EDITOR'S LETTER - A summit in Las Vegas and a website redesign: March was a big one for PL. Our editor Roberto Priolo reflects on the month that was and offers a round-up of the content published on Planet Lean in March.
Words: Roberto Priolo, Editor, Planet Lean
March was an exciting month! My personal highlight was my trip to United States to attend the Lean Transformation Summit in Las Vegas, always an amazing learning opportunity and a wonderful way to catch up with old friends from the lean community and meet new people (lots of American-flavored content coming your way, so stay tuned). Kudos to the LEI team for putting together another great event!
Speaking of, this past month Planet Lean published a great article by a LEI team member: Josh Howell told us about how humility helps him to become a better lean coach. This is must-read for every lean practitioner.
Yes, humility is necessary for lean to stick. A leader who is humble will question his/her behavior and be open to different, better ways of doing things. More importantly, a humble leader will take part in the improvement work first-hand.
This month, I profiled a very humble CEO... Carlos Frederico Pinto (friends call him Dr Fred) of a cancer treatment center in Brazil, who follows his own leader standard work, goes to the gemba every day and takes part in a rapid improvement event every week. He said: "You can only be effective as a CEO if you spend your time at the gemba with a clear purpose." Truly inspiring.
This wasn't the only healthcare article in March. We also had a great story of a people-led transformation coming from Lucile Packard Children's Hospital in Stanford, California. I was lucky enough to visit the hospital a couple of days after the LEI summit and to attend a stand-up meeting in the surgery department. I must say that the level of engagement I witnessed was incredible.
It's great to see so much lean in healthcare. We have covered the sector a lot on Planet Lean lately, to the point that I almost feel like we have been neglecting the place where it all started... the manufacturing floor. In March, Ian Glenday reminded us of the importance of not forgetting one's origins, offering an insightful article on how ERP is too often at odds with our attempts to bring stability to our production scheduling.
But Planet Lean covered IT in another piece, authored by Flávio Picchi and Christopher Thompson of Lean Institute Brasil, who analysed the state of lean in the world of information technology and explained why in our increasingly digital world organizations can no longer leave IT out of their lean efforts.
I find it particularly interesting that both lean and IT are often victims of a massive misinterpretation. Both are typically considered to be recipes for success in business. Just buy this awesome piece of software and you'll be fine... Just apply kanban here and standard work there, and all your problems will disappear. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Tools are important – in fact, they are fundamental – but they are only one part of the equation, as David Mann said in this interview. The production system (read, the tools) must go hand in hand with the management system (read, the culture) if results are to be sustained.
David Mann will speak at June's Lean Management Conference in the lovely town of Wroclaw, Poland, together with Drew Locher, whom we also interviewed in March. Drew shared a few critical insights on bringing lean to an office setting – click here for more.
Lean in the office is still fairly new, of course, but not quite as new as lean in a political party. Yep, you heard me! A local branch of Italy's Partito Democratico has been applying lean principles and tools to its internal work, to try and boost motivation following a bad electoral defeat in 2015. But don't take my work for it... here's the article!
Making meetings effective was one of the party's main goals and, as we know, discussion is the lifeblood of any meeting and it is important to ensure it is constructive. But what if "discussion" wasn't the right way to interact as a team? In his monthly opinion piece for Planet Lean, Boaz Tamir encouraged us to transition from discussion to dialogue in order to unleash the true creative potential of our people.
This past Tuesday we had our monthly appointment with Jim Womack's Yokoten column. This time, Jim talked about kaizen vs kaikaku and explored the pace of a lean transformation. When should we go slow and when can we afford to accelerate in our lean journey? Our favourite contributor in top form!
One more thing, before I wrap up this monthly editor's letter. As you probably noticed, Planet Lean went through a redesign a couple of weeks ago, and I am interested in hearing your thoughts about the new look and functions of the website.
The idea was to improve your experience as a reader. In fact, we based the redesign on your feedback, and tried to make the site easier to navigate and content easier to find.
You will see a TOPICS menu on the top left corner of the page and a box featuring recent and trending articles on the right. Additionally, we have changed the way we display articles in the lower part of the homepage, introducing a feed. Content now appears in chronological order, and you can filter it by category. Finally, we have removed any feature that was unnecessary, idle or unused.
Till next month...
Roberto Priolo is a London-based journalist and Managing Editor of Planet Lean. Prior to joining the Lean Global Network and launching Planet Lean, Roberto was editor of Lean Management Journal and associate editor of The Manufacturer magazine. He holds a degree in Political Science from the Università Cattolica in Milan, Italy, and a postgraduate diploma in journalism from the London School of Journalism.