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 'system'
Michael Balle

Michael Ballé: Visual control as a technique and visual management as a system are essential to lean practice

By Michael Balle, co-author of The Gold Mine and The Lean Manager - Last updated: Saturday, November 8, 2014
Overall, I suspect we collectively underestimated the importance of visual control. Back in the day, many of the questions I remember from Toyota sensei where about: is this situation normal or abnormal? How can we tell? As a movement, I believe we have correctly spotted the emphasis on problem solving, but maybe not so much problem finding and problem facing – what Tracey told me Toyota calls problem awareness: how can we see we have a problem? Visual control should probably be called visual autocontrol – visual signs so that all team members can see at one glance whether they’re doing ok ...

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Karen Martin

Karen Martin: A3 to instill system thinking in the DNA of the organization

By Karen Martin, - Last updated: Thursday, September 26, 2013
Here again is an issue that has both a philosophical element to it (we're one company, not a series of departments), but it also speaks to the real, pragmatic needs organizations have for getting results. Applying the scientific method across disparate silos requires that the functions/departments first have consensus (and perhaps a sense of urgency) that the problem is worth solving and that the time is "now" to solve it. A wonderful means for driving the conversations that lead to both consensus around priorities and actual results is value stream mapping. In our book that's coming out in December, co-author Mike Osterling and I address how we use value ...

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Sandrine Olivencia

Tom Ehrenfeld: Don’t cherry pick lean principles, lean is a complete business system

By Sandrine Olivencia, - Last updated: Friday, June 28, 2013
There’s a massive amount of energy behind the lean startup “movement” today, which I find both exciting and a bit worrisome. Today I still see a gap between the loud buzz of the Lean Startup “movement” and broader cultural and widespread acceptance. N.B. when I say Lean Startup, for the time being I see this as the Lean (Software-based-Venture-chasing-Home-run-seeking) Startup. A subset of the overall startup world, to be sure, and not an unimportant one. Yet I’d like to see the learning from the Lean Startups gain broader traction. Has this community been able to codify the key principles in ...

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Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: We must think of the whole enterprise as a continually evolving system

By Jeff Liker, - Last updated: Monday, November 26, 2012
If you look at the comments of several of my colleagues about bringing lean to sales they point out how important this is--to really connect the value streams of design-build-sell--and Wiremold was brought up as a company that in its heyday had made a lot of progress at the lean enterprise level.  Personally if companies have an immature lean system in manufacturing I suggest they start there.  It is visible, involves physical changes, and the typical tool set of lean applies in a clear way.  Wiremold started in manufacturing.  Companies that try to ...

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Pascal Dennis

Pascal Dennis: The lean system comprises three ‘loops’ in fact: Design, Make, Sell.

By Pascal Dennis, - Last updated: Sunday, November 25, 2012
Hi all, Good question. Building on Orry's points, the Toyota Business System is about growth -- and not simply efficiency. And you can't grow unless Sales is engaged. The system comprises three 'loops' in fact: Design, Make, Sell. As it happens, one of my favorite Toyota senseis, Shin-san, was a sales & marketing executive! Most Lean transformations focus on the Make loop -- and sub-optimize therefore. A chaotic, lumpy sales profiles will force even the most splendid Lean factory out of its 'sweet spot.' We'll have to  buffer with inventory, lead time or capacity. Engaging Sales, as Wiremold did, entails uncovering invisible governance obstacles. Incentive structures are perhaps the most ...

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Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: Don’t confuse JIT shipping with a JIT system

By Jeff Liker, - Last updated: Monday, September 24, 2012
We did work for a JIT seat assembly plant that shipped in sequence to automotive.  They were proud of the plant for being "lean."  After all it shipped JIT.  Walking through the plant it was obvious it was far from lean.   Yes they had an assembly line for the seats and yes they shipped in the exact sequence of the auto assembly lines.  But in reality they were sequencing out of a large inventory in an automated storage and retrieval system, the standardized work and training on the assembly line were awful, the line was not well balanced, built-in quality ...

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Pascal Dennis

Pascal Dennis: Sustaining focus & momentum requires effective connected checking — our organization’s nervous system

By Pascal Dennis, - Last updated: Monday, July 16, 2012
Good question & good reflections. I would add the following. Sustaining focus & momentum requires effective connected checking -- our organization's nervous system. We call it Level 1, 2, 3 checking, Level 1 being the front line. To Sammy's point, it's hard to beat daily asaichi at the front line, supported by leader STW checking what's important. But front line asaichi needs to be connected to Level 2 & Level 3. (Some problems are beyond the scope of a front line leader.  Without a help chain, they fester.) A number of enablers & subtleties here: ·         How to differentiate between Breakthrough vs. Run the Business work & ensure ...

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Jim Huntzinger

Jim Huntzinger: Lean leaders spend the time developing the people with different knowledge, wisdom and experience to change and evolve the system and culture of the organization

By Jim Huntzinger, - Last updated: Saturday, March 3, 2012
To carry forward the points Jeff makes about differentiating between a lean leader and a traditional leader, we can also look at this from a systems view.  As Dr. Liker aptly describes a traditional leader with all the adjectives that we are familiar with; and often, these types of leaders do make changes with very good results. The longer term issue is these types of leaders rarely make the deep system changes needed to sustain the high level results.  So as soon as they depart the organization so do the high level results.  The have not spent the time developing the ...

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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: the right IT system will bring us closer to one piece flow and support kaizen

By Jeff Liker, - Last updated: Friday, September 3, 2010
If we think of the material and information flow diagram then IT is dealing with the information flow.  When we physically transform a process by moving things around we are acting on the material flow. When we transform the information presented to help make decisions we are dealing with IT whether it is in the form of an empty space on the floor, a card, or something from a computer. The concept of value stream mapping is to design the material and information flow intentionally based on defined principles to achieve a clear business purpose.  One principle isthat one piece flow is the ideal.  Another is ...

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Michael Balle

Michael Ballé: Program vs System: Lean’s ambition is to propose a full business model, not just a productivity improvement program

By Michael Balle, co-author of The Gold Mine and The Lean Manager - Last updated: Sunday, April 4, 2010
A few years ago, at the first French Lean Summit, one participant would stand up at the end of every presentation and ask “what about six sigma? Couldn’t this be done better with six sigma?” – until José Ferro, President of the Lean Institute Brasil answered with his incomparable charm that he didn’t feel competent to answer, having never worked with six sigma, but that the Toyota veterans he knew absolutely hated six sigma for its anti-teamwork spirit. The idea of having a green belt or black belt present to senior management the work of an entire team, he explained, ...

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Steven Spear

Steve Spear: The objective function in managing any system must be solving problems and learning

By Steven Spear, - Last updated: Friday, March 12, 2010
The objective function in managing any system must be solving problems and learning.  There are four principles of a 'basic science' of system design, operation, and management, which if followed, generate, sustain, and accelerate high velocity learning, improvement, and innovation. If they are not followed, learning, improvement, and innovation are compromised. (This basic science has a sound theoretical underpinning as it is rooted in the science of closed loop control and experiential and experimental learning.) Learning, improvement, and innovation are core objective functions because the complexity of the 'socio-technical' systems (e.g., groups of people, doing interdependent work, to create value for others) upon which we depend for delivering value to customers. The complexity ...

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