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Avoiding hiring debacles with standard work

I was fortunate last week to join the Lean Enterprise Institute for a gemba walks class at TaylorMade Golf. While they will be the first to admit that they have a long way to go before they can be considered a lean organization, I was struck by the emphasis placed on standard work. TaylorMade’s business is highly seasonal, which means that each year they have to hire—and train—large numbers of new workers. (Volume from the low...

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Your lean transformation is going to fail.

Are you considering a lean transformation? Don't bother. You're probably going to fail. The truth is, most companies are temperamentally unsuited for lean. Maybe management doesn’t have the patience and long-term outlook to stick with anything for more than a year. Maybe the executive team sees lean as just an HR program, or something that they can hand off to the quality department. Or perhaps the company’s leaders aren’t...

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Where's Martin Luther When You Need Him?

Latin was the language of the Catholic Church for over 1000 years. Conducting the mass and printing the bible in Latin, a language that the laity didn’t understand, required a priest to act as an intermediary between god and man. It took Martin Luther, the Protestant Reformation, and Vatican II to bring the language of religion into the vernacular. The lean community is in a similar position of the church prior to Luther. The...

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What Problem Are You Trying to Solve?

The soul-deadening excesses of corporate 5S tyrants continues to astonish me. While leading a workshop at a healthcare client last week, I learned that two of their internal lean champions—and I use that term VERY loosely—had become tin-pot 5S dictators. One of these so-called lean leaders forbade anyone to have more than a single personal photo on their desk. Another dim bulb insisted that everyone put blue tape outlines around...

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What you can learn from Marie Kondo

The Life-Changing Mindset of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo has sold 2 million copies worldwide. It’s the top seller in the New York Times “advice and how-to” category. It’s the number one seller overall on Amazon right now. 5S for Operators by Hiroyuki Hirano, who in many ways is the father of 5S, ranks number 129,268 in books on Amazon. Ron Taylor’s 5S: Workplace Organization and Process Design Using Lean 5S checks in at number...