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Comments for The Lean Thinker

Thoughts and insights from the shop floor.

Last Build Date: Wed, 15 Nov 2017 22:29:31 +0000


Comment on Are You Overproducing Improvements? by Mark Welch

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 22:29:31 +0000

Well said, Mark. Sounds like we’re essentially on the same sheet of music.

Comment on Are You Overproducing Improvements? by Mark Rosenthal

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 17:59:38 +0000

Mark - Your last thought - that the week long event is built around travel schedules is likely right-on. Looping back around to the top of your comment: "There is a time and a place for them." I agree, sort of. All of the evidence I have suggests that the origin of these events is training rather than the primary intent to make a lot of changes. In fact, that is how I use those events today. Superficially the structure is similar. The difference is the intent. My goal is to kick-start a process of making, and discussing (using the Toyota Kata structure) a trial or improvement every day. Those daily improvements or experiments are aligned on meeting a specific target condition which, in turn, is on the way to a longer-term organizational challenge. At the end of the week, we don't have a list of action items to complete. The "change" has been more to establish and practice a new daily routine. Thus, instead of those long to-do lists (excess WIP of ideas and improvements), we have "the next step" and each step taken identifies the next step to take. Now we are doing 1:1 flow of improvements with pull(!). Your structure of breaking these things into smaller chunks is the same idea. Each chunk is tested and anchored (checked for quality, fitness-of-use, modified as necessary) before moving on to the next. Thus, you are moving toward one-by-one flow with smaller batches. The whole point, I think, is that there is a limit to how quickly an organization, ANY organization, can absorb change. Exceed that limit, and it isn't going to work. The capability to absorb change can, itself, be improved through practice.

Comment on Are You Overproducing Improvements? by Mark Welch

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 11:53:06 +0000

I like the comparison of Kaizen events to monuments. This can be very true, although there is a time and a place for them. My experience has been, though, that I’ve gotten better results and my customers have been more satisfied taking a workshop approach, with a few hours or a day as needed, breaking the improvement process up over several days, weeks, or even months, which gives the improvement process the necessary time intervals to perform needed PDSA. Leadership also has liked the way their resources aren’t consumed in large chunks of time. Kaizen events fit nicely into consultants’ schedules, though, and make big money for consulting companies ;-)

Comment on The Ecosystem of Culture by Ulises Alcázar

Thu, 09 Nov 2017 23:26:52 +0000

Hello Mark. Most of the times we ask ourselves why is not working (any lean tool implementation) in the way is supossed to be. I think we are on a long way to stop "copying and pasting solutions" and start to create adaptiveness, and create our own solutions.

Comment on Often Skipped: Understand the Challenge and Direction by Nested Organization Development Model -

Sun, 29 Oct 2017 23:32:19 +0000

[…] Was reminded of the usefulness of working to understand the outermost boundary ‘Agency Value Proposition’ while reading this on The Lean Thinker. […]

Comment on The Ecosystem of Culture by Bob Peery

Fri, 27 Oct 2017 15:23:45 +0000

Mark, Great thoughts. I really like the ecosystem analogy. When introducing Lean into a new organziaiton (environment), we don't always take the time to understand the underlying systems (management practices) that created the current environment before we begin applying Tools. I agree that implementing simple Lean tools can be extremely challenging depending on the environment.

Comment on The Ecosystem of Culture by Andrew Kidd

Fri, 27 Oct 2017 08:20:58 +0000

Wonderful insights, Mark, thanks for sharing.

Comment on There Are No Silver Bullets by John Hunter

Sat, 09 Sep 2017 13:12:18 +0000

It is somewhat amazing that nearly everyone would agree with the sentiment that there are no silver bullets but if you evaluate what they seek for management improvements they want silver bullets :-( If you like to find the silver lining amidst clouds this tendency to want magic solutions means that you can make great progress if you are willing to do the work. Others are not using well known management improvement strategies not because they don't work but because they are not silver bullets.

Comment on Creative Safety Supply: Kaizen Training and Research Page by Mark Rosenthal

Wed, 23 Aug 2017 03:45:50 +0000

Don - Good insight. On an MIT webinar that has long since vanished from the web, Steve Spear had a similar observation. The idea of a "stable period" in a product life cycle is quickly vanishing. In terms of Deming's product iteration cycle, I think it means speed it up - but without cutting corners. In a lot of cases, I think it means you are simultaneously continuously upgrading the current product, while ALSO working on the next generation (and maybe the one after that as well). It could also mean multiple tiers, like Canon does with their DSLR line - where the newest technology is actually introduced first into the lower-end consumer lines, and only after it has matured is it then moved up-line toward the high-end press grade EOS 1D line. This seems counter-intuitive but makes sense when considering the needs and purchasing habits of the various customer segments. The key, though, is it STILL has to be right when it is released. Pretty easy with software products - early releases have limited, but *fully functional* feature sets. Later releases add features. That's harder to do with hard goods, though we do see firmware upgrades doing the same thing in electronics.

Comment on Creative Safety Supply: Kaizen Training and Research Page by Don Myers

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 20:47:22 +0000

Because of reduced product lifecycle time it would of been interesting to get Deming's perspective or potential iteration. I was at one his last talks in Denver and it was great. But the dynamics of business are accelerating and new breakthroughs in these processes will be further needed. Getting to 'First Time Right" has to happen much sooner than when I was listening to Mr. Deming. A great man indeed.