March 23, 2020
“We should shift more of our energies upstream personally, organizationally, nationally, and globally. We can and we should stop dealing with the symptoms of problems again and again, and start fixing them." So writes author Dan Heath in his terrific new book Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen, which has just been published.
This conversation between LEI editor Tom Ehrenfeld and Dan explores the practical applications of the upstream mindset, and; given the timing, explores how upstream thinking is all the more relevant in our current pandemic. Please listen in, and stay tuned until the final minutes of this podcast: Dan makes a special offer to all you listeners!
March 9, 2020
In times of crisis, lean offers a stable approach to healthy work. Furthermore, as Jim Womack notes in this podcast with Tom Ehrenfeld, foundational lean practices such as just-in-time supply chains are not—and have never been—liabilities in a time such as today’s coronavirus outbreak. Misguided stories about the woes of JIT are as misguided today as they were when they appeared during avian flu, SARS, and other legitimate medical events that required large supplies of emergency goods. Womack also talks about the lessons to be found in Karen Gaudet’s book Steady Work as they relate to having a stable work environment that enables people to not think about the work—but to already have that mindfulness built in, so they can simply serve other humans in the moment, at a time of great need.
Listen to this conversation on the LEI podcast here.
March 2, 2020
Spoiler alert! The food you just ate is not fresh. It was "sourced" longer ago than you'd imagine. And since that time, it's been handled in batch after batch. The same can be said for many lean transformations - one batch of improvement activity after another. Zingerman's Mail Order has been reducing batch sizes for 15 years, acting as a sort of "model line" for the entire food industry. Tom Root and Josh Howell discuss ZMO's lean transformation and their many lessons learned, searching for useful takeaways for you the listener.
February 17, 2020
If you do not yet know the company Rivian you will undoubtedly know it very soon.
In 2019 Rivian made waves in the auto industry by announcing two “electric
adventure vehicles”, the R1T – an electric pickup truck - and the R1S - an electric
SUV. Both vehicles are expected to launch in the United States later this
year and globally in 2021. Rivian is also developing a fleet of electric delivery
vans to fulfill a 100,000-unit order placed by Amazon. In the last twelve
months the electric vehicle company has raised 3 billion dollars.
Listen in to hear how R.J. and Jim are bringing this vision to life.
February 10, 2020
Andrew Lingel, President of United Plastic Fabricating, discusses leading lean transformation of a family business through knowledge, grit, and outrage.
January 27, 2020
January 27, 2020
Featuring: Deborah McGee and Bryant Sanders
As this series continues to explore the implications and dynamic of “coaching” in a business environment, Bryant Sanders models the mindset and techniques for coaching work improvement to develop people. Bryant draws on 26 years Toyota experience to facilitate his coaching techniques with a team in the field leading to a dramatic improvement in the work. He walks us through the story from deciding where to focus, to earning the team’s trust, facilitating reflection solidifying the what and the why and then leveraging one another’s strengths to upskill the team and eliminate difficulty and waste in the work. An excellent study in masterful coaching on the floor where the work happens.
We invite your thoughts and experiences about coaching and being coached: email your stories! firstname.lastname@example.org
Related Articles/ content:
· The Hard Work of Making Hard Work Easier (article)
· Job Breakdown Sheet (pdf)
· Making Hard Work Easier (article)
January 20, 2020
Too often, a change in executive leadership can bring a lean transformation to a grinding halt. But that has not been the case at Lynn Community Health Center (LCHC).
Within two years of the start of their lean journey, LCHC CEO Lori Abrams Berry announced her intention to retire. The immediate reaction from the LCHC community was concern that her departure would impact the progress made on advancing lean thinking and practice with improved outcomes and engagement of its team members. Instead, the impending CEO transition was embraced as a challenge, a gap to tackle. Learn how LCHC approached this executive leadership transition to ensure the continuity of their lean transformation.
January 14, 2020
Josh Howell shares his decade-end reflections, focusing on why he left Starbucks in 2013. His reasons may surprise you. He also interrogates the question, “If a company discontinues a formal lean initiative, or lean program, or lean team, does that mean its lean implementation has failed?”