Tag Archives: northeast shingo prize conference

Rowing II

Many managers ask me “How can I accelerate my company’s Lean transformation?”  My answer is two fold:  First get the direction right, and then get everyone rowing in that direction.

rowingOne of my posts from about three years ago (worth reading for context if you don’t remember it), entitled Rowing, relates a story about the second point, “getting everyone rowing.” The rowing analogy was shared with me (on a cocktail napkin) by Ryuji Fukuda, a Deming Prize Winner and author of Managerial Engineering (after 25 years, still one of the best Lean transformation books.)

Dr. Fukuda advocated that to get everyone rowing, it’s important first to provide full support for the “red-faced” employees, the ones who are already rowing, and second to find ways to engage those who are “in the boat but not yet rowing.”  As for the employees who are not even in the boat: Spending time with them is insulting to the employees who are already in the boat.

As a manager who spent far too much time trying to gather in “the lost sheep,” at the expense of the red-faced employees, this was an important lesson for me.

What was missing from the 1990 cocktail napkin rendering, however, was the “right direction” piece.   Today, many organizations provide alignment through a variety of policy deployment tools, town hall meetings, morning huddles and such.  But are these various mechanisms sufficient?  The Pied Piper of Hamelin, after all, provided total alignment for the town’s rat population, running them all over a cliff.  Taiichi Ohno, regarded as the primary creator of TPS (aka Lean), recognized that an organization’s philosophy must precede its strategy.  More recently that philosophy was put forth by the Toyota Production System Support Center with a further analogy:  True North – a set of fundamental guiding principles for transforming your organization.

So I’ve taken artistic liberty to add management into the boat. The red-faced manager at the helm is first making sure the boat’s heading is True North, and then doing his/her best to get everybody in the boat rowing in that direction.

rowing 2

True North is the theme for this year’s annual Northeast Region Shingo Prize Conference in Hyannis, Massachusetts.  It’s only a week away now.  Please don’t miss this very affordable opportunity to share with and learn from over 600 lean experts and practitioners how True North principles can transform your organization.

Check out the official daybook here and sign up today.  I’ll be looking for you  : )


Northeast Shingo Prize Conference Information Page


Click to Register

We apologize for the horrible timing however GBMP’s websites are undergoing intermittent maintenance (gbmp.org and neshingoprize.org). In the meantime, we are making all of the information about the upcoming Northeast Shingo Prize Conference available here, to make sure you have access to it whenever you need it. (Please note that our online store for terrific lean training products, www.shopgbmp.org, is still open for business. )

Conference Overview

“True North,” an idiom that emerged from Toyota twenty years ago, connotes the compass for Lean transformation, a set of guiding principles that give purpose and direction to the technical aspects of operational excellence.  Two decades later, while many organizations have gained a modest benefit from Lean technical improvements, the power of True North principles has eluded them.  Most have hit plateaus well below their potentials, unable to sustain improvement and receive the full benefits of Lean transformation. But a few organizations outside of Toyota have emerged as True North beacons; companies that have learned Lean tools are necessary, but not sufficient to create sustainable improvement.  The 2013 Northeast region Shingo Prize Conference will focus on successful application of True North principles, bringing together managers, shop floor teams, and industry experts from these successful North American lean transformations to share their True North success stories – the obstacles they faced in setting a new course to world class and the success they gather once on course. The Northeast region Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence, sponsored by GBMP an education partner of the Shingo Prize will celebrate its 25th anniversary of the Prize at its annual conference September 24-25 at the Hyannis Resort & Conference Center, in Hyannis, Massachusetts. Our theme for 2013:  “True North – set your course and make waves”.

The event features four Keynotes -(Gary Peters from OC Tanner, Dr. John Toussaint from Thedacare, Art Byrne, author of The Lean Turnaround and Tom Hartman from Autoliv), four new hands-on lean training simulations, a dozen companies in The Community of Lean Lounge, twelve super sponsors, 40+ break out sessions, a super fun party with live music, The Silver Toaster for Employee Engagement in Lean presentation, and the best lean networking and benchmarking all year long! Did we mention it’s on gorgeous Cape Cod, in Hyannis Massachusetts! Click here for info on getting to Hyannis and lodging.

So, should you attend? YES!
Need more convincing? Check out the below links –

The Agenda at a Glance
A Brief Video about the Event
Preview the actual Daybook

Note the Inflation Buster pricing below – same prices as 2012!
And NEW this year: register online & pay with a credit card. How convenient!
We also permit attendees to “split” tickets….send a different person each day, only $100 more.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call us at 617-287-7630

When/Who GBMP Member Pricing Non Member Pricing
Registration $825 $875
Shingo-by-the-Pool Party $35 $35

The easiest way to register is online HERE

Or call us at 617-287-7630 to register over the phone.

Seeing the Invisible

[This post celebrates the product launch for a great new book Seeing The Invisible, authored by GBMP’s friend and collaborator, John Kravontka, and published by GBMP.]

seeinginvisibleSummer time is synonymous for me with a trip to the amusement park.  I took my twins to Wonderland Park when they were just four years old, a déjà vu experience that transported me be back fifty years.  As my kids climbed onto the fire engine ride, I realized that this was the very same ride that I had loved when I was four years old.  Amidst the other high speed, high tech amusements, the fire engines existed in sharp relief, harkening to a simpler time period when children’s imagination required fewer bells and whistles.  Not being an especially nostalgic person, I was nonetheless impressed by the staying power of this simple amusement.  A line of enthusiastic children still waited in queue for this ride; same as when I was a kid.

Last summer, I noticed someone working on the fire engines just before the park opened for business, and felt compelled to let him know, “This ride is older than me.  I used to ride these engines when I was a kid. How do you keep them in such good shape?”

The maintenance tech smiled and replied, “We take care to lubricate the moving parts and we pretty much know what wears and when service will be needed.  These old engines don’t do much, but they’ve carried delighted kids for millions of miles. I would expect that your grandchildren will also be riding these engines at some point.  We’ve learned a lot about them over the years and we keep them in better than new condition.”

More recently, I had a similar exchange at a local factory with a machine shop manager.  Pointing to an ancient grinding machine, the manager echoed the thoughts from the amusement park:  “This old grinder doesn’t do much – no bells or whistles like many of our newer machines – but what it does do it does very consistently.”   “How do you keep it in such good shape?” I asked.  His reply: “We know this machine very well, where and when it will need service.  We treat it well and it returns the favor.”

Thoughtful preventative maintenance, be it at an amusement park, a factory, a laboratory or an operating room, creates a stable environment that favors safety, productivity and continuous improvement.  Yet, regular PM continues to be more of an exceptional condition rather than the norm.  There are so many simple opportunities to maintain equipment that just hide in plain sight, invisible to operators and maintenance techs.  The costs too are hidden in longer run times, injuries, defects, customer service and employee frustration.

Is your de facto standard  “run to failure”?   Do you see the simple opportunities to maintain your equipment in better than new condition or are they invisible to you?  Please share a story — and check out Seeing the Invisible, on sale beginning Monday July 29, 2013 at www.shopgbmp.org.


BTW:  Don’t forget…August 13 is my second webinar, “Tea Time with the Toast Dude”, 3:00 – 3:45 pm (Eastern), the topic: Management Kaizen…one of my favorites. And of course, the 9th Annual Northeast Shingo Conference is fast approaching – September 24-25 in Hyannis MA. The line up looks great and the benchmarking and networking is always terrific. I can’t wait and hope to see you there!

Bending the Curve

America’s form of government, borne out of an ideal of freedom and equality, has, for all of our short-term criticisms, been the object of continuous improvement since its founding.  Adapting to social and economic changes, population shifts and growth, technological, environmental and natural resource challenges, what seems to be an immovable inertial monument is actually under constant revision and improvement.

The leaders of this charge we call statesmen (and women), persons who are able to fashion compromise between many disparate groups.  They are beholden to the voices of so many customers,  it seems impossible at times that any change could be effected.  Yet these public sector leaders are able somehow to create many small changes for the better to enable the monument to move slightly.  Could we call that government kaizen?

The State of Maine calls it “Bending the Curve.”   Listen to Walter Lowell, Director of the Office of Lean Management for Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services, describe Maine’s five-year effort to improve quality, shorten lead-time and reduce costs in Maine State government.   As the program has gained traction it has become a model for improvement in our publc sector, Lean’s next big frontier.

Here’s a sneak preview podcast of his upcoming presentation at our October 5-6 Northeast Shingo Conference.

(If you cannot see the audio player below, please visit http://wp.me/p1cOUS-9n to hear the sneak preview podcast.)

The conference is just around the corner.  Enroll now and you may be the winner of a complete set of GBMP DVD’s – over two dozen titles including four new products to be released at the conference.  Hope to see you there.