Tag: Womack

#LeanStartup Conference 2012 Notes – Get Out of the Building

#LeanStartup Conference 2012 Notes – Get Out of the Building

In his kickoff to the Lean Startup Conference, Eric Ries promised that there was so much content and so many speakers crammed into the day that we would all have a headache at some point. Yes, that came true for me. But, it was a very inspiring and thought-provoking day… with over 700 attendees in person (often crammed shoulder to shoulder worse than coach seating) and I met people from UAE, Finland, Norway, Japan, Uruguay, and other countries (plus there were 10,000 watching via the internet).

The room was crammed (a bit too tight) and the agenda was jammed (maybe also too tight), but I’m glad I could attend.

By December 6, 2012 13 Comments Read More →
“L.A.M.E.” in the News; These Three Articles Get Lean Wrong

“L.A.M.E.” in the News; These Three Articles Get Lean Wrong

LAMEAs the creator of the admittedly awkward L.A.M.E. acronym (meaning Lean As Mistakenly Explained or Lean As Misguidedly Executed), one burden is that I often get emails tipping me off to L.A.M.E. sightings.

In a nutshell, it’s L.A.M.E. when a company does something awful that’s not at all in line with accepted Lean or “Toyota Production System” principles. Or, it’s L.A.M.E. of the other form when a writer misunderstands Lean (or intentionally misrepresents it) and writes something off base.

Today, I have three L.A.M.E. sightings from around the world… (somebody please make me a better graphic!!)  If you’re not a regular reader, see my  “What is Lean?” page  as a starting point or the  14 principles of The Toyota Way.

By September 14, 2012 14 Comments Read More →
Join Me at the Northeast Shingo Prize Conference, Sept 25-26

Join Me at the Northeast Shingo Prize Conference, Sept 25-26

I hope you’ll join me and a lot of Lean friends at the 2012 Northeast Shingo Prize Conference, to be held in Worcester, MA September 25 and 26.

I’m honored to be part of a great program (PDF), with keynote speakers including Jim Womack, Steve Spear, Bob Miller (all previous guests on my Podcast).

Interview with Former ThedaCare Leader Kathryn Correia

Interview with Former ThedaCare Leader Kathryn Correia

Here’s a nice interview with Kathryn Correia, CEO of HealthEast in Minnesota, a former ThedaCare executive: “Lean approach at HealthEast.”

From the piece:

Correia is a firm believer in “Lean Business,” a management framework popularized in the 1997 book by James Womack and Daniel Jones. The goal of the “lean” approach is to help companies create value and eliminate waste. It’s a process Correia is bringing full bore to HealthEast.

New Lean Blog Charity Auctions – Great Books on #Lean, #Quality, #Deming!

New Lean Blog Charity Auctions – Great Books on #Lean, #Quality, #Deming!

Update 5/1/12 – more auctions!

Back in October, we raised about $1000 for Friends of the Orphans through a charity auction, for which authors and publishers generously donated books.

Now, I’m happy to present another auction that comes as a result of me “5S-ing” my home office as my wife and I prepare for our move to San Antonio. I had duplicate copies of many great books – some due to getting a free review copy from a publisher and some due to me “losing” the book and re-purchasing it (I know, tsk tsk, not very Lean of me).

I’m auctioning some great sets (batches?) of books – they all end roughly 10 PM EDT on Sunday May 6.  I will donate free standard shipping for U.S.-based winners. If you want expedited U.S. shipping or any form international shipping, I’d ask that you pay the actual cost.

Here are the auction details:

Frequently Highlighted Passages in “Lean Hospitals”

Frequently Highlighted Passages in “Lean Hospitals”

I love my Amazon Kindle (I have had a 2nd generation 3G Kindle for about two years). Amazon has recently made the device more “social,” where you can share highlights and notes that you take about a book via Twitter, Facebook, or the web. Here are my notes that I’ve made publicly available.

It’s also  interesting to see, as an author, what the most popular highlighted passages are in your own book, in my case Lean Hospitals: Improving Quality, Patient Safety, and Employee Satisfaction.

Podcast #118 – Jim Womack on GM, Toyota & Lean Six Sigma

Podcast #118 – Jim Womack on GM, Toyota & Lean Six Sigma

MP3 File (run time 29:14)

womackEpisode #118 is a follow up to podcast #116 with  Jim Womack, founder and former Chairman of the Lean Enterprise Institute, now their Senior Advisor and author of the new book Gemba Walks, available in paperback, Kindle format, iBooks, and other formats.

In this episode, we talk about both GM and Toyota – their challenges, Jim’s reflections on the companies, and thoughts about where they are headed in the future. Jim also answers reader questions about the word “lean” itself and the combination of the Lean and Six Sigma methodologies.

For a link to this episode, refer people to  www.leanblog.org/118.

For earlier episodes, visit the  main Podcast page, which

Fox News Channel Understands “Lean” Better than the WSJ

Fox News Channel Understands “Lean” Better than the WSJ

On Friday, there was yet another Wall Street Journal article about Lean (fixating as they always do on the “Just In Time” component). The article titled “For Lean Factories, No Buffer” yet again takes an outdated 1980s view that Lean is about low inventory.

On the flip side, I was more pleasantly surprised that Fox News Channel aired video during an afternoon newscast about Lean. Fox News seems to think they have discovered some wild, new trend – although I shouldn’t pick on them too much since they did a nice job with a news story in 2009 about Lean healthcare (view video excerpts  here and here).

Podcast #116 – Jim Womack, His New Book “Gemba Walks”

Podcast #116 – Jim Womack, His New Book “Gemba Walks”

MP3 File (run time 24:31)

Episode #116 is a chat with  Jim Womack, founder and former Chairman of the Lean Enterprise Institue, now their Senior Advisor and author of the new book “Gemba Walks,” available in paperback, Kindle format, iBooks, and other formats.

Here, we talk about the new book, how a gemba walk differs from “management by walking around,” some of his most memorable walks, progress in lean healthcare, and other topics.

For a link to episode, refer people to  www.leanblog.org/116.

We recorded two podcasts in the same sitting. Part two is Episode #118,

GM Blames Layoffs on the Japan Earthquake and JIT; Should Instead Look in Mirror

GM Blames Layoffs on the Japan Earthquake and JIT; Should Instead Look in Mirror

Earthquake damage - Avon RiverLet me give a big ole’ Texas-sized hat tip to Bob Emiliani for sending me this sad article with the headline“General Motors lays off workers at NY plant.” This is an addition to earlier Shreveport layoffs.

The media will let GM off the hook as the parts shortages are the result of the tragic Japan earthquake, as the media again piles on to blame “Just-In-Time” supply chain practices (or more broadly, criticizing Lean in some cases).

Ironically, GM appears to be following the “Just In Time” practices often associated with Lean without also following what Toyota calls the “respect for people”  principle. A truly Lean thinking company, like Toyota, would NOT lay off those workers.  GM did. GM chose to.

Podcast #115 – Eric Ries (@ericries), The #LeanStartup

Podcast #115 – Eric Ries (@ericries), The #LeanStartup

ries-grabanEpisode #115 is a discussion with Eric Ries (@ericries), entrepreneur and author of the upcoming book The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses.

You can also read a transcript of the podcast. This podcast is now part of the “Lean Blog Archive” podcast series on iTunes.

Today, we talk about how got introduced to Lean, core materials like books by Womack and Jones and Jeff Liker, and how he has put a lot of thought into how to take proven Lean principles – such as reduced batch sizes, 5 whys analysis, and faster time to market – and applied them to startups.

We both agree there are a lot of applications of these Lean Startup principles even if you are working on new products in larger, older, manufacturing settings – so I hope you’ll take 20 minutes to listen regardless of your background, as Eric’s work has pushed my attempts at Lean thinking in new directions.


Download MP3   podcast subscribe

No, not THAT “Lean” or THAT John Shook…

If you search the web or Twitter for common terms like Lean or thought leaders like John Shook or James P. Womack, you might shake your head a bit at what you find.

No, John Shook is not an outspoken atheist and “Lean” (at least as we’re discussing it here) is not an illegal drug, comments about people getting addicted to continuous improvement aside…

By December 2, 2010 3 Comments Read More →
Guest Post – Lean Myth: Lean is Stressful for Workers

Guest Post – Lean Myth: Lean is Stressful for Workers

Mark’s Note: Today’s post is by David Veech, the Executive Director of the Institute for Lean Systems. A fear or anxiety that people often have when they hear the term “lean” is that it will be a stressful environment, sort of like the famous Lucy & Ethel chocolate factory scene. David writes about dispelling that myth…

By October 29, 2010 11 Comments Read More →
The One Where John Seddon Inaccurately Criticizes Jim Womack

The One Where John Seddon Inaccurately Criticizes Jim Womack

When I read John Seddon’s book Freedom from Command & Control: Rethinking Management for Lean Service, I was a fan. I thought here is someone from the Dr. Deming lineage who has a good message about what’s wrong with traditional management.

Unfortunately, in the past few years, I’ve been increasing disappointed with both the tenor and the content of his message. In his monthly email broadcasts, he frequently complains about “tool heads” and idiots and people who aren’t the thinker he is. I have other criticisms of his message, but I have one particular beef about a podcast he created called “Rethinking Lean Service” (it’s more a monologue, one that allows no opportunity for comments or questions, so I write here.).

Reader Question: Asset Optimizers and Point Optimizers

Reader Question: Asset Optimizers and Point Optimizers

ROYGBIVIt’s time for another in my Reader Questions series, this question comes from Brian via email. If you have a question or topic that you’d like me to address, you can contact me via the web or by leaving a voice mail.

Today’s question looks for clarifications about the terms “asset optimizers” and “point optimizers.” Lean thinkers should be neither of these two things.

By September 30, 2010 1 Comments Read More →

Who Coined the Term “Lean”? And Where is He Today?

People often ask “So where did the term ‘lean’ come from?” It didn’t come from Toyota. And the term isn’t an acronym (so no need to type it as LEAN or L.E.A.N.).

The term came from John Krafcik, who was a graduate student at MIT, working for Lean Enterprise Institute founder Jim Womack on the research for the book The Machine That Changed the World. See comment #5 where I added more detail about that.

Where is Krafcik today (pictured at left)?

John Shook to Replace Jim Womack as CEO of Lean Enterprise Institute

John Shook to Replace Jim Womack as CEO of Lean Enterprise Institute

By now, you may have read the news release and/or e-letter (scroll way down) from the Lean Enterprise Institute that announces founder and chairman James P. Womack is stepping down as CEO of LEI, to be replaced by longtime LEI senior advisor, and former Toyota manager, John Shook.

It’s an understatement to say that Jim has played an important role in helping share and promote lean thinking around the world – shifting from “lean production” to the lean enterprise and lean healthcare.

By August 24, 2010 5 Comments Read More →
Jim Womack: “Tipping Point” for Lean Healthcare?

Jim Womack: “Tipping Point” for Lean Healthcare?

I’m still catching up on things I wanted to blog about related to our Lean Healthcare Transformation Summit that we held June 9 and 10. It was an amazing event and something we’re looking forward to duplicating – improving and expanding – in 2011 (click for the Healthcare Value Leaders main page that has a link for registering for more information).

In conjunction with the Summit, Jim Womack published his most recent e-letter titled “The Tipping Point?”