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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Lean Roundup #38 – July, 2012

A selection of highlighted blog posts from Lean bloggers from the month of July, 2012.  You can also view the previous monthly Lean Roundups here.

Emphasize Strategy Deployment, Not Selection – Pascal Dennis advocates putting energy in executing the strategy not just determining your strategy.

You Don't "Do Lean" – Paul Levy explains that Lean is more than a program it is about seeing and learning in the gemba.

"Blame & Shame" Is Shameful – Mark Graban says there's no place for blaming people, focus on the process to create a culture of improvement.

Canary In A Coal Mine Metrics – Jamie Flinchbaugh advocates the use of metrics for predicting bigger problems.

Why Do You Ask? – Mark Hamel explains the importance of open-ended questions and that they demonstrate the leader's respect for the mentee's ability to think.

The Management Myth – Bill Waddell says there is no one size fits all for managing and organizing a company and you can't clone others.

How To Approach Lean Production – Dragan Bosnjak explains how to approach Lean so that your superiors will buy in.

Success With Kaizen Requires Thinking Small – Gregg Stocker recommends small improvement everyday creates a routine of improvement that lasts.

Silos and Process Organizations – Michel Baudin explains it is better to organize around the process and not individual silos.

Toyota's Functional Organization – Art Smalley explains that Toyota in fact does organize around functional silos but because of their techniques like value streams they avoid typical pitfalls.

Lean Transportation Management: Creating Operational and Financial Stability - Robert Martichenko shares 5 guiding principles of Lean transportation management.

Beware Iniatives – Pascal Dennis warns about the endless initiatives and advocates strategy deployment as a more effective solution.

ASQ Influential Voices: Quality and Social Responsibility (& Lean) – Mark Graban explains that by doing the right things we will be stronger in the long run.

Value Stream Mapping and Lead Time – Evan Durant explains that lead time is a proxy for all those other process metrics in the value stream.

Beginning to Understand the Power of Coaching - Seeing the Connection to Respect for People – Connor Shea shares some lessons learned on the importance of coaching and the necessary skills to do so.

Remove Waste, Uncover Individual Human Beings – John Hunter writes about removing barriers across our organization which is at the heart of respect for people.

First, Identify the Value. – Dan Markovitz advocates to improve the effectiveness of your organization, start focusing on value, not on deliverables.

The Company Learns As Long As The CEO Learns At The Gemba By Supporting Kaizen – Michael Balle explains lean transformation is going to the gemba to get every one to agree on problems.

Self Development Leads to Developing Others – Jeffery Liker says developing organizations and leaders comes from developing problem solvers.

Involvement and Engagement of People at Their Processes Where The Work Is Being Done Must Be A Priority – Tracey Richardson explains respect to people from experience at Toyota and ways to get involvement and engagement.

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Monday, July 30, 2012

Daily Lean Tips Edition #34

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 #496 – Process-mapping is just a tool to get you somewhere.

Unlike a real map, it often only shows some of the roads on a landscape. You and those reviewing the map will determine the right roads to add to the map to show the destination.

Lean Tip #497 - Keep your process-maps simple.

Feel free to make lots of process maps and string them together rather than one massive, interconnected, complex beast. Everyone wants to capture everything on single flipchart sheet. You can’t. But that’s OK.

Lean Tip #498 – Write your process maps for the unfamiliar to avoid assumptions.

Try your best to imagine you’re writing it for someone who knows nothing about your processes. This will force you to think through your assumptions, the process, ask the right questions and get to the right level of detail. This way your process-mapping will have vigour.

Lean Tip #499 – Map your process for change not just for the sake of it.

Start with mapping out your existing processes and then use the map to highlight the gaps, process improvements and get some consensus built about what you do. Feel free to go further and map out your future processes. Medium to longer-term, it almost always will save time, money and help build consensus.

Lean Tip #500 – Process mapping is all about the journey not the destination

A process-map is just a snapshot in time. Processes change, so keep you process-maps simple and flexible. Just because you wrote it down won’t stop the real thing from changing. When you start, start anywhere. It won’t matter. Write it down, step by step, including your assumptions. The process of making a map is to define the landscape. You’ll quickly see the roads you’ve missed. And if you won’t, others will. Remember those unfamiliar who are going to see it.

Lean Tip #501 – Show Respect for People: Listen harder.

Obviously there are times when you're busy for extended discussions. But you need to set aside times when you can listen carefully to employee's problems, reactions, concerns, and suggestions.

Lean Tip #502 – Show Respect for People: Look at people when they talk.

Good listening means being willing to stop working computer, close a door, stop reading your email, or only answer emergency calls. Give the speaker your full attention, and let them know they are getting your full attention.

Lean Tip #503 – Show Respect for People: Keep your promise.

By keeping your word to someone, you not only establish yourself as a person of integrity, but make the other person feel as though you value them.

Lean Tip #504 – Show Respect for People: Be on time.

Another way to demonstrate that you value someone, is by treating their time as though it is valuable. Nothing says this better than being punctual. Don't waste others time.

Lean Tip #505 – Show Respect for People: Encourage.

Sometimes when we hear a silly idea, it's easy to shoot down someone's hopes and dreams, or otherwise make them feel unimportant. Genuinely encouraging someone could be very empowering and liberating.

Lean Tip #506 – Show Respect for People: Take Care of Your Work Environment.

Your co-workers can see your work space, especially if you are in a cubicle paradise. If you keep your work space and the common areas clean, everyone will be calmer when they are around you.

Lean Tip #507 – Show Respect for People: Let the Buck Stop With You.

This means take responsibility for your own faults and your successes. Don't claim other people's work as your own, and don't push your failures onto a co-worker.

Lean Tip #508 – Show Respect for People: Create a Learning Environment.

Developing your people shows respect for them. Building explicit (book) and tacit (hands on) knowledge and distributing it is equally important.

Lean Tip #509 – Show Respect for People: Allow Mistakes.

The real source of power of Lean lies in its ability to learn from mistakes, and to continuously improve. Mistakes are seen as opportunities to improve and not as something that needs to be monitored and punished.

Lean Tip #510 – Show Respect for People: Go to the Gemba.

You can't genuinely listen if you aren't there. Go to where the action is happening and seek the facts. Lean implementation takes place on the floor, not in the office.

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Sunday, July 29, 2012

GBMP's WIP It Video

My friends at GBMP sent me a great video yesterday. Bruce Hamilton (a.k.a. Mr. Toast) and the GBMP team sing a little jingle to Devo on WIP.  Excess inventory, be it raw material, work-in-process (WIP) or finished goods just results in waste, stagnation, quality risks, excess lead-time, increased costs, etc. etc. In fact "excess inventory is the shadow of muda". Hope you enjoy this video as much as I did.

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Friday, July 27, 2012

Lean Quote: Mistakes are the Portals of Discovery

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.

"Mistakes are the portals of discovery." — James Joyce (1882-1914), Irish novelist and poet

One of the premises of Lean is to make it right the first time. The truth is people make mistakes.

In Lean organizations, mistakes are seen as opportunities to improve. There is no blame game if something goes wrong. People are not rewarded for how few mistakes they make, but on how well they improve the process when mistakes have occurred. Management bears the responsibility for creating effective systems that prevent mistakes.

Learning from mistakes clearly needs some analysis of the mistake itself to gain value from it. Here are a few steps to use to analyze a mistake quickly and efficiently:

  1. Accept that it happened and can’t be changed.
  2. Know there is always something to learn from it.
  3. Look to understand it and the factors that caused it.
  4. How could you have recognized the mistake earlier?
  5. How can you avoid the mistake next time?
  6. Are there similar things that might have a related mistake to avoid?
  7. What has changed now to ensure that mistake doesn’t reoccur?
  8. Who else should know about this and learn from it?
When you focus on the improvements and lessons learned from a mistake you reinforce the ability to make mistakes part of the process and something that is accepted as long as it improves things. There is no value in worrying about the mistake or dwelling on it after it is done. So, move on!

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Year Ago On A Lean Journey (30-2012)


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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Meet-up: Gotta Go Lean's Jeff Hajek

Today's guest on the Meet-up is my good friend Jeff Hajek. Many reader's of this blog know Jeff from the Webinars we have done together over the last couple of years.  I have been fortunate to collaborate with Jeff because I have learned so much from him. We share a passion of continuous improvement, learning, and helping others do the same.

Who are you and what do you do?
I am Jeff Hajek, the owner and founder of Velaction Continuous Improvement, a company dedicated to making great Lean training more accessible to everyone. The backbone of the site is The Continuous Improvement Companion, a free online guide, complete with hundreds of pages of downloadable terms, and dozens of forms and tools.

We also sell an a la carte premium Lean Training System that allows you to choose any combination of modules (topics) and components (PPT, Student Guides, Exercises, DVDs, etc.).

How and when did you learn Lean?
I left the army and went to work as a manufacturing engineer, where I immediately became involved in a Lean transition. The company had fully committed to Lean, and I was quickly part of a series of kaizen events. I was hooked. About 18 months after joining the company, I transferred to the “Lean Promotion Office” and was in and out of Lean roles until I started Velaction.

In truth, though, most of the Lean principles I learned in the civilian world were present in the military. Specifically, tracking KPIs, strategic planning, personnel development plans, standardization, TPM, and 5S were all already ingrained in me from my military days. The transition to Lean was an easy one.

How and why did you start blogging or writing about Lean?
I left the workforce for a while for personal, family reasons, but never got Lean out of my blood. I started writing a Lean encyclopedia so I would not forget all the lessons I learned. Very soon, the book was over 500 pages with 700 terms in it, and I realized it was not something that could easily be published. I switched to writing a smaller, more focused book, which became Whaddaya Mean I Gotta Be Lean?, something of a Lean survival guide.

I didn’t want to let the other writing go to waste, so it became The Continuous Improvement Companion I mentioned earlier. It was a natural transition to start adding articles to the online reference guide, so now I publish the Gotta Go Lean blog as well.

What does Lean mean to you?
I tend to prefer the term continuous improvement to Lean. It has a lot more staying power. The meaning of Lean has really evolved over the last 20 years or so, and it is far different than it was in its early days. The biggest change was the shift to the office, which required a substantial modification in some of the tools, though not the key driver behind Lean or any other CI effort, for that matter.

It all comes down to problem solving. All of the Lean tools solve a problem. Policy deployment solves communication problems and alignment problems. Kanban solves the problem of stockouts.5S solves the problem of workspaces working against workers. So, I guess that’s the specific answer to the question. Lean is problem solving.

As far as the actual term “Lean”, though, I have nothing against it I just think it will fall out of use in the next 10 or 20 years. The principles behind it will stick around, but we’ll all be calling them something different. As long as it is popular, an is the term people are looking for in search engines, I’ll continue to use it. But the problem solving mentality is far more meaningful to me.

What is the biggest myth or misconception of Lean?
I think the biggest misunderstanding about Lean is that it is often pitched to employees as a way to make jobs easier. The truth is that people in a Lean company work just as hard, if not harder, than those in other companies. The difference is that the time is much more productive, and much less frustrating. Further, Lean tends to eliminate some of the worst aspects of jobs, which, in turn, takes away some of the conflicts between managers and their teams.

So, the energy expended for both a Lean employee and a non-Lean employee might be the same, but the Lean employee would tend to have a higher sense of job satisfaction.

What is your current Lean passion, project, or initiative?
I am in the midst of a multi-year project to build up the most comprehensive set of Lean training materials available in the world. Right now, I’m fleshing out the modules that are currently posted on Velaction with more student guides and DVDs. After that I’ll be adding additional modules.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

My Tribute to Stephen Covey

The well-known author, Stephen R. Covey, who impacted the world with his books and self-help products died on Monday, July 16, 2012. Covey died in Idaho Falls, Idaho in the hospital with his wife and all of his 9 children at his side. His death was due to complications from a fall, having lost control of his bicycle on a steep road the previous April.

In order to pay tribute to the contribution Covey has made in my life and career I thought I would highlight several posts that commemorate his thinking:

A Formula for Success explains a simple priority planning model that everyone can use for success based on Covey’s Urgent/Important Priority Matrix.

Visual Task Board Part 1 expands on Covey's urgent and important prioritization matrix to establish a visual task board.

Lean Quote: Empowerment Leads to Success looks at 10 ways to create conditions for more empowerment.

Lean Quote: Applying Active Listening to Engage Others is about active listening tips you can use to understand situations.

Stephen Covey will always be remembered for improving the lives of millions in business, professional and personal ways. How did he influence your life and career? Share your story in memory of Stephen Covey.

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