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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Lean Roundup #47 - April, 2013

A selection of highlighted blog posts from Lean bloggers from the month of April, 2013.  You can also view the previous monthly Lean Roundups here.

JBS - How To Tear Down A Lean Pillar - Bryan Lund share a one step Job Breakdown Sheet on “How to Tear Down a Lean Pillar”

If the Student has Not Learned the Teacher has Not Taught – David Kasprzak talks about the need to consider multiple learning styles when educating the workforce.

Cross Training in Factory vs the Office - Why One and Not the Other? – Al Norval looks at why we don’t bring TWI to the office like we do to the factory.

Scatter - A Symptom of Big Company Disease – Pascal Dennis warns of the tendency large organizations have of disassembling the PDCA cycle - and giving different parts to different people.

Knowing How to Manage People is the Single Most Important Part of Management – John Hunter shares Deming’s thought on management and add that most managers just need to learn to listen from the gemba.

 The Big Miss*take - Eric Whitley explains the mistakes of organizations like that of a golfer missing the ball.

Standardization and Lean – Dan Jones explains how standards are established and for what purpose.

I'm an Executive How Do I Prepare to Start My Company on it's Lean Journey – Jeff Hajek shares several things to consider before you commit to a Lean improvement path.

The Truth About Lean Failures – Vivek Naik shares his thoughts on the real reasons that some experience failures in Lean and what to do about it.

First Things First – Dan Markovitz says you can have strategy without clear direction first.

The Purpose of Standard Work in Manufacturing – Michel Baudin explains how to use standard work in manufacturing to avoid creating Lean wallpaper.

11 Common Misconceptions About Lean – Jeff Hajek describes some common misconceptions about Lean learned from actual practice.

A Problem Can Be A Treasure If Leaders Make Efforts to Eliminate Fear of Failure – Jeff Liker says that highlighting problems should not be stressful and it the job of leaders to ensure so.

Lean is from Toyota, Not Ford, and Not 15th Century Venice Boat Builders – Michel Baudin shares his understanding of the roots of Lean.

Deming's 14 Points for Management – John Hunter explains Deming’s 14 points of management from his book Out of Crisis.

A Reader Asks About Benchmarking, Headcount, and Efficiency – Bill Waddell answers a readers question on labor productivity and benchmarking in his own words.

Customer Service Andon Cord: Jeff Bezos and Customer Experience – Pete Abilla explains the concept of the Andon Cord and shares how it is used at Amazon for better customer service.

Lean Management System: Accountability's Four Questions and Two Tools – Mark Hamel examines what accountability means and shares two techniques to manage it.

How to Not Become Handcuffed by Lean Six Sigma Tools – Ron Pereira advocates of process of solving problems at hand in the gemba over applying tools just for the sake of it.

People Need Challenges to Engage in Their Work, But They Also Need Success – Dave Meier explains a difference between challenging people and pushing people to produce more.

The Problem With A3 Reports – Ron Pereira shares 3 reasons why A3 reports are misunderstood and often misused.

Ingenuity: Pathway to Innovation – Matthew E. May talks about innovation and how to unleash ingenuity the secret to innovation.

Your Most Valuable Resource – Dave Munch says while people are extraordinarily important it is what you do with their time that really matters.

94% Belongs to the System – John Hunter explains that most possibilities for improvement come the system which is the responsibility of management.

AME Spring Conference: Art Byrne – Mark Graban shares come wonderful notes from a talk Art Byrne gave at the AME Spring Conference on lean leadership.

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Monday, April 29, 2013

Simple Steps to a Lean Email

Today I am pleased to present a guest post by Tony Ferraro of Creative Safety Supply (one of our sponsors). Tony talks about email best practices and provides some tips on productivity. This a topic I am sure we can all use some help improving.

If you are like the majority of people, your email inbox is bursting at the seams with all sorts of emails. Some emails are informational, some contain important attachments, some are waiting for a response, while others are just junk. It is easy to waste hours each day wrapped up in email-related activities and responses, thus creating a loss in valuable production time. A tactic to help counteract this loss in productivity is to follow some simple steps towards creating a lean email.  Many businesses implement lean practices into their daily processes and routines in order to eliminate unwanted wastes but neglect to follow through into creating a lean email as well. Since unneeded emails contribute towards several wastes such as waste of time, waste of productivity, and waste of email space, the implementation of lean tactics can really make difference in how you utilize email from this point forward.
Lean Email Tips
Let’s discuss some lean tactics that can be quickly and easily implemented to help streamline your email experience and improve your productivity levels.

1.       Determine if Email is the Best Tool: When communicating with people within the same vicinity, such as people who work in the same department or floor, email should not be used. Instead, it is easier to just call or visit the individual in person. By doing this, you are not wasting time writing the email or clogging up someone else’s inbox, and you are able to receive an immediate response or gain the information needed right then and there. Furthermore, communication is enhanced and errors are minimized since emails may foster misinterpretation.

2.       Each Email Should be Limited to One Topic: Many times people load a single email down with many different thoughts and questions regarding a variety of topics. However, these types of emails are often hard to respond to and can often elicit lengthy responses. Instead, emails should be limited to one topic so the receiver can respond quickly and efficiently. If the sender needs to ask multiple questions regarding different topics, it is better to call the person or visit the individual in person for improved communication.

3.       Keep Emails Short and to the Point: Emails should not exceed two lines in length. It is as simple as that. Don’t write someone a long story that could be conveyed much more easily over the phone. In addition, meetings should not be summarized through an email either, instead other sharing methods such as a staff shared drive or SharePoint software should be used.

4.       Set a Limit on your Email Inbox: Create a goal number of emails that you will allow to be in your email inbox at the end of each day. This number is totally up to you; however, common goals include numbers such as ten emails or only enough emails that can be viewed on one page. In order to meet this goal, you must get rid of unnecessary emails and respond to those emails that require a response.

5.       Use an Out of Office Message: Many email programs offer the use of out of office feature that will automatically inform others when you are out of the office. This will let others know that there may be a delay in your response as you are not available at the time.

6.       Make Folders: If you are a person who values organization, the use of folders can help to keep your inbox more orderly. For example, you could create a folder for emails that require a response from you, and another folder for emails that you are waiting for a response back from. This just helps to keep your inbox clean and it also helps to keep your responses organized as well.

7.       Delete!: Don’t be afraid to use delete. All emails do not need to be saved. If you have an important email or email attachment, just save it out somewhere else on your computer so you can eliminate it from your inbox.

A Clean Email is a Happy Email

The above tips can help you to create a lean email experience for yourself and for others as well. Don’t waste any more time being bogged down by a heavy email inbox, discover the freedom and benefits of a clean and lean inbox.

About AuthorAntonio Ferraro - On behalf of Creative Safety Supply based in Portland, OR (www.creativesafetysupply.com). I strive to provide helpful information to create safer and more efficient industrial work environments. My knowledge base focuses primarily on practices such as 5S, Six Sigma, Kaizen, and the Lean mindset. I believe in being proactive and that for positive change to happen, we must be willing to be transparent and actively seek out areas in need of improvement. An organized, safe, and well-planned work space leads to increased productivity, quality products and happier employees.

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Friday, April 26, 2013

Lean Quote: True Success Of A Leader Can Not Be Measured Without Considering The Results Of The Succession Plan

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.

"A community is like a ship; everyone ought to be prepared to take the helm." — Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906); Playwright

Every leader has two jobs. Your job is to help the team succeed by accomplishing your mission. That's the job that gets the most attention, but your other job is just as important. Your job is to help your team members succeed, too. "Succeed" means doing a good job, developing skills, earning autonomy, growing, and much more.

Developing people means challenging people. But just issuing challenges isn’t enough. You must also teach a systematic, common means of creating solutions and meeting those challenges.

The best way to develop employees is not to manage them. You need to coach them to success. This is a process of developing their skills and providing them specific feedback to meet high standards. Employees want to be on the same team with their bosses.

To get people across an organization to systematically work on improvement every day requires teaching the skills behind the solution. And for that to happen, their leaders and mangers also need to practice and learn those skills. Be their coach and lead the team to success!

Your role as a leader is to develop talent to the highest levels of independent and autonomous thinking and execution. Great leaders don’t subscribe to a “Do-It-For-You” methodology of talent management, rather they lead, mentor, coach and develop team members by getting them to buy-into a “Do-It-Yourself” work ethic. Great leaders view each interaction, question or even conflict as a coaching opportunity. Don’t answer questions or solve problems just because you can, rather teach your employees how to do it for themselves. If you make it a habit of solving problems for people, you simply teach them to come to you for solutions at the first sign of a challenge.

Good leadership is not reflected in the leader’s actions, it is reflected in the impact and effect of those actions on the team. A leader should adapt to the environment and what the team needs today without losing sight of what will be needed tomorrow and always preparing for that moment when he or she will no longer be there. Guaranteeing the growth and sustainability of the team and the individuals that comprise it beyond the leader’s time is the ultimate trait of a great leader. In fact, the true success of a leader can not be measured without considering the results of the succession plan.

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Book Review: The Lean Practitioner’s Handbook

Any time you are trying to learn something new or you need to jog your memory your will find a reference guide helpful. Mark Eaton, as consultant, author and lean practitioner himself, authored a practical reference guide that will be useful on a day-to-day basis. TheLean Practitioner’s Handbook bridges the gap between the tools and the concepts of Lean and the practical use of the tools.

Eaton discusses key areas, such as: aspects of a Lean Program; scoping a program; value stream mapping; 2P and 3P events; rapid improvement events; managing for daily improvement; engaging the team; spotting problems and communicating progress.

This book covers a wide variety of tools and concepts and explains how to apply them in practice.

List of Chapters
1 Planning for Lean
2 Key Lean concepts
3 Scoping projects
4 Value stream mapping events
5 2P/3P events
6 Rapid improvement events (RIE)
7 Managing for daily improvement (MDI)
8 Leader standard work (LSW)
9 Strategic planning
10 Engaging the team
11 Ensuring success
12 Communications and celebrations
13 Key tools and concepts

The book also includes a wide range of templates and checklists to help you prepare for and deliver Lean events and activities and embed the changes that arrive. These checklists and templates are also available online by registering at www.koganpage.com/Lean.

It is structured from the standpoint of conducting a lean event or project focused on one area. As a result this book is well suited for those in frontline to middle management roles, individuals we would refer to as practitioners.

Each chapter starts with a series of questions Eaton intends on answering for the reader.  The chapters conclude with closing thoughts to summarize the learning of the chapter. There is a useful glossary of terms and index to help you locate specific terms.

Eaton has put his own experience into this book with advice and techniques for leader standard work, ensuring success and communication that I found particularly useful. However, he misses an important concept in Lean centered on “respect for people.”

As a reference guide The Lean Practitioner’s Handbook offers a snapshot summary of key tools and Lean concepts. It a practical, easily accessible resource for anyone in implementing Lean.

Disclosure: The publisher sent me a copy of this book for my review.

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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Daily Lean Tips Edition #46

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 #676 - Find the lesson or opportunity within the problem.
There is almost always a good side of a problem. Perhaps it alerts us to a great way to improve our business. Or teaches us how our lives perhaps aren’t as bad as we thought. Finding this more positive part of the problem reduces its negative emotional impact and you may even start to see the situation as a great opportunity for you. When you are faced with a problem ask yourself: How can I use this? What is the good thing about this? What can I learn from this? What hidden opportunity can I find within this problem?

Lean Tip #677 - Use the 80/20 rule when problem solving.
Use 80 percent of your time to find solutions and only 20 percent to complain, worry and whine. It might not always be easy but focusing your energy, time and thoughts in this way is much more beneficial to you and others than doing the opposite.

Lean Tip #678 - Break down the problem into smaller pieces.
Completing a task or solving a problem can seem overwhelming and impossible if you take it all in at once. To decrease anxiety and think more clearly try to break the problem down. Try to identify the different things and people it consists of. Then figure out one practical solution you can take for each of those pieces. Try those solutions. They may not solve the whole problem immediately. But they might solve a few pieces of it. And then you can keep trying other solutions for the rest of the pieces until there are none left.

Lean Tip #679 - Gather some good knowledge about the problem you are solving.
Information about your problem can often decrease that uncertain anxiety and fear we face when we are challenged with something. Knowledge wisps away the clouds of fear around a problem. And we often find that the problem might not be as bad as we thought.

Lean Tip #680 - Focus on what you can change – the future.
Discussion about what happened in the past and providing examples may be necessary for understanding, but it is not to convince the other person about your rightness or to defend yourself. Hindsight is useful in reflection and learning but not solving the problem.  Focus on what you can change in the future to prevent the problem.

Lean Tip #681 - Ask For Employee Input.
Eliciting experienced viewpoints from various levels within your organization helps you plan effectively. For example, practical consequences that are immediately apparent to employees on the ground might not occur to management.

Lean Tip #682 - Delegate Responsibilities So Employees Are Empowered.
Distributing power gives everyone a stake in the success of a change initiative. Otherwise, employees might feel plowed under and helpless, which could lower worker morale and jeopardize the initiative.

Lean Tip #683 - Acknowledge Your Staff On Their Achievements.
A pat on the back, some words of praise, and giving a note of credit to the employee / staff member at personal level with some form of broad publicity can motivate the staff a lot. Make it a point to mention the staff’s outstanding achievements in official newsletters or organization’s journal. Not only acknowledge the employee with highest contribution, but also acknowledge the employee who meets and over exceeds the targets.

Lean Tip #684 - Give The Employees Learning Opportunities.
Employees should consistently learn new skills on the job. It has been well said by someone that with people hopping jobs more often than required and organizations no longer giving job security to employees, the young blood employees specifically realize that continuing learning is the best way to remain employable. Opportunities should be given to the employees to develop their skills and competencies and to make best use of their skills. Link the staff goals with the organizational goals.

Lean Tip #685 - Set An Example For Your Employees.
Be a role model for your staff. The staff would learn from what you do and not from what you say / claim. The way you interact with your customers and how do you react later after the interaction is over have an impact upon the staff. Employees more closely observe your non-verbal communication (gestures, body language). Being unpunctual, wasting the organization’s capital, mismanaging organization’s physical equipments, asking the staff to do your personal work, etc. all have a negative impact on the staff. Try setting an example for your staff to follow.

Lean Tip #686 - People change for something better rather than to avoid something worse
Threats are fine for determining behavior, but they just don't create real change. Here are two approaches that don't work: "You had better do this, or it's your job." "If we can't figure out how to do this, we'll be out of business." Instead, realize that lasting change comes from within — from the heart, from the spirit. To create lasting organizational change, you must develop a vision of a better work life — a vision that people can really believe in.

Lean Tip #687 - Processes are really just ideas
Most change efforts require changes to organizational processes, and we have some great tools for representing processes. The tools are too good, though — we sometimes forget that processes have no physical manifestation. Processes are just ideas, and ideas exist only in our minds. So if a process is to change, what is in people's minds must change — their ideas about the processes, and how they, as people, relate to the processes and to each other.

Lean Tip #688 - Change your change process
If you get better at making changes in your organization, and if you keep at it, your organization will soon be a top performer. Why? So few organizations succeed at making lasting change, that it doesn't really take much to become a top performer. It looks like it takes a lot, because lasting change is so hard to do. To make change easier to do, invest first in getting better at changing things.

Lean Tip #689 – Space your changes to avoid collisions
If your organization is just beginning to move out of the Chaos of one change effort, and you zap it with a new Foreign Element from another change effort, you'll slow progress on the first change effort. Space things out to give the organization time to integrate and Practice previous changes.

Lean Tip #690 - Expect change to take longer than you expect
Recognize that in your own mind, you've already made the change. You've thought it through, and you know where you want things to go. But nobody else has — well, hardly anybody. Getting everyone to move to where they will want to go will take time. And we always underestimate how long it takes. Always.

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Monday, April 22, 2013

Lean Eliminates DOWNTIME, Green adds FEWER

Today is Earth Day 2013 whose theme is the Face of Climate Change.  I am not an expert in this topic and nor I am going to talk about it here.  However, in celebration of the environment today I thought I would share some thoughts on the use of Lean and Green together for the better.

I have talked about how Lean eliminates downtime before.  DOWNTIME is a acronym I use to remember and explain the eight wastes of processes.

Non-utilized Resources/Talent
Excess Processing

By focusing on reducing or eliminating the Eight Wastes associated with DOWNTIME we can shorten the lead time to the customer. This will result in lower costs, higher capacity for more demand, and increased customer satisfaction which are all desirable to grow your business profitably.

Green is a synergistic concept to Lean where the focus is on eliminating environmental waste.  WASTE is another acronym I shared to explain and remember the 5 key environmental wastes.   It could also be said that Green adds FEWER:

Full use of raw material
Energy efficiency
Water conservation
Elimination of toxic/hazard material

The most obvious benefits of Green and Lean are cost savings which are synergistically coupled with value creation opportunities. Cost savings may include energy savings, productivity savings, and savings from improved utilization of materials. Value creation opportunities may include innovations that involve creation of new products out of waste materials and finding ways, in service delivery processes, to enhance customer’s experience.

Lean eliminates DOWNTIME by reducing those wastes.  Green adds FEWER by reducing WASTE.  The key to being successful  at Lean and Green is to focus on FEWER WASTE causing DOWNTIME.

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