what is lean

Katie Anderson Japanese culture

Japanese culture and lean culture: not always the same

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".
Gemba tokheim italia

Focusing on problem solving at the front line

FEATURE – When market changes caused operational problems in their firm, two top managers decided to stick to lean thinking (and a set of specific practices) – learning to focus on what truly matters and letting their people embrace problem-solving.
palo alto hospitals sustaining results

A California lean hospital on how to sustain results

FEATURE – The Palo Alto Medical Foundation has used lean to redesign workflows in its primary care clinics since late 2011. With changes now spread to a total of 17 facilities, the team started to analyze what it took to sustain the results achieved.
Wells Fargo scandal lean culture

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?
end of work womack

Work as we know it is disappearing; how can lean adapt?

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?
most satisfying moment lean journey

Five lean practitioners answer the same question #6

ONE QUESTION, FIVE ANSWERS – Change might be scary but, when things do work out, it also brings us incredible pride and sense of accomplishment. We asked five practitioners to tell us what the most satisfying moment in their lean journey was.
ACS lean engineering

The incredible lean turnaround of an engineering department

FEATURE – A French automotive supplier has been applying lean principles to transform its engineering department with great results. In the process, they have realized they could put in place a really effective system to build innovation.
financial performance lean SMEs

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.
thinking upside down ballé liker

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.
Glenday small problems

Why fixing the little problems should not be discounted

FEATURE – A broken phone or a clock showing the wrong time may seem small details to you, but they actually make people's jobs more difficult. Fixing these issues improves work and boosts morale... It also says a lot about you as a company.
Stork train bogies

Applying lean thinking to the maintenance of train bogies

FEATURE – A Dutch company that maintains and overhauls train bogies has realized that in order for lean to work, a focus on continuous learning must be established. Here is how they are trying to get there.

Knowledge-building for lean: a profile of Sari Torkkola

PROFILE - When years of hard work to re-organize Patria's IT operations led to disappointing results, Sari Torkkola didn't throw in the towel. Instead, she started to build her department's understanding of lean.
lean Siena hospital

The fantastic lean transformation of an Italian hospital

CASE STUDY – There is more to Siena than the Palio: the Tuscan city boasts of one of the most advanced examples of lean healthcare in Italy. We asked the team at the University Hospital how they are doing it.
Unilever scandal cereal israel

The importance of transparency: lessons from a food scandal

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.
one question idea learned sooner

Five lean practitioners answer the same question #5

ONE QUESTION, FIVE ANSWERS – With this month’s question we try to understand what lean idea or principle our interviewees would have liked to learn sooner or better in their journey. So, heads up… You might be in a similar situation.
Jim Womack on lean and taylorism

Jim Womack takes on the legacy of Taylor and Ford

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.
lean global network lean thinking book

Lean Global Network directors on ‘Lean Thinking’ worldwide

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.
womack and jones lean thinking

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.