Challenges With Data 1

Challenges With Data
A recent article in Harvard Business Review calls to attention some of the challenges inherent in analyzing Human Resources data.  The writer, Peter Cappelli, points out that analysis of HR data is hampered by a variety of factors including legal issues encountered when crossing international borders, lack of abundant data, and a sense that not ...

Process Flow and Pet Peeves 1

Process Flow and Pet Peeves
One of the driving factors of a Lean process is the concept of “flow”.  The improvement of flow will lead to reduced waste throughout your process. One easy way to visualize the gains that are possible with a flow improvement is to observe a simple process that isn’t set up with flow in mind.  One ...

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 ...

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 ...

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” ...

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 ...

Can Training Be Replaced With Poka Yoke??

Can Training Be Replaced With Poka Yoke??
I recently had an “oopsie” moment that made me reassess my thoughts on mistake-proofing. I wanted to score a “quick win” and ran a Pareto Analysis of the top causes of downtime on one of my facility’s processes.  The top two areas for concern (the “long poles in the tent” so to speak) were expected.  ...

Standard Specifications, Standard Procedures, and Standard Work… What’s the Difference?

Standard Specifications, Standard Procedures, and Standard Work… What’s the Difference?
The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.  Except in my neighborhood, where the Reno summer heat has taken its toll on all grass equally.  If only there were some written standards that could help run our sprinklers efficiently and effectively, maybe we could keep a nice, uniformly green neighborhood.  You’d ...