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Everything Continuous Improvement

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An Introduction to Process Control Charts

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Feb 4, 2021 12:27:31 PM

Donald J. Wheeler, PhD is a world-renowned expert in continuous improvement. He's worked with W. Edwards Deming and wrote the classic book Understanding Variation. 

Wheeler once wrote and said, "Statistical Process Control is, at its heart, about getting the most from your processes. It is about the continual improvement of processes and outcomes. And it is, first and foremost, a way of thinking... with some tools attached." 

I’d like to thank him for providing the perfect quote for a blog about process control charts because measurement, control, and improvement are exactly what they are designed to enable.

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Topics: Lean, Six Sigma, Improvement Process

The Six Big Losses in Automotive Manufacturing

Posted by JJ Puentes

Jan 19, 2021 10:36:00 AM

In automotive manufacturing, there are several things you can take for granted; unfortunately, some are unwelcome. The Six Big Losses are an uninvited guest in automotive manufacturing plants everywhere. They are the wastes that rob your organization of productivity, opportunity, time, and money, often under the radar.

To counter the Six Big Losses, you have to understand them. Knowing what to look for is crucial when trying to eliminate waste in any form, especially concerning the Six Big Losses. Bringing them into the open early can help limit their ability to impact your process and allow you to reduce or rid yourself of them completely.

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Topics: Lean, Improvement Process

5 Incredibly Powerful Lean Visual Management Tools

Posted by Matt Banna

Jan 14, 2021 11:48:07 AM

Visual management tools surround us. Although they are so ubiquitous, we might not even think about them. When your car is about to run out of gas, a light will alert you to the problem. Your fitness app may even show you how close you are to your daily goal. Your brain can quickly process these visual clues and use the information to make decisions.

The Lean business approach takes advantage of this fact and leverages several powerful tools for management and improvement. You don’t have to be all in on Lean to take advantage of them. Any organization striving for continuous improvement can benefit.

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Topics: Lean, Software, Visual Management

The 7 Wastes of Lean in Healthcare

Posted by Maggie Millard

Dec 17, 2020 3:21:13 PM

Although the Lean business improvement methodology was initially developed to improve the quality and productivity of automotive factories, it has been used with great success in industries and settings of all types, including software development, government, retail, and other service settings.

Healthcare organizations, in particular, have found that the approach can be used to reduce costs and improve quality and patient satisfaction at the same time.

One of the core principles of Lean is the elimination of waste, which is defined as anything that doesn’t add value to the customer. They are as common in healthcare as they are in manufacturing. Let's take a look at the 7 wastes of Lean in healthcare:

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Topics: Lean

"Lean Thinking" and the 5 Principles of Lean Manufacturing

Posted by Kade Jansson

Dec 3, 2020 1:10:46 PM

 

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

Applying Lean Six Sigma in the Auto Manufacturing Sector

Posted by Taylor Edwards

Nov 17, 2020 12:40:20 PM

As you might guess from the name, a Lean Six Sigma methodology combines Lean manufacturing principles and those of Six Sigma. This approach to production management is popular in the automotive manufacturing industry. Although there are a few areas of caution, the methodology has helped Ford, Caterpillar, General Motors, Goodyear, and many more achieve their quality and value goals.

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Topics: Lean, Six Sigma, Improvement Process

The Right Way to Talk About Standard Work with Your Staff

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Nov 12, 2020 1:01:47 PM

We've written about standard work in the past, but it is often a topic that is overlooked or misunderstood in the continuous improvement process of many organizations, so it's definitely worth revisiting. If you’re in the process of implementing LeanKaizen, Six Sigma, or another method of continuous improvement, we strongly recommend making standard work a part of your process.

What is Standard Work?

Standard work is the practice of setting, communicating, following, and improving standards.

Establishing standard work begins with creating, clarifying, and sharing information about the most efficient method to perform a task that is currently known with everyone performing that process. Once this information has been shared, everyone practices this standard consistently so that the work is done the best way every time. This is where continuous improvement comes into play; standard work isn't a "set it and forget it" process, announced once and then permanently unchanging. Instead, everyone should work to improve the standard, and share new best practices as they're discovered.

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Topics: Lean, Leadership

An Introduction to the Lean Concept of Catchball

Posted by Maggie Millard

Nov 6, 2020 3:25:53 PM

Most of us have memories of playing the game of catch either as children or with our children. I really shouldn’t call it a “game” because there are no winners and losers. There is no defense because everyone is on the same side. One participant tries to deliver the ball to the other in a way that they will be able to grab and return it. The ability to catch and throw a ball is important because it is a foundation for success in many other more complex sports. The Lean idea of catchball involves moving ideas and information from one person or team to another and, much like catch from childhood, it forms the basis for complicated decision making and policy development.

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Topics: Lean

Examples of the 8 Wastes of Lean in Everyday Life

Posted by Maggie Millard

Oct 2, 2020 4:39:28 PM

If you are striving to become a Lean organization, waste elimination is probably near the top of your list. In fact, Lean practitioners have identified very specific types of waste, known collectively as the 8 Wastes of Lean. Certain types of waste are really easy to spot and fix, while others can remain unnoticed. We thought it might be helpful to share some practical examples of how each type of waste occurs in business and in the larger world.

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Topics: Lean, Daily Lean Management, Lean Healthcare

Why Simplicity Was Essential for CI at a Nuclear Plant

Posted by Danielle Yoon

Sep 30, 2020 9:00:00 AM

The principles of Lean and continuous improvement methodologies originated from manufacturing, but there’s no doubt that they have been applied to other industries quite successfully, such as nuclear energy. The nuclear industry believes that there is no defect or opportunity that is too small to go after, and there’s always room for improvement. This important principle is a cornerstone belief of what many refer to as a High-Reliability Organization or HRO

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Topics: Lean, Leadership, Spread Continuous Improvement

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