Episode #4 of the “Lean Whiskey” Podcast: Nikka, Performance Reviews, KPIs, and an Interrupting Cat

Mark and Jamie

After the last episode that had the first guest host (Chris Burnham), I'm once again joined by Jamie Flinchbaugh for another “Lean Whiskey” podcast.

In Episode 4 of Lean Whiskey, Mark Graban and Jamie Flinchbaugh (and a cameo from his cat Rocco), longtime friends, lean thinkers, and whiskey enthusiasts, join forces to enjoy a casual conversation — mostly about lean and a little bit about whiskey. 


Here is the fourth episode if you want to stream it:

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Episode #4 Show Notes

We recap Mark's recent trip to Louisville, including our friends at Glenns Creek Distillery, before tipping our glasses with Japanese whiskey, both from Nikka. Jamie is tasting the Nikka Taketsuru Pure Malt, named after the father of Japanese whiskey, Masataka Taketsuru. Mark is tasting the Nikka Coffey Malt, named after the Coffey Still

While also covering topics like our “lean pet peeves” and binge-watching shows, we talked about benchmark data and its purpose for driving improvement. In our Lean in the News segment, we look at benchmarking data both from IndustryWeek's Best Plants competition, as well as national healthcare safety data. We explore that there are no standards for these metrics, and ask whether it really matters. 

In our Reader Mail segment, we explore Dr. Deming's Point 12: “abolishment of the annual or merit rating and of management by objective.” Is this lean? Can reviews be lean? What would make them fit better in a lean environment? 

Here are some links from the show: 

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  1. Cory Strong says

    Another great discussion gentlemen! Nikka makes some fantastic whisky, their Coffee Grain being the only bottle on my shelf at the moment. Interesting to think of the pot still as batch processing, even though some would likely argue that this method itself is value added in the eyes of the customer.

    Glad that you brought up productivity in healthcare as an example of a benchmark that has been misused due to not truly understanding the difference in processes between health systems and the number of opportunities present to improve or eliminate non value added activities vs. just reducing staff.

    In terms of medical errors, I agree that the work to better standardize the measurement of these is going to be extremely difficult and has the potential to be non value adding. Coding itself can have a huge impact on whether or not an incident is counted as an error or not. I think the time would be better spent by individual health systems buckling down themselves and prioritizing the reduction of errors. Without external pressure to do so though, via metrics, how many will actually make it a priority?

    Keep up the great work guys!

    1. Mark Graban says

      Hey Cory – Thanks!

      Batch processing doesn’t mean it’s not a value-adding step… of course the distilling is one of the value-added steps in the whiskey value stream. I highly value them turning beer into whiskey :-)

      And the aging time in the rickhouse is very much value-added, since it changes the product and generally makes it better. That’s not the “waste of inventory” unless the distillery can’t find a buyer when they’re done.

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