Features

All articles about: Features

Lean thinking, green thinking
February 29, 2024
Lean thinking, green thinking

FEATURE – When it comes to the fight against climate change, we can’t expect to achieve much until we fundamentally challenge the way we think about resource consumption. Lean is our tool to do that.

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For profound lean change, develop new power skills in leaders
February 23, 2024
For profound lean change, develop new power skills in leaders

FEATURE – The author highlights the critical “power skills” leaders need to provide the right support to the transformations they lead.

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The founders reflect on 10 years of Planet Lean
February 20, 2024
The founders reflect on 10 years of Planet Lean

FEATURE - The editorial board members of Planet Lean reflect on the magazine's origin story and its role within and contribution to the Lean Community.

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Planet Lean turns 10!
February 16, 2024
Planet Lean turns 10!

FEATURE – Ten years ago, Planet Lean was launched as a new platform for the Lean Community to share its experiences and knowledge. Our editor reflects on the magazine's mission, history and contribution of the spread of Lean Thinking.

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The power of jeans - Part 2
February 8, 2024
The power of jeans - Part 2

FICTION – In the second and final part of this story, the main characters discuss in front of a board. If you regularly use visual management, their conversation will resonate with you.

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The deep secret of lean transformation: the People Review
January 26, 2024
The deep secret of lean transformation: the People Review

FEATURE – To develop a lean culture means to develop each lean thinker and help them reach their full potential. Here’s how Aramis Group does it.

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The power of jeans
January 12, 2024
The power of jeans

FICTION - Part 1 of this story reminds us that the role of leaders in an organization is to set the example for others, behaving the way they want the rest of the company to behave.

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Lean without Jidoka is just Fordism
January 9, 2024
Lean without Jidoka is just Fordism

FEATURE – Nobody understands humans as well as humans do, and Jidoka is the key to learning about your customers and create ever-better products and services.

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If you learn, there is no failure
December 22, 2023
If you learn, there is no failure

FEATURE – In this article, you’ll understand how potential errors can become an endless source of personal and managerial growth.

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Start with product takt-time
December 19, 2023
Start with product takt-time

FEATURE – By adopting a product takt time perspective, we can better align engineering decisions with market demands, leading to better design, manufacturing, and material choices.

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When the lean team is the problem
December 15, 2023
When the lean team is the problem

FEATURE – How does the improvement department of a company become a hindrance to the transformation? The author answers this question and discusses how this can be avoided.

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Leadership for everyone
December 12, 2023
Leadership for everyone

FEATURE – If you think one is born a leader, think again. Leadership can be learned and, in this article, the author provides a four-step guide to developing it.

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Remembering Freddy Ballé
November 10, 2023
Remembering Freddy Ballé

FEATURE – On October 31st, the Lean Movement lost one of his pioneers. In this piece, Dan Jones reflects on Freddy Ballé’s legacy.

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Expanding your flow sweet spots
October 13, 2023
Expanding your flow sweet spots

FEATURE – The author explores methods to expand your flow “sweet spots”, enhance focus, and achieve a state of effortless productivity.

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Don’t ask who. Be like Columbo and ask why!
October 6, 2023
Don’t ask who. Be like Columbo and ask why!

FEATURE – This insightful piece explores the true meaning of problem solving, looking at the common mistakes leaders make when they adopt some of its key practices.

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Serious about strategy
September 29, 2023
Serious about strategy

FEATURE – We are used to approaching strategic thinking as if our organization was in a position of stability and dominance. What if we started to look at it as creating better deals with all parties involved?

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A lean approach to agriculture
September 8, 2023
A lean approach to agriculture

FEATURE – Waste in the agricultural sector is a significant threat not only to the environment, the economy and farmers, but also to food security around the world.

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The art and craft of kaizen
August 9, 2023
The art and craft of kaizen

FEATURE – Through kaizen, people can directly participate in the improvement work. But without a manager’s clear responsibility and follow-up, they will left alone with the consequences of the introduced changes.

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Don’t just watch my hands!
August 4, 2023
Don’t just watch my hands!

FEATURE – The author shares a story from a training session at the gemba, which contains a couple of important lessons on the Training Within Industry method.  

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A Surgery Department on a journey for over a decade
August 1, 2023
A Surgery Department on a journey for over a decade

FEATURE - This surgery department was among the first areas in this hospital (maybe in the whole of Spain) to adopt Lean Thinking. Here's what their lean journey is focusing on more than 10 years after they started.

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The comfort of purpose
July 21, 2023
The comfort of purpose

FEATURE – Why is lean change so hard to achieve in times of plenty? And why does it seem to be more attainable when chaos reigns? The author tries to answer these questions.

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Lean parenting tips from children 0 to 5 years old
July 18, 2023
Lean parenting tips from children 0 to 5 years old

FEATURE - In the second article in his series, the author provides helpful tips for those interesting in bringing some Lean Thinking to their parenting, focusing on the first five years of a child's life.

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Can we still learn from Toyota suppliers in Japan?
June 14, 2023
Can we still learn from Toyota suppliers in Japan?

FEATURE – Fresh of a study tour in Japan, the authors wonder if there is anything left to learn from Toyota’s network of suppliers in the age of AI and digital. Hint: it’s a rethorical question.

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New ways to address an old problem
June 2, 2023
New ways to address an old problem

FEATURE – Freeing up beds is an age-old problem for hospitals. The medical area of this Catalan hospital group has found in lean a creative way to solve it.

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Changing our approach to emergency care
May 12, 2023
Changing our approach to emergency care

FEATURE – The ER of this Catalan hospital is finding great value in the application of Lean Thinking, which has already led to a dramatic change in its processes and to better care for patients.

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Toyota's real secret sauce
May 5, 2023
Toyota's real secret sauce

FEATURE – The hardest part of a learning journey is learning to learn and figuring out what we need to learn - as opposed to we want to. The author wonders whether we are drawing the right lessons from TPS and highlights a few things we are underemphasizing.

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Empowering children to navigate life’s challenges
April 11, 2023
Empowering children to navigate life’s challenges

FEATURE – In this new series, the author will walk us through some uncommon ways to apply lean – with a particular focus on establishing productive and enjoyable relationships. In the first instalment, he introduces the concept of lean parenting.

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What kind of bureaucrat are you?
March 28, 2023
What kind of bureaucrat are you?

FEATURE – In this in-depth, insightful analysis, the authors explore the essence of bureaucracy and explain why, with Lean Thinking, it can be leveraged as a force for good.

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How mental schemas have us jump to solutions
March 24, 2023
How mental schemas have us jump to solutions

FEATURE - Mental schemas help us to process information, but they often lead us to blindly jump to solutions without understanding the problem. Here, the author explains how Lean Thinking mitigates that risk.

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Five lean mistakes to avoid
March 21, 2023
Five lean mistakes to avoid

FEATURE – Based on her experience at Lean Institute Colombia, the author lists five common mistakes hindering a lean transformation. Take note!

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Reflecting on our 15-year journey
March 15, 2023
Reflecting on our 15-year journey

FEATURE – PL readers will likely be familiar with IOV, the cancer clinic in Brazil that’s become a reference for lean healthcare for countless organizations. Here, Dr Fred looks back at IOV’s 15-year journey.

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Lean Digital with generative AI
March 10, 2023
Lean Digital with generative AI

FEATURE – This year, PL will try to understand what the future of work looks like in a world with AI. To kick us off and make us think, we publish an article that is the result of a one-hour conversation between a human and a machine.

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Creativity unleashed
March 8, 2023
Creativity unleashed

FEATURE – A lean coach from Argentina reflects on the transformations he has supported across Latin America and on why lean can help unlock the potential of the continent.

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Arrows and loops - the evolution of our management system
February 17, 2023
Arrows and loops - the evolution of our management system

FEATURE – A senior executive of a Spanish hotel chain shares an example of how the organization’s management system and visual tools have changed over time.

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Lean in government, a comeback?
February 14, 2023
Lean in government, a comeback?

FEATURE – At a recent Lean Day, our editor was reminded of the immense potential of Lean Thinking applied to government. After a few sleepy years, is lean in the public administration having a comeback?

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Lean, our “breda” and butter
February 7, 2023
Lean, our “breda” and butter

BOOK EXCERPT – The city of Breda in the Netherlands has been on a lean journey for the past six years. Today we share an excerpt from the book The Lean Government, which sets the scene for the transformation.

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Why is TPS so smart?
January 27, 2023
Why is TPS so smart?

FEATURE – A real understanding of Lean Thinking can only stem from an exploration of its tacit aspects, not just its most explicit, easy-to-grasp elements.

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Breaking the silence
January 24, 2023
Breaking the silence

FEATURE – By changing its attitude towards problems and welcoming them as opportunities to learn, this Colombian construction company has turned around its culture.

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Leading by solving (the right) problems
January 20, 2023
Leading by solving (the right) problems

FEATURE – Leading by solving problems is a key trait of any lean leader, but it is important to understand that not all problems are their prerogative.

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Visuals all around us
January 17, 2023
Visuals all around us

FEATURE – Visuals are a natural way in which human beings learn and teach. The author discusses why visual thinking is part of our DNA and the implications this has on our lives at work.

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One-time customer, lifelong customer
January 10, 2023
One-time customer, lifelong customer

FEATURE – We start the new year with a reminder to put customers first, always. It is they who make our business and keep our lean initiatives true, says the author.

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The year that was
December 21, 2022
The year that was

ROUND-UP – In his annual review of the best content we published, our editor looks back at 2022 and what this year was like for the Lean Community.

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Operation Sunflower: saving Christmas
December 16, 2022
Operation Sunflower: saving Christmas

FICTION – Santa is struggling to locate the many children who are hiding from war to deliver them gifts, until the lean Time Benders come to the rescue and help him understand the problem.

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Using lean to discharge patients before 12PM
December 13, 2022
Using lean to discharge patients before 12PM

FEATURE – This nurses-led experiment in Barcelona’s Hospital Clinic is proving successful in getting more patients discharged on time and avoiding surgery cancellations.

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Waste? It makes our blood boil!
December 9, 2022
Waste? It makes our blood boil!

FEATURE – Thanks to lean, a primary care unit in Catalonia has streamlined its blood sampling process, improving the patient experience and the life at work for its staff.

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Lean Thinking is personal development
December 6, 2022
Lean Thinking is personal development

FEATURE – In this interesting piece, the author explains how lean provided everyone, everywhere with a framework to work their intuition muscle and develop insights.

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The collaboration equation
November 29, 2022
The collaboration equation

FEATURE – In an excerpt from his new book, the author discusses the importance of building collaboration in your teams and explains why this is the only way to consistently deliver value.

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Lean eyes don't lie
November 8, 2022
Lean eyes don't lie

FEATURE – Whether improvement efforts are paying off and people are internalizing a lean way of thinking is a constant worry for many leaders. Here’s a trick to gauge how well – or how poorly – things are going in your transformation.

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Why few people truly take the lean leap
October 28, 2022
Why few people truly take the lean leap

FEATURE – To wholeheartedly embrace lean means to accept changes in our hearts and minds. Understanding this means to finally grasp the reason why lean is only truly taken up by few.

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Truth conquers all
October 14, 2022
Truth conquers all

FEATURE – Can lean relieve some of the pain and fear people experience in this crazy world? It can, says the author, because amid so much noise lean carries one truth.

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Advancing learning in a lean organization
October 11, 2022
Advancing learning in a lean organization

FEATURE – Our disposition towards learning changes depending on the amount of things we don’t know. The author explores this topic and the role of the sensei in enabling learning.

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Emotions on the gemba
October 4, 2022
Emotions on the gemba

FEATURE – They say lean is all about people, and yet emotions – something we all feel and express daily – are largely absent from the lean discourse. The authors discuss the role they play in a lean transformation.

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What is standardized work?
September 30, 2022
What is standardized work?

ROUND-UP – Standardized work, which lies at the foundation of the TPS house, is a necessary component of a lean transformation. This article looks at the best content on this topic from our archives.

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With Kata, simple is the key
September 27, 2022
With Kata, simple is the key

FEATURE – A former plant manager reflects on his experience supporting a team with the implementation of Kata in the daily management system and explains why, when it comes to Kata questions, simple is best.

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The lean answer to uncertainty
September 23, 2022
The lean answer to uncertainty

FEATURE – In the face of uncertainty, when it’s hard to see the road ahead, we can still make things better day after day by embracing kaizen – until we are out of the woods.

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Getting started with lean process development
September 16, 2022
Getting started with lean process development

SERIES – In the final article in their series on lean process development, the authors discuss what it takes to get started with their 6CON process development model.

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A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor
September 13, 2022
A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor

CALL TO ARMS – The current economic situation is presenting great challenges to organizations around the world, but in difficult times lean gives its best. Provided we all do our part, with conviction and determination.

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Building a lean platform for Industry 4.0 operating systems
September 9, 2022
Building a lean platform for Industry 4.0 operating systems

FEATURE – As organizations strive to modernize and ride the wave of new technologies, what should their operating systems look like? How can they adapt to Industry 4.0?

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What is Yokoten?
August 30, 2022
What is Yokoten?

ROUNDUP – Knowledge sharing is a powerful enabler of lean change. In this roundup, our editor discusses the benefits of yokoten and shares a few examples.

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Raise the bar on yourself
August 26, 2022
Raise the bar on yourself

FEATURE – Based on their experience supporting the stellar growth of Aramis Group, the authors discuss the role of leaders in shaping minds and behaviors and constantly challenging themselves to be the best example they can.

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Boosting the lean-agile maturity of our teams
August 23, 2022
Boosting the lean-agile maturity of our teams

FEATURE – BRQ Digital Solutions shows that effective customer-focused improvement must happen from the inside out, with team development aligned with the pillars of lean digital transformation.

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4 leadership considerations for better process development
August 19, 2022
4 leadership considerations for better process development

SERIES – The authors discuss the final elements in their 6CON process development model – CONtinuously Improve – making and sustaining consistent improvements over time that will produce even higher levels of performance.

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Lean maintenance in agriculture
August 16, 2022
Lean maintenance in agriculture

FEATURE – The problems agricultural businesses encounter every day can be solved using simple concepts of lean maintenance, resulting in considerable gains.

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Lean through four generations
August 12, 2022
Lean through four generations

FEATURE – Every lean generation has faced challenges, and it’s critical we understand the context around us if we are to continue to grow our Community, says Jim Womack.

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What's in a word?
August 9, 2022
What's in a word?

FEATURE – In the lean world, we are used to acronyms and abbreviations. But what’s the value of words if their meaning is lost and fails to reach those we are communicating with?

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Tell me about your metrics and I’ll tell you who you are
August 5, 2022
Tell me about your metrics and I’ll tell you who you are

FEATURE – Pure and simple management by indicators can be a trap leading us to make decisions that are inconsistent with the real needs of a company. The balance between facts and data is key.

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A leaner housekeeping
July 26, 2022
A leaner housekeeping

CASE STUDY – Hotels of the Palladium Group are implementing Lean Thinking in their housekeeping departments to improve efficiency and service quality.

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Process development – Putting the C in PDCA
July 22, 2022
Process development – Putting the C in PDCA

SERIES – The authors discuss the fifth of six elements in their 6CON process development model – CONfirm – leveraging a robust launch readiness approach to finalize the process while ensuring it meets the targets set in the business plan.

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Our friend “Ayethree”
July 19, 2022
Our friend “Ayethree”

FEATURE – Using her distinctive narrative style, the author breaks down the A3 process to help you understand how it works and how you can tap into its potential.

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TWI and the reorganization of our work
July 12, 2022
TWI and the reorganization of our work

FEATURE – To facilitate the transition to a new organization of the work in their department, a group of nurses at Erasmus Medical Center have been using Training Within Industry.

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What is the lean in lean?
July 8, 2022
What is the lean in lean?

FEATURE – The only way for lean to succeed is to change a leader’s behavior so the rest of the organization will change too and people get the support they need to become problem solvers.

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10 lean leadership lessons from our authors
July 1, 2022
10 lean leadership lessons from our authors

FEATURE – What does it mean to be a lean leader? Our editor tries to answer this question by searching the Planet Lean archives for the best nuggets of wisdom from our authors.

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Local experience for a global endeavor
June 28, 2022
Local experience for a global endeavor

FEATURE – A former ops manager now tasked for improvement across IKEA looks back at what she learned in one of the company’s stores and explains how she hopes to take lean to the whole group.

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Moving from learning to executing
June 17, 2022
Moving from learning to executing

SERIES – The authors discuss the fourth of six elements in their 6CON process development model – CONfigure – refining the selected process concept to maximize value-added activities.

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Toyota: differentiation and vitality
June 14, 2022
Toyota: differentiation and vitality

FEATURE – Toyota recently achieved the #1 spot in sales in the United States after 90 years of leadership by GM, which shows how capable the lean management philosophy is to overcome difficult circumstances in the market.

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Post-pandemic hansei
June 10, 2022
Post-pandemic hansei

FEATURE – Back on the road after two years, the author reflects on how lean organizations have performed during the pandemic and addresses age-old misunderstandings about Just-in-Time.

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Seeing problems, four types of them
June 7, 2022
Seeing problems, four types of them

FEATURE – Using data from a recent piece of research on logistics, the author discusses how Lean Thinking contributes to a more efficient and effective way of dealing with problems.

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5 ways to improve your connection with the gemba
May 31, 2022
5 ways to improve your connection with the gemba

FEATURE – The author discusses the practices that can help us make the most of the traditional mantra “go see, ask why, and show respect”.

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Learning to say “No” on the way to “Yes”
May 19, 2022
Learning to say “No” on the way to “Yes”

SERIES – The authors discuss the third of six elements in their process development model – Converge – using experiments to test key aspects of different ideas, while objectively working towards a single design concept slated for refinement and implementation.

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Cost calculation vs cost awareness
May 16, 2022
Cost calculation vs cost awareness

FEATURE – As inflation bites, the author offers us an insightful take into what it really means to understand a company’s costs. Hint, it doesn’t involve passing them on to customers.

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Self-organization, the Cossacks way
May 13, 2022
Self-organization, the Cossacks way

FEATURE – Resilience and the ability to self-organize have been part of Ukrainian culture for centuries. Today, as the war continues, the country’s companies and resistance are tapping into those values.

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8 key lessons from Toyota
May 10, 2022
8 key lessons from Toyota

ROUND-UP – Our editor looks back at the most insightful articles Planet Lean has published on the most talked-about company in the lean world. Here are eight key lessons from Toyota, straight from our archives.

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Resilience: problems Ukrainian firms are experiencing today
May 6, 2022
Resilience: problems Ukrainian firms are experiencing today

FEATURE – Ahead of their exclusive webinar next week, the authors outline some of the problems Ukrainian companies are facing as the Russian invasion continues.

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Lean transformations: failure and misconceptions
April 29, 2022
Lean transformations: failure and misconceptions

FEATURE – Drawing inspiration from his research into the causes of failure of transformations, the author discusses how these can directly be linked to the most common misconceptions on Lean Thinking.

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The value of testing multiple concepts at once
April 21, 2022
The value of testing multiple concepts at once

SERIES—The authors discuss Concepts, the second of six elements in their process development model, discovering the key knowledge gaps and exploring multiple process design options to facilitate learning.

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Operation Honeybee
April 12, 2022
Operation Honeybee

FEATURE – To consistently identify new and better ways of doing things can breathe new life into a lean journey, but only if the knowledge developed can be effectively shared across the organization.

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The theory of lean transformation
March 31, 2022
The theory of lean transformation

FEATURE – In this compelling theoretical piece, the author reminds us how in a lean organization relations are structured around learning opportunities rather than execution. This is what ultimately enables a company to grow.

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Deploying strategic metrics in operations
March 28, 2022
Deploying strategic metrics in operations

FEATURE – Using the example of a chain of pizzerias, the author explains why “slicing the elephant” is the approach you want to follow when it comes to deploying strategic metrics in operations.

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All the world is a stage
March 24, 2022
All the world is a stage

FEATURE – The conflict unfolding in Ukraine acts as a tragic reminder of the threat posed by despotic, unapproachable, and paranoid leaders, says Sharon Visser.

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Understanding the context of your process
March 17, 2022
Understanding the context of your process

SERIES – The authors discuss the first of six elements in their process development model – Context – highlighting the importance of gaining clarity on the objectives of the process being created.

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Where to look for hope in dark times
March 14, 2022
Where to look for hope in dark times

FEATURE – When the clouds gather, it’s tempting to throw in the towel and ask, “What is it all for?”. The author tells us why the kaizen spirit should be our beacon now more than ever.

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My gemba visits in Ukraine
March 11, 2022
My gemba visits in Ukraine

FEATURE – As the senseless war in Ukraine continues, the author looks back to his visit to the country in 2017, recalling and celebrating its vibrant lean community.

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A fork in the road for lean research?
February 28, 2022
A fork in the road for lean research?

RESEARCH – The author reflects on several highly-ranked academic publications to paint a picture of salient lean knowledge, both past and present, and suggests several avenues for future lean research.

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The value of software
February 24, 2022
The value of software

FEATURE – The authors explain why putting value at the heart of customer discussions is key to developing a successful, resilient tech firm.

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The competitive advantage of lean process creation
February 17, 2022
The competitive advantage of lean process creation

SERIES – The authors of The Power of Process open their new series by explaining why it’s critical to integrate product and process development.

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Back from the brink
February 14, 2022
Back from the brink

ROUNDUP – Our editor looks back at the best articles explaining how Lean Thinking can help in a crisis and bring an organization back from the brink of disaster.

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How to shorten product development lead-time
February 10, 2022
How to shorten product development lead-time

FEATURE – Reflecting on the transformations he has supported, the author provides a few recommendations on how to get products to market faster.

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Lean and the 5th industrial revolution
February 7, 2022
Lean and the 5th industrial revolution

FEATURE – The author shares a few lessons learned on his company’s journey to Industry/Quality 4.0, the foundation to 5.0 Artificial Intelligence.

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Control or cooperate?
January 27, 2022
Control or cooperate?

FEATURE – Lean Thinking is about voluntary participation, not audits that are meant to ensure compliance. The authors explore the advantages of pursuing cooperation rather than control.

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Lean on the agenda
January 20, 2022
Lean on the agenda

FEATURE – This Brazilian manufacturer was able to achieve significant improvements in its processes in just one week thanks to kaizen.

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