• Make better or make money?

    Make better or make money?

    How do you measure your success? How much money you make? Or how much you make the world a better place? Capitalism is a driving force of our societies, and like any force it has a Light and a Dark […]

     
  • Now, change the story of your industry

    Now, change the story of your industry

    The deep purpose of lean thinking is to benefit society by growing sustainable and profitable companies that continuously strive to satisfy their customers more completely. The trick to doing this is to focus every person in the company in figuring […]

     
  • Is your Lean Director the worst enemy of lean thinking?

    Is your Lean Director the worst enemy of lean thinking?

    Sadly, in many (by all means, not all) companies, the Lean Director is the worst enemy of lean – he’s just there to stifle all real kaizen and promote the yes-men who excel at pretend lean. Why is that? True […]

     
  • 80 points + Alpha

    80 points + Alpha

    “A good movie is three good scenes, no bad scenes,” once quipped Howard Hawks. The Corolla’s first Chief Engineer established the doctrine of “80 points + alpha.” The idea is that, in developing a new products there are 80 points […]

     
  • Real competitive edge: say “yes,” be friendly

    Real competitive edge: say “yes,” be friendly

    Let’s face it, Europe’s time has passed and even European outshoots from America to Australia are waning. This is Asia’s century. Dr. Marcus Chao, one of my mentors who coaches me on the vast mystery that is China keeps chiding […]

     
  • Kaizen spirit: the antidote to taylorist bureaucratic thinking

    Kaizen spirit: the antidote to taylorist bureaucratic thinking

    These days, the rage in lean is all about “management system”, “hoshin kanri” or “standard work.” Where is kaizen gone? In the last conference I attended, three people independently quoted Taiichi Ohno reportedly saying “without standards, there can be no […]

     
  • The company is its products

    The company is its products

    Don’t kid yourself, your engineering strategy is your strategy. Engineering has progressively been devolved by professional managers to just another department who’s job is to realize the long list of specifications Marketing has dreamed up – as well as take […]

     
  • Andon is for operators to help us understand quality

    Andon is for operators to help us understand quality

    Andon is not for management to visualize problems, it’s for operators to help management understand quality. Yesterday, I witnessed that rare (very rare) feat: a company trying to set up an andon. Andon means that operators have a button to […]

     
  • What does it mean to develop someone?

    What does it mean to develop someone?

    The cornerstone idea of Lean thinking is that “to make quality products we first have to develop quality people.” But what does it mean to “develop people”? Our obsession bureaucratic conditioning tends to make us think in terms of Roles and […]

     
  • Leaders make choices, managers take decisions

    Leaders make choices, managers take decisions

    Choosing to quit smoking is one thing, deciding not to have that cigarette is another. Chasing is a lifestyle choice, an orientation that is going to make your life better. Decisions is picking one among several options at any one […]