Reducing Waste and Improving Efficiency in Manufacturing: Insights from Jamie Flinchbaugh


Here is LeanBlog Podcast #5, with a new guest: Jamie Flinchbaugh, co-author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to Lean. In this Podcast, we talk about the “language of waste” and how waste reduction is a critical tool in the implementation of lean manufacturing and the Toyota Production System. There will be a second Podcast to follow, where we focus more on the role of leadership in driving waste out of your processes.

If you're a regular Lean Blog reader, you should recognize Jamie as a valued contributor to the blog. Click here for a link to some of his blog posts. Prior to starting the Lean Learning Center, Jamie was part of the development, training and implementation of the Chrysler Operating System. Jamie also worked at DTE Energy, parent to Detroit Edison, as a lean thought leader to help transform the operations, leadership and thinking of the utility industry towards a philosophy of lean systems. You can read more about his background here on Jamie's web site.

MP3 File

For earlier episodes, visit the main Podcast page, which includes information on how to subscribe via RSS or via Apple Podcasts.

LeanBlog Podcast #5 Show Notes and Approximate Timeline

  • 1:15 Why does Jamie use the terminology “hatred for waste” in the book?
  • 2:00 We need to not just identify waste, we need to be compelled to fix it, to take action.2:20 Do companies get hung up in the “analysis” phase?
  • 3:10 Waste elimination is a “tool” and should be a daily activity
  • 4:00 Do some companies waste three months by analyzing things, because they're afraid of doing the wrong thing?
  • 4:40 Is there a risk of focusing on waste so much that you ignore your customer needs and value creation?
  • 5:15 Jamie says “waste elimination should be an act unto itself” as opposed to just being the end goal of a different lean activity
  • 5:40 Jamie talks about the value of “waste walks”
  • 6:45 The “language of lean” and the types of waste
  • 9:00 Discussion about “Waste” and “value,” the balance between the two — can you eliminate waste, but become irrelevant to your customer?
  • 11:00 Can insourcing steps of the value stream help add more value in certain cases?
  • 12:30 Most lean efforts are still manufacturing-centric and the amount of value you can provide is limited
  • Jamie's most recent column in Assembly Magazine can be found here. Click here for an archive of Jamie's columns.

If you have feedback on the podcast, or any questions for me or my guests, you can email me at or you can call and leave a voicemail by calling the “Lean Line” at (817) 993-0630 or contact me via Skype id “mgraban“. Please give your location and your first name. Any comments (email or voicemail) might be used in follow ups to the podcast.

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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.



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