Lean Society

Lean Society

“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” This quote from George Orwell’s political allegory, Animal Farm, occurred to me recently as I listened to a design engineer explain to me how he was taught in college that engineers have a special responsibility to help their less able co-workers.  Not intending to single out engineers or generalize from one data point, … Continue reading

The Final Frontier

The Final Frontier

On May 5, 1961, Alan Shepard became the first US astronaut to journey to the “final frontier.”  Atop a Mercury rocket, Shepard launched into a fifteen-minute suborbital journey reaching an altitude of about one hundred miles before returning to earth.  His space capsule, Freedom 7, was a wonder of science weighing a little more than … Continue reading

Systems Tinking

Systems Tinking

Don’t let the policy books gather dust; review and update them often. To use a metaphor from knitting, check and adjust your systems one thread at a time. Don’t let the knitting unravel. Continue reading

Reflecting on Waste

Reflecting on Waste

For me, Taiichi Ohno and Shigeo Shingo are a bit like the Lennon and McCartney of waste elimination. Together they frame the technical and social sciences of what we call Lean today. Taiichi Ohno tells us there are seven wastes that account for 95% of the elapsed time between “paying and getting paid.”  Most Lean students utilize … Continue reading

Higher Targets

Higher Targets

We brainstormed a few scenarios that would demonstrate the spirit and method of Improvement Kata, and settled on a theme, which later became the title for our DVD: “Teaching Anna to Drive.” Continue reading

Cartwheels

Cartwheels

Moveable storage becomes an option when material staged in front of a process has overflowed to a point that it must be staged in the aisles; funny that this is called “work in process.” Continue reading