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 'process'
Tracey Richardson

Tracey Richardson: A good goal to start with is a 70% value add process

By Tracey Richardson, - Last updated: Monday, February 9, 2015
In the past several months I have had this question come up actually in different industries. So how should one determine or "calculate" value add percentage within a process (micro)? This can be subjective depending upon what you are measuring and how, but I know, based on my Japanese sensei's, you can weave through a process and determine its value add and non value add content/percentages if you are conditioned to see it and categorize it. In manufacturing type work, by nature, can be easier to "see". In M & I flow (for example) the ...

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The Lean Edge

The Lean Edge: What should be the target value-add percentage in a process?

By The Lean Edge, - Last updated: Monday, February 9, 2015
What should be the target value-add percentage in a process?
Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: One of the first aims should be to develop people to use a systematic process for improvement

By Jeff Liker, - Last updated: Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Many, many people have been in your situation. The top wants lean, which they have some understanding of from somewhere, and they want you to go get it. “Develop a plan. Find a consultant.” You are correct that there are almost as many flavors of lean as there are consultants. And who knows what flavor your management got exposed to from the conference they attended, or the board member, or the COO who had an experience in a previous firm. Who knows what they expect? Operational excellence? Quick wins in cost reduction to please the owners by the end of ...

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Jim Huntzinger

Jim Huntzinger: It’s in the Relationship Process – Production and Product

By Jim Huntzinger, - Last updated: Saturday, February 23, 2013
I will post my answer in more of a story form – probably more appropriately my “comments,” as I am not sure there is a very specific answer.  And, in my experience, Michael is correct in the “much larger impact” product development can have on an organization financially.  (Although the significant financial impact results from improved and better processes, not from managing the financials per se.) Developing better product development, PD, come from many angles – as Art spelled out quite well in his post.  The old (and frustrating comment for many folks) comment, “It depends,” which Art, I believe, is ...

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Jean Cunningham

Jean Cunningham: Include finance/accounting in the lean product development process

By Jean Cunningham, - Last updated: Monday, February 18, 2013
If you have read about Lantech in the Womack and Jones, Lean Thinking, then you know that our application of lean principles in the product development processes yielded huge reductions in lead time.  And what better way to enhance margins than to have the first product to the market! However, the recommendation I have as you launch LPD, is to include Finance/Accounting as an essential team member.  There are two reasons: first, the finance person can help gather the financial information needed for target costing and evaluate cost impact of different design alternatives. ...

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Art Smalley

Art Smalley: Toyota and the Ringi-sho Process

By Art Smalley, - Last updated: Wednesday, January 2, 2013
In all honestly I was not very excited to answer this question. I think a huge problem with the Lean movement in general is falling prey to Japanese buzzwords (Ringi, Nemawashi, Houshin Kanri, A3, Hansei, Yokoten, Yamazumi, Kamishiai, Muda, Kanban, Heijunka, etc.), and hyping a concept or practice. Buzzwords fail to create a practical improvement methodology in terms that all organizations can embrace. That shortcoming in my opinion turns off large segments of the population and ultimately fails to get down to first principles for improvement as I have stressed repeatedly in the past. So in that spirit I would ...

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Tracey Richardson

Tracey Richardson: Ringi-sho is the formal approval process linked to hoshin kanri

By Tracey Richardson, - Last updated: Saturday, December 29, 2012
I will have to admit when I saw the word Ringi in this question, it brought back many memories of my time at Toyota (TMMK).   It's not a word I've used or heard much since my time there, even though the thinking behind it could be more common if expressed differently. As others have mentioned above Ringi or (Ringi-sho) is not necessarily a Toyota creation, it is a Japanese term which when translated (with help from John Shook) means: A high-level formal authorization/approval process, usually for major policy matters, major projects and represents formal agreement (through nemawashi) of the authorizing parties (always including finance).  It ...

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Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: Ringi is a formal process of writing up a proposal and getting it approved

By Jeff Liker, - Last updated: Sunday, December 23, 2012
This question is a little different then some in that it asks about the connection between a group of Japanese words.  Not every organization is enthusiastic about learning new Japanese words as the lean lexicon is complex enough.  Actually these are really very old words, and both ringi-sho and nemawashi are not specific to Toyota, but to Japanese management more generally.  Anyone who was studying Japanese management back in the 1980s when the quality movement was in full gear learned these concepts--though in the abstract apart from a system. As you will see from the answers from some of my colleagues ...

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Dave Brunt

Dave Brunt: Purpose, Process, People in Sales

By Dave Brunt, - Last updated: Thursday, December 20, 2012
My initial reaction, when first reading this question is to quote the famous phrase from the Training Within Industry materials – “If the learner hasn’t learned, the teacher hasn’t taught.” However this is a good question and one that deserves some discussion. As someone who has spent 14 years helping create examples of lean in car dealerships I have some hypotheses and some experience of the challenges of implementing lean in sales. Obviously understanding the root cause of failure is situational but here are my general observations. 1. Purpose is not always clearly understood. Different customers are at different stages in their ...

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Jean Cunningham

Jean Cunningham: If we focus on eliminating the wastes associated with the selling process first, we can capture the imagination that lean and sales are great partners!

By Jean Cunningham, - Last updated: Monday, November 26, 2012
Lean failing to capture the imagination of the sales team…what a question!  Our sales team loved the fast lead times. Our sales team loved the improved quality. Our sales team loved rapid pace of new product offerings. We loved to leverage the web for selling.  But just as every other department outside of manufacturing, the improvement cycle was not grasped without some tangible structured introduction of the power of eliminating waste in the process.  The sales team was certainly interested in activities that would make the sales job easier:    getting marketing ...

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Jean Cunningham

Jean Cunningham: Walk through the process

By Jean Cunningham, - Last updated: Sunday, June 24, 2012
The first activity I would suggest is just walking a quote through until the order is completed, invoiced and recorded. Talk to the people about what their steps are.  Ask what they spend their time doing.  Ask how long it takes to do the main purpose (the value add) of the task, and then how long to do the task overall.   Ask which parts of the task are done in the IT system and what tasks are also done on spreadsheets. Ask how many emails are created to do the job.  I bet you will be worn out!   And ready to take action.
Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: A Lean Leader strengthens the business by developing people through coaching process improvement at the gemba

By Jeff Liker, - Last updated: Saturday, March 3, 2012
A Lean Leader strengthens the business by developing people through coaching process improvement at the gemba. When we think of a traditional leader with adjectives like charismatic, decisive, visionary, inspiring, tough, bold, and transformational.  This is a western interpretation of the leader as the individual who changes the game, turns the company around, makes the tough decisions, and gets results, results, results.  When we see results, and especially when we see a turnaround in the performance of a company, it is the CEO who gets interviewed and talked about.  It is understandable that Western leaders have big egos since they are ...

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Jeff Liker

Dan Jones: Assess along purpose (results), process (means), people (learning) framework of a lean management system

By Jeff Liker, - Last updated: Sunday, January 22, 2012
Lean adds new perspectives to the traditional ways of assessing executive performance, namely Results and People skills, and adds a third process or value stream dimension. These mirror the purpose (results), process (means), people (learning) framework of a lean management system. The lean logic behind this is that you need knowledgeable people running tightly integrated end-to-end value streams and projects to deliver results that will be sustained. In other words, good people running a good process generate good results. This also provides the right basis for redesigning these products, value streams and business models as circumstances change. A lean assessment starts ...

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Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: What are they trying to achieve, what is the process to get there, what concrete actions are they taking

By Jeff Liker, - Last updated: Saturday, December 17, 2011
The obvious answer is that it depends.  Any of us who have had Japanese sensei had heard that a lot.  So what does it depend on.  First, it depends one the strategic business purpose of the organization--external.  Second, it depends on the organization's goals for people and culture development-internal.  Third, it depends on the current maturity of the organization to meet the business objectives.  In other words I would want to know what the executive is trying to achieve, how they are thinking about the process of getting there, and what concrete actions they are taking--the hows.   It is critical ...

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Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker:continually assessing what customers want, striving for perfection in satisfying customers and in every aspect of our production and service process, developing in people the ability and motivation to detect and solve deviations from perfect one-piece flow, leaders who are developing in people the ability to continuous improve, and a long-term value of the enterprise on satisfying customers and contributing to society.

By Jeff Liker, - Last updated: Monday, November 22, 2010
As you know Wikipedia is a kind of public free-for-all in how different topics get defined and analyzed and this person got there and took the time to write something so I give them credit. In a book I and coauthors just completed that will be out in the winter, entitled:  The Toyota Way to Continuous Improvement, we argue that we may have misled the public through definitions of lean that focus on waste reduction.  If I may use a quote from that book: "At the risk of sounding disrespectful, what do all these people think they are doing by leaning ...

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Jean Cunningham

Jean Cunningham: Poka Yoke in an administrative process

By Jean Cunningham, - Last updated: Wednesday, August 4, 2010
After introducing the concept of Jidoka, specifically the element of poke yoke or mistake proofing, a kaizen team came up the following improvement: At the hospital, when an employee goes on worker's compensation, their pay is no longer via payroll system, but though worker's compensation insurance provider. However, the supervisors, who did not have experience with this very often (thank goodness!) where unclear about whether they should put the employees' hours in the payroll system as sick time, or as unworked time. Previously this problem was supposed to be avoided based on education; but that wasn't working well. Education of rules rarely works when you have to apply the ...

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Kevin Meyer: Any upsides/downsides to relying on JM/TWI process deconstruction as kaizen? Yes it works… but I can already see the limitation with non-documented processes

By , - Last updated: Sunday, July 18, 2010
A few of the thinkers and authors on this page have actually been in my operations, and I've used Michael's The Lean Manager as required reading in our lean book club.  We're a multi-site process (extrusion/molding) medical contract manufacturer, four or five years down a successful lean journey that has made us more agile and competitive, with great 5S, value stream organization, daily accountability, etc.   But one big struggle has been basic kaizen - creating the culture and finding the time.  Over the past couple years with help from Art Smalley we've successfully dived into TWI.  Now it seems like ...

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Art Smalley

Art Smalley: People, Product, & Process Improvement

By Art Smalley, - Last updated: Thursday, May 13, 2010
The difference between innovation and lean will depend a lot upon semantics and whose definition of "innovation" and "lean" we are using. For whatever reason the innovation tag seems to be applied a lot in situations where people are looking to improve products. The lean tag seems to get applied to factories trying to improve production processes. Successful companies though will need to work upon improving products, processes, and their people as well. In Toyota the concepts of respect for people and continuous improvement (Kaizen) are the pillars of the system. Kaizen has a strange connotation to me at least here ...

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Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: Inventory Reflects Variation In the Process

By Jeff Liker, - Last updated: Thursday, April 22, 2010
One way to think about it is like a tight rope walker.  You would not want an amateur trying it without a net.  It takes a great deal of talent to earn you way to increasing the height and eventually eliminating the net.  The equation for calculating inventory in lean is pretty conventional--enough inventory to handle the replenishment time plus safety stock.  The amount of safety stock needed depends on how stable the consuming operation is and how stable the supplying operation is.  In other words, more variability means more need for inventory.  The goal of TPS is not zero ...

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