Why Ask Why?

Why should we ask why?

If you ever need a refresher course on investigative persistence just tell a toddler “no” when they really want something. While most adults are able to accept no for an answer, a toddler sees this as an opportunity for discussion and to find the real reason they were told no. How do they do this? Well quite simple actually, they ask why and they don’t stop asking why until they get to the root cause. …

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Lean Concepts and the 8 Wastes

Lean Concepts promotes the ideal of maximizing customer value while reducing waste. With lean thinking, an organization utilizes key processes to increase customer value while reaching for a goal of zero waste. The concept argues there are eight primary wastes throughout business, regardless of the industry. And the term waste doesn’t refer to disposables. It refers to processes that add no value to relationships with customers and clients. Overproduction Designing or supporting a product or service no …

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10 Commandments to Continuous Improvement

The 10 Commandmnets of continuous improvement

The challenge to keep a path of continuous improvement on track is full of obstacles and interference. In the back of our mind we know what we should be doing, but there are often times when we just can’t seem to stay on track. I recently watched an online video (shown below) from the Gemba Academy titled “Ten Commandments of Continuous Improvement” and it reminded me of the great mental tools a Lean mind is …

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Hoshin Kanri

Hoshin Kanri process and how to use it

Strategic Planning With Hoshin Kanri Today’s business world is constantly evolving and changing. To be successful, one must work towards exceeding a customer’s expectations, rather than just meet them. To do so, you need a strategic plan of action that allows everyone in the organization to conceptualize a clear vision. A plan that is forward-thinking and allows for continuous improvement at all levels, especially the organization’s vital business processes. This is no easy challenge. However, …

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Hoshin Planning: Seven Step Process

Seven step process with Hoshin

As discussed in the previous post, Hoshin planning (Hoshin Kanri) is a strategic planning process with built in review, improvement, and learning activities. The process is designed to take an organization from development to the completion of a specific objective through a collaborative effort of the entire organization. Like other Lean methods, Hoshin planning gives organizations another tool for continuous improvement and culture development. The overview of Hoshin discussed in the previous post was directed …

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Poka Yoke – Mistake Proofing

There are many different things in any facility which can cause waste. One of the biggest examples of this comes in the form of mistakes. Mistakes can happen during the production of a product, which then needs to be either fixed or disposed of. Whatever the cause, mistakes are a huge waste of time and resources. This is why the concept of poka-yoke was developed back in the 1960s. Poka-yoke is a term in Japanese …

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Is Green A Byproduct of Lean?

Lean and green gear and tree eco concept

It would pretty hard pressed to find someone in the manufacturing industry that had not heard of or worked in a Lean environment. Lean methods have been on the rise for the last two decades across many industries.  If you asked someone what they’ve heard or seen as a result of Lean, chances are they will tell you about increased efficiency, reduced costs, improved customer response times and an overall improvement in productivity. Slowly but …

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Applying Lean Concepts to Every Situation

The lean manufacturing techniques which were made famous by Toyota, and used to improve the efficiency of thousands of other companies, are today being used for far more than just facility improvement. One great example of this is when Toyota in New York City decided that it wasn’t enough to simply donate money to local charities. Toyota decided that they would donate something far more valuable. Expertise and training. Toyota lean experts visited several charities …

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Implementing a Successful Lean Facility

Many facilities which want to run according to the lean standards run into a few problems during implementation. First, the person who first proposed this change is often quite excited about the opportunity, because they had just learned about the benefits of lean standards. The second problem which will have to be overcome is that most people working in the facility will be resistant to the change. People are often against any change because they …

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Waste Mnemonics 101

Wasted money can be recouped with Lean Practices

Well That’s Just Clever One of the most important skills to learn in Lean is being able to identify value from waste. Lean relies on waste reduction as a matter of progression and improvement. No matter what type of business or organization you are, if you can’t tell them apart, your chances of continuous improvement are slim. Muda- Japanese word meaning “futility; uselessness; idleness; superfluity; waste; wastage; wastefulness.” Whether you use them or not, mnemonics …

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