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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Lean Roundup #108 – May, 2018

A selection of highlighted blog posts from Lean bloggers from the month of May, 2018.  You can also view the previous monthly Lean Roundups here.

Transparency Is Key to an Efficient Supply Chain - Megan Nichols says maintaining visibility throughout the entire supply chain results in several key benefits for companies, vendors, distributors, customers and even partners.

Delegating Lean – Paul Akers discusses how delegation is the number one reason why Lean fails.

Good Project Management Practices – John Hunter shares his project management views based on the management improvement principles he’s gained for over 20 years.

Using Data Science To Improve Manufacturing – Michel Baudin explains “data science” covers real advances in the art of working with data, and the more relevant question is what it can do to improve existing operations.

Leader Standard Waste – Bruce Hamilton shares concerns about the application of Leader Standard Work and Gemba Walks as these potentially valuable practices have too often degenerated into obligatory scripted play acting.

What’s Holding Lean Back? – Bob Emiliani says his recent research makes it clear that the past does not merely inhibit the advancement and practice of Lean, it cripples Lean.

The Importance of Respect for People in Problem-Solving – Kevin Meyer says the value of respect is especially important in kaizen, continuous improvement, and the problem-solving that supports those activities.

Leaders Manage Uncertainty – Johanna Rotham says work— and life– is full of uncertainty and when we look for risks and actively manage them, we have a better chance of managing our uncertainty.

Lean Leadership and the Competitive Edge in Manufacturing – Pete Abilla says leaders must incorporate innovative, automated solutions to their manufacturing process that is supported by a skilled and educated workforce.

What’s the Right Way to Do a Gemba Walk? – Jon Miller explains the gemba walk is not about the gemba or the walk it is all about the humble listening.

How 200 Jobs Were Saved by Engaging Employees in Continuous Improvement – Jess Orr shares a story of a facility who struggled with decreasing productivity saved itself with engagement and getting better everyday.

Ask Art: Am I Showing Respect for People by Asking for Fast Action? – Art Byrne says even going at a very rapid pace a lean turnaround is a journey not a sprint, and will take years.

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Monday, May 28, 2018

Memorial Day Fun Facts 2018

Memorial Day is more than just a day off from work or school, an excellent occasion for a backyard barbeque or a chance to travel. Those things do speak to the holiday’s true spirit. But above all else, Memorial Day honors Americans who have died in service to their country. This holiday is not one for somber reflection, however. We instead choose to celebrate by enjoying the many freedoms that American servicemen and women have perished protecting.

That includes fundamental rights such as freedom of speech, trial by jury, and protection against cruel and unusual punishment. It also extends to relative trivialities such as the ability to save up to 90% with Memorial Day weekend sales or ride roaring Harleys through the nation’s capital. And yes, 60% of us do indeed barbeque each Memorial Day weekend, while 13% take a trip. After all, Memorial Day’s place on the calendar has made it the unofficial start of summer for many.

Check out some fun facts regarding Memorial Day with this infographic: 

Source: WalletHub

This Memorial Day, enjoy burgers and hot dogs with loved ones, but take a moment to remember those who can’t do the same. Remember those families who will have an empty seat at their table and the men and women who used to occupy it.

Take a moment this Memorial Day to remember all those men and women who have so bravely and honorably served this country. The courage and sacrifice of all who died in military service will not be forgotten.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

9th Year Blogging - Happy Anniversary!

Nine years ago told I started a journey that has become this blog. Today, marks the 9th anniversary of A Lean Journey Blog. I had no idea then what I was getting into or that I'd still be doing this nine years later.  Frankly, I wasn't sure anyone would read what I wrote never mind find value in it. It truly has been a wonderful experience and full of opportunities.

This labor of love has been a tremendous learning process both from the great fans and other colleagues online that I exchange with and from the process of distilling my own learning with you. I've been fortunate to meet so many great people from experts to layman (like myself) along the way who've taught me so much.

After 9 years I'd like to think this simple blog has been a success. It has been a valued contribution in the Lean Community with over a million visitors.  Many articles are frequently shared and many key word searches lead to A Lean Journey Blog. Less then 10% of the blogs I read 9 years ago (which got me started) are still publishing articles. The number of returning visitors has increased every year for the last 5 years. I get great feedback from many of you which motivates me to continue.

Some may be asking how do you define success for a blog?  I think like most publications it is basically about audience.  Are you growing followers? Are people reading your posts? So like in previous years we can look at the number visitors, Facebook fan, tweeps on Twitter, and LinkedIn members as an indication of growth.

I love statistics, so with this milestone, here are some numbers from the blog:

Total Posts: 1622

Most read post:  The Six-Step Problem-Solving Process with over 29,750 views

followed by DOWNTIME and the Eight Wastes with over 28,100 views

and by What Do We Mean By True Northwith over 20,700 views

Number of countries/territories who have visited this blog:  219

Top 3 Countries with the most views:
U.S.A. – 48%
United Kingdom – 8%
India – 5%

Total views:  Over 1,290,113 and climbing

Unique visits: Over 1,009,562

Total comments:  Over 1,500

Total Facebook Fans: Over 2,046

Total Twitter Followers: Over 3,573

LinkedIn Members: Over 1,203

Total Tips Shared: Over 1885

I would like to thank all the visitors and contributors to A Lean Journey Blog this year and every year.  It has been a successful journey. Please, share your feedback so that A Lean Journey can be even more successful in the future.

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Monday, May 21, 2018

Guest Post: The PDCA Cycle and Lean Manufacturing

Lean manufacturing is all about continuously improving work processes by identifying and eliminating waste, and the PDCA cycle is one of the most valuable tools in the Lean toolbox. The PDCA cycle, also commonly referred to as the Deming circle, is a four-step system with the same principles as all Lean methodologies: improve work processes and eliminate waste for maximum efficiency. If you’re considering implementing Lean principles or logistics to your facility, this cycle is a great introduction to it.

PDCA is an acronym of the four separate stages: Plan, Do, Check, and Act.

Plan: In the first step, you will assess the current state of the process, and look for any possible improvements. Observe the workflow and talk to employees for insight. If a problem is identified, examine it carefully and develop potential solutions. it is important to gather as much information as you can in this step to help you make informed decisions about how to proceed.

Do: It’s time to try out the solutions you brainstormed in the first step. Make sure everyone involved understands the changes. These changes are usually small, a

Check: Follow up with the changes implemented and record relevant data. Analyze the new state of the process and compare it to how things were before. Charting or graphing this information could make it easier to identify trends for the next step.

Act: If you found the changes to be effective, make them the standard! If the changes show no improvement, the process will remain the same. Either way, this is important information to be utilized in future PDCA cycles.

The PDCA cycle is such a valuable system because although it is a specific set of steps, there is still a good deal of flexibility. The cycle can be practiced by virtually anyone in the company, at any level of an organization, and can address a number of problems or changes. Additionally, the PDCA cycle can be tailored to fit the needs of your facility. Your company should establish specific “sub-steps” that will help your unique situation. The more you outline the that need to happen during each part of the cycle, the better things will go.

The specific phases balanced with a great deal of flexibility can understandably lead to some confusion. The following are some FAQs about the PCDA:

Who should be trained on the cycle?
Anyone working within the company should understand what the PCDA cycle is and how it works. Managers, team leaders, and workers on the floor should all have at least a basic understanding of the cycle and be prepared to hit the ground running no matter the step of the process. It will make the implementation of changes smoother and more efficient.

What changes should go through the PDCA cycle?
Making the PDCA cycle mandatory for all changes that occur within the company could be very beneficial for your facility. Workers will have more opportunities to participate in different stages of the cycle and will set a standard and formalized process for future changes made.

When should I use the cycle?
Although you can use the PDCA cycle in nearly any instance of change or improvement, there are specific areas where the cycle is most beneficial. Some key instances include:
·       The beginning of a new project
·       The automation a repetitive process
·       Organizing
·       Eliminating specific wastes

How many times should I use the cycle?
PDCA is continuous with no real end in sight. Once a cycle is completed, you can start looking for further solutions to implement in the future. Continue using it on a specific area until the change has been fully implemented and optimized.

How will I know the effectiveness of the changes?

It’s all about data and accurately measuring results. By documenting results with each change, company leadership and management can clearly see the benefits of this methodology and will help give you the data needed to ensure this process continues long into the future. 

About the Author: Jesse Allred is a blog writer for Creative Safety Supply leaders in visual safety and Lean manufacturing resources. She enjoys sharing information and advice for facilities to achieve efficiency while keeping employees safe.

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Friday, May 18, 2018

Lean Quote: 10 Leadership Lessons From Jack Welch

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.

"Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion." — Jack Welch

If you've ever managed people, chances are you've had your share of sure-fire leadership successes, along with a few tough missteps and "wish I had knowns" — and probably learned a thing or two from all of three.

Leadership is all about growing others. It's about your team and its welfare. It's about your direct reports and their performance.

Jack Welch was head of General Electric over two decades before he retired in 2001. He is widely regarded as one of the most successful industrial leaders of the modern age, having increased the value of GE by some 4000% to several hundred billion during his tenure.

He's a veritable leadership guru. So what does he say is the key to being a successful leader?

Jack Welch shared 10 leadership lessons, in no particular order:
  1. Your company's values and your personal values must be compatible.
  2. Differentiation breeds meritocracy. Sameness breeds mediocrity.
  3. In a performance culture, actions have to have consequences — positive or negative.
  4. Creating an environment of candor and trust is a must.
  5. Attracting, developing and retaining world-class talent is your never-ending job.
  6. You must distinguish between coachable development needs in your people and fatal flaws.
  7. Simple, consistent, focused communications travel faster and are understood better by the organization.
  8. There is nothing more developmental and illuminating than dealing with adversity.
  9. Over time, you have to develop a real generosity gene — and love to see each person on your team earn raises, get promotions and grow personally.
  10. Continuous learning is critical for success — make it a priority.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

9 Team Roles for High Performance Teams

Composing a good team is a complex text. After (40) years of study, Dr. Raymond Meredith Belbin designed a nearly ideal team composition. Belbin suggests that, by understanding your role within a particular team, you can develop your strengths and manage your weaknesses as a team member, and so improve how you contribute to the team.

Belbin’s team roles are based on a study that examined personality traits, intellectual styles and behaviors within teams. The team roles evolved from the clusters or patterns of these that emerged during the study. The 9 team roles are usually further classified into Action oriented, People oriented, and Thought oriented roles. Given below are the 9 roles outlined in the Belbin team roles model and the descriptions that explain the scope of each role:

Action Oriented Role:
Action oriented roles focus on improving team’s performance, putting ideas into action, and meeting deadlines. The three action-oriented roles are:
Implementer – The implementer’s strength lies in translating the team’s decisions and ideas into manageable and practical tasks or actions.
Shaper (Task Leader) – The shaper’s strength lies in being goal directed. The shaper is a dynamic individual who boldly challenges others during discussions, can handle work pressures and has the courage to overcome obstacles.
Completer/Finisher - The completer/finisher’s strength lies in meticulousness, attention to detail and the ability to meet deadlines.

People Skills Oriented Role: 
People oriented roles bring people and ideas together. The three people oriented roles are:
Coordinator - The coordinator’s strength lies in enabling and facilitating interaction and decision making.
Team Worker - The team worker’s strength lies in being a good listener, being collaborative, co-operative, easy going and tactful.
Resource Investigator - The resource investigator’s strength lies in being an extrovert who can develop contacts, communicate well, explore new ideas and opportunities, and bring enthusiasm and drive to the team effort.

Cerebral/Intellectual Role: 
Thought oriented roles analyze options and provide technical expertise. The three cerebral roles are:
Planter - The planter’s strength lies in problem solving and out-of-the-box thinking.
Monitor/Evaluator - The monitor/evaluator’s strength lies in good judgment and good strategic thinking ability.
Specialist – The specialist’s strength lies in being a dedicated and focused individual who likes to learn and constantly build his or her knowledge. The specialist likes to dig deep and is therefore a good resource who can contribute information and knowledge in a team situation.

The team roles identified by Belbin are based on certain patterns of behavior that people exhibit within teams. These patterns of behavior can potentially have an impact on the performance of the team. The basic premise of the Belbin team roles theory is quite simple. When individuals become aware of their own strengths and abilities, and understand the role that he or she is capable of playing within a team, it helps them to deal better with the demands of the team environment.

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Monday, May 14, 2018

Leaders Build Teams Not Groups

Any collection of people can form a group – a group of tourists, a group of spectators, a management group. Management groups usually call themselves management teams. Often they are only groups. But it’s a basketball team that wins a medal; a surgical team that performs an operation. You don’t hear of basketball or soccer groups.

A group of unrelated (tourist), uncoordinated (spectators), or under a traditional hierarchical system (management). A team operates with skilled coordination. Its members share common goals and values. They are mutually supportive. They work together and communicate regularly. They actively participate. There is a strong sense of common purpose and consensus-seeking.

No leader has all the skills. The skills a team has complement those of the leader. Combining complementary skills capitalizes on the natural formation of groups, turning them into teams. A successful team is a portrait of diversity: diverse, professional backgrounds, experience, temperament, intelligence, behavior, extroversion, introversion, dominance, emotional stability. People with identical ideas and reactions, “yes-men,” or just clever people won’t make a good team.

By forming his or her team(s), a leader replace individualist, competitive management style with a more trusting and cooperative style. Selection is the most important. Without the right people nothing is possible.

The advantages of a team:
  • Input of many people of diverse skills
  • Getting the best out of each other
  • Diverse experience, knowledge, and judgement
  • Not dependent on any individual (succession planning)
  • Self-regeneration by recruitment
  • Passing experience to new members

A team is made from the right climate and characteristics:
  • Mutual trust and cooperation
  • Openness and reciprocal support
  • Disagreement without conflict
  • Elimination of status differences
  • Leveling of human differences

  • Mixed composition of 6 to 9 people
  • Regular face-to-face meetings with frequent interaction
  • No “us” and “them”
  • Clear purpose, commitment, and identification with each other
  • Structured and divergent, but disciplined
  • Mutual care among team players, with a will to do the job well so others do theirs

It’s like the analogy of a conductor and his orchestra. To harmonize all instruments, the orchestra needs a conductor. Teams also need a conductor – a leader – to coordinate, resolve conflicts, and unite the team to a common purpose. It requires great interpersonal skill. Leading a team is a good experience, a stepping stone to higher leadership.

You can’t make a good soccer team out of the eleven best goalkeepers. You need good players of different skills.

In the next post I’ll discuss the composition and roles of a team and how to use them to be successful.

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