Thursday, February 28, 2019

Lean Roundup #117 – February 2019



A selection of highlighted blog posts from Lean bloggers from the month of February, 2019.  You can also view the previous monthly Lean Roundups here.

To Get Your Personal or Professional Changes Back on Track, Focus More on “The Why” Than “The What” – Mark Graban says people and organizations often spend too much time talking about what needs to change, instead of focusing more on why.

The Key to Leadership is Consistency – Mark Rosenthal explains why consistency matters in leadership especially in environments of change.

Sharing the Knowledge – Bob Emiliani shares ten areas for all members of the Lean community, and particularly its leaders, to reflect on.

Granting Autonomy to Your Team – Jeff Hajek shares several steps a leader can take to mitigate the impact of mistakes that come with autonomy.

If It’s Not Simple, It's BS – Pascal Dennis talks about the importance of simplifying and clarifying in Lean PDCA and Design Thinking.

– Dan Markovitz explains why so many of our well-meaning lean improvements fail.

Teaching Thinking – Kevin Meyer says a demonstrated hunger for new knowledge, and the ability to distill, apply, and teach it, is an important characteristic for all employees at all levels.

Not All Costs Exist To Be Reduced – Jon Miller discusses good costs and bad costs or what we may call value added and not.

Vision, Values, and Principles – Steve Kane says organizations that have clearly defined their vision, values, and principles are more likely to find people who are innately driven to further the cause.

Is Lean Thinking Art or Science? Yes – John Shook explores the relationship between lean thinking and art & science.

Improving Engagement One Kaizen at a Time – Crystal Davis says engaging the employees at all levels with a clear and realistic understanding of how they inspire, drive and support getting people involved in meaningful work is the best way to show respect!

Ask Art: How Should I Re-invest the Gains from Kaizen? – Art Byrne talks about how to leverage all the gains you will get from removing the waste from your operations in order to deliver more value to your customers.

4 Actions that Solved My Lean Management Identity Crisis – Mike Orzen shares four actions he took to sharpen his focus when applying lean principles.


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Monday, February 25, 2019

Guest Post: 6 Key Traits of a Lean Successful Leader


In many organizations, the leader is nothing more than a job position… it’s actually the business owner or manager. In practice, however, the manager is not necessarily a leader of that organization. They may handle more paperwork than others, make hiring decisions, and attend more meetings. A leader, however, is much more than that.
This is someone with strong personality. A true leader follows the Lean principles of respect for others, continuous personal improvement, inspiring teams to improve their practices, and focus on providing value for the customers.
In theory, it all sounds pretty simple. But what’s a Lean leader really like?
We’ll list the six character traits that make a big difference.
1.     Humility
What?
You probably didn’t expect this to see in a list of a leader’s character traits… so seeing it at the top of the list is really surprising.
Let’s start by saying that humility is underestimated. There’s no rule that leaders should be aggressive, pushy, and in the center of attention all the time. In fact, that’s what Lean leaders should not be.
This is a person who is aware of their own actions. They practice self-reflection. They evaluate their own flaws and weaknesses, which is a rather introverted character trait. This doesn’t mean that the leader shouldn’t be communicative. It just means that they are aware of their own worth, but are not imposing their influence on anyone. They respect everyone, and that’s exactly what drives people around them. 
2.     Leading by Example
Lean leaders are teachers. But this is not the type of teacher who hands out textbooks and expects people to “study” what’s in them. They want the people in the organization to learn, and they inspire them to do that by setting an example.
This is someone who will join all training sessions and learn together with the employees. And when it comes to teaching, they can still make great presentations and write clear guidelines. However, the leader always participates in the process of continuous improvement.
3.     Growth Mindset
“We’ve always been doing things this way. It has worked for us so far, so it has to keep working. Something else is the problem.”
That’s the fixed mindset. Some managers are used to the organization’s lasting practices, and they resist any suggestions for changes.
That’s not who the Lean leader is.
This is someone who will analyze a problem from different aspects and test various solutions until they find something that really works. They encourage all members of their team to suggest ideas, driven by their creativity and passion.
4.     A Strive for Perfection
We’re not using “perfectionism” as a term, since it has a rather negative connotation. A Lean leader strives for perfection, knowing that it can never be achieved. This doesn’t turn them into a frustrated individual, though. It doesn’t turn them into someone who is always unhappy with someone else’s or their own performance.
The Lean leader recognizes growth, but is also aware of the space for continuous improvement. They believe that everything can be done better as long as they keep up with the good work.
5.     Self-Confidence
The leader has an authority to make decision. Even if they aren’t in a position of authority (the leader doesn’t have to be a business owner or a manager), they still make decisions on a daily basis. These actions make a profound impact on the future of the organization.
A leader is aware of that responsibility. They consult team members on important decisions, but they always come forward with self-confidence. They have a responsibility to convince the team that they are going towards the right goal, implementing the right methods.
Self-confidence is defined as belief in “one’s personal judgment, ability, power, etc.” It’s an inner state that defines how one feels and thinks about their own actions. A leader may not be born with impressive self-confidence. However, they are willing to develop that state through learning and practice. When they know enough and they have enough experience, they believe in themselves. When that state is achieved, the team believes in the leader, too.
6.     Respect
Out of all personal traits on our list, this is the one that makes the most important impression on a leader’s followers. They treat everyone, from employees to customers to stakeholders, with utmost respect. Each action they take is characterized with respect towards other people.
As a practical example, you won’t see a Lean leader using Twitter in an offensive manner. They will still show their humorous side, but they will never do it at the expense of offending someone. Whenever they criticize something or someone, they are doing it with facts and arguments. They always acknowledge the good things and indicate the flaws in a respectful way. They always push other people towards growth, but they do it through encouragement and support.

What’s a Successful Lean Leader, Exactly?


A great Lean leader is more than a manager. This is a strategist, coach, mentor, and worker. All at the same time. Their main focus is continuous improvement. By working on their own improvement, they reflect those values in the organization and in the team of people who choose to follow them.  

About the Author:

Becky Holton is a real expert in education. She has been working as a writer for 7 years at College Papera-writer.comEssay Writing Land. She is a successful blogger who writes about education technologies, assignment writing  tips at bestessaytips.com.She likes new discoveries, art architecture and reading literature. She enjoys her work and she wants to share her knowledge with others. Find her on Google or Twitter.




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Friday, February 22, 2019

Lean Quote: The Secret of Your Organization Success is Determined by Your Team Daily Management

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.


"The Secret of your success is determined by your daily agenda." — John Maxwell

"The secret of your organization success is determined by your team daily management." — Lean Institute Asia

Lean (continuous improvement) organizations make use of daily management systems that are designed so that problems can be quickly identified, front-line staff are empowered to fix the problems that they can, and problems that the front-line staff cannot fix are escalated and countermeasures created quickly.

Daily tiered meetings are an integral element of daily management system. The number of tiers might vary with respect to the size of the organization. The objective of the tiered meetings is to have an alignment across the organization to achieve a common goal. The result KPIs & process KPIs are monitored on a day-to-day basis. The result KPI of one tier might be the process KPI of another. Thus the linkage between hierarchies too is maintained in achieving the common goal.

Tier 1: Start of shift, led by production team leader with production team. The idea is to focus on abnormalities. That’s an opportunity to get better.

Tier 2: Led by supervisor with production team leaders and any dedicated support group representatives.

Tier 3: Led by value stream manager or equivalent with supervisors and support group representatives or staff members. The goal is to visualize gaps in the system, drive team problem-solving and to improve the overall business. Tier 3 is the first place where the overall business goals are being addressed in the problem-solving process.

Tier 4: Led by plant manager with production and support staff members.  Focused on "run-the-business" as well as "improve-the-business" activities.

The backdrop for tiered meetings is primarily a visual process performance metric board and is supplemented with things like a task accountability board, posted leader standard work, and suggestion status board.

Daily accountability is a vehicle for ensuring that focus on process leads to action to improve it. The structure of the daily accountability process is straightforward — a series of four brief meetings to review what happened yesterday and assign actions for improvement. These are fast-paced, stand-up meetings at the work location that emphasize quickly resolving or investigating to the next level interruptions in the defined process.

As with the other principal elements of lean management, daily accountability relies on disciplined adherence to its processes on the part of those who lead the four-tier meetings.


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Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Lean Tips Edition #136 (2235-2250)

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 #2236 - Eliminate Waste
Lean principles aim to identify the waste found in nearly every business and minimize or completely eliminate it, if possible. Using the acronym “DOWNTIME” reveals the 8 types of waste Lean Manufacturers target:
  • Defects can lead to rework/salvage and scrap. It is arguably the most costly type of waste, especially if a defective product makes it to the customer.
  • Overproduction is making more product than that which is ordered, potentially causing an inventory shortage and wasting labor hours that could be used elsewhere. Additionally, the manufacturer runs the risk of having obsolete inventory if the customer that generally uses the product decides not to order more.
  • Waiting comes in several forms. The most obvious, perhaps, is a line shutdown while waiting for parts or equipment repair. Finally, there is in-process waiting that occurs when an employee has to wait for a machine to process before he or she can take the next step in the process.
  • Not using people’s talents is a waste of their abilities, and it could hold a manufacturer back when it comes to innovation.
  • Transportation happens throughout the manufacturing process, from the supply chain to material delivery and specific production areas.
  • Inventory has five major categories: finished goods, sub-assembly, raw component, office supplies and Maintenance, Repair and Operations (MRO). Obsolete or overlooked inventory can build up in all of these areas, taking up valuable space.
  • Motion includes bending, reaching, lifting and walking. Something as simple as sharing a tool between workstations can lead to a lot of wasted motion in retrieving it.
  • Excess processing happens whenever time is spent on product features that do not impact part functionality. For example, painting a part that won’t be seen is non-essential and excessive, provided it still functions properly without paint.

As you read through the DOWNTIME definitions, did a few examples of waste within your facility come to mind? If so, be proactive; make detailed notes about the inefficiencies and work to minimize them, asking for help from your colleagues as needed.

Lean Tip #2237 – Organize with 5S
Through the continuous improvement process, the more organized a manufacturer is dictates process efficiency. Start from the top down, building value streams on the production floor based on assembly complexity and volume. Then, divide those value streams into work cells for each assembly. Within those work cells, every tool and work instruction are identically placed in order to implement a one-piece flow, based on the Lean Manufacturing 5S organizational methodology:
  • Sort
  • Set in Order
  • Shine
  • Standardize
  • Sustain
The 5S principles are proven in keeping any workspace — offices included — running efficiently.

Lean Tip #2238 - Discard Conventional Fixed Ideas
Part of problem solving is thinking “outside of the box.” Encourage fresh perspectives and ingenuity in your team in order to develop innovative ways to forward Lean manufacturing without changing what is already efficient and successful. With such a rapidly evolving climate in manufacturing, sometimes conventional thought is what leads to the problem in the first place!

Lean Tip #2239 - Don’t Just Talk About it, Do it!
Once you have a Lean strategy in place, put it into fast and thorough action. Naturally, implementation is what ultimately yields results and improvement. The last think you want is to devise and formulate a Lean campaign that then sits on the shelf and collects dust. Run with your Lean plans as soon as you have everything nailed down.

Lean Tip #2240 - Concentrate on Bad Processes, Not People
By concentrating on the processes and building continuous improvement, you will have the culture change that you are looking for. Also, correct mistakes immediately. Don’t wait for the next shift, the weekend or maintenance to do it.

Lean Tip #2241 - Use Kaizen Workshops to Teach and Make Rapid Changes
Use a talented and experienced facilitator who has a deep understanding of lean tools and philosophy but keep training focused on a specific problem. This helps to keep the training relevant to real world situations and ensures that there are tangible outcomes from training activity. The kaizen might have an objective to reduce setup time from 80 minutes to 60 minutes in four days, for instance.

Lean Tip #2242 -  Organize Around Value Streams
In most organizations, management is organized by process or function. In other words, managers own certain steps in a process but nobody is responsible for the entire value stream. In the second edition of Lean Thinking (2003), the authors recommend a matrix organization where there are still heads of departments but also value stream managers, similar to Toyota's chief engineer system. Someone with real leadership skills and a deep understanding of the product and process must be responsible for the process of creating value for customers and must be accountable to the customer.

Lean Tip #2243 - Keep Leadership Focused on Long-term Learning
A crisis may prompt a lean movement, but may not be enough to turn a company around. Once the crisis has passed it can be all too tempting to go back to business as usual. Company leadership has to stay focused on Lean for the long term – not just to solve one problem.

Lean Tip #2244 - Create a Positive Atmosphere
Be tolerant towards mistakes committed in lean environment with a supportive and learning attitude. Have patience with progress as this will be key to get results and also try to create a blame free supportive environment. Have courage to take risks at crucial stages to push things and resources to meet the plan and achieve results.

Lean Tip #2245 - Set up a Lean Enterprise Steering Team
This team would be responsible to provide support in the planning, resourcing, implementation, and follow-up accountability for implementation. The steering team is often identical to the normal line management team. The internal resources and external consultants would provide consulting support to the team. This infrastructure would resolve inter-departmental issues.

Lean Tip #2246 - Benchmark with Other Companies
Visit other companies that have successfully implemented lean to get ideas and understanding; other companies are often delighted to present their lean implementation progress. Networking is key to ensure global understanding with other companies implementing Lean.

Lean Tip #2247 - Identify Lean Stewards Who are Passionate About Lean. They Will Continue to Fuel the Fire.
Adoption of any tool and process takes commitment and an open mind to evolve and grow.  We find that without people that are passionate about the process, teams can become complacent.  Although anyone can take on the role of Lean steward, we have found transformation works best when the project management office owns the process and the tool. With project management owning the process, organizations can aim for continuous improvement and a consistent process across functional teams.

Lean Tip #2248 - Use Visual Management To Control The Workflow
Use visual management principles to provide visibility of work-in-progress (i.e., status of orders, projects, reports, etc.). A visual communication system ensure that standards are in place so that work is completed on schedule. Visual Management should be implemented in the office areas as well as in production areas.

Lean Tip #2249 – Share More, Not Less.
Even in a small company, silos emerge. A policy of more sharing will help everyone stay in touch with what others are doing, and create a collective expectation. Keeping everyone pointed in the same direction is hard; sharing more about what’s going on, how you’re doing things, reasoning behind decisions, etc. will help.

Lean Tip #2250 - Plan/Do/Check/Act (PDCA).

Part of building an innovative culture is letting people experiment. So, plan what you’re going to do, do it, then check to see if you get the result you wanted. If you see success, then you act on it. You don’t want to put something into practice without knowing that it will achieve the desired result. Checking results before you act allows you to ensure that you’ve worked out all the kinks before you implement change.

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Monday, February 18, 2019

Leadership Lessons on Presidents's Day


Happy Presidents Day!

With most national holidays, you have a pretty good idea of what to reflect on. On Memorial Day, we honor the veterans who have protected our nation. On the Fourth of July we celebrate our country’s independence. And on Labor Day we contemplate the social and economic achievements of American workers.

Presidents’ Day itself was created as a way to combine the celebrations of Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthdays. They are the two presidents that Americans of all backgrounds admire and respect; both led us successfully through unique and overwhelming challenges. Hence, their approach can help modern leaders in any organization.

George Washington was more than just an inspiring battlefield commander. His leadership, his vision, and courage united a war-torn country and set the United States on the path to greatness. Washington was an effective, inspiring, and visionary leader whose historic contributions to the nation were rooted in his character. Throughout difficult times he remained steadfastly honest and ethical, making him a role model for leaders everywhere. And, since his time, not one president has admitted to chopping down a cherry tree.

Abraham Lincoln is considered by many to be the greatest president in the history of the United States. Lincoln’s brilliant leadership rose from obscurity to the presidency, triumphing over three gifted rivals with greater national reputations. When Lincoln emerged as the victor, his more accomplished competitors were dismayed and angry. Surprisingly, Lincoln invited all three to join his cabinet in prominent roles. Goodwin demonstrates that Lincoln’s success was founded in a character that had been forged by experiences that raised him above his more privileged rivals. He possessed an extraordinary ability to put himself in the place of other men, to experience what they were feeling, to understand their motives and desires. It was this capacity for empathy that enabled Lincoln as president to bring his disgruntled opponents together, create the most unusual cabinet in history, and marshal their talents to the task of preserving the Union and winning the war.

While we live in a different age, the prominent leadership characteristics displayed by these two  Presidents are still important characteristics that make define leaders of today. Leaders are not born, leaders are made. Being a leader is also not an assigned position – It’s taking action. It’s accepting responsibility. It’s moving people towards a goal.  We can all learn from the traits and abilities of these leaders, and look to apply them to our own leadership identity.


Both Washington and Lincoln brought out the best in their teams with a visionary and participative leadership style, and that’s as good a way as any to think about Presidents’ Day.

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Friday, February 15, 2019

Lean Quote: Don't watch the clock; do what it does. Keep going!

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.


"Don't watch the clock; do what it does. Keep going." — Sam Levenson

Life is about change, which can be good or bad, and trying to adapt yourself to the circumstances in your current situation while working towards your desired goal can be tough. For those of you who have experienced hardships in their journey, I would tell them do not give up on your dreams. Perseverance allows you to attain your goals no matter your circumstances!

Don’t stop
Now here is the important point, nothing works the first time. When you try something new it would probably won’t work, and the turning point comes when you hear new ideas and you become so eager to be successful, in quest of which you would run out and try out the ideas. But what if they don’t work? The same happened to me too, but I decided that I won’t stop trying until I get it right. The key to success of my life is to have a good idea and stable goal, which motivates one to try new things in order to achieve these desired goals.

Keep going and try something new
So even if we going to try something new, there are only two things that are going to happen: either you are going to succeed or you are going to fail. If you succeed then you do more of it and if you fail then you learn from it. So you cannot lose by taking action, you can only loose without taking action. Every time you lose one thing is for sure, you are one step closer to winning the next time. The only difference between successful and non-successful people is the ones who give up. Motivate yourself for the ability to take a loss. Get up the next day, dust yourself off and KEEP GOING, and this is the trait of a fighter who is ready to face it all.

Embrace your losses!
Here is a thing: You should never quit, never fall back, even if you continue to fail it shouldn’t matter to you, as long you have the will to get up again and fight back. There is a famous saying to this: if you hang around the barber shop, sooner or later you are going to get a haircut, so hold on until you will catch your break. The point is every person has the training and talent to succeed but do you have the guts to fail?

Time is the one thing that everybody on this planet has in common.  The clock keeps moving, regardless.  So do what it does and keep going.  If you are struggling, keep going, if things are great, keep going, the clock will never stop and neither should you.

As time waits for none, so shouldn’t you!

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Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Guest Post: Adopting the Nemawashi Mindset


It’s a common occurrence in business: a manager is gearing up for a major project or is ready to propose a change in policy. They’ve spent months working on the proposal, conducting research, and gathering information to make it successful. But when the proposal is presented in a meeting there is a clash of opinions, changes are rejected, and progress is seriously hindered. In order for policy changes or projects to succeed, a consensus among team members must be met, and this can be done with nemawashi.

A literal translation of nemawashi is “going around the roots,” referring to the transplant process of a plant or tree.  Extra effort is taken by introducing to dirt from the new location to the tree and digging around the roots to move the tree. Transplanting a tree takes time and preparation to ensure survival in the new environment. Nemawashi is an important part of not only the Toyota Production System but it is also deeply embedded into the culture of Japan.

The same concept can be translated as transplanting ideas to minds for nurturing a successful proposal. In business, nemawashi is the first step in the decision-making process and works to develop a foundation of consensus before implementing changes to a process or project. Through small and informal meetings, managers gather feedback, suggestions, and opinions and can use this to present a successful proposal. The free exchange of ideas promotes continuous improvement and like other Lean tools, relies on involvement from workers on all levels. When a manager presents his proposal to others in a meeting after using the nemawashi mindset, everyone is on the same page and has a better understanding of the proposal, and by this time changes have been already made based on employee feedback. The project can be carried out smoothly and successfully.

How to Apply the Nemawashi Philosophy

Nemawashi is more ambiguous than some of the other Lean tools; there is no exact framework to follow or steps that must be completed. Each nemawashi process will be different than the last, and over time you will see how you can effectively practice nemawashi in your own facility.
However you decide to go about it, the process typically begins with managers and supervisors sharing information. For instance, if you are going to propose a change to part of the manufacturing process, you would send out information about the condition of the process, why the current process is wasteful, possible countermeasures, and any other relevant information to all employees involved in the process.

After employees get a chance to review the info, the manager will begin to meet with them for a conversation. This can either be done one-on-one or in small groups, but it is important to give the workers an opportunity to share their opinion. Leaders will need to take the time to listen and show that their suggestions are taken under consideration. From there, the proposal can be refined or even tossed depending on the consensus, a new document with the revised project proposal is create, and a formal meeting is scheduled to present the proposal. By this time, support has already been gathered and any kinks in the plan have been smoothed out. Employees have an understanding of the proposal and will be able to effectively help implement any changes.

Leaders and managers who take the extra time and effort to listen and learn to employees, the nemawashi mindset truly allows changes to be carried out with all parties consenting of decisions. The success of a project usually relies on support from everyone involved, and nemawashi builds that consensus behind the scenes, before any changes are even made.   

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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