The Lean business methodology and the concept of continuous improvement are rich topics with many interpretations and nuances. That’s why it’s not surprising that there are hundreds of blogs, books, and other resources on the topic. If you want to become emerged in Lean culture and techniques, there is no shortage of material. Here are some outstanding places to get started.
Full disclosure on this one, in addition to being an internationally-recognized expert in the field of “Lean Healthcare,” as well as a consultant, author, keynote speaker, and blogger, the author of LeanBlog.org, Mark Graban is also the Vice President of Improvement & Innovation Services here at KaiNexus. LeanBlog.org isn’t all about us, however. It is dedicated to helping hospitals and other types of organizations improve through Lean.
The Kaizen Institute Blog
The Kaizen Institute blog is dedicated to helping leaders to achieve their performance dreams through continuous improvement of people, processes, and systems. We particularly appreciated a recent post titled, “What a Lean Transition is Not …”
Gemba Academy provides extremely high quality online video training about Lean, Six Sigma, and continuous improvement for individuals and groups. By leveraging leading edge technologies, such as HD video delivered via a global network of servers on high bandwidth connections, Gemba Academy delivesr high-quality training, on demand, anywhere in the world. Gemba Academy was created by three of the leading providers of Lean transformation knowledge and services.
The Lean Professor website is all about applying the principles of Lean in higher education, but it is a great resource no matter which industry you are in. Prof. Bob Emiliani is the leading Lean practitioner in higher education. He came to academia after a lengthy career on manufacturing shop floors and has written about Lean’s history and the bigger economic impact.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Lean by Jamie Flinchbaugh and Andy Carlino
"The Hitchhiker's Guide to Lean: Lessons from the Road" reveals the most critical lessons learned over the authors' combined 30-plus years executing Lean techniques and principles. They emphasize that in order to get where you are going, you need to pay close attention to where you are. The book includes thoughtful interviews with lean practitioners on the front at Chrysler, Ross Controls, DTE Energy, RSR Corporation, and Nemak.
Lean Webinars on Demand
We have assembled a collection of informative and entertaining webinars that you can check out whenever it is convenient for you. Topics include strategy development, overcoming resistance to change, how to make time for continuous improvement, leadership tips and more.
Out of the Crisis by W. Edwards Deming
Although not necessarily about Lean per se, Out of the Crisis provides the basis for many core components of Lean management systems. Dr. Deming uses his now famous 14 Points to compel management to place long-term sustainability ahead of meeting short-term financial incentives through increasing product quality and by involving all employees in the efforts to transform the organization. The book also represents the first appearance in print of the primary model for Lean problem solving - Plan, Do, Check, Act (PDCA).
Hoshin Kanri for the Lean Enterprise
Rona Consulting Group, one of our awesome partners, has published a series of really great books about Lean, including Hoshin Kanri for the Lean Enterprise by RCG principal Thomas L. Jackson is a practical guide to improving performance in organizations by implementing hoshin kanri (also called policy deployment, strategy management, and the “balanced scorecard”). Hoshin is the master control methodology, geared perfectly to the management of the radically decentralized decision making that characterizes lean companies such as Toyota and Canon and leading healthcare organizations such as the Virginia Mason Medical Center and Park Nicollet Health Services.
There is so much helpful information out there about Lean that we could go on for days. If you are new to Lean, or ready to level up your efforts, these resources are an excellent place to start. Have other ideas for our readers? Leave a comment with your favorite Lean resources! Also, check out this lists of must-read blogs on the subject.