Business Category: Make Your Business Lean


What Is Lean Product Development?

I like to think that you can apply lean to anything, and product development is no exception. Yet, product development is different than manufacturing, so the application of lean is different.  Manufacturing is about reducing variability to zero to create exact replicas. Product development is about increasing variability enough to overcome your barriers to greatness – i.e. thinking outside the box. Design is the opposite of manufacturing in the application of lean. So, what is lean product development? Continue reading…

How Far Are You on Your Lean Journey?

Lean is a journey. If you’re like most companies, your lean journey starts with something simple like a 5-S program and then moves on to more difficult lean tools like analyzing your value streams and then eventually reorganizing your whole supply chain. This is all great stuff but when are you done? Continue reading…

What Does Lean Process Improvement Mean?

Six Sigma has applications in high technology, high transaction, or expensive error environments. But what if you are in a mature industry, a service business, or an organization that handles few transactions? Perhaps Lean Thinking (waste reduction) or the Theory of Constraints (throughput improvement) would work better. So what is lean process improvement? Continue reading…

What Are the Benefits of Lean 5S?

Much has been made about the lean benefits of “5S” — Sort, Shine, Set in place, Standardize, and Sustain — over the years it has been a part of the quality lexicon. Very little is said about the drawbacks of implementing a 5S system. 5S is an exceptional lean system, in theory. Where it often falls short is in the execution. Now, I’m not saying that for every benefit of Lean 5S, there’s a drawback. As designed, it’s all good. But like they say, “There are at least two sides to every story.” Continue reading…

Are Lean Japan Tours Worth It?

Lean Japan Tours, or lean trips to Japan, are becoming more popular. Does going to the gemba today mean going to Japan? Some have mixed feelings. Mark Graban, in his lean blog questions if it’s necessary to travel all that distance, the expense, and time. I have not gone on any of these trips and cannot recommend any of them. So what does it mean to go to Japan to see lean? Continue reading…

What Are 10 Reasons to Use a Lean Kanban System?

Why should you implement a lean kanban system? How can you beat a simplified production system that costs less, satisfies customers more, and takes the headaches out of management? A kanban is system of signals used in lean to balance the flow of work, materials, and people to get a job done. Kanbans are used within agile software development, manufacturing, service deployment, construction, and just about anywhere people are implementing lean systems. Continue reading…

What Is Lean Accounting?

 

Lean implementations sometimes get a bad reputation. Some people think of lean in terms of layoffs, or too much of a focus on the lean tools and not enough on the people side of lean, or perhaps it is just a bad lean implementation. So what is going wrong with your lean implementation? Maybe you forgot lean accounting. Continue reading…

What Is Lean Thinking?

First, what is Lean Thinking anyway? As the name implies, it is really a mindset – a way of viewing the world. Lean is about focus, removing waste, and increasing customer value. Lean is about smooth process flows, doing only those activities that add customer value and eliminating all other activities that don’t.  Continue reading…