Caramel Corn Kaizen

Caramel Corn Kaizen

Holiday shopping last week at one of my favorite food places, Johnson’s Popcorn, I came upon a scene reminiscent of our Lean training video Toast Kaizen. After I placed my order for eighteen one-gallon buckets of caramel corn for friends and family, the Johnson’s  kitchen shifted gears from mail order sales to my take-out order.   … Continue reading

Lean Wizards

Lean Wizards

October was Lean conference month for me: First our own Northeast Lean Conference in Worcester (pronounced “Wustah”), then the international AME conference in Dallas and finally, the mid-Atlantic Lean Conference in Timonium, Maryland.   These annual assemblages of Lean wizards are themed to inspire, inform and reinvigorate true believers and newbie wannabees;  maybe not wizards, but … Continue reading

Doormats

Doormats

One of Shigeo Shingo’s popular status quo targets was engineers, whom he placed in three categories: Table engineers—those who just sit around a table and talk about problems Catalog engineers—those who think the solution to every problem can be found in a catalog Nyet engineers—those who say no to every request. (Nyet is Russian for … Continue reading

Summer Memory

Summer Memory

I was lucky that the first boss I ever had (at age 13) had much to teach at a point when I had much to learn.  Chris M. was a brilliant but illiterate Italian immigrant and fisherman who had built a landmark restaurant and marina on the bay in Ocean City, New Jersey.  That was … Continue reading

Lean By Doing

Lean By Doing

Early along, as a student of the Toyota Production System (TPS), now referred to as “Lean,” I struggled with some of the concepts and systems.  For example, Shigeo Shingo’s claim that a four-hour machine setup could be reduced to less than ten minutes made me a skeptic. “Perhaps,” I thought, “when Mr. Shingo talked about … Continue reading

Space Junk

Space Junk

Last weekend in the Nantucket ferry terminal, I passed a defunct phone booth, the ornate wooden kiosk kind that was used twenty years ago to frame a payphone, provide a modicum of privacy, and hold a phone book.   It appeared that this particular phone booth had been re-purposed to hold a suggestion box; or maybe … Continue reading