Lean Frontiers: Are they differences in getting middle management on board from getting executive management support?
Are there differences in getting middle management from executive management on board for 1) developing the lean enterprise and 2) direct engagement on their part? What are the differences, if any?
Posted on May 9, 2015
Archives by Tag 'problem'
Mark Graban

Mark Graban: No time for improvement? Then find time

By Mark Graban, - Last updated: Sunday, March 30, 2014
The Lean Edge: How do you make time for improvements? As CEO of my company I have a grasp of lean and have experienced it in my career, but now that I'm CEO, I find it difficult to ask my people to make time for improvement work. They’re already completely busy doing their regular work. Moreover, this company is in the outdoor sports industry, and many people join these companies because they want time to climb, backpack, canoe, etc., and I'm reluctant to ask them to work more hours and sacrifice time for these activities. Any advice?" It's a very common complaint ...

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Daniel Markovitz

Daniel Markovitz: Start by identifying a specific problem to solve

By Daniel Markovitz, - Last updated: Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Start with lean by identifying a specific problem to solve — preferably one that has a serious impact on the company’s ability to serve its customers. One company I know that has made incredible strides started its journey with the president (upon seeing their D/C filled to the ceiling with unshipped goods), setting a corporate goal for same-day shipment of orders. Once a problem has been identified, I believe that introducing the A3 as a tool to solve that problem is a great way to start. Doing an A3 correctly necessitates going to the gemba; engaging in conversation; showing respect; ...

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Pascal Dennis

Pascal Dennis: What problem are we trying to solve?

By Pascal Dennis, - Last updated: Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Very good question. Here are some thoughts for posting How Do I Start with Lean? I'd suggest you begin by asking the most basic & difficult question: "What problem are we trying to solve?" Growth? Profitability? Throughput? Quality? Safety? What are possible causes? Malignant market forces? Core technologies at risk of becoming obsolete? Empty new product pipeline? Decaying factories? Apathetic, stagnant or hostile work force? Dysfunctional mental models? You can begin your analysis with analytical tools, but please, get out of your office and confirm your analysis by seeing root causes with your own eyes. Thereby, you'll begin to develop a deeper understanding the chessboard, and of root causes ...

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Art Smalley

Art Smalley: Dynamics of Problem Solving

By Art Smalley, - Last updated: Wednesday, September 25, 2013
This particular questions asks why it is so hard to cooperate across functions to solve problems by using the scientific method. Not the exact wording but close enough for short discussion. Problem solving via any method (scientific method or otherwise) is not all that simple when you stop and problem solve the process of problem solving. At least I have never found that to be the case. Solving actual production or engineering problems is far simpler and more straightforward. An actual answer on this topic could take dozens of pages and examples but I will at least outline some short ...

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Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: A problem can be a treasure if leaders make efforts to eliminate fear of failure

By Jeff Liker, - Last updated: Saturday, April 6, 2013
Certainly any tool or approach, technological or social, can be used for good or evil and people with power generally make the difference.   In a positive environment, that is fertile for lean, leaders makes a great effort to eliminate fear of failure.  It is often said that "a problem is a treasure."  This does not mean that you want to generate problems for the sake of creating treasures, but that finding one that is occurring and surfacing it is a treasure because now you can solve it. I was in an office ...

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Tracey Richardson

Tracey Richardson: Train to the what-how-why model when you make changes then there is more time to spend on proactive problem solving than reactive

By Tracey Richardson, - Last updated: Monday, March 18, 2013
This was a thinking process I had to get used to at Toyota, we never got to "settled in" before something changed on us.   At first it was frustrating, but then as the purpose was explained it became the "norm" then it was expected for us to do this without being told, you know, like our "job" imagine this :).  This was something that was evolutionary because you never were complacent to just be happy with maintaining, if you did, you were expected to "purposely create a gap".  Think about that, what type of organization makes a problem ...

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Jeff Liker

Dan Jones: Lean problem solving and teamwork

By Jeff Liker, - Last updated: Friday, May 27, 2011
There is more to problem solving and teamwork in a lean organisation. This was brought home last week during another Gemba walk through a plant making fast moving consumer goods. As we snaked our way past a maze of hoppers, ovens, pipes and packaging lines it became clear than nothing was visible at all, to me or to the managers accompanying me. I kept asking what was today's plan, were they behind or ahead, what were the biggest problems and what actions were they taking to address them. The managers I was with could only answer these questions by going ...

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Art Smalley

Art Smalley: A Continuing Definition Problem

By Art Smalley, - Last updated: Monday, January 3, 2011
This somewhat loaded question follows the previous one involving a commonly used but narrow and inaccurate depiction of lean manufacturing as simply “waste reduction”.  A similar problem occurs if you simply claim that Lean considers expenditure of resources other than for creation of value to be wasteful. As I attempted to explain previously somewhat tongue in cheek most depictions fall short of describing the Toyota Production System due to the broad area that the system covers. I'll answer the question in two parts articulating why I think there is an embedded misconception in the question and then reflect upon what ...

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Mike Rother

Mike Rother: Is There a Difference Between Problem Solving and Kaizen?

By Mike Rother, - Last updated: Sunday, October 31, 2010
Question:  What's the difference between problem solving and kaizen? In a recent post here on The Lean Edge, a friend and colleague suggests there is a technical difference between problem solving and kaizen, stating: “Are you closing a gap to a known standard that was previously being met or are you raising the standard of a capable process? Each situation requires slightly different techniques and thought processes.” He also points out that: “In product development in contrast objectives might include making lighter engines which burn more cleanly and have less noise or vibration. Each department is different in this regard.” Many people have said ...

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Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: The key to Jidoka: small span of control and a disciplined method of problem solving

By Jeff Liker, - Last updated: Saturday, August 21, 2010
"Jidoka" is not a single thing you implement.  It is one of the two main pillars of TPS.  Just-in-time is a complex set of tools, principles, and disciplines and Jidoka is certainly nothing less.  The original concept came from Sakichi Toyoda's loom that stopped itself when there was a quality problem, which also separated the operator from the machine, allowing operators to run multiple machines and do more value added work.  In modern Toyota plants it is often translated into the andon system of line stopping and quick response to problems one by one.  I think of it is building ...

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Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: All Companies Need Problem Solving Tools Based On Deming’s PDCA

By Jeff Liker, - Last updated: Sunday, April 4, 2010
The relationship between lean and six sigma  is one of my favorite topics....Not!  It is fitting that this question came at Easter time which is famous for the Easter egg hunt.  Let's assume that lean eggs are red ones and  six sigma eggs are blue ones.  If you gather only the red eggs you will have an imbalance.  It will allow you to gather the eggs very quickly and efficiently but the red eggs are all different sizes and therefore there is a lot of variation.  On the other hand the blue eggs are very uniform so gathering some of ...

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Michael Balle

Michael Ballé: A heroic “line stop” or has Toyota lost its way? Toyota’s unique contribution to management is collaborative problem solving, so Toyota is at its most interesting when it has problems!

By Michael Balle, co-author of The Gold Mine and The Lean Manager - Last updated: Sunday, January 31, 2010
There are two extreme ways of reading current Toyota events. From the lean perspective, Toyota is reacting to an exceedingly rare problem by stopping its sales, production and organizing its largest recall ever – regardless of the impact on its cherished quality reputation. Or in reading the press, the story is that the US government has finally forced Toyota to deal with a problem the company has been trying to fudge consistently and the accelerator issue is a red herring to divert attention and blame to a Canadian supplier from the real issue of sudden acceleration that Toyota has been ...

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