COLUMN – Last month a video surfaced of a passenger being forcibly removed from an overbooked United Airlines flight and the Internet went ablaze. What does this story tell us about the relationship between profitability and customer value?
WOMACK'S YOKOTEN – As the Lean Enterprise Institute turns 20, its founder provides us with a bit of hansei on where we are and where we are going next as a community, and on what challenges we might tackle.
FEATURE – Why doesn't lean have a manifesto? The authors highlight the core principles and values of lean thinking, but warn these can only go so far without the learning that comes from working every day towards solving the next problem.
WOMACK'S YOKOTEN – Between the upcoming Brexit negotiations and the protectionist stance of the new US Administration, trade is making the headlines once again. But what would trade look like in a world of lean organizations?
INTERVIEW – In this must-read Q&A, our editor sits down with lean guru John Shook to discuss the meaning of failure, the nature of innovation, and the resilience of our movement.
CONTENT ROUNDUP - Happy New Year, readers! Before kicking things off for 2017 with new, original content, we wanted to share with you the Top 10 of the most-read Planet Lean articles from last year.
EDITOR’S LETTER – What a year 2016 has been! Many of us will be happy to see it go, but with challenging times comes a great opportunity for reflection. Our editor looks back at the best content of the past year.
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.
FEATURE – How many times do we hear people say lean is not for them because “it’s a Japanese thing”? After spending 18 months in Japan, the author explains why the country’s culture is not necessarily "lean by nature".
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?
WOMACK’S YOKOTEN – The rise of the robots may still belong in sci-fi books, but there is no doubt that work as we know it is fading away. What is the role of lean thinking in this world of drones and driverless taxis?
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.
OPINION – When do our mistake become an ominous sign that we are giving up on our customers and people? Following the salmonella contamination in cereals in Israel, the author reflects on business purpose and the importance of transparency.
WOMACK'S YOKOTEN – The author reflects on how the legacy of Taylor and Ford still poses challenges to the lean movement, and why critics should move past a simplistic view of lean as mere standardization.
INTERVIEW - Twenty years ago, Womack and Jones found that the best way to boost the growth of lean was to create institutes around the world - Lean Global Network was born. We end Lean Thinking Week with a video interview with its directors.
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.
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.
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?
FEATURE – The role of experts in lean thinking is often the subject of heated discussions. Here, Michael Ballé tells us about the common mistakes lean experts make, and explains why – before helping others – they should help themselves.
SEEN FROM OTHERS – Another interview in our series on how lean is perceived from the outside. This month we talk to an urban strategist to see if and how lean can contribute to transforming our cities.
WOMACK'S YOKOTEN – How it is that some ideas and innovations spread like wildfire while others are slower to take roots? It is clear that lean thinking belongs to the latter category, but how can we speed up its diffusion?
1 QUESTION, 5 ANSWERS – Lean management causes a huge shift in the mind of leaders, one that dramatically changes the way they think of themselves and the way they behave. We asked five leaders to tell us how lean changed them.
SEEN FROM OTHERS – In a new series, we ask experts from outside our community to share thoughts on lean-related topics. This month we meet an economist with an interesting take on the West’s productivity slowdown and its link to learning.
WOMACK'S YOKOTEN – Lean in agriculture might still be in its infancy, but there is a small farm in Indiana that is already proving how valuable lean principles and techniques can be to this industry.
1 QUESTION, 5 ANSWERS – Because each of us has a different learning path, “a-ha moments” come to us in a variety of shapes. We asked five practitioners when their lean epiphanies happened.
FEATURE – By looking at the state of lean management in the South African government sector, the author shares a number of important lessons that apply to public service organizations all around the world.
WOMACK’S YOKOTEN – In this month’s column, Jim shares an insightful analysis of the trends and dynamics of today’s automotive industry and looks at the opportunity that lean has to facilitate its next transformation.
FEATURE – For this new monthly article, we will be asking five lean practitioners the same question and share their answers with you. We started by asking them about their biggest lean mistake.
FEATURE – The experience of solar company SunPower shows how, by marrying the concept of circular economy, lean principles can help us to transform our habits and save our planet.
INDUSTRY FOCUS – Drawing from his direct experience at the gemba, the author shares what he learned about applying lean thinking to his family’s construction company, and a few useful tips.
WOMACK'S YOKOTEN – As a new age in aerospace dawns, with a need to move from huge and bespoke designs to affordable and high-volume production, lean thinking has a key role to play. But will the industry listen?
FEATURE – Lean thinking is increasingly applied end to end, reaching virtually every area and function of the enterprise, and yet in many companies IT is still left out of the lean transformation. Isn't this dangerous in a world that is going more and more digital?
FEATURE - Italian physicist Enrico Fermi is one of history's greatest "lean scientists," who developed a revolutionary approach to research and mentoring from which lean managers can still draw inspiration.
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.
WOMACK’S YOKOTEN – On October 10, 1990 the book that introduced lean thinking to the world was published. Twenty-five years after Machine, one of the authors reflects on what the lean movement has achieved and on what is slowing it down.
OPINION – The Volkswagen emission testing scandal revealed a distorted view of management and a tragic disconnect between the company’s principles and its behaviors.
WOMACK’S YOKOTEN – The Volkswagen “defeat device” scandal is the latest example of a company that has chosen to focus on growth rather than the customer. What can we learn from this, and what should we do when such a shift takes place?
FEATURE ARTICLE – By offering an alternative approach to management, lean thinking has disrupted the business world in the past three decades. But in what way has it really innovated?
FEATURE ARTICLE - It is always fascinating to learn about the evolution of lean in other countries. This piece gives us the lowdown on the state of lean in Russia, a late adopter where interest is now growing fast in all sectors, from government to agriculture.
WOMACK’S YOKOTEN – The sharing economy came with a very “lean” promise – underutilized resources made available to those who need them for a reasonable fee – but not all that glitters is gold.
COLUMN - As the lean community grows, experimenting with tools for self-organization like Open Space in order to build stronger lean networks.
OPINION – A trip to West Africa to deliver a lean workshop prompts Anton Grütter, CEO of Lean Institute Africa, to reflect on the meaning of the Andon cord.
VIDEO INTERVIEW - At last month's UK Lean Summit, we sat down with Dan Jones and Jim Womack, founding fathers of lean thinking, to discuss the evolution, current state and future of the methodology.
ARTICLE - Britain’s National Audit Office looks at how well taxpayer money is spent, gaining invaluable insight into the use of lean management in central government.
ARTICLE - Are some national cultures better suited to implement lean thinking? This article, based on research on 45 Volvo factories, reflects on the role of local cultures in the rollout of a corporate lean program.
ARTICLE - How can creativity and standards coexist? How do we move beyond silos? How do we fully understand the voice of the customer? Dan Jones reflects on three key questions for the lean movement.
INTERVIEW – Brian Swain, Director of the Lean Construction Institute UK, has supported some of the largest construction projects in Britain, including London’s Olympic Village. Here he talks about the evolution of lean in the industry.
VIDEO INTERVIEW - José Ferro, President of Lean Institute Brasil, speaks with Roberto Priolo about the challenges and opportunities for the lean movement in the South American country.
RESEARCH - This interesting study, based on 44 Volvo plants and 200 Volvo interviewees, looks at how the implementation of lean thinking influences a plant’s performance over time.
NEWS - Back from his annual trip to Shanghai, Anton Grütter, CEO of the Lean Institute Africa, shares a few interesting insights into the Chinese culture.
OPINION - Lean people worldwide carry out improvement activities under a myriad of different circumstances, but ultimately they all struggle with the same thing: learning.
ARTICLE - 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.
ARTICLE - Two weeks ago, Art and Michael shared their thoughts on mindset and on what leading lean thinkers have said about it over the years. In part 2 of their article, they discuss how to grasp the true spirit of lean.
ARTICLE - We talk about “changing our mindset” all the time, but do we really understand what this means in the context of our lean transformation? This two-part article explores this topic to try to understand what the spirit of lean thinking really is.
OPINION - How often have you heard the sentence, “Lean can’t work here – this isn’t Japan”? Probably more than you can remember. Here’s why national traits are simply another excuse to justify a failed attempt to change.