Management Improvement Carnival #197: Lean & Deming


whirling people machineAgain, I'm very happy to host the Carnival for  John Hunter  and his  Curious Cat management improvement blog. My job here is to share some noteworthy and thought provoking posts from the past few weeks from the blogs I try to keep up with regularly. I hope you'll discover a new blog or two (or new idea) in the process. See past blog carnivals that I have hosted  and the rest from John's site.

Here are the featured posts:

    • Evolving Excellence  (Kevin Meyer) – “Leadership: the Force Multiplier of Kaizen“:  Kevin writes about the manufacturer Jabil and their Kaizen efforts (and impressive numbers). Looking at the sheer number of Kaizens (“13,000+ to date in 2013”), Kevin says “The average impact of an individual kaizen is presumably fairly small, but the cumulative effect is very large.   It takes serious leadership commitment to create a culture and environment where that can occur.”
    • Lean Thinking in Healthcare (Marc Rouppe van der Voort) – “Recent Symposium June 12“: In Marc's blog, auto-translated from Dutch, he writes about their recent Dutch Lean healthcare symposium (where I was a speaker in 2009). He also shares a nice video of Brad Schmidt, formerly of Gemba Research and Kaizen Institute, presenting (in English). Brad led the Japan study tour that I went on last year.
    • ThedaCare Center for Healthcare Value  (Helen Zak) – “America's Most Dangerous Industry“: The Center's COO asks, “Did you know healthcare is one of the most dangerous industries in the United States?” She continues with some data and more excellent questions:  “Is worker safety the problem or is it a symptom?  While all organizations say, “people are our greatest asset, ” few really have a culture that demonstrates that.  How can you tell?  One way to tell is the worker injury rate.”
    • Not Running a Hospital (Paul Levy) – “Cultural failure in the NHS and the CQC does not arise from the staff“: Paul writes, “While there might be short-term culpability among staff members, the people to blame are the senior leaders who have allowed their teams to develop practices and patterns of behavior that undermine the purposes and mission of the organization.” He added in a comment: “Real leaders take ownership of the organization's systemic problems and are “hard on the problems and soft on the people” where the problems are systemic in nature. They also enforce the rules fairly and impartially where someone does something intentionally.”
    • Lifehacker – “Turn a Shampoo Bottle into an Over-the-Sink Sponge Holder“: A fun example of a small “hack” to make something better in your home. It reminds me of Kaizen, using creativity over capital. I like little things like this. In the post comments, a reader suggests punching holes in the holder to avoid a stinky sponge or mold. In Kaizen, it's great to build upon and continue improving the improvement ideas of others.
    • The Lean Post  (Tracey Richardson) – “Leading and Learning the Toyota Way“: On the Lean Enterprise Institute's new community site, Tracey writes about becoming a manager at Toyota and her trainer saying, “”Please understand that as a leader you must now spend 50% of your time developing your people!”
    • Michel Baudin's Blog – “The Toyota Way 2001: the Necronomicon of Lean“: Michel wrote a great post about reflections on the internal “Toyota Way” document that was created in 2001. He says, “A document of this type about the way a company does business gives employees a framework to understand management decisions and business processes. The challenge in publishing it — even if only for employees — is to actually say  something  without binding management to courses of action that may become inadequate as business conditions evolve. When crises occur, as it did for Toyota in 2010, management is easily accused of having acted in contradiction to the company's way by expanding too fast. HP is likewise blamed for having strayed from the “HP way.””
    • Deming Institute Blog  (John Hunter) – “Deming and Lean: The Disparities and Similarities“: John starts the post by saying, “In my opinion Deming's ideas and lean thinking share many similarities. I do see plenty of weaknesses in lean manufacturing efforts at organizations. Most of the weaknesses are due to bad implementation of lean manufacturing rather than lean thinking missing fundamental elements included in Deming's management system.” This misguided or wrong execution of Lean is what I call L.A.M.E. – Lean tools that aren't in keeping with Lean principles.

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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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