Happy Thanksgiving…..Be thankful for Lean

[tweetmeme source=”leanisgood” service=”ow.ly” only_single=false]Happy Thanksgiving from the Lean Is Good blog. 

As I reflect back, there is so much to be thankful for it amazes me.  Often times in our blogospheres we rant and rave about all the negative things like lack of leadership, overburdened workloads, lack of commitment, etc.  However, take a minute to think about all the things your teams did well this year!  How many kanban systems did you start or improve upon?  How many of your processes are more stable now than a year ago since you implemented standard work or process control charting?  Most importantly, how many people did you teach that there are simpler and better ways to do business successfully?

I bet you got a lot done!!!!!  Be thankful that we continue to have andon pulls to work on!!!!

Bryan

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Let people make mistakes? Tough Love of Leadership!

[tweetmeme source=”leanisgood” service=”ow.ly” only_single=false]While leading an event this week, I came across a common situation that I have faced over the years.  The group, very new to pull, wanted to implement a particular piece of the pull system in an exact same way that I have failed in a past life.  Despite my best efforts through education and description of the past shortcomings, I couldn’t convince them to set it up any other way.  As an event leader what do you do next?    Impose your will on the group or let them make the mistake and learn the hard way? Continue reading

Hoshin Kanri – South Instead of North

[tweetmeme source=”leanisgood” service=”ow.ly” only_single=false]The other day I was out running with my dog and I experienced a troubling situation when the leash got wrapped under her belly.  I blame the dog’s ignorance and not the leash operator’s neglect!  But anyway, it was wrapped in such a way that as I tried to pull her left out of oncoming traffic, it actually pulled her head to the right, closer to the traffic.  Eventually we got the leash unwrapped and finished our run but I couldn’t stop thinking about how this situation mirrored improvement metrics from some of my past workplaces. Continue reading

Hansei and Building

Click to enlarge

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It’s the end of the year and a time when many businesses and people reflect on the previous year or years.  This reflection or hansei as known in the lean world is critical to walking down the path of success.  I inadvertently did some hansei last weekend as I was building some shelves in our basement closets.

My wife and I planned the layout we wanted to organize all our kids games which were becoming a huge mess.  I dare to call it 5S but learned a long time ago not to apply, at least fully, the tools from work in the home.  I recommend against putting together a performance plan and review for your spouse! Continue reading

Respect for People – Corrective Actions

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We recently came across a situation in a very long cycle time process. During the “automatic” process an operator is to check the status of the operation every 30 minutes and make any corrections for process deviations.   Now that we are focusing on this process, we created a plan to poka yoke the system so that we don’t have to rely on an operator remembering to check every half hour, Continue reading

5S – Shadows Boards Are Bad and Reflection is Good

Photo by dabdiputs under Creative Common Attribution

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I’m doing a gemba walk and I find a tool setting on a piece of equipment.  I look at the shadow board for the area which is about 12 feet away.  What should I do?

  1. Pick the tool up and put it in its place.
  2. Deduct one point on the 5S audit form.
  3. Stand in an imaginary 30″ circle and watch what happens to the tool.
  4. Ask the operator why the tool is where it currently is.
  5. Blame the operator and take the appropriate disciplinary action in accordance with the collective bargained agreement or the employee handbook whichever applies.
  6. Some other distractor that I can’t come up with right now.

Continue reading

Leadership for Lean – Humility

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In  a Q&A in Harvard Business School’s Working Knowledge, Harvard Business Professor William George, author of 7 Lessons for Leading in Crisis, talks about seven leadership lessons for weathering crisis.  It’s a good read.  One of the lessons is, “Face reality, starting with yourself.”

Lean thinkers will recognize this as hansei or self-reflection.  Professor George argues that leaders have to be humble enough to admit weaknesses and flaws that they see. Continue reading