Stagnation Nation

January 7, 2014



Twenty years ago, I was introduced to a graphical method for, as it was put to me, “sharing what you see” with others. It was referred to as a material and information flow diagram, or M&I for short. Brian S., a consultant from TSSC who was assisting my factory, pointed to a diagram he had […]

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One by One

December 19, 2013


big batch

Preface: A Christmas present from a lean-thinking friend, Brian Dandrea at Mass Mutual Insurance, is the inspiration for this week’s post. Those of you who have seen the Toast Kaizen video will remember the big batch of toast I make in my deluxe four-slice toaster. For years that toaster has been the metaphor for wrong-sized […]

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It’s a Small World After All

December 9, 2013



[Many thanks to Gerry Cronin and Julieanne Brandolini for passing along the following story about sharing between industry and healthcare.   Gerry manages the Lean Program at the Center for Comparative Medicine (CCM), the Biomedical Research division at the Massachusetts General Hospital, one of the largest programs of its kind in the US.  CCM has been […]

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Clearing the Bar

December 2, 2013



When I was fifty years younger and fifty pounds lighter I tried my hand at pole vaulting, a peculiar track and field event that involves running at full speed with a heavy pole (at that time still rigid aluminum) in hand, planting the pole at the last second with jarring force on the body, hurling […]

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Thankful for Inventory

November 25, 2013



I heard a tongue-in-cheek radio ad for a local tobacco shop yesterday extolling the secondary benefits derived from tobacco, namely the tobacco sales tax.  Supposing the moneys actually go to fund their publicized causes (road and bridge improvements, aid to expectant mothers and of course a mandated marketing campaign decrying the dangers of tobacco) we […]

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Half Full or Half Empty?

November 8, 2013



I’ve always felt the need to accentuate the positive, something I think I picked up from my mother.  In tense situations she would always interject “Isn’t it a beautiful day,” a comment that usually generated laughter and reduced tensions.  While this seems like an admirable quality, I discovered one day that it should not be […]

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Innovation Centennial

October 11, 2013



   This week marks the one hundredth anniversary of the introduction of a moving assembly line at Henry Ford’s Highland assembly plant, an innovation that inaugurated mass production.   Ford was not the first to build cars in an assembly line.  Ransom Olds did that first in 1902, and Ford copied him.  And, according to Ford himself, […]

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