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by LSSU Admin - Monday, 31 August 2020, 12:00 PM
Retrieved from: A Lean Journey
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A selection of highlighted blog posts from Lean bloggers from the month of August 2020.  You can also view the previous monthly Lean Roundups here.Craftsmanship, not Kaizen? – Dan Markovitz says perhaps focusing on “craftsmanship” will increase awareness and practice of improvement.An Ode to a Frontline Supervisor – Bruce Hamilton discusses respect for every employee and supervision using popular “I love Lucy” episode.Let Them Move the Table – Derek Korn talks about Paul Aker’s fix what...

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Patrick Anderson Lean Blog Interviews Podcast

Joining me today for Episode #383 of the podcast is Patrick Anderson, the CEO of the Rural Alaska Community Action Program, Inc. (or “RurAL CAP”). Patrick was previously a guest way back in Episodes #53 and #71. Today, we'll talk how ideas from Dr. W. Edwards Deming and Lean have influenced him as he has […]

The post Podcast #383 — Patrick Anderson on Deming, Lean, and Shifting From Command and Control appeared first on Lean Blog.

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I'm excited that the guests for the first episode of my new podcast, “My Favorite Mistake” are Kevin Harrington and Mark Timm, co-authors of the upcoming book Mentor to Millions: Secrets of Success in Business, Relationships, and Beyond. Mark Timm is an accomplished entrepreneur and Kevin Harrington is, among other things, one of the original […]

The post Enter to Win a Copy of the Book “Mentor to Millions” by My Upcoming Podcast Guests appeared first on Lean Blog.

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by LSSU Admin - Friday, 28 August 2020, 12:00 PM
Retrieved from: A Lean Journey
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On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"Your hardest times often lead to the greatest moments of your life. Keep going. Tough situations build strong people in the...

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For Episode #19, Mark Graban is joined by a new guest host, Cliff Hazell. Mark and Cliff first met years ago in Austin at the Lean Coaching Summit, where they shared some Garrison Brothers whiskey and talked about Lean, Deming, coaching, and such. So today, Mark and Cliff share a drink — Amrut whiskey from […]

The post Episode #19 of “Lean Whiskey”: Mark Graban & Cliff Hazell, Talkin’ ‘Bout Tweets appeared first on Lean Blog.

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During the pandemic, I've found myself not writing as much… not blogging as much. I'm not sure why exactly. I guess I just have a lot on my mind that's not Lean related. I still share articles and some brief commentary about them on Twitter and LinkedIn. I'm not giving up on blogging… but it's […]

The post Announcing a New Podcast Series: “My Favorite Mistake: Reflections From Business Leaders” appeared first on Lean Blog.

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by LSSU Admin - Wednesday, 26 August 2020, 12:00 PM
Retrieved from: A Lean Journey
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For my Facebook fans you already know about this great feature. But for those of you that are not connected to A Lean Journey on Facebook or Twitter I post daily a feature I call Lean Tips.  It is meant to be advice, things I learned from experience, and some knowledge tidbits about Lean to help you along your journey.  Another great reason to like A Lean Journey on Facebook.

Click this link for A Lean Journey's Facebook Page Notes Feed.
Here is the next addition of tips from the...

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by LSSU Admin - Tuesday, 25 August 2020, 1:00 PM
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The kanban system is the most famous way to establish a pull system. As part of their guidelines for kanban, Toyota has established Six Rules for Kanban. They can be found, for example, in the 1973 Toyota Production System Handbook. This blog post describes these six rules, based on the Toyota handbook. While these rules ... Read more

The post Toyota's Six Rules for Kanban first appeared on

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by LSSU Admin - Monday, 24 August 2020, 4:00 PM
Retrieved from: Lean Thinking
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By Pascal Dennis (bio)

Standardized work (STW) is fundamental to the Lean Business System.

What's the best way we know - right now?

How do we summarize our current best way one, simple, visual page?

How do we engage our team in continuing to improve our best way?

These are core questions.

At Toyota I learned that STW comprises:
  1. Content
  2. Sequence
  3. Time
  4. Expected outcome
Embedded tests that signal Good/No Good are also critical.

Does this recipe apply outside the factory?

The embedded tests concept applies universally.

As for the other elements - yes and no.

Yes - in short cycle time, repetitive knowledge work e.g. a pharmacy or laboratory analyzing high sample volumes.

No - in long cycle time, non-repetitive knowledge work e.g. a surgery, engineering or design process.

STW confers all its customary benefits - if applied with finesse.

A good example is the Checksheet - which is simply a list of embedded tests that tell us whether we're okay or not.


Atul Gawande's fine book The Checklist Manifesto illustrates how we might apply STW to knowledge with finesse.

Translation will be vital as we move the profound Lean principles upstream & downstream of the factory, and into entirely new field of work.

(The Remedy is my humble attempt to illustrate what this might look like.)

The worlds awaits Lean thinkers with finesse.

Best regards,


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

Difference between Hansei and a Post-mortem
TPS and Agile
Point, Flow & System Improvement

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Lean thinking and methodology have resulted in many organizations instituting powerful initiatives and gaining major improvements, but most still associate Lean principles with low-mix high-volume (LMHV) manufacturers. There are, however, a gamut of high-mix low-volume (HMLV) manufacturers that wonder if the power of Lean is really applicable to themgiven their very different factors regarding volume, variety, and scheduling.

I recently spoke with Shahrukh Irani – who actually just published a book entitled Job Shop Lean:  An Industrial Engineering Approach to Implementing Lean in High-Mix Low-Volume Production Systems – and asked him the very specific question: “How is Lean applicable in High-Mix Low-Volume (HMLV) manufacturing?” Here is his detailed answer:


Of all high-mix low-volume (HMLV) manufacturers, a job shop has the most complex production system.  The classification of different production systems that is shown in Figure 1 provides the simplest evidence that forcing a job shop to adopt a production system and tools that were designed to improve a repetitive assembly line’s performance is like fitting a square peg into a round hole. 

Figure 1: Comparison of an Assembly Plant and a Custom Fabrication Job Shop


Currently, nearly every job shop has failed to realize the full gains from Lean because they have stopped at implementing only the Lean tools listed in the left-hand column of Table 1.  In contrast, the Lean tools in the right-hand column of Table 1 are ineffective, often inapplicable, in any job shop.  So how does any Lean job shop reap additional benefits from Lean?  By implementing a new “Job Shop Lean Toolbox” in which the Lean tools in the right-hand column of Table 1 have been replaced with other tools that were developed forjob shops!  

Table 1: A New “Job Shop Lean Toolbox” for High-Mix Low-Volume Manufacturers

Lean tools that will work in job shops also

Lean Tools that will not work in job shops

Strategic Planning

Pencil-and-Paper Problem Solving

Top-Down Leadership

Value Stream Mapping

Gemba Walks by Managers

Assembly Line Balancing

Employee Engagement

One-Piece Flow Cells

Workplace Design with 6S

Product-specific Kanbans

TPM (Total Productive Maintenance)

FIFO Sequencing of Orders

Setup Reduction (SMED)

Pacemaker Scheduling

Error-Proofing (Poka-Yoke)

Inventory Supermarkets

Quality At Source

Work Order Release based on Pitch

Visual Workplace

Production based on Level Loading

Product and Process Standardization

Mixed Model Production with Takt Time

Right-sized Flexible Machines

Right-sized Inflexible Machines

Standard Work

Pull-based Production Scheduling

Continuous Problem-Solving

Manual Scheduling with Whiteboards


If the Tool Works for High-Mix Low-Volume, Then Job Shop Lean Uses It!

In Table 1, the tools in the left-hand column will also work in HMLV production systems.  Top-down Leadership” and “Employee Involvement” are essential.  “Standard Work Instructions” and “Setup Reduction” are needed to minimize variation in setup times on any machine (or manufacturing cell) due to different parts having varying setup sequences, tooling packages, material sizes, tolerances, etc.  “Quality at Source” empowers employees to reduce costs, take pride in their workmanship and have ownership for their work.   “Right-sized Machines” appears in both columns of Table 1 because simple machines are easy to learn to use, setup, operate and maintain.   


If the Tool Does Not Work for High-Mix Low-Volume, Then Job Shop Lean Replaces It!

In Table 1, the tools in the right-hand column will almost never work in HMLV production systems because those tools are simply not applicable to MTO (Make-To-Order) HMLV production systems that do not operate like assembly lines.  It is these tools that have been replaced by a more effective set of tools, often enabled by software, to successfully implement Job Shop Lean.

What do you think of Shahrukh's observations? What are the experiences of those who work in a HMLV environment and have been part of a Lean initiative?