Filed under Old Lean Dude

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

Consult with Humility

Consult with Humility

A friend and colleague remarked to me recently “You know the Lean market has become mature,” implying a depth and breadth of Lean understanding in industry that I have rarely seen myself. Standardized work, for example, almost always looks like time setting to me, an occasional and cursory exercise by industrial engineers to shave seconds … Continue reading

Profitless Part Proliferation

Profitless Part Proliferation

I wrote a post a little more than five years ago about Variety Reduction Program (VRP), an amazing but little known product design optimization tool.  At the time I referred to VRP as an idea whose “time had not yet come.”  Last week, as I gave a short presentation on VRP, I realized that five … Continue reading