lean management

All articles about lean management

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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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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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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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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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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Can lean help with a brutal drop in sales?
November 30, 2020
Can lean help with a brutal drop in sales?

FEATURE – With lockdowns enforced in many countries as Covid-19 continues to ravage the world, the authors discuss how Lean Thinking can help when the order book dries up.

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The role of “System 3” thinking
November 16, 2020
The role of “System 3” thinking

FEATURE – This compelling article explores how our brain constantly looks for emotional resonance with the environment around us. Is this System-3 type thinking the key to enabling joint problem solving?

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A lean view on... the media
September 28, 2020
A lean view on... the media

INTERVIEW – If we truly believe lean can change society, then we should use it as a lens through which to look into different aspects of our lives – even when those associations are hard to make. This month, we discuss the world of media.

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Enhancing your gemba skills
February 24, 2020
Enhancing your gemba skills

FEATURE – Michael Ballé shares a few tricks he uses to escape his default thinking and ensure he makes the most of every gemba walk he goes on.

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New Year loss and found
January 13, 2020
New Year loss and found

FEATURE – 2019 was another momentous year for the Lean Community. John Shook reflects on what we lost and what we gained in the last year of the decade.

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What is kaizen?
October 31, 2019
What is kaizen?

ROUNDUP – This month, we look at the most effective lean improvement approach – kaizen – by looking back at some of our best articles on the subject.

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Introducing Colombia to lean management
October 14, 2019
Introducing Colombia to lean management

INTERVIEW – As we look back at the evolution of lean management in our countries, the story of Instituto Lean Colombia will certainly sound more than familiar.

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An ever deeper analysis of the work
February 16, 2019
An ever deeper analysis of the work

FEATURE – As we progress on our lean journey, results seem to become harder to achieve: it’s because we need to become more granular in our analysis and improvement of the work.

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Better thinking for better lean thinking
February 7, 2019
Better thinking for better lean thinking

FEATURE – We tend to describe lean as a holistic approach to a transformation, but we won’t be able to truly embrace it until everyone starts to see the organization as a system.

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The depth of Lean Thinking
August 14, 2018
The depth of Lean Thinking

FEATURE – To really embrace lean thinking means to ensure the bureaucratic structures in our organizations enable our people to excel, rather than constrain their creativity.

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Easing the pain
March 31, 2023
Easing the pain

WEB SERIES – Today, we launch a new documentary series on lean around the world, with the first season focusing on lean in Brazil. In the first episode, we visit the lean clinic on a mission to reduce the burden on cancer in our lives.

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Learning about environmental concerns and strategy at Toyota
July 12, 2017
Learning about environmental concerns and strategy at Toyota

INTERVIEW – It might seem a paradox that the world’s largest automaker is setting the pace for corporate social responsibility. Then again, Toyota never really followed the status quo. Kelly Singer interviews Toyota's Steve Hope.

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Lean around the clock
November 25, 2021
Lean around the clock

FEATURE – With one of the biggest lean events of the year just four days away, John Shook tells you why you should participate and what you can expect.

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How lean is securing the future of this digital advertiser
February 20, 2018
How lean is securing the future of this digital advertiser

CASE STUDY – How do you keep up with a market changing at the speed of light? The Chief Inventor of an Australian digital company explains how they are using lean to safeguard their future.

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Jim Womack shares his lean take on Tesla
January 29, 2018
Jim Womack shares his lean take on Tesla

WOMACK’S YOKOTEN – In his first column of 2018, the author looks at one of the most talked about companies in the world, Tesla, from a lean point of view.

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A video gemba walk to experience visual tools in a hospital
October 26, 2017
A video gemba walk to experience visual tools in a hospital

VIDEO GEMBA WALK - Last week PL went to Brazil. We joined a doctor at the gemba in one of the hospitals we visited and asked her to show us their visual management system in the ER.

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Barcelona lean hospital given Honorable Mention in Taiwan
November 8, 2017
Barcelona lean hospital given Honorable Mention in Taiwan

INTERVIEW – The Consorci Sanitari del Garraf, a Catalan hospital PL has come to know well over the past few years, just won an Honorable Mention award at the World Hospital Congress.

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Transforming people to transform the healthcare industry
October 20, 2017
Transforming people to transform the healthcare industry

VIDEO INTERVIEW – Last year, the Lean Global Network launched an initiative to leverage the knowledge of our institutes to positively impact the healthcare industry. We caught up with the group in São Paulo this week.

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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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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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Lean learning, reinvented
May 3, 2022
Lean learning, reinvented

INTERVIEW – From hospitals to start-ups, lean principles have been applied far beyond their origins at Toyota. This article discusses how lean can be applied to learning – specifically, how we can apply lean learning to learning lean.

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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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Creating a model primary care unit
April 7, 2022
Creating a model primary care unit

CASE STUDY – This primary care unit in Brazil is hoping to become a model for other units in their system. Take note, this is how Lean Thinking can spread across healthcare systems.

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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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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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Once More, All Together Now: “JIT is …”
October 5, 2021
Once More, All Together Now: “JIT is …”

FEATURE – As global supply chain suffer ongoing disruption, the author addresses the misconceptions on Just-In-Time that keep appearing in the media.

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Standard work for leaders
June 28, 2021
Standard work for leaders

FEATURE – The author reflects on the importance of standardized work in her daily life as a manager and explains why one can’t expect to run a company only using reports.

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Troublesome problems and threshold concepts
May 24, 2021
Troublesome problems and threshold concepts

FEATURE – Looking back on the lean journeys he's seen firsthand, the author concludes that a true lean transformation occurs when you establish lines of mentoring to the Thinking People System.

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Truly seeing the big picture
October 5, 2020
Truly seeing the big picture

FEATURE – In this personal account, the author explains how Lean Thinking inspires her painting process, debunking the myth that the methodology stifles creativity.

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Making hard work easier
January 9, 2020
Making hard work easier

FEATURE – Reflecting on some of the work he’s recently observed, the author discusses what lean thinking teaches us about making life easier for the value creators in our organizations.

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What is 5S?
August 22, 2019
What is 5S?

FEATURE – In this roundup, we look at one of the most important lean tools and how it is deployed in organizations by bringing together PL articles on the subject.

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Changing our dealership to changes lives in the township
March 6, 2018
Changing our dealership to changes lives in the township

FEATURE – The principal of the Halfway Ottery dealership explains how their lean culture based on respect and improvement is not only changing the business, but transforming the lives of people in the townships.

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Five key takeaways from our lean week visiting Toyota
November 17, 2017
Five key takeaways from our lean week visiting Toyota

ROUND-UP – The Lean Global Network’s week in Japan in September was full of learning and inspiration. We asked five LGNers to share their biggest takeaways.

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The impact of lean on the financial performance of an SME
October 18, 2016
The impact of lean on the financial performance of an SME

RESEARCH – What kind of financial results can a SME owner expect from a lean transformation? To find out, the author of this interesting research analyzed the performance of 100 Italian small and medium-sized companies.

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An organic metaphor of the organization to truly grasp lean
December 15, 2016
An organic metaphor of the organization to truly grasp lean

FEATURE – We are used to seeing the organization as a mechanical entity, but how can a machine possible change and improve? We must change our mental model and learn to see the lean enterprise as a growing plant.

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Teaching lean management: current and future state
August 19, 2016
Teaching lean management: current and future state

INTERVIEW – Making lean thinking a bigger part of our university programs and education is the only way to ensure the methodology really comes to permeate our societies. But how can we ensure lean is taught in a way that makes sense?

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Follow the gemba walk in a SNCF train maintenance center
November 7, 2016
Follow the gemba walk in a SNCF train maintenance center

NOTES FROM THE GEMBA - We follow the author on a visit to a train maintenance center in France. Through practical examples and pictures from the gemba, she explains how the center is transforming itself.

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A step-by-step guide to leadership and team lean development
June 20, 2016
A step-by-step guide to leadership and team lean development

FEATURE – When middle managers are stressed and overworked, there is no time left for them to improve. Changing the interaction between leaders and teams, using lean principles and empowering people, can truly ignite your transformation.

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What's senior leaders' standard work in a lean enterprise?
November 4, 2014
What's senior leaders' standard work in a lean enterprise?

RESEARCH - Standard work is not meant for senior leadership, but there are activities that CEOs can carry out systematically to support a lean management system, starting from problem solving.

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John Bouthillon on his experience with lean in construction
May 6, 2014
John Bouthillon on his experience with lean in construction

COLUMN - In the first of a series of columns written by CEOs, John Bouthillon of PO Construction explains how lean has kept his company afloat through the recession.

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Asking the right questions. Sure, but how?
March 11, 2021
Asking the right questions. Sure, but how?

FEATURE – This interesting article asks what it means to ask to right questions and explains why the way to success is learning about problems, not wondering whether solutions are wrong or right.

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Think in terms of value networks, not supply chains
April 12, 2021
Think in terms of value networks, not supply chains

FEATURE – This article explores the concept of “value network”, emphasizing the importance of looking at lead-times and value creation in a more holistic way.

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Awakening
February 8, 2021
Awakening

INTERVIEW – The extraordinary events of the past year have encouraged lean organizations around the world to ask deeper questions about purpose and value creation, says Josh Howell.

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Caught between a rock and a hard place
February 25, 2021
Caught between a rock and a hard place

FEATURE – What is the role of middle managers in a transformation and how can we ensure they can fulfil that role – instead of being blamed for the failure of the initiative and even excluded from it?

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Deep dive in a lean digital company #1
February 18, 2021
Deep dive in a lean digital company #1

NOTES FROM THE GEMBA – The author visits the office of Theodo France and learns how the lean digital company is leveraging lean thinking and practice to support its ongoing growth – even through the pandemic.

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Lean in SMEs
January 11, 2021
Lean in SMEs

FEATURE – SMEs represent the backbone of many economies, but few of them contemplate embarking on a lean transformation. The author discusses why and offers some tips to help them embrace lean.

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Hope in lean nation
December 21, 2020
Hope in lean nation

FEATURE – As 2020 finally draws to an end, our editor reflects on the year that was and discusses why the Lean Community is a such an important source of inspiration and hope.

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Beyond exploitation - an alternative business system
September 21, 2020
Beyond exploitation - an alternative business system

FEATURE – The transformational power of Lean Thinking allows us to see it as a way to solve some of the world’s biggest problems. Dan Jones explains why it can represent an alternative to our exploitation-based system.

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Lean turnaround – charting a new course
September 17, 2020
Lean turnaround – charting a new course

FEATURE – In business, the word “turnaround” refers to radical changes in the direction a company is moving toward. Here’s why Lean Thinking can increase the chances of success of such endeavors.

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The power of visual thinking
September 7, 2020
The power of visual thinking

FEATURE – How does visual thinking practically help an organization? The author discusses three different ways in which it can be used to benefit a business and help it to improve itself.

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The gift that keeps on giving
February 27, 2020
The gift that keeps on giving

FEATURE – The benefits of establishing a lean operating system will support the growth and success of a business in the long term, says Karen Gaudet looking back at her experience at Starbucks.

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Gemba walks: the common pitfalls
March 5, 2020
Gemba walks: the common pitfalls

FEATURE – The author discusses the most common mistakes leaders make during gemba walks and the things they need to keep in mind to make the most of this important management practice.

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Coping with Covid-19: lessons from The Plague
March 25, 2020
Coping with Covid-19: lessons from The Plague

COLUMN – With the Covid-19 pandemic spreading around the world, John Shook shares six ideas that are guiding him as 1.5 billion of us go into lockdown.

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Why bother with lean when we're all doomed?
March 16, 2020
Why bother with lean when we're all doomed?

FEATURE – When faced with a crisis, like the current one, it is natural to wonder, “Why bother?”. Yet, this is when we most need a growth mindset and a framework like lean thinking to figure out a way forward.

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Hoshin kanri in a picture
March 9, 2020
Hoshin kanri in a picture

FEATURE – Hoshin is a powerful management practice that aligns the work at different levels to a company’s strategic goals. The author offers a one-page visual summary.

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Predictable vs unpredictable work
February 6, 2020
Predictable vs unpredictable work

FEATURE – It is a common misconception that our work is too unpredictable to fit into a standardized approach. The author debunks this myth.

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Change management from the inside out
December 2, 2019
Change management from the inside out

FEATURE – The author discusses how the daily practice of lean thinking develops perseverance and the grit a leader needs to improve an organization.

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Practice makes perfect
November 28, 2019
Practice makes perfect

FEATURE – Much like lean management, attaining perfection in music requires constant practice. The author looks back at his musical past and at a recent Lean Global Network samba gig.

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Turn the beat around
September 3, 2019
Turn the beat around

FEATURE – One year ago, the author started coaching organizations in her town of Maun, Botswana. Here she reflects on her experience and draws an interesting parallel between lean management and dancing.

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Lean thinker, I salute thee
December 27, 2018
Lean thinker, I salute thee

ROUND-UP – As the year ends, our editor reflects on the state of the lean movement and looks back at the best articles published by Planet Lean this year.

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When a top exec becomes the lean manager
September 11, 2018
When a top exec becomes the lean manager

OPINION – What happens when a senior executive jumps the fence and finds himself having to drive the very same change he was asking others to create?

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Metrics matter
October 5, 2018
Metrics matter

INTERVIEW – In this thought-provoking conversation, Michael Ballé and Mark Graban discuss metrics and the managerial attitude towards tracking them.

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Isao Yoshino reflects on the role of management at Toyota
January 15, 2018
Isao Yoshino reflects on the role of management at Toyota

INTERVIEW – In this Q&A with Catherine Chabiron, Toyota veteran Isao Yoshino discusses NUMMI, management at the company, and how to change the mindsets of leaders.

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Tracey Richardson on the deep meaning of standards at Toyota
August 21, 2017
Tracey Richardson on the deep meaning of standards at Toyota

FEATURE – Through this intimate anecdote from her days at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky, the author tells us of her experience with standardization… and of the deep leadership lessons hiding behind it.

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Driving lean with book clubs at Fuji Xerox Australia
October 12, 2017
Driving lean with book clubs at Fuji Xerox Australia

FEATURE – In May, the author told us how the IT department at Fuji Xerox Australia used book clubs to engage people in lean. In this update, he explains how the efforts were brought over to a different area of the business.

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The young firm fulfilling the potential of lean in digital
November 3, 2017
The young firm fulfilling the potential of lean in digital

INTERVIEW – Software development company Theodo is a unique example of a digital company that has fully embraced lean and understood its potential. We caught up with their young CEO and CTO.

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Create stable, fulfilling jobs to fully benefit from lean
October 30, 2017
Create stable, fulfilling jobs to fully benefit from lean
womack social heijunka good jobs

WOMACK’S YOKOTEN – Toyota’s commitment to employees reminds us that it is impossible to tap into the full potential of lean without providing people with stable, gratifying employment.

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John Shook discusses Toyota and Japan at Nagoya station
October 10, 2017
John Shook discusses Toyota and Japan at Nagoya station
John Shook in Toyota City with the LGN

INTERVIEW – For its 10th anniversary, the Lean Global Network went to Japan for a study mission. Our editor spoke with John Shook on a Shinkansen platform after four days in Toyota City and Nagoya.

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Leveraging lean thinking to build community prosperity
October 18, 2017
Leveraging lean thinking to build community prosperity

FEATURE – Riverview Gardens in an NGO striving to build prosperity for the community around it through capability development. The authors suggest this should be the goal for the lean community as a whole.

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You can't make countries great without great jobs
December 21, 2016
You can't make countries great without great jobs

WOMACK'S YOKOTEN – Small firms represent the backbone of the economy, and there is no doubt lean can help them improve and grow – by making the jobs they offer great. Without it, countries won't be great either.

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Being a learner-in-chief: a lean healthcare leader profiled
May 22, 2017
Being a learner-in-chief: a lean healthcare leader profiled

PROFILE – Another month, another inspiring profile of a lean practitioner. We were impressed by Dr Billi’s deep conviction in the idea that, first of all, leaders must be learners. You will be too.

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When lean gets hard it is managers who have to persevere
March 7, 2017
When lean gets hard it is managers who have to persevere

FEATURE – A lean journey often has more downs than ups, but it is a responsibility of management to persist and keep asking the right questions that will steer the firm in the right direction.

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A modern HR department must offer a dynamic work partnership
January 25, 2017
A modern HR department must offer a dynamic work partnership
talent retainment digital revolution

OPINION – The digital revolution has forever changed the nature of employment: today's workers have more choice and employers competing for them than ever before. It's about time our approach to HR reflected that.

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Jim Womack on asking questions rather than providing answers
November 29, 2016
Jim Womack on asking questions rather than providing answers
womack yokoten answer man

WOMACK'S YOKOTEN – As a first instinct, most of us tend to provide answers and solutions rather than ask questions. In this month's Yokoten, Jim Womack provides advice on how to fight this behavior and become a coach.

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Ballé, Jones and Chaize on reusable learning in lean
September 6, 2016
Ballé, Jones and Chaize on reusable learning in lean

FEATURE - Effectively dealing with a problem means learning to solve it in a variety of scenarios, not perfecting a point solution. For too long in lean we have only focused on gaining reusable knowledge... but what about reusable learning?

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Why lean thinking challenges our assumptions on management
October 14, 2016
Why lean thinking challenges our assumptions on management

FEATURE - We often hear that lean is a fundamentally different approach, but what does this really mean? The authors reflect on how lean challenges and debunks our assumptions on how to run a firm, which might also explain why it meets such resistance.

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The Wells Fargo scandal teaches us lean must be nurtured
October 28, 2016
The Wells Fargo scandal teaches us lean must be nurtured

OPINION – The latest banking scandal had us all wonder whether Wells Fargo has lost its way. But how does a pioneering bank that once had lean at its heart betray its core values so profoundly?

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Writing Lean Thinking - the authors look back
September 21, 2016
Writing Lean Thinking - the authors look back

INTERVIEW – Twenty years ago a book started a movement that is growing stronger every day and that has changed the world in many ways. We caught up with the authors to sneak a peek behind the scenes.

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The community comments on the Lean Thinking book
September 19, 2016
The community comments on the Lean Thinking book

FEATURE – It’s Lean Thinking week and to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the publication of the book, we have asked a few people from the lean community what it meant to them.

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Improve your lean coaching practice by acting with humility
March 8, 2016
Improve your lean coaching practice by acting with humility

FEATURE – Coaching people is the only way to truly develop their capabilities, but what does it take to become a good lean coach? Josh Howell on how humility helped him to improve his ability to coach.

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John Toussaint on lean thinking in healthcare
January 12, 2016
John Toussaint on lean thinking in healthcare

INTERVIEW – At the recent Lean Healthcare Transformation Summit in Brussels, Planet Lean editor Roberto Priolo sat down with John Toussaint to discuss the state of lean thinking in healthcare, its challenges and its opportunities.

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Managing by metrics? Managers will game the numbers
June 30, 2015
Managing by metrics? Managers will game the numbers

WOMACK'S YOKOTEN - Senior leadership must learn to understand the work if they are to move away from the mindless metrics that lead managers to "game" numbers or to shift responsibility on to other departments.

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Is lean management more conservative or progressive?
January 29, 2015
Is lean management more conservative or progressive?

COLUMN - In political terms, is lean management more in line with conservative principles or progressive ideas? Michael Ballé reflects on a tough question.

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Womack on overcoming employee resistance to lean thinking
April 28, 2015
Womack on overcoming employee resistance to lean thinking

WOMACK'S YOKOTEN - Every practitioner has encountered employee resistance to lean at some point. Here's a few tips on how to win over naysayers and perhaps even turn them into some of your biggest supporters.

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LEI announces new partnership
November 19, 2014
LEI announces new partnership

NEWS - LEI partners with the Institute for Intrapreneurship to help established and startup companies to become more innovative using lean thinking and practices.

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Jim Womack on applying lean thinking to a greenfield
June 10, 2014
Jim Womack on applying lean thinking to a greenfield

FEATURE - In this essay, first appeared in his book Gemba Walks, Jim P. Womack describes the benefits of launching lean in a greenfield environment drawing from his experience volunteering in Central America.

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Change management at an airline catering business using lean thinking
June 12, 2014
Change management at an airline catering business using lean thinking

INTERVIEW - Having to adapt to changing customer needs, KLM Catering Services decided to turn to lean thinking, reducing its changeover times and recycling more.

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The people-led lean turnaround of a chain of car dealerships
September 4, 2017
The people-led lean turnaround of a chain of car dealerships

DOCUMENTARY – In PL’s first ever documentary, we share the story of a chain of car dealerships in Africa. Watch and learn how people development and lean leadership made for one of the best turnarounds you’ll ever encounter.

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Growing car sales by 400% in a dealership using lean
October 4, 2017
Growing car sales by 400% in a dealership using lean

FEATURE – For the first article in our series on the Halfway transformation, we asked the Sales team to tell us about how they apply lean to selling cars in a challenging social context.

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Lean as the management strategy of the future
August 25, 2017
Lean as the management strategy of the future

FEATURE – Lean is a people-centric system for learning that acts as an alternative to traditional management and financial capitalism. It represents the best strategy a company can adopt to meet the needs of the future.

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Jim Womack on where lean has failed and why not to give up
August 29, 2017
Jim Womack on where lean has failed and why not to give up

YOKOTEN – Lean has changed the world in many ways, even though the original vision of its founding fathers has failed to materialize. Jim discusses why, as a movement, we shouldn’t give up and review our strategy instead.

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Michael Ballé reflects on how lean really works
August 17, 2017
Michael Ballé reflects on how lean really works

FEATURE – Continuously studying the challenges we meet and the responses we devise, lean gives us endless opportunities to learn. The author goes back to basics, reflecting on some core lean premises.

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Jim Womack on creating the social basis for lean management
July 26, 2017
Jim Womack on creating the social basis for lean management

WOMACK’S YOKOTEN – The author looks at hoshin planning, A3 thinking and daily management as the three key elements of a lean management system, and highlights the related behaviors that will allow lean to thrive.

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How a Kinross mine drives lean thinking using CI boards
June 20, 2017
How a Kinross mine drives lean thinking using CI boards

FEATURE – The Continuous Improvements Boards at the Round Mountain mining site have been critical to shifting the company's culture... the secret, it turns out, is always providing feedback on people's suggestions.

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