The Improvement Kata: Part 2

improve yourself

3 min read The following is the second entry into a series of ongoing posts that dive into the Improvement Kata and how its methods can help improve your lean culture. A Kata State of Mind Now that we have a basic understanding of the ideology behind the improvement kata, we can now jump into the nuts and bolts of the process. Everyday we face obstacles and challenges that we are forced to react to. It’s in our …

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The Improvement Kata: Part 1

Hoshin and catchball bring people together

3 min read The following is the first of a series of posts that will dive into the Improvement Kata and how its methods can help improve your lean culture. What is the Improvement Kata? Kata is a Japanese term describing a structured routine you practice deliberately, eventually becoming a force of habit. As a result, the kata pattern you develop becomes second nature; completed with little to no conscious effort. The improvement kata pattern is a “meta-habit,” …

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Quality is a Matter of Customer Focus

2 min read When looking at quality management in any type of company, it is important to understand what exactly is meant by quality.  While this might seem like a question with an obvious answer, it is actually somewhat more complex than most people would think.  Quality will mean something different to each industry and even each company within an industry.  There are many factors which can go into determining what quality is and how it should be …

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Beginners Guide to Lean

2 min read While every business has a different set of products or services they produce, they are all really looking for the same thing. Profit is the motivating force behind every successful business, which is why they are always looking for ways to improve product and reduce waste. Lean manufacturing has helped many companies implement successful cost-cutting measures which can help eliminate waste while improving the service. All facilities which produce any type of good or service …

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Meetings Can Be Wasted Time

3 min read Meetings can be a source of wasted time if not organized and conducted properly. Most organizations waste up to 20% of their payroll on bad meetings based on employee wage and time spent in meetings. Meetings can be described as wasteful if any or all of the following things occur within the meeting: Meet and there is no discussion Meet and discuss but no decision is made Meet and decide but no one follows through …

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5th Lean Continuous Impovement Series for Manufacturers


3 min read We were very heartened to see that good educational opportunities continue for those manufacturing firms that are concerned about and dedicated to the practice of Lean Continuous Improvement. The 5th installment of the series offered by IMEC and Kishwaukee College proved itself to be a success and a good recurring example of how progress, interest and finally examples of the 5S philosophies are being created through this great forum. IMEC considers itself to be an …

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Motivate Others to Motivate Themselves

2 min read Workplace motivation is one of those topics which seem to be constantly discussed by managers, written about by authors and sometimes even laughed at by employees.  Every employer motivates the employees to do some sort of work.  At the simplest level this is just a paycheck, but for successful companies it needs to be much more than that.  Understanding motivation is essential to get the best performance out of your team and also to help …

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Lean Management

2 min read Slapping the word ‘lean’ in front of anything in the manufacturing world today is getting quite popular, and while some of it may be over stepping on the part of individuals there is something to be gained from looking at lean management.   With lean strategies being implemented primarily to help reduce waste and improve profitability, applying these concepts to management positions is a perfect fit.  This is especially true because in the majority of cases …

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Streamlining E-Mail Communication

email communications

2 min read E-Mail is being used for a lot of communications in virtually every type of business today from the high tech companies to factories and manufacturing facilities.  While E-Mail is certainly an amazing technology which has a lot of important uses, it has become a huge waste of time for many people and companies over the past several years.  Many companies are using e-mail in an extremely inefficient manor which causes hours of wasted time every …

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Make Small Changes – One at a Time

small changes lead to big ones

2 min read When starting to implement lean strategies in a facility many people are tempted to make sweeping changes to the way everything works.  While there are undoubtedly many problems or opportunities for improvement in just about every workplace it is important to address these problems in a calm and rational manner which will promote the ongoing improvement.  Changing one thing at a time is important for a variety of reasons both obvious and hidden. Why Small …

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