“I Want To Do It My Way And Not The Standard Way”

Most everyone knows about the leaning tower of Pisa but why did it get that way? This is straight from Wikipedia – “The tower began to sink after construction had progressed to the third floor in 1178. This was due to a mere three-meter foundation, set in weak, unstable subsoil, a design that was flawed from the beginning.” If they had standard design and construction processes these disasters may have been avoided. Standard work might have saved one of the most famous Italian monuments. This instance we have something “interesting” from not following standard work but normally that is not the case.

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It’s The Culture Dummy

Today’s title was the phrase that was told to me when I first started in my lean journey during a transformation process.

When going through a lean implementation there are two aspects we look at:

1) Technical and tangible aspects
a. Design elements
b. Scheduling
c. Staffing
d. And other tools

2) Non-technical and intangible aspects
a. Culture
b. Morale
c. Willingness and ability to change

Often times we put most of our effort into the tangible items because we feel since we can “touch” these items we can have greater impact on our change. With Lean, culture is the main driver of impact. Any change made will be temporary unless your culture changes. You’ll spend the majority of your time (initially) working on the tangible aspects but your impact really comes from cultural changes:

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Wheel Of Lean

Many of us at are familiar with the seven wastes:


Over processing
Over production

Too many companies focus on just the above 7 when they are only 1/3 of the issues in a system. TIM WOOD is called MUDA. There are 3 elements that need to be addressed when making a system lean:
· Muda – Activity that is wasteful and doesn’t add value or is unproductive
· Mura – Unevenness/inconsistency in a process and “flow” of the product
· Muri – Overburdening

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Whether You Think You Can Or Can’t, You’re Right

Thank you to www.shmula.com for the photo and an interesting article why lean transformations fail. Thank you also to Henry Ford for the title of today’s blog post.

The picture tells a very interesting story. 70% of transformations fail because of ourselves. We are are worst enemies when it comes to change. None of use are really a stranger to the concept, how many times have we told ourselves “I shouldn’t eat that” or “I’ll do that work next week.” My personal favorite is “I like it the way I’m doing now!”

The reality is that the actual bolts and nuts of a lean transformation are the easy part. The hard part is looking into the company mirror and asking “is my company going to make it through the transformation.” From experience I know that whatever you think you can do is what you will do. The main question with a transformation really becomes how do I make sure I’m culturally ready for a transformation.

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What’s Really The Problem?

Like many of you I’ve been hearing a lot about the health care debate and it got me thinking. Now I know there are many sides to the problem but I think the one question we have to ask ourselves is “What’s really the problem?” When I think about it I realize that 32% of people in the U.S. are obese and obesity leads to cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer, and type 2 diabetes. So I ask you is the problem with the health care system or is it in our food supply and our health & nutrition education?

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The Err Is Human… To Error Proof Is Divine

Well maybe not divine but it sure does help you from making those “human error” mistakes. Ever heard of Murphy’s Law? “Any thing that can go wrong will go wrong.” In short if something has the possibility of happening, it will happen. You can only flip the coin on heads so many times before it tails shows up. The same is true for any possible mistakes someone might make at their job. Eventually if they do it long enough you will make mistakes.

So what can we do to stop all these mistakes from happening before they happen? Poka Yoke, aka error proofing, is a great way to prevent errors.

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