Some Latest Writing

Although I haven’t been posting in the blog recently (sorry), I have been doing some writing, and thought I would share some of that with you now. I continue to support Assembly Magazine with the monthly Leading Lean column. Assembly Magazine is coming up on their 50th anniversary. That’s quite an accomplishment. We should all aspire to being relevant for that long.

In May I wrote about Forging Your Help Chain. The tool that many of you might think of is the andon system, or andon cord. But there is a bigger picture than just a signal light. This is one of my favorite topics, and I’m not sure why it took me so long to write about. The reason this is about how we connect people to each other. In particular, we connect them with the intent to provide help to each other. That’s why it’s a help chain. This is one of the hardest things for people to replicate outside of the discrete manufacturing environments, but perhaps one of the most valuable.

In June and July I cover more traditional topics. In Search of Waste focuses on looking beyond the waste lying around you and knowing which rocks to turn over and find the waste that is hidden. Make Everything Visual is about one of the most simple and effective tools in the lean toolbox – visual management and visual control.

In August I returned to organizational issues and the challenge to Select the Right Champion. As the number of organizations adopting lean has grown, there is now a shortage of true lean champions capable of leading an organizational journey. This goes beyond being able to facilitate a kaizen event or value stream map.

With Andy Carlino I also wrote a feature article for the first Lean Yearbook published by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers. I unfortunately can’t share it with you, but you can purchase it from SME here. Our article is titled Farther, Faster and More Sustainable, and it focuses on some of the issues that seem to hold companies back. You can find a wide range of articles and case studies in this Lean Yearbook, which we hope SME will continue to do next year, including one about our friends at Ross Controls.

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Jamie Flinchbaugh is a lean advisor, speaker, and author. In addition to co-founding the Lean Learning Center, he has helped build nearly 20 companies as either a co-founder, board member, advisor, or angel investor. These companies range from high-performance motorcycles to SaaS tools for continuous improvement. He has advised over 300 companies around the world in lean transformation, including Intel, Harley-Davidson, Crayola, BMW, and Amazon. Jamie co-authored the popular book The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Lean, and continues to share his experiences as a Contributing Editor forIndustryWeek and as a blogger at He holds degrees from Lehigh University, University of Michigan, and MIT, and continues to teach and mentor on campus. Jamie is best known for helping to transform how we think about lean from a tools-centric model to one based on principles and behaviors. His passion for lean transformation comes from seeking to unlock the great potential that people possess to build inspiring organizations.

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