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How Digital Idea Boards Accelerate Innovation

Posted by Maggie Millard

Oct 16, 2018 4:31:20 PM

We’ve written before about the reasons that traditional suggestion boxes rarely result in lasting positive change. The biggest problem is that they are just a passive receptacle for employee ideas without any structure for ensuring that every suggestion is evaluated and many are implemented. Fortunately, there is a modern alternative that is helping companies in every industry achieve continuous daily improvement and even a few breakthrough ideas. Digital idea boards are the ideal alternative to suggestion boxes or improvement spreadsheets.

Here’s how they make innovation happen faster.

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Topics: Continuous Improvement Software, Improvement Culture, Spread Continuous Improvement, Daily Lean Management, Suggestion Systems, Innovation Software

How to Have Better Team Huddles

Posted by Maggie Millard

Sep 25, 2018 8:12:00 AM

We recently had a chat with a potential client in a healthcare organization that has been doing daily team huddles for years. She has been frustrated by the lack of tangible results and the apparent disinterest of her team. People show up (unless they can find any reasonable excuse not to), but it is clear that the huddle is just one thing to check off the list each day, rather than a valuable exercise. She asked how to make the practice more useful and here’s what we recommended.

Set a Firm Time Limit

Daily huddle meetings are meant to be extremely focused and quick affairs. If you have the right measurements and technology in place (more on that in a minute), 15 minutes should be sufficient. That means that everyone will need to think ahead about what is important to discuss and stick to the most relevant topics for discussion. Keeping meetings quick makes them less burdensome and allows employees to schedule their day around them.

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Topics: Visual Management, Daily Lean Management, Improvement Process

Best Practices for Standard Work Documentation

Posted by Maggie Millard

Jul 5, 2018 8:11:00 AM

In his book, Standardized Work with TWI: Eliminating Human Errors in Production and Service Processes, Bartosz Misiurek writes, “Standard work is a process where you describe the best way of performing a given operation, improve this way, and train operators on it. As simple as it is to summarize, it is not as easy as it seems to execute.”

We couldn’t agree more. That’s why even though most leaders agree that process standardization is essential for producing quality, predictable results, when you pull back the covers, many organizations do not have standard work documented at all or have poor processes in place for keeping it accurate and up to date. That’s a shame because, without a solid foundation upon which to build and measure, improvement is elusive. We work with companies every day that have been through the process of implementing and socializing standard work. This post contains the best advice for standard work documentation that provides substantial value.

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Topics: Improvement Methodology, Improvement Process, Daily Lean Management

Is it Time to Rethink Your Daily Huddle Board?

Posted by Maggie Millard

Apr 23, 2018 10:15:46 AM

Daily huddle meetings accompanied by the visual management tool of a huddle board are a favorite improvement management technique in several business methodologies including Lean and Agile management. Industries of all types use them to help teams stay on the same page and ensure that forward momentum on improvement projects is maintained.

However, as with many other business practices, sometimes an idea comes from a good place, but over time, in practice, it no longer achieves its purpose as well as it could.

We find that situation quite a bit when it comes to huddle boards. Teams get in the habit of the daily meeting, but after a while, it becomes a thing to check off the list every day, rather than a useful, efficient approach to improvement.

Here are some questions to ask yourself about your huddle meeting and boards that will help you determine if you are on the right track or need a course correction.

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Topics: Daily Improvement, Daily Lean Management, Visual Management

9 Answers to the Most Common Questions About Gemba Walks

Posted by Matt Banna

Jan 9, 2018 7:06:00 AM

Maybe it is because it is a brand-new year, or perhaps it is the cold weather, but lately, we’ve been getting a lot of questions about the Lean management technique of Gemba walks. We compiled them for this post that we hope will be helpful for people who are new to the approach and even seasoned pros who want to get more from each visit to the workplace.

What is a Gemba Walk?

Gemba walks are an improvement technique used in the Lean business methodology and by others who are interested in continuous improvement. During a Gemba walk a supervisor, manager, or other leader goes to the place where work is done to get deeper insight into how processes are performing and to spot potential opportunities improvement. The technique is often described as:

  • Go see
  • Ask why
  • Show respect
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Topics: Daily Lean Management, Improvement Methodology

The 2017 The Lean Management System Blog Roundup

Posted by Maggie Millard

Dec 29, 2017 1:21:55 PM

As 2017 comes quickly to a close, we took a minute to look back over some of the blogs we’ve posted on one of our favorite topics, the Lean Management system. If you are interested in learning more about Lean management, or continuous improvement in general, this post is a great place to start.

We’ve curated our best content on the subject and pulled together some descriptions and excerpts.

Links to each post are provided if you are interested in learning more. Enjoy!

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Topics: Lean, Daily Lean Management, Continuous Improvement Software

"Lean Thinking" and the 5 Principles of Lean Manufacturing

Posted by Kade Jansson

May 2, 2017 7:02:00 AM

James Womack and Dan Jones are the founders of the Lean Enterprise Institute and the Lean Enterprise Academy (UK), respectively. Their book, Lean Thinking: Banish Waste and Create Wealth in Your Corporation, is considered by some to be the bible of Lean manufacturing.  It was originally published in 1996 based on their in-depth study of Toyota’s fabled Toyota Production System (TPS). Philip Caldwell Chairman and CEO of Ford from 1980-1985, said of the book, “Truly remarkable...The most comprehensive, instructive, mind-stretching and provocative analysis of any major industry I have ever known.” 

Lean Thinking lays out the five Lean manufacturing principles; value, value streams, flow, pull, and perfection.  Here’s some insight into what Womack and Jones meant by each.

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Topics: Lean, Daily Lean Management

16 Questions to Ask on Your First (or Next) Gemba Walk

Posted by Kade Jansson

Apr 24, 2017 10:09:10 AM

Toyota Chairman Fujio Cho gave a brilliantly simple description of what to do on a Gemba walk. "Go see, ask why, show respect," he said. That’s it in a nutshell. During a Gemba walk, supervisors and leaders go to the place where work is done (the Gemba). They observe (not fix) processes and activities and ask questions that will help lead to future improvements.

“Why?” is certainly an important question, but it is by no means the only one. We’ve put together a list of other questions that may be useful, especially if you are new to Gemba walks or if you are taking a look at a process for the first time. They may not all make sense in your situation, but perhaps they will trigger additional ideas.

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Topics: Gemba Walk, Daily Lean Management

Top 10 Reasons to Invest in Lean Software in 2017

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Dec 29, 2016 7:24:00 AM

One of the many things we love about this time of year is the opportunity to reflect back on what we’ve accomplished (or survived) over the past twelve months. It’s also a great moment to set the stage for success in the year to come. If you practice the Lean management approach or plan to do so in 2017, one way to ensure that you get the most out of your improvement and waste reduction efforts is to invest in Lean software. Doing so gives you a number of advantages that will amplify your results and ease the path to achieving your most important goals. Here are some of them.

Listen to this post as a podcast (subscribe to the series):



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Topics: Lean, Software, Innovation Software, Daily Lean Management

3 Ways to Get More Out of Your Huddle Boards and Meetings

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Dec 14, 2016 7:47:00 AM

Huddle boards, along with quick daily huddle meetings are popular continuous improvement techniques. They are particularly prevalent in health care organizations but can be used by companies in any industry. The purpose of the huddle board is to provide a method of visual management and involve all employees in the effort to create positive change.

We’ve had the chance to chat with many people who have introduced huddle boards with varying degrees of success. These conversations have revealed a few best practices and mistakes to avoid. Here are our top three tips for successful huddle boards and meetings.

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Topics: Lean, Daily Improvement, Daily Lean Management

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