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Real Life Examples of the 7 Wastes of Lean

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Oct 13, 2017 12:05:32 PM

Eliminating waste is at the heart of the Lean Business methodology.  The goal of Lean is to spend more of your time creating value for customers by reducing or eliminating everything else - the waste. Several common types of waste have been identified and together represent the “7 Wastes of Lean” (sometimes expressed as "8 types of waste, including the additional "waste of human potential" or "waste of talent").

Some types of waste are fairly self-explanatory, but others can be a bit difficult to grasp. Here are some practical examples of each.

 

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Topics: Lean

Essential Elements of Effective Lean Training

Posted by Matt Banna

Oct 10, 2017 7:40:00 AM

The Lean methodology offers a very different approach to work than most people have experienced. It requires both a change in mindset and the use of various tools and techniques. Organizations that successfully adopt Lean and reap the many benefits have a number of things in common. They embrace the approach wholeheartedly, creating a Lean culture. They deploy software to support the practice, and they effectively train employees when it is introduced, when new employees join the organization, and when needed to refresh and improve the team’s understanding of lean.  

Any thorough Lean training curriculum should include these critical elements.

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Topics: Lean

Keys to a Successful Lean Construction Software Implementation

Posted by Matt Banna

Sep 19, 2017 8:33:00 AM

There are many compelling reasons to invest in Lean construction software. Companies that do so are able to reduce costs, improve safety, get projects done faster, and delight clients.

But not every Lean construction software implementation is a success.

Some organizations struggle with inadequate user adoption, poor data management, and other barriers to a smooth and effective solution roll out.

We’ve helped tons of organizations implement improvement technology and can share the best practices we’ve uncovered.

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Topics: Lean, Continuous Improvement Software

The 8 Wastes of Lean are Shockingly Common. Here are Some Examples.

Posted by Kade Jansson

Sep 14, 2017 7:25:00 AM

Eliminating waste is at the heart of the Lean business management philosophy. So much so, that there are eight defined types of waste.

Even if you are not an organization devoted to the Lean approach, it still pays to understand and be on the lookout for waste that can hurt the bottom line, slow production times, hurt customer satisfaction, and demotivate employees.

We can’t list every example of each type of waste, but perhaps considering a few will lead you to think about where you might find and eliminate waste in your organization.

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Topics: Lean

No Time for Gemba Walks? Spend More Time On Gemba Walks.

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Aug 10, 2017 7:25:00 AM

In talking with business leaders over the years, we’ve learned that Gemba Walks are a bit like eating better and getting more exercise. Everyone agrees that they are good for you, but many folks don’t get around to them. It isn’t that these leaders are lazy or unmotivated - quite the opposite. They are often busy responding to the crisis of the day and juggling multiple pressing priorities. Gemba Walks get pushed down to the bottom of the list because they aren’t associated with a deadline or urgent deliverable. But in an ironic twist, one of the best ways to ensure that you have time to visit the Gemba is to spend more time visiting the Gemba.

We’ll explain.

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Topics: Daily Improvement, Lean

Five Lean Manufacturing Principles You Might Not Know (But Probably Should)

Posted by Matt Banna

Aug 3, 2017 7:02:00 AM

Learning about Lean systems is often exciting and motivating for organizations eager to create sustainable long-term business success. One of the first things we all learn about Lean is that it was created in manufacturing, specifically within Toyota and the automotive industry. But, for those of us in fields outside of manufacturing—healthcare, construction, education, government, software and so on— the excitement of what can be accomplished with Lean sometimes leads us to skip over some of the finer Lean manufacturing principles in lieu of taking action on things with a clearer impact on our organization.

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Topics: Lean

Why Process Control Charts are a Roadmap to Improvement

Posted by Matt Banna

Aug 1, 2017 7:13:00 AM

Organizations that subscribe to the Lean or Six Sigma business methodology, and others that are devoted to continuous improvement, often use a host of visual management tools to achieve consistency and introduce positive change. Kanban, huddle boards, and value stream maps are all very popular and effective. Process control charts are another valuable visual management tool for recognizing and reacting to process variation.

Here are the details about why they are so useful.

Statistical Process Control

It is probably helpful to begin with a definition of process. A process is quite simply anything that gets done. It could be putting gas in your car, filling out a time sheet, delivering source code to QA, or checking in a patient. Each of these activities results in some output. Sometimes it is a product, but often it is a service or a deliverable to the next process. In addition to the result of the process, data is also generated. Statistical process control is the act of using that data to make the process better. The data might be related to timeliness, cost, quality, or quantity.

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Topics: Lean, Change Management, Six Sigma, Improvement Process

Implementing Lean Software? We’ve Got Tips.

Posted by Kade Jansson

Jul 5, 2017 3:36:32 PM

Most people will only be involved in a Lean software implementation once or maybe a few times. We help companies with improvement software deployment every single day. Because we’ve been around the block many times, we’ve seen what leads to success and which mistakes should be avoided at all costs. We’re happy to share what we’ve learned.

Think Beyond Software

This may be an odd thing for a software company to say, but simply providing employees with a platform to manage Lean projects will not guarantee improved business results. The practice of Lean requires a culture that supports continuous improvement, avoids blame, respects employee ideas, and rewards people who contribute to positive change. Without that foundation, it is unlikely that employees will embrace Lean whether they have the tools to do so or not.

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Get Executives Engaged

It is important for leaders to be involved in the roll out of Lean software for a number of reasons. First, their involvement sends a clear signal that the Lean methodology and the tools needed to support it are a high priority for management. Adoption will also be improved if people know that managers are using the Lean solution to make decisions and assess the performance of the organization. When people see and hear leaders referencing data from the system, they will know how it is used and make good decisions about their own inputs.

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Topics: Lean, Continuous Improvement Software

6 Principles of Lean Construction

Posted by Matt Banna

Jul 3, 2017 11:20:00 AM

A growing number of construction firms are embracing the Lean methodology that emphasizes maximizing value for the customer while minimizing waste. The approach is simple and attractive in an industry where budgets, timeframes, and safety are all critical. But the Lean approach to project delivery is very different than traditional construction methods, making proper execution of the philosophy and techniques difficult to implement.

Lean construction borrows from the manufacturing approach developed by Toyota after World War II. Of course, it is much easier to produce repeatable, forecastable results in the controlled environment of a factory floor than in the more unpredictable world of construction. Greater variation and workflow disruptions are to be expected.

It is also important to note that there is no one cookie-cutter approach to Lean construction. There are a number of tools including the Last Planner System, Integrated Project Delivery, Building Information Modeling, 5s, and Kaizen Events that can be used in combination to achieve lean. This gives practitioners a wide range of options that can be applied to each project.  

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There are, however guiding principles that help firms achieve lower costs, reduced construction times, more productivity and efficient project management. They represent a holistic approach to the construction process.

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Topics: Lean

An Introduction to Process Control Charts

Posted by Greg Jacobson

May 3, 2017 7:02:00 AM

Donald J. Wheeler, PhD is a world-renown expert in continuous improvement, having worked with W. Edwards Deming and later writing 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.

What is a Process Control Chart?

Process control charts (or what Wheeler calls "process behavior charts") are graphs or charts that plot out process data or management data (outputs) in a time-ordered sequence. It's a specialized run chart. They typically include a center line, a 3-sigma upper control limit, and a 3-sigma lower control limit. There might be 1- or 2-sigma limits drawn in, as well. The center line represents the process mean or average (and sometimes the median).

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Topics: Lean, Six Sigma, Improvement Process