Author Archive: Christina Kach
Christina Kach is a Senior Business Analyst on the Continuous Improvement team for a financial services company in Boston, Ma. Christina held her first Lean position as in intern in 2006. Since then she has continued to seek out varied roles of increasing responsibility and actively pursues further Lean education. She recently held the role of Continuous Improvement Lead for a Government Defense Company based in Massachusetts, focusing on Lean implementation and process improvement in a manufacturing environment.
For the Lean minded individual, Spike’s “Bar Rescue” is so much more than just a television show. It is basically a weekly, or binge-watched, case study on process improvement in bars across the country. “Bar Rescue” is another example of how any industry can benefit from continuous improvement.
Recently, my coworkers and I had the opportunity to attend the North East Shingo Conference in Springfield, MA (presented by the Greater Boston Manufacturing Partnership, or GBMP).
Mark’s note: Christina Kach is our guest blogger today, with a post written on a flight back from visiting what’s considered to be one of America’s best Lean companies/factories.
A big part of Lean practice teaches us to find the real root cause in a problematic situation. This way when you are fixing something, you are fixing the real issue, not a symptom, and you are preventing it from returning.
During a discussion about the causality behind Lean programs that failed or faltered, I started thinking about the root causes of why this occurs. This topic is not new, it can be found in various books and articles, but I think the reasons can boil down to a further root cause or causes.
Mark’s note: Christina Kach is back with a new post, this time a review of what should probably be considered a “Lean classic.” Come back tomorrow for my first podcast interview with one of the co-authors, Dan Jones. You can find my previous podcasts with Jim Womack on the Lean Podcast main page. Maybe this will be the start of a “Belated Book Review” series. Let me know if you would like to review a “Lean classic” (or a book by Henry Ford, Frederick Taylor, etc.).
The Machine That Changed The World By James Womack, Daniel Jones, and Daniel Roos isn’t a new title to those in the world of Lean. If we’ve not read it, we’ve certainly heard about it or seen it referenced in more than one book or lecture.
Taking public transportation to my new job gives me the opportunity to finally get some reading done on a long list of books I’ve been tagging on my GoodReads App. First up was this Lean classic and the following is a report on my thoughts and commentary about this hallmark book.
With a title so strong and tempting, and known to be the one that started it all, would this book deliver? I think it did, though not in the way I’d expected.
Mark’s Note: I’m just getting back from vacation, so we’re wrapping up the guest posts. Today’s post is by Christina Kach and you can read her previous guest posts here. Check out her updated bio at the bottom of the post. I’m sure there will be a lot of good discussion on this post, so please add your thoughts…
I may never have been interested in Debate Club, but I appreciate a respectful and thoughtful discussion on topics whether it’s with likeminded people or people with different viewpoints who add a fresh perspective. There have been some thoughts on my mind lately from the world of Lean that I think could lead to some of that thoughtful discussion. Here’s what I’m thinking. And I don’t believe there are any right or wrong answers.
As Lean Practitioners, we can often be quick to criticize companies or departments with weak or misguided Lean programs. I offer this question: is it better to at least be trying to do Continuous Improvement work, or not bother unless it is planned out correctly?
Mark’s Note: Today’s post is by a regular guest contributor, Christina Kach. I was disappointed that I couldn’t attend this year’s event in Massachusetts, but I was happy that Christina put together this summary.
Last week I had the pleasure of attending the Northeast Shingo Prize Conference in Hyannis, Massachusetts. Over the course of two days, I was able to meet some exceptional individuals working in the world of Continuous Improvement. I experienced thoughtful, passionate speeches from a talented group of presenters. In this article, I wanted to share some of the resounding themes and personal highlights from the conference.
“And the mystery basket ingredients are…” That single phrase, expressed weekly on “Chopped” from Food Network, gets millions of viewers in America to stop what they are doing and stare at the TV in anticipation. As soon as host Ted finishes rattling off an eclectic mix of ingredients to the competitors, the first thought of the audience is always something like: what are they going to make with that!? I don’t even know what that ingredient is!?
Therein lays the key to success for the show; what makes it so unique and fun. On the fly innovation and creativity – making the seemingly impossible, possible (and delicious) in 20 minutes.
Again, I’m going to be pretty much away from the blog through October 11. Today’s “blog holiday” guest post is by Christina Kach. Check out her own blog at www.CatchCareers.com.
By Christina Kach
I was first introduced to Lean and Six Sigma as an intern in 2006. It was fascinating work and I wanted to learn more; I was hooked. In the six years since I’ve spent hours reading, studying, practicing, implementing, and teaching it. This is one of my favorite aspects of Lean; there is always something new to learn and explore. Blogs, books, networking, and conferences all provide continued Lean development. Upon reflection, I may have spent hours learning about Lean principles and implementing them in my work, but Lean has also taught me a few lessons in return.
Mark’s note: While I am busy in “moving land” this week, Christina Kach was kind enough to write a review of a book that was sent to me – Adventures in Leanland by Russell Watkins (a free copy was provided for review). The book was published through Lulu and you can also buy it there. Russell Watkins is a director of Sempai Consultancy Services, a business formed to assist organisations that are serious about improving the short and long-term performance of their business.
Review: Adventures in Leanland
Dictionary.com has 4 definitions listed for “Adventure”
Mark’s Note: Today is another excellent post by Christina Kach. She touches on many of the misunderstandings of miscommunications about Lean in this post and you might recognize much of what she’s identified as “L.A.M.E.”, not Lean.
“Lean is patient and creates value for the customer; Lean does not have to be expensive to implement or create extra work; it is not an overnight success or hidden in a conference room. It does not approve of “we’ve always done it this way”; it is not just about the tools but becoming part of the culture; it does not aim to eliminate your job, but rejoices in making your job easier. Lean encompasses all industries, eliminates the seven wastes, reduces cycle time, and pairs well with Six Sigma. Lean journeys never end.”
If you’ve spent any time online recently, it should be no surprise that Internet Memes of all shapes and sizes are taking social media by storm. I’m always impressed by the creativity and humor of these memes; wishing I could tap my inner comedian to develop the next big thing. Well, lightning struck one night as I was reheating leftovers in the microwave. In the tradition of #FirstWorldPains and #WhiteGirlProblems, I took to Twitter to share my new idea of (drumroll) #LeanProblems.
Mark’s Note: Today’s guest post is by Christina Kach, who I met via Twitter and email. I’m hoping this will be the first in a series of posts geared toward young Lean and continuous improvement professionals, but I think there are lessons and good reminders for all of us, regardless of our age.
Pop quiz: Do you know the best time to catch the shortest lines at Walt Disney World? During a family trip in the 4th grade, I figured it out by studying the travel guide, observing park behavior, and mapping out routes on the Magic Kingdom pamphlet. (I’ll share my secret, the answer: during a parade). I believe those out there like myself, with minds and enthusiasm for processes improvement – the Industrial Engineers, Lean practitioners, continuous improvement leads, and Six Sigma gurus of the world – are born this way (and likely figured it out years before we studied it in school).
After college graduation in 2009, I was fortunate to land a job where I am able to incorporate my passion for process improvement. In the time since, I’ve learned a few things I’d like to share – to motivate the next generation of Lean thinkers.
You’re Not in College Anymore
Hear the reality check now, before you start your first “real world” job. It isn’t all about you anymore. It WAS all about you; your grades, your extracurricular activities, your weekend plans. Now it is about the team, the department success, and the goals of the company. Furthermore, there is no course outline or syllabus of expectations and due dates to help you navigate week to week. It is on you to map the work on your own.