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Author: Bill Gilbert

How Do We Measure a Lean Production System? – How Do We Know if Our System is Lean?

How Do We Measure a Lean Production System? – How Do We Know if Our System is Lean?

In my previous post, I discussed the importance of knowing “what we should do” versus only doing “what we can do”. But now I would like to delve into the next big question. How do we verify that we are doing the things we should do? How do we know if we are making actual progress in our Lean transformation efforts? How do we know if the things we are doing are actually turning into “Lean” improvements and are not…

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What We Should Do! — Not What We Can Do!

What We Should Do! — Not What We Can Do!

The title of this post originated with Mr. Hajime Ohba, former President of TSSC (Toyota Supplier Support Center), in his introduction to Toyota’s “True North” concept. I covered this in my discussion of what’s a “Team” to do to be successful in their Lean/TPS journey. To see why I chose this title – keep reading. In my last post, I first reviewed the history and importance of “lead time reduction” in the evolution of the basic framework and philosophy of…

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Lead Time Reduction – The Missing Magic Elixir for Today’s Lean?

Lead Time Reduction – The Missing Magic Elixir for Today’s Lean?

What! – you may be thinking. You are going to talk about “lead time” again? Haven’t you stressed that enough already? Yes!  – and – No! – in that order. Just out of curiosity I did a word count of “lead time” for all of my posts thus far. I get 106. That’s about 4 mentions per post. Is that a lot? Not in my opinion. Not if you remember my fundamental principle: Thus the underlying principle behind TPS/Lean is…

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Teams are “Us” – Part 7: OK, Now What?

Teams are “Us” – Part 7: OK, Now What?

“If you want one year of prosperity grow grain.  If you want ten years of prosperity grow trees.  If you want one hundred years of prosperity grow your people” — Confucius (~ 500 BC) In the last few posts of this Teams are “Us” series I have emphasized the structure and internals (the Nitty-Gritty) of “Cross Functional/Breakthrough Teams” more so than the “Natural Work Group”. This should not be taken as elevating these types of Teams to a higher level of…

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Teams are “Us” – Part 6: To Blitz, or Not to Blitz – That is the Question

Teams are “Us” – Part 6: To Blitz, or Not to Blitz – That is the Question

“If you want one year of prosperity grow grain.  If you want ten years of prosperity grow trees.  If you want one hundred years of prosperity grow your people” — Confucius (~ 500 BC) In my last two posts, I introduced “Cross-Functional/Breakthrough Teams” and “Task Teams”. These Teams are formed to tackle relatively complex goals and are usually cross-functional in composition. These Teams meet on a frequent basis (usually of their own choosing) and have target end-dates from a week to…

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Teams are “Us” – Part 5: More Nitty-Gritty

Teams are “Us” – Part 5: More Nitty-Gritty

“If you want one year of prosperity grow grain.  If you want ten years of prosperity grow trees.  If you want one hundred years of prosperity grow your people” — Confucius (~ 500 BC) In my last post, I outlined the various Team structures that I have worked with over the years. I went into some detail as to the differences between Cross-Functional Teams and Natural Work Groups. I also stressed that just forming a Team is not sufficient in of…

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Teams are “Us” – Part 4: The Nitty-Gritty

Teams are “Us” – Part 4: The Nitty-Gritty

“If you want one year of prosperity grow grain.  If you want ten years of prosperity grow trees.  If you want one hundred years of prosperity grow your people” — Confucius (~ 500 BC) In the previous posts in my Teams are “Us” series, I discussed some of my early experiences in discovering and forming teams and I tried to layout a philosophy of why you need to differentiate between individual and team efforts in an organization. I also stressed the…

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Teams are “Us” – Part 3: What’s in a Team?

Teams are “Us” – Part 3: What’s in a Team?

“If you want one year of prosperity grow grain.  If you want ten years of prosperity grow trees.  If you want one hundred years of prosperity grow your people” — Confucius (~ 500 BC) I never hired consultants during my journey to learn the basics of JIT/TPS/Lean. I didn’t need to. In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s there was a small, but very active community of JIT/TPS learners scattered around the east coast of the U.S. We found each other…

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Teams are “Us” – Part 2: What’s a Team To Do?

Teams are “Us” – Part 2: What’s a Team To Do?

“If you want one year of prosperity grow grain.  If you want ten years of prosperity grow trees.  If you want one hundred years of prosperity grow your people” — Confucius (~ 500 BC) I formed my first JIT/TPS/Lean team a little over a quarter-century ago. Time really does fly – unfortunately. Since that time, I have formed/created/sponsored well over a hundred such teams, probably closer to two hundred. I don’t know for sure since I did not keep a list….

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Teams are “Us” – Part 1: What’s a Team?

Teams are “Us” – Part 1: What’s a Team?

“If you want one year of prosperity grow grain.  If you want ten years of prosperity grow trees.  If you want one hundred years of prosperity grow your people” — Confucius (~ 500 BC) I guess you can say that truth and wisdom have been with us for a very long time. The problem is — we seem to have very short memories. The other problem is that we often, conveniently, divide the “people” up into “us” and “them”. I can’t…

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