Improve Your 6M Analysis 1

Improve Your 6M Analysis
Can a tool forced to fit a catchy acronym actually work? I’ve lately found myself conducting a lot of 6M analyses…  You know, the Ishikawa/Cause & Effect Diagram/Fishbone Analysis.  It is a great tool to look a little deeper into the causes of problems.  It can be used to do root cause analysis, or it ...

Change, Buy-In, and How Aristotle Taught Continuous Improvement 1

Change, Buy-In, and How Aristotle Taught Continuous Improvement
At its heart, Continuous Improvement requires persuasive communication skills.  This is because of the inherent resistance to change that all change agents encounter. Make no mistake: people don’t want to change.  If they did, tobacco manufacturers would have gone the way of the dodo many decades ago.  But people like their bad habits, no matter ...

The 5S Fly-by 1

The 5S Fly-by
Continuous Improvement is challenging.  It seems some days as if there just isn’t enough time, and although there is a never-ending list of improvement opportunities some days you just can’t seem to get anything done.  But there is something you can do about it.  I call it the “5S Fly-by”. A 5S Fly-by can be ...

Make It Important 2

Make It Important
In any change leadership situation, it can be challenging to get buy-in from the people involved.  This is especially true when changing culture. There are many ways to approach this challenge in Continuous Process Improvement.  Involving those affected by the change in the decision-making process is incredibly important, as is communication of expectations. Quite possibly ...

How Respect Influences Engagement 2

How Respect Influences Engagement
I recently conducted a 5S workshop and encountered what is commonly referred to as “the frozen middle” (mid-level managers who, either intentionally or unintentionally impede change).  While working with my team to design our new process flow, a member of our front-line leadership team walked past us and commented that our design “would never work” ...

Punching Data Analysis Right in the Face

Punching Data Analysis Right in the Face
I’m not always the smartest Continuous Improvement practitioner in the room (unless I’m all by myself…  at least until the cat walks by).  Sometimes I get to pretend I’m smart, and other times I’m smart enough to not even try. One person who I’ll never try to outsmart is Zach Weinersmith.  Zach is a fantastic ...

Changing Micro-Managers’ Behavior 2

Changing Micro-Managers' Behavior
If you’re like me, you can’t stand being micromanaged.  Micromanagement crushes productivity and morale.  Nobody wants to work for a micro-manager. The worst part is that micro-managers don’t usually realize that they are causing problems.  They feel that they are being proactive and doing an extra-groovy job ensuring that the job gets done.  So simply ...

Perfect Bacon, Every Time! 3

Perfect Bacon, Every Time!
You may not think of Bacon as a “lean” product.  Get ready for a pig surprise! While researching sources for color-coded cleaning equipment for a set of shadow boards, I made an interesting discovery.  Our friends at Munsell Color have found a great use for one of their products by using a color chart to ...

Lean Dating 5

Lean Dating
What is “Lean Dating”, and how do you get in on this magical system? I’m happily married so I don’t get to suffer the “joys” of dating any more.  But if I’m ever cloned, I’ve got some good advice lined up for my “other me”: Date lean. How? First off, I’d use a “pull” system. ...

PICK a Winner!

PICK a Winner!
An Impact/Effort Matrix (also known as a PICK Chart) is a great way to prioritize improvement opportunities that are identified by your project team.  This tool classifies items by Impact (high or low) and Effort (again, high or low).  The chart below shows one way to implement a PICK chart: The labeling in the chart ...