Practice Over Theory

Here is a bit of history for those interested. I received a question about the first Toyota Production System manual ever written. For many years the primary driver of the Lean / TPS efforts inside of Toyota was of course Taiichi Ohno. However for almost two decades he opposed the codification of the system into any type of manual. Some people have interpreted that reluctance o...
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Problem Solving Interview with LEI

Chet Marchwinski of LEI conducted a short interview with Art Smalley regarding problem solving and improvement. The video was just posted on-line by LEI at the following link: The book on the 4 Types of Problems is due to be published by LEI later this year. I will announce any updates when we hear of a release date ...
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Monterrey Mexico Lean Conference 2016

I accepted an invitation to speak at a lean conference in Monterrey Mexico on September 6th and 7th. I delivered the opening keynote and two workshops all on the topic of 4 Types of Problems. The book will be published in a couple more months (I hope) by the Lean Enterprise Institute. I will post updates as soon as I am informed of any release dates. In the mean time for those ...
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2016 Lean Management Conference Wroklaw Poland

3 Toyota Kaizen Methods
Here are copies of the four presentations I presented earlier this month at the 2016 Lean Management Conference in Wroklaw Poland. Over 450 people attended the conference and the feedback was quite positive. I delivered the opening keynote presentation on Leadership Shaping Principles in addition to learning sessions on Toyota Kaizen Methods and The Four Types of Problems. My n...
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Continuous Improvement

Call it kaizen or continuous improvement or whatever term you prefer. In the end if you don't deliver results you won't be in business for long. The two pillars of the Toyota system are respect for people and continuous improvement for this reason. Processes, equipment, tools, or assets don't improve on their own. It takes the structured work of teams to drive and sustain impro...
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Lean Thinking

lean thinking heads
Part of improvement is indeed related to how you think and interact with others in order to obtain better results. However most organizations struggle to develop this mindset and behaviors in leaders or employees. One of our ten leadership shaping principles in fact is called "thinking patterns".  This involves how you personally think, make decisions, act, and communicate with...
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Leadership Development

The number one area most organizations struggle with is leadership development. Toyota was lucky to have highly skilled leaders such as Eiji Toyoda, Taiichi Ohno, Fujio Cho, and too many others to name here. These great improvement leaders however were not born with their skill sets. Instead they developed them carefully over time with great practice, effort, and self awareness...
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