showcase your employees. "Billboard" employees to your own supervisors and to others in upper management as well as to those outside your department or division. Some managers erroneously think that if they give workers credit, upper management will question the manager's own performance. But managers who fall into the trap of competing with the employees they supervise usually stall their own careers.

7. Add interest and challenge to workers' day-to-day routines by implementing job rotation. Job rotation simply involves placing employees into jobs of equal value that they may have expressed an interest in or that you expect, based on their skill strengths, they may do well in. Some organizations encourage employees to initiate job rotation through a formal process, thereby increasing job skill levels as well as motivation.

8. Provide employees with responsibility and authority to successfully accomplish assignments. Today, progressive companies utilize the skills and talents of their employees by assigning them to cross-functional or self-directed work teams. Employees not only perform their own specific job functions by have a team identity as well. Team members are responsible and accountable to the team for achieving its goal, implementing processes, and sharing the recognition for its results.

9. Provide assistance to employees without taking away responsibility to complete the job. Clearly define your role and avoid the temptation to do the job yourself when employees find themselves in hot water. Let employees go it on their own and face those gut-wrenching challenges.

10. Find ways to foster employee self-esteem and self-confidence. Although important, managers and supervisors must do more than give praise and provide meaningful work. To empower employees, supervisors must continually build employee self-esteem.



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Friday, March 25, 2011

Lean Quote: Carrots and Sticks

On Fridays 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.

"We could probably win more often if we were willing to deploy seasoned personnel and equip them with sufficient carrots and sticks." — Thomas M. Fran


Motivation is a core factor for a successful business and there have been many studies around it, yet there is no definitive answer or a one size fits all solution to motivation and employee engagement. The several elements of motivation differ from person to person as well as circumstances.

A well known motivational concept is the “Carrot and Stick” approach. This analogy is about using rewards and penalties in order to obtain desired results. It refers to the old story that in order to get a donkey to move forward and pull the cart you would dangle a carrot in front of him or hit him with a stick from behind. The result is the same; the horse moves forward.

So the stick represents fear, which can be a good motivator when used sparingly at the right time. It may produce immediate results that derive from prompt compliance. It is only useful in the short term though, as over time increasing levels of punishment would be necessary to obtain the same results and this can backfire in the form of mutiny and sabotage.

The carrot is then an incentive, which can work very well as long as the individual finds the incentive appealing. In this case, the donkey would have to like carrots, be hungry and/or have a manageable and movable load in order for the carrot to work. This is very important as the incentive must be perceived to be attractive enough.

Reward and punishment are significant motivators only if the reward is large enough or the punishment sufficiently severe. For example, management holds out a carrot, offering a week’s paid vacation to the person who has the highest production numbers. Employees will work hard to reach that target (if the vacation is really what they want), but once the contest is over, they will revert back to their previous level of effort. Or, management wields a stick, threatening some kind of punishment if employees don’t do their jobs. In those cases, people will do just enough to “stay under the radar” and avoid getting into trouble. While some carrots and sticks may work in crisis situations or as a stop-gap remedy, what they mostly do is promote nearsighted thinking, mistrust, cynicism, and a diminished capacity to innovate and create.

Typically, organizations tend to base their motivational schemes on tangible good such as money, in the form of pay and bonuses. The problem with this, like the carrot, is that its attractiveness decreases over time. Sometimes, a simple word of praise from your boss can mean more than a small pay rise. If organizations could find the perfect balance been tangible and intangible rewards, carrots and sticks, this would be the answer to the motivation question. Managers must not overlook these motivators if they want to retain staff and more importantly, have them working to the best of their ability.


If you’re looking for ways to create an environment where people are driven to do their best work, you’ll need to think beyond carrots and sticks. It’s a bit trickier, perhaps a little messier, but if you want to create a thriving organization, you’ll need to consider motivation from the inside out.

What motivates you at work? How do you motivate others?



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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Lean and Metrics The FastCap Way

Paul Akers from FastCap answers the question from a follower on what Lean is and what metrics you measure in a Lean environment. Paul’s response is a great one and worth repeating. The following key points summarize Lean and Lean Metrics:

1) Make Lean so simple anyone can understand it.
2) Fix what bugs you and improve it everyday.
3) Every employee must make a 2 sec improvement everyday.
4) People fail sometimes and solutions may not valid but you learn from that.
5) Create a routine like: start day with Sweep, Sort, Standardize, then improvement time, then morning meeting.
6) Give people time everyday to experiment, train, and teach.
7) Simple metrics –
           a) 1 improvement everyday
           b) Orders out in 2 hours
           c) Less than 1 mistake a week
           d) Want customers to rave about us
8) Defects are something the customer sees.
9) Develop the skill and capacity to solve problems by everyone everyday.

Here is Paul in his own words:



Paul says he likes Lean compared to other methodologies because it is focused on the individual, respect for their creativity, and brings them into the process on a daily basis.

What do you think? Did Paul Akers get it right?


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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

TPS: The Source of Human Progress

While on the internet the other day I came across these videos explaining the history of the Toyota Production System.  They appear to be from an older video that has been edited and then subtitled in Portuguese (I believe).  I think I had seen the original video before on the Art of Lean provided by Art Smalley.  Still learning about the history of the Toyota Production System can provide a look at the progress of manufacturing by human thinking.





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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Daily Lean Tips Editions #11

For my Facebook fans you already know about this great feature. But for those of you that are not connected to A Lean Journey on Facebook or Twitter I post daily a feature I call Lean Tips.  It is meant to be advice, things I learned from experience, and some knowledge tidbits about Lean to help you along your journey.  Another great reason to like A Lean Journey on Facebook.



Here is the next addition of tips from the Facebook page:

Lean Tip #151 - The following three points are extremely important in establishing standard work.


The following three points are extremely important in establishing standard work:

The reality of the shop floor is clearly reflected in standard work.
Standard work must be realistic and applicable to the shop floor.
Standard work must lead to continuous improvement opportunities.

Lean Tip #152 - We must ask why the standard work times are not being met

Always ask youself "Why?" repeatedly while observing the shop floor in detail. Ask questions like,"Why is work performed in a certain way?", "Why are workers moving in a wasteful manner?" and "Why are we have trouble reducing standard work time?" Then, start thinking firmly about what you can do to improve the situation.

Lean Tip #153 - If there is a problem, go to the actual place and solve it if you want to get things done.

If there is a problem, go to the actual place and solve it instead of just criticizing it as if it does not concern you at all. This is one of the most fundamental practices that we can do to facilitate the ability to get things done.

Lean Tip #154 - Ideas are different from knowledge.

Ideas are different from knowledge. Anyone can aquire knowledge by reading books or attending school. In other words, knowledge can be readily purchased. On the other hand, ideas are aquired by ones own experience. You must apply your knowledge to create ideas.

Lean Tip #155 - Fix the problem immediately and move on.

Some managers point out a problem to workers and leave it to them until it is solved. This does not motivate workers to fix the problem right away. Taiichi Ohn always made sure his workers:

Fixed the problem immediately after it was identified.
Confirmed the result with their own eyes.
Ignoring problems means the waste remains in production affecting your process.

Lean Tip #156 - Visit the work area to understand and monitor improvement plans.

What can you tell at a glance? Here are some ideas to focus on:

What items are being worked on?
What items should be worked on?
What is the expected and acutal production rate?
What problems are the workers having?
How many people are needed?

Lean Tip #156 - Visit the work area to understand and monitor improvement plans.

What can you tell at a glance? Here are some ideas to focus on:

What items are being worked on?
What items should be worked on?
What is the expected and acutal production rate?
What problems are the workers having?
How many people are needed?

Lean Tip #157 - Make standards visually apparent to satisfy the customers need.

At a glance, employees and management should be able to tell what the customers need and what rate of production is needed to meet this. Any reason that the standards cannot be met should be visually apparent, so the problems can be solved immediately.

Lean tip #158 - Lean Tools can help create clear standards but they also need to be sustained.

Tools like 5S, standardized work, set-up reduction, and pull systems/kanban all help create a clear, standard work environment. But if these standards slip, then they quickly cease to become standards. Employees then become cynical about improvement and it slows down or stops.

Lean Tip #159 - Problem escalation should not be viewed as a sign of weakness.

Problem escalation should not be viewed as a sign of weakness. If an employee cannot handle a problem without assistance, he or she should ask for and count on management support. Making problems visible and solving them immediately should feel normal if you want to improve.

Lean Tip #160 - An effective idea system is not about the amount of savings obtained.

An effective idea system is not about how much savings are obtained from the ideas put forth. Typically we have many small problems compromising material and information flow throughout our companies, so it is many many small ideas that we are looking for.

Lean Tip #161 - Answer three questions to determine an inventory strategy for your pull system.

To implement an inventory strategy based on pull of the customer you need to determine three things:

How much inventory will you keep?
Where will you keep the inventory?
How will you replenish inventory based on customer pull?

Lean Tip #162 - Not all stock is the same, changes in demand requires different types of stock.

There are three types of inventory to consider:

Cycle stock: This is the minimum amount of goods being built for the next shipment and protects against average daily demand and demand through replenishment time.

Buffer Stock: These are goods held to protect against predictable common-cause variation in demand.

Safety Stock: These are goods held at any position in the stream to protect against unpredictable special-cause variation in demand.

Lean Tip #163 - Separating your stock can help you understand the source of abnormal inventory.

Separating inventory into buffer stock (to absorb customer variation) and safety stock (to absorb supply variation) aids in problem-solving by identifying the source of the cause of abnormal inventory (overstock or understock).

Lean Tip #164 - Reduce incoming and outgoing inspections to create flow in your supply chain.

Material (and information) should flow uninterrupted from suppliers to customers in a Lean supply chain. Shipping and receiving inspections are nonvalue-added processes and should be eliminated. To do this you will need quality-at-the-source and error-proofing.

Lean Tip #165 - Beware of Forecasting and Marketing Strategies When Looking at Consumption

When researching customer consumption, be sure to review forecasting and marketing strategies. Price discounting or promotions designed to push product into the marketplace will appear to increase ‘consumption” in the short run, but this rarely last for any extended period. Models that use historical data to forecast future consumption also can give inaccurate guidance.


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Monday, March 21, 2011

Platinum is Worth More Than Gold When Comes to Treatment of Others

You may have heard of the Golden Rule before. Many people aspire to live by it but the Golden Rule is not a panacea. Think about it: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." The Golden Rule implies the basic assumption that other people would like to be treated the way that you would like to be treated.  Is that the right assumption?

The alternative to the Golden Rule is the Platinum Rule:
"Treat others the way they want to be treated."

The Platinum Rule accommodates the feelings of others. The focus of relationships shifts from "this is what I want, so I'll give everyone the same thing" to "let me first understand what they want and then I'll give it to them." This rule presents us with a significant challenge, in order for us to follow it we must listen and inquire about the needs of others, and suppress our desire to tell them what it is that they need.

I believe the real goal of the Golden Rule is to treat others the way they would like to be treated. The Platinum Rule, distilled to its essence, equates to respect for others. After all, isn't it really about being considerate of others? Isn't it about understanding what their needs and wants are and empowering them to succeed by meeting those needs and wants? When you empower those around you, it makes for a positive and uplifting environment. Who doesn't want to be in a happy workplace?

The Platinum Rule not only applies to your employees but your customers, vendors, and partners. If you really want to deliver customer excellence and not simply deliver customer service then use the Platinum Rule. I think the best way to find out how your customers like to be treated is to ask them.

Customers may or may not like being treated in a standardized manner and they may or may not have the same preferences as the employees they are dealing with. In other words, they may want to be treated differently.

Knowing the personality preferences of others can help employees adapt their own behaviours to reflect the preferences of your customers. Reflecting the needs, wants and expectations of the customer – in a manner that creates a collaborative relationship – will achieve much greater success.

By teaching your employees to recognize, respect and reflect the customer’s preferences, by changing how you approach customer interactions, you can differentiate your company, its products and services from your competitors.

When you think about it the Platinum Rule is a value adding proposition while the Golden Rule is not. When dealing with others feeling valued can translate to respect. Respect for People is the most critical element for success in a Lean environment. So treat others the way they want to be treated.  It is worth more.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Lean Quote: Quality Improvement is About Management Improvement

On Fridays 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.

"Quality in Client Services is a Team Issue, Top to Bottom." — Joseph L. Mancusi, Ph. D.

Before any action is taken, the management team must know and understand the areas where improvement can be noted.  Often, the problems are poor cooperation, poor communication, lack of commitment to team goals, poor management training and distrust of senior management.

By questioning workers in an interview or through a survey, managers learn how the organization is seen by the employees.  Go to the Gemba and engage the workforce to find what bugs them. They will show areas for improvement in management, morale, productivity and quality.  The first step to improve quality is to improve management team functioning.


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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Respect for People - Support Japan

Source of Photo : AP


The last several days has been consumed with news from Japan after a magnitude 8.9 earthquake and devastating tsunami.  My company OFS is owned by FEC, a Japanese manufacturer, so I have been in touch with a number of colleagues since this disaster.  We have been fortunate that no employees in have been injured in this incident.  We have several plants that have been shut down since Friday with mostly infrastructure issues.


In Lean we talk of two main components: Continuous Improvement and Respect for People.  In Toyota, Respect for People extends past the staff of the company to the community.  Toyota strives to assist the communities where we live and work by supporting local organizations focused on the areas of environment, education and safety.  They believe this is there social responsibility and part of their long term (50 years or more) thinking.


In my experience Toyota and other Japanese manufacturers have given us a powerful business system in Lean Thinking.  This selfless sharing has transformed manufacturing in the US and around the world.  Maybe it is my personal connection but I feel we have this opportunity to give back in their time of need.






I encourage you to consider donating to the American Red Cross.  There are a number of other organizations that you can donate to as well.  It is important to pick a charity that has worked on the ground in Japan for a long time to avoid getting scammed.


Show your support for the Japanese people by practicing the important Respect For People principle.  Many of my colleagues in the Lean community have advocated support for Japan demonstrating we truly our a community.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

12 Ways to Start Building a Continuous Improvement Culture

Last week, Jeff Hajek from Gotta Go Lean Blog and myself gave a webinar on building a continuous improvement culture. We highlighted 12 areas of focus based on our experience implementing and teaching Lean thinking. Here are the slides from this webinar:
12 Ways To Start Building a Continuous Improvement Culture
View more presentations from Tim McMahon

Join Jeff and I for our next webinar in April:



8 Ways to Develop Winning 
Teams in Lean Companies
Join us for a Webinar on April 15
Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:
https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/774025310
A strong team lays the foundation for continuous improvement success. In this 
30 minute webinar (plus 15 minutes for Q&A), Tim McMahon and Jeff 
Hajek explore several ways to develop a winning team in your organization.

We will be recording the show, and will make our slides available for download.
Title:

8 Ways to Develop Winning Teams in Lean Companies
Date:
Friday, April 15, 2011
Time:
9:05 AM - 9:50 AM PDT
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Monday, March 14, 2011

Personal Kanban Kaizen - It's all Digital

In two earlier posts I wrote about the benefits of a personal kanban and showed my first kanban system. One of the weaknesses of this board was the lack of portability of the system with the amount time I spend out of the office.  So I have created digital personal kanban system.

LeanKit Kanban allows you to create a virtual kanban system online.   Their software makes it easy to customize your own kanban board, add color, dates, and more.  They offer several pricing options to meet all your needs from personal to team editions.  The free personal option only allows you to create one kanban board.

Here is the kanban board I made to manage my tasks.


The layout is pretty simple.  If you remember my previous non-digital board I used the following rules to create my personal kanban:

1) Establish Your Value Stream – The flow of work I chose was Backlog, This Week, Today, and Done.

2) Establish Your Backlog – I put every task onto a post-it-note, if the task had a due date I put that on the note as well.

3) Establish Your WIP Limit – I limited my Today column to 3 and therefore limited my This Week column to 15

4) Begin to Pull – As I work on the Today column I pull new tasks into Today.

The built in visuals are a great feature of this kanban.  The color coding helps me manage all aspects of my life in one place.  I use the colors to organize the following grouping of tasks:


Tan - work related tasks: projects, kaizen events, data analysis
Green - personal tasks: kids activities, home projects
Blue - A Lean Journey Blog tasks:  new posts, website maintenance
Red - AME tasks: new workshops, social media posting

If tasks are date sensitive that can be added to the the card and a visual date shows in the bottom right of the card.  When you move the cursor over the task the date is visible.  The date starts out yellow and then turns red if your task is behind.  You can see I was behind a couple on my board.

The software offers a number of analytics to help you understand how well you perform.  I have not really used this information yet to improve my system but it is there.

As I mentioned in the previous system I use this for tasks that take about 1-2 hours.  For smaller tasks I also use a digital system.  I use Google Tasks which is a simple To Do List.  I prefer this over other electronic To Do Lists for the following reasons:
1) It is simple to use.
2) It integrates with my calendar Google Calendar.
3) It is available on my Android phone.
4) I have created 4 lists which match the categories of my Kanban board.

Here is what is looks like in my calendar (which is also color coded), on far right side is the tasks.  There is a tasks shown due on Tue 3/8 for example.





So how do I make this all work. Well, at the end of each day I spend about 15 minutes planning for the next day. It is scheduled on my calendar. I start with the kanban board by looking at what i completed today. Then I look at the This Week area and move 3 items I need to do tomorrow into the Today column. At the end of the week I plan the following week by looking at my backlog of tasks. Also, in this 15 minutes I look at my Google tasks (generally on my phone) and update the list. I pick 3 things I must do the next day and prioritize them as such. As I go through the day i will add tasks to the tasks and kanban board as they come up. This help me keep from losing those thoughts. Since it is digital it only takes a few seconds.

My most productive time is in the morning and generally my most available.  I start with my kanban tasks (at least the first one) and then move to the Google tasks.  I should mention I generally don't check email first thing.  I tend to look at email only 3-4 times per day.  This usually includes a visit to facebook and twitter since I manage several social channels.  I eat lunch in the office most days and use this time to visit all those blogs I highlight once a month.  Learning is a great way to spend my lunch time.

This system isn't perfect but seems to work for me. Hopefully it makse you think about your productivity. In the spirit of continuous improvement and continuous learning share your personal productivity system and advice in the comments here. 


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Friday, March 11, 2011

Lean Quote: Motivation Tips for Managers

On Fridays 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.


"An employee's motivation is a direct result of the sum of interactions with his or her manager." — Bob Nelson

Managers should remember that people act from motives, and motives come from within, not without, the individual.  A motive is that within the individual which incites that person to action.  This means, in effect, that all motiviation is "self-motivation."  This being true, the job of the manager is to help people find ideas, which will act as inner impelling forces directed to useful ends.  It is the manager's job to get people to want to do that which needs to be done, rather than feeling they have to do it in order to justify their retention on the payroll.  Here are some reliable ways to do this:
  1. Be genuinely interested in them.
  2. Get them to see the end results of purposeful, dedicated, consistent effort on their part as it relates to their future and the advancement of their careers.
  3. Provide them with goal-oriented job descriptions.
  4. Utilize incentive programs, which will have purpose and meaning for them.
  5. Show them how they fit into company goals and the related importance of their work.
  6. Give them deserved praise and meaningful recognition.
  7. Keep them achieving.  Achievement is, in iteself, a great motivational factor.
  8. Help them set goals, which will coincide with those of the company.
  9. Get rid of "dead wood."  Productive workers are more productive when every person contributes to the team effort.
  10. Help them acquire and maintain a spirit of achievement by careful planning and organizing their efforts directed toward attainment of meaningful results.
  11. Help them set and achieve self-improvement goals.
  12. See to it that they get the acceptance and approval they need to satisfy their thirst for recognition and a feeling of importance.
  13. Help them attain a conviction that they are accepted and approved, and that in your estimation, they appear in a favorable light.
  14. Show them how and why they are doing useful, worthwhile work.
  15. Tell them about their progress.  This they want to know.
  16. Listen with interest to their triumphs, their problems, their ideas and their grievances.
  17. Show them how they can get what they want by meritorious performance.
  18. Never neglect them, ignore them, forget them.  This is one of the worst mistakes a manager can make in handling people.


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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

FastCap Comedy: Fix What Bugs You

I have talked about FastCap and their improvement videos here before.  Now there is a bit a humor from the folks at FastCap.



While this video is a little bit comedic there are still valuable lessons to be learned:
1.  Fix what bugs you - make your job easier.
2.  Go to the shop floor - the Gemba is where problem solving occurs.
3.  Work can be fun - make improvement enjoyable if you want more.


There is a great deal that we can all learn from FastCap.  They have over 250 videos on their YouTube Channel FastCapTV. Many are about small daily improvements from the shop floor fixing what bugs them. Take some time to review these.



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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Webinar: 12 Ways to Start Building a Continuous Improvement Culture

Jeff Hajek and I are hosting another webinar tomorrow.  The topic will be about various ways you can start building your own continuous improvement culture based on our experience.

Building a continuous improvement culture is not easy, but it is critical to the success of a company's Lean efforts. In our half hour show (plus an extra fifteen minutes allocated for questions), we explore several ideas on how you can start developing an organziation that seeks to contantly make itself better.



Title: 12 Ways to Start Building a Continuous Improvement Culture


Date: Wednesday, March 9, 2001


Time: 12:00 -12:45pm EST (9:00-9:45am PST)


Register: https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/541653350


Space is Limited so register now to reserve your spot.



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Book Review: e2 Continuous Improvement System



The Greater Boston Manufacturing Partnership's (GBMP) Bruce Hamilton and Pat Wardwell have written a new book, e2 Continuous Improvement System.  Bruce Hamilton is infamous from the Toast Kaizen video and Pat is on the AME regional board with me so I was looking forward to reviewing their book.  


e2 stands for "everybody, everyday" a saying Bruce has made the tag line for GBMP's approach to Lean. The e2 Continuous Improvement System is a proven process for energizing and engaging employees in Lean learning and practices.  The key component of e2 provides tacit learning to make lean techniques relevant and exciting in the context of your organization.  This is a system I am familiar with from my experience with the GBMP team.


Bruce and Pat wrote this book to support their mission to keep jobs in the US.  Their experience has shown that copying Toyota's methods without careful consideration to their whole system will produce short-lived and even negative outcomes.  In this book they set out to educate everyone about the real power of behind TPS being human intelligence and creativity.


The book is comprised of 3 major sections: Foundation, Management, and Countermeasures.  The foundation section defines the e2 learning system, history of Lean thinking, and basic principles of Lean.  Elements like Kaizen, policy deployment, idea systems, and assessment make up a portion of the Management section.  Countermeasures is about the more well know tools used in improvement like 5S, visual systems, standard work, kanban, poka-yoke, and others.


Each lesson in the book contains practice exercises so you can learn by doing.  It also includes DVD lessons from their library of videos that are designed to amplify key points, offer examples, and supplement learning.  Lessons end with a reflection exercise which allows you to really think about your learning and these lessons.


This is a workbook style book with many visuals and examples.  At only 226 pages it flows well and is easy to read. It contains visual indicators for key points, practice exercises, DVD lessons, and more. This book serves as a complete training package for either independent study or group based book study.  You can even purchase an optional on-line review and self assessment tool to check your learning through short quizzes.


It is not surprising that many of the practice exercises include going to the Gemba to observe.  I would have liked a list of the supplemental training materials including DVD's to make purchasing them easier.  This book can also serve as a great reference guide after reading and learning but without an index your are going to have to rely on the limited table of contents.


e2 Continuous Improvement System follows a proven system of tacit learning of Lean based on the approach of everybody everyday. Any leader looking to transform their organization or is already managing and sustaining a transformation will want to read this book.  The lessons in this book are valuable for everyone in any organization.  I recommend you get this book today and start your Lean Journey now.


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