Site blog

Anyone in the world

Thanks to Elisabeth and the team at for inviting me to contribute some thoughts in this piece: How Lean Six Sigma Can Help Fight the Coronavirus Pandemic Other contributors include: Karyn Ross (my podcast with her) Mohamed Saleh (podcast coming soon) Crystal Davis (my very recent podcast with her) Darril Wilburn (my mentions of […]

The post Thoughts From Lean Thinkers on Coping with the Coronavirus Crisis appeared first on Lean Blog.

Anyone in the world
Recently I watched a few feature-length movies about automotive plants America. The first one is Gung Ho, a fictional comedy from 1986 featuring Michael Keaton. The movie shows a Japanese car maker purchasing a closed-down plant in the USA, and lots of cultural clashes that threaten to close down the plant again. While not Academy … Continue reading Fictional Movie on US-Japan Automotive Culture Clash – Gung Ho
Anyone in the world

For Episode #363, I'm joined by Crystal Davis as we discuss: What are you seeing in terms of how Covid19 is disrupting businesses? How do we move from crisis mode, to survival mode, to recovery mode? Why do we need courageous leadership during these challenging times? This is also the first video podcast that I've […]

The post Podcast #363 — Crystal Y. Davis on the Business Impact of Covid-19, and More appeared first on Lean Blog.

Picture of LSSU Admin
by LSSU Admin - Tuesday, 7 April 2020, 12:25 AM
Retrieved from: Minitab Blog
Anyone in the world

My Favorite Visual Tool: Process Mapping

We all have our favorite tools, tricks, methods and ways for completing, tracking and improving our work. Personally I'm a visual learner, so I’ve always been drawn to process mapping and flowcharts. 

Picture of LSSU Admin
by LSSU Admin - Monday, 6 April 2020, 11:19 PM
Retrieved from: Minitab Blog
Anyone in the world

Discovering Four Types of Fishbone Diagrams

Love it or hate it, brainstorming is something we've all done at some point in our lives. Those sessions may have been disorderly at times with ideas coming from every direction or totally structured with the help of a particular diagram.

Since the late 1960's, Ishikawa diagrams have helped millions of people through the process of brainstorming potential causes of an effect or problem and mapping those relationships.

Due to their focus, shape and design, these diagrams are more commonly know as cause-and-effect or fishbone diagrams.

Anyone in the world

“While the spread of Covid-19 was effectively suppressed for two short periods, each time it rebounded. Another aspect of the Covid-19 pandemic is illustrated by this graph—declines in new cases of Covid-19 lag behind the interventions. Accordingly, these data cannot be used to establish cause-and-effect relationships. In addition, deaths from Covid-19 lag even further behind. On March 27 […]

The post Tracking COVID-19 | D. Wheeler, A. Pfadt, K. Whyte | QualityDigest appeared first on Michel Baudin's Blog.

Picture of LSSU Admin
by LSSU Admin - Monday, 6 April 2020, 4:00 PM
Retrieved from: Lean Thinking
Anyone in the world
By Al Norval (bio)

Many years ago I worked for a company that had a classic suggestion box system where employees filled out a form and submitted it only to wait an eternity to hear back on it.

Why did they have to wait so long?

Consider the path the suggestion would take. It would wait to be reviewed by a suggestion committee, who would then assign it to someone to investigate. The staff person it was assigned to would have to investigate the suggestion and then make recommendations on its merit as to whether it would be adopted or not. The suggestion committee would review the recommendations and if they agreed, they would need to assign a dollar amount to the suggestion and submit it to management for approval. Finally, when the reward was approved, a notification would find its way back to the person who submitted the original suggestion.

Lead time for the process: 3 – 6 months.
Employee Engagement: next to nil (In fact a lot of negative comments were generated)
Employee Ownership: zero. The ideas were always being second guessed by someone else in a very command & control way.


I can vividly remember one case of a chemical process that was unstable due to some inadequacies in the original design of the separators. The engineering redesign was priced out at >$100,000. Everyone was in a panic since customer demand was not being met. At this time a suggestion was received through the suggestion system from one of the employees with a remarkably simple idea on how to fix the process. The idea was tried out and proved to be very effective. Now followed a debate on how much to pay the employee for the suggestion. The debate centered on the usual process of paying out 15% of the savings. Since the process was inoperable and customers were out of product – how much was the idea worth and how could we possibly pay an employee that amount. The debate raged for months and finally the employee was awarded a token amount. Needless to say, employees in this area never submitted another suggestion.

What’s a better way?

Develop a system of Quick & Easy kaizen. This is a system where employees not only submit ideas but are charged with seeing them through to completion themselves. Progress of ideas through the process is made visible on a Quick & Easy Kaizen board so everyone can see the status of all ideas just by looking at the board. The approval process generally only involves the immediate supervisor and ideas can be dealt with through daily team huddles.


Lead time for the process: 1-2 weeks
Employee Engagement: high
Employee Ownership: high

The key is to generate lots of ideas and move them quickly through the process. To do this the Quick & Easy process has to be simple from the way to submit ideas to the approval process to the implementation and verification afterwards. Simple allows it to be fast. Simple pocket cards on a white board are all it takes.

The experience of turning their ideas into action quickly creates employees who become supercharged and keen to submit ideas again and again. Imagine the power of an organization where employees are generating 10 and 20 improvements per employee per year. Not all will be big winners but there will be a lot of gems mixed with them. In fact, you’ll be surprised at how much buried gold you find.

Go ahead try it. You can set up a Quick & Easy Kaizen process in an hour or two. What’s holding you back?



In case you missed our last few blogs... please feel free to have another look…

What is Intellectual Capital?, Part 2
What is Intellectual Capital & Why Should You Care?
Value Stream Maps
What is a Key Thinker?

Picture of LSSU Admin
by LSSU Admin - Monday, 6 April 2020, 12:00 PM
Retrieved from: A Lean Journey
Anyone in the world
The real test of leadership does not occur when everything is smooth sailing. Rather, leadership is oftentimes tested during a crisis. Some organizations emerge from a crisis stronger and more ready to thrive than they were before the crisis arrived. The big differentiator that separates them from companies that falter is people – how their leaders empathize, engage, motivate, and capitalize on their talents and knowledge in the face of adversity.So what can organizations do to turn adversity...

To continue reading this post click on the title.
Picture of LSSU Admin
by LSSU Admin - Sunday, 5 April 2020, 12:57 PM
Retrieved from: Lead With Lean
Anyone in the world

“I don’t have time for this stuff!” How many times have you heard yourself think that as people let you down or get stuck on the simplest problems, as they get overwhelmed by the epidemic and/or their confinement? There is […]

The post Bad Boss Self-Check appeared first on Lead With Lean.

Picture of LSSU Admin
by LSSU Admin - Friday, 3 April 2020, 10:42 PM
Retrieved from: Lead With Lean
Anyone in the world

Have you wondered: am I infected without symptoms? Am I contaminating others unknowingly? Years of gemba walks in hospitals have left this typically hypochondriac author with memories of irrationally leaving shoes on the doormat, carefully stripping, putting all clothes in […]

The post The false hope of silver bullets appeared first on Lead With Lean.