Friday, December 30, 2016

Lean Quote: Cheers to a New Year and Another Chance For Us To Get It Right

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.

"Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.— Oprah Winfrey

What would you like to change in your life? The new year is traditionally the time to stop, take inventory and set positive goals for life change. And you don't have to focus only on diets or exercise. Improving the quality of your life is broader and more comprehensive and ultimately more important than your waistline. There's no good reason to dwell on the problems of the past unless you want to make yourself feel bad! You can only change the present and then the future. It's never too late.

Here are three tips you can use to keep your New Year’s Resolutions on track with your self-set goals:

Stay Organized
An organized work or personal space reflects an organized mind, and vice-versa. By keeping things, thoughts, and goals in order, it would be easy for you to remember your New Year’s Resolutions and stick to them.

Force Yourself to Remember
Force yourself to remember by sticking to-do notes on your computer monitor (or make it your desktop background if you like), fridge, wallet, or even on your mobile phone. Seeing the same notes over and over again will help you keep your resolutions in mind even if your lifestyle is more chaotic than ever.

Focus on the Process
Focus on the process rather than the end goal. Take each step one at a time and be happy with your progress. The only way you'll get to where you want to go is to complete every small step along the way, checking it off with pride as you accomplish each step.


This New Year realize that all life problems can be improved. Giving up means surrendering to a negative situation rather than using your skills and finding support to move ahead in the best manner possible. Enjoy your journey. It's energizing. It's rewarding. It’s life changing.


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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

5S - Twas the Night Before Christmas!


Merry Christmas ! I thought it would be great to share this fun poem with all of you.

Anonymous, 2012
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the plant
Machines were not running; production was scant.
We’d been forced to shut down and were incurring large fees,
Cause one of the workers dropped a wrench in line three.
Production mistakes had the owners complaining,
So we’d sent all the workers for refresher training.
The foreman in his hardhat, and I in my tie,
Had just settled down to discuss ROI. 
When out on the floor there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my desk to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
And ripped the Venetian blinds off the wall with a crash.
The loading dock door somehow had been lifted,
And inside the door snow had already drifted.
When what did my wondering eyes then behold?
But a white-bearded man shuffling in from the cold.    
He had a broad face and a round little belly
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly.
His eyes twinkled bright and his dimples were merry.
The foreman exclaimed, “Now this dude is scary.” 
He spoke not a word but went straight to work,
Rearranging and cleaning like some kind of jerk.
He threw things away that were taking up space,
And organized stuff that was in the right place.    
The tools that were needed he moved to be near;
Equipment not needed he moved to the rear.
He moved with precision, his speed it increased
I picked up the phone to call the police. 
Then from his beard, as pure white as winter,
He pulled out a small DuraLabel-brand printer.
He set it up quick, with no cord or cable,
In the blink of an eye he was printing out labels.   
“Label this counter space, label this drawer!
Label this cabinet, label some more!
From the top of the window to the base of the wall,
We’ll label everything, once and for all!” 
He yelled this out loud, the right jolly old elf,
I laughed to see him, in spite of myself.
He labeled the floor and he labeled the cables.
“With 5S in place, to work they’ll be able!”  
And then in a twinkling, I knew what he meant!
Our workplace had been as confusing as heck!
I joined him in working and when we were through,
You knew where things were and you knew what to do.
I thanked him profusely but he remained stoic,
And went to the break room and purchased a Coke.
I called him a hero, a magical man,  
But outside the building he’d already ran.
He greeted twelve reindeer and jumped in a sleigh
And up from the ground his team then flew away
But I heard him exclaim as they rose through the night:
“I’ll come back next Christmas to audit your site!”

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Monday, December 26, 2016

Merry Christmas - The Neverending Christmas Card Factory

I know Christmas is over but there is still something to learn from making Christmas cards.  The following video explains Lean thinking principles from kids making cards for their families.




Now this video is not too different than many others that explain the difference between the traditional push and a better pull manufacturing process. But I liked the use of children in this video. I think it is particularly important that we teach our young people in this better way of thinking. If we could successful educate the next generations of leaders we may imagine a time when a traditional push operation is a thing of the past.

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Friday, December 23, 2016

Lean Quote: Christmas Spirit Every Day

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.

"I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month." — Harlan Miller

Although the Christmas-preparations can put us under stress, it still seems that during the few weeks before and around Christmas we are more caring and loving. We are much more of a family person all of a sudden, we think about world peace, we have more compassion, patience with others and start overflowing with altruism.
  
We take more time for reflection, which leads us to think more of others who are less fortunate than us, and we give a little to charities. We go and buy presents for family and friends and therewith again we naturally spend more thoughts on others. All this gives us the feeling to do something good for other people. This in return makes us feel better, again. 

We do not need jars of Christmas spirit to open every month throughout the year as Harlan Miller wished. Just try the following to keep up the Christmas spirit all year through:

1) Smile at people as often as you can and most people will smile back. 
2) Every day, do something small for somebody else. 
3) Show gratitude. Thinking, saying and writing gratitude helps us to be in the present moment and to focus on all the positive things in our lives, to concentrate on everything we have and our strengths.

Merry Christmas to all A Lean Journey Fans! I hope everyone takes the time to spend quality time with your family and enjoy all the things you have to be thankful for. Lean thinking is a gift to us individually and to organizations empowering and inspiring improvement all around us. This holiday season I want to take the opportunity to thank all those who share the passion for continuous improvement and share in the learning on this blog.


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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Top 10 Posts of 2016


The end of the year is traditionally a time to look back and reflect. One way to reflect is to evaluate popular blog posts. I have been taking time to reflect on the year that was and as part of that reflection I have flicked back through the 150 blog posts I have written so far this year and compiled a list of my Top 10.

Creating a process map is a relatively straight forward process but some mistakes can derail the process so avoid these most common pitfalls.

When performing a mistake-proofing analysis on a manufacturing, service or business process, it is of course important to identify every human error possible during each process step.

Lean provides a framework to improve the flow of a process, it is therefore important to create a plan or roadmap describing the improved flow, highlighting changes, and areas for improvement.

The path for your improvement journey consists of the work processes your organization uses to create and transport goods and services to its customers, the map you use for your improvement journey must focus on customer value.

Embarking on your Lean journey by implementing 5S is beneficial for several reasons.

Mistake Proofing is about adding controls to prevent defects, reduce their severity, and detect them if they can occur.

The Seven Basic Tools of Quality is a designation given to a fixed set of graphical techniques identified as being most helpful in troubleshooting issues related to quality.

Leader Standard Work is the system that provides a structure and routine for leaders and drives process definition and daily accountability.

Luckily, there is no shortage of literature on Lean Manufacturing over the last several decades, but there 10 books I recommend on learning Lean.

Empowering employees is the ongoing process of providing the tools, training, resources; encouragement and motivation your workers need to perform at the optimum level.

What were some of your favorite Lean posts from 2016? Any recommendations for next year?


Thanks for your continued readership in 2016. I hope you enjoy the holiday season and go on to achieve Lean success in 2017.

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Monday, December 19, 2016

Book Review: Lean Health

It’s the time of year when people start to think of resolutions (personal improvement) for the coming year. Many have a goal to reduce weight and improve health. As a Lean practitioner I am always interested to see how people have applied Lean thinking to improve their environment. Paul Akers, well known Lean enthusiast with 2 Second Lean and leader of FastCap, tells his personal story of improved health in a new book “Lean Health”.




In his book Paul honestly and comprehensively lays out his weight loss journey. He describes your body as a Ferrari (or Ford Pinto) which you have to take care of with fuel (nutrition) and maintain (exercise). His personal health transformation shows his commitment to lean principles beyond business but to his mind and body.

In his brilliant and engaging writing style he's taking the reader on his own journey to Lean Health. As with his other books and videos, Paul doesn't come across telling you how to do it but rather how he did it, so it's not a what to do but more of a how to do it. He explains the steps he found for exceptional health and the tools he used to help. It is logical, detailed, and most of all it is simple to follow!

Lean health not only changes the way we think about the foods we eat, it changes the way we think about life in general! Paul Aker’s Lean PD App is quite good and helps to instill new habits in your life. Give it a try along with his tips from Lean Health so you can change your life as well. 

Although it may be hard to make all the suggested changes in your life at once, just do one small improvement every day and try to stick to the things you've changed. 

Lean Health is a simple, quick, inspirational, and motivational read. If you are looking to improve your health, I highly recommend it.



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Friday, December 16, 2016

Lean Quote: Success is Buried on the Other Side of Frustration

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.

"All successful people learn that success is buried on the other side of frustration." — Tony Robbins

When things don’t go your way or your team does not accomplish what was expected, you get frustrated. If the tire’s flat, you kick it! If the vending machine doesn’t give you change, you hit it! When your boss does not support a new idea you are suggesting for no apparent reason you complain about his or her lack of support.

When we fail to satisfy our deep desires or achieve important goals, the sense of frustration can be overwhelming at times. If we lose a customer because of a missed deadline despite the team’s best efforts, it’s natural to feel frustrated.

But it’s also a waste of time and energy. Frustration is futile and destructive. These behaviors limit personal growth and success, it’s important to understand what causes frustration and what you can do to minimize it.

Follow these tips to protect yourself from tumbling down frustration’s slippery slope:

1. Take responsibility! Don’t blame people and circumstances for what happens to you. Use setbacks and disappointments as opportunities to learn, not as reasons to complain and criticize.

2. Set realistic expectations for yourself and clearly understand the expectations your department, division, or team has for you. If your expectations are habitually too high, you’re going to be frequently frustrated. Remember, one of the most important rules about goal setting is to set goals realistically high and focus on the results, not just the activity!

3. Striving for excellence is good, but striving for perfection will impede your growth and productivity. If you’re focused on perfection, you’ll fail to make improvements because you’ll be afraid to take risks. You’ll miss deadlines because you’re trying to do everything perfectly. You’ll hinder your personal and professional growth because your desire to be perfect causes you to be overly sensitive to constructive criticism.

4. Set realistic expectations from others. When you expect too much, you set yourself up for disappointment and frustration. Instead of offering encouragement and support, you will tend to judge and criticize.

5. Frustration cannot coexist with a positive attitude. Strengthen your positive attitude by focusing on your goals and on the rewards you anticipate receiving when you achieve them. When you are drifting, frustrations can rise up like mountains, but when you are speeding along toward your goals, frustrations become merely bumps in the road.

6. Emotionally relive the positive moments of triumph from you past accomplishments. Success breeds success. Remembering your past successes will boost your confidence and refocus your attention on your goals.


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