Almost Standard Work: 6 Pieces, 5 Steps and 3 Mistakes

[tweetmeme source=”leanisgood” service=”ow.ly” only_single=false]Several weeks ago I posted an article related to building a pinewood derby car. After superior engineering, cutting edge tribology and a monster paint job, we didn’t bring anything home except the car and hopes of a better race next year. So our next project was at Lowe’s. Continue reading

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The Checklist Manifesto: A Book Review

[tweetmeme source=”leanisgood” service=”ow.ly” only_single=false]The Checklist Manifesto | Atul Gawande | Metropolitan Books

What are your thoughts on checklists? I know I have used them in the past with limited success. The new book by Atul Gawande titled “The Checklist Manifesto” may change your beliefs about checklists and what their limits and uses are.

The author uses airline pilots, construction sites, restaurants, and hospitals as well as brief discussions of other areas that checklists have been fundamental in improving performance.

What the aviation industry found was that there were a couple of reasons why there were accidents and failures. One was that people were so well trained and so focused on what they were doing, they did not focus on some of the more mundane and ancillary processes that could be just as important. Continue reading

Manifestation and Causation: A Short Fable

[tweetmeme source="leanisgood" service="ow.ly"]You’re in Gemba. There is an issue with a key customer. You have been on the phone calls and seen the metrics. Some last minute heroics of those on the floor and the site leadership “Make it Happen.” You and your team retrace the steps utilizing 5 Why’s and the Socratic Method to uncover the issue:

Customer – Where is my stuff? It is already two weeks late and the items that we did receive were not in spec and we had downtime in our process reworking. Continue reading

Hoshin Kanri and Metrics: Make it Personal

[tweetmeme source=”leanisgood” service=”ow.ly”]When discussing Policy Deployment, one of the challenges is linking the vision / Mission to daily activities across the organization. One must capture the essence of the organization as well as understand what I do impacts the overall business. It also must matter to the associates. How can this be done? You need to get creative and have the associates / team members help with the process. Continue reading

Watching the Border: Customer Confusion and Respect for Humanity

[tweetmeme source=”leanisgood” service=”ow.ly”]Steve Kroft from 60 minutes reported on the US border security with Mexico on Sunday, January 10th. Once again it was basically revealling the inability of the US government and Corporate America to create elegant solutions to difficult problems and the waste of time and dollars. What viewers saw was no different from other reports from 60 minutes but a couple of things struck me as I watched. Continue reading

Pinewood Derby Cars, Standard Work and Training

[tweetmeme source="leanisgood" service="ow.ly"]It is Pinewood Derby Car season and working with a 6 year old who wants to use a coping saw, spray paint, and lead weights just sends chills down my spine. One thing that is helping get me through this process without a mental meltdown or trip to the hospital is reflecting on how a new associate, the 6 year old mentioned above, and I, the supposed reasonable adult or Supervisor go through the derby car making process and how Standard Work and training would help the manufacture of the car, calm my nerves, and make a more enjoyable experience for everyone. Continue reading

New Year’s Resolution – Do Less

Image by Jacob & Kiki Hantla under Creative Commons Attribution

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When you reflect on this year you probably see busyness replacing effectiveness, mixed priorities instead of a constant mission and doing more instead of doing important or vital.

The challenge is for next year that instead of a new year’s resolution to lose weight or learn a new language you first decide what you are going to stop doing. What are your principles, values, beliefs? What are you doing on a weekly or daily basis that does not fit these beliefs? Continue reading