Auburn Works

Auburn Technical Assistance Center (ATAC)

July 2010 Blog Posts (52)

Is the Lean Tail Wagging the Dog or the Dog Wagging the Lean Tail?

In the news...

Discus Dental of Culver City, CA...July 30, 2010.

Scott Mejia, Executive Vice President for Manufacturing & Product Development states, "since completing our acquisition of Zap Lasers and rolling all laser production into our LEAN manufacturing model, we have been able to reduce the cost of producing these award-winning lasers right here in California."

Scott's statement is part of a company press release…

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Added by Henry Burdg on July 31, 2010 at 6:00pm — 2 Comments

Think Big - Start Small

Lean Sigma is not an all or nothing decision in the beginning of the journey. You can’t force feed Lean Sigma into your employees (including managers) and expect exceptional results. Forced feeding is really not the best approach for any management methodology. You really buy in to the program when you see first hand the…

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Added by John David Hayes on July 30, 2010 at 3:33pm — No Comments

Who Are Our Next(er) Employees?



Last week, I briefly discussed two primary focus points (The Customer and The Employee) as it pertains to the Generation Nexters influence to organizations on their Lean Journey.…

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Added by Rick Battye on July 30, 2010 at 11:04am — 1 Comment

Characteristics of Successful Manufacturers

The Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership Advisory Board has determined that there are four interconnected responses to manufacturers embracing change in their organization. These major areas are needed in order to sustain innovation, develop new products and increase production capacity for new and existing companies:…

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Added by Walker Jackson on July 29, 2010 at 9:36am — No Comments

What’s your mixture? Leadership, management, and lean tools

Jill Jusko’s article in IndustryWeek’s Continuous Improvement weekly email presented a couple of points leaders need to consider for lean implementation (see article below).


Reporting on a presentation by E-Z-GO’s vice president, Jusko captured a few critical points for leaders to consider:

1) What’s the mixture of activities for a successful lean implementation? 75% leadership, 20% basic management and 5% lean tools

2) Who is the most important leader for lean…
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Added by David Hicks on July 27, 2010 at 7:59am — 1 Comment

ATAC Involved in Award-Winning Research Project

The research project, "Geospatial Mapping of Coastal Alabama project," has been chosen as one of 11 winners from 448 nominations in the 6th annual Campus Technology Innovator Award. The project team is composed of: Chetan S. Sankar, Principal Investigator; Amit Mitra, P.K. Raju and David Mixson, Co-Principal Investigators; and Luke Marzen, Steve Henderson and Barry Cumbie, Senior Investigators.…

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Added by Mitch Emmons on July 26, 2010 at 10:33am — No Comments

Helping a Rural Incubator Client Grow- An EDA University Center Project

Last week in my blog I discussed the Auburn Technical Assistance Center’s affiliation with the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) University Center program and some of the economic impacts resulting from our work here at Auburn University. As a part of our partnership with EDA, ATAC is working with the Wiregrass Incubator Association, a network of…

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Added by David Mixson on July 26, 2010 at 9:43am — No Comments

Research Brief: Employee Well-being

Employee well-being has surfaced over the last few years as a topic of interest among business leaders. Well-being includes improving the organizational settings where work is done, the protection and safety of workers, and the promotion of healthy work. Another aspect of employee well-being is psychological well-being. This, in essence, means helping employees be happy.…

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Added by Brian Flynn on July 26, 2010 at 4:00am — No Comments

TWI course provides training in the basics of standard work and sustaining CI

Sustaining a continuous improvement initiative is arguably the most difficult undertaking in a Lean Enterprise. Auburn Technical Assistance Center is showing companies that going back to the basics is exactly the catalyst needed to maintain continuous improvement and maximize their investment in Lean.



Manufacturers are finding that TWI provides a proven way to promote, create and sustain standardized work; define and develop consistent work procedures; and do so through…
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Added by Auburn Works on July 25, 2010 at 9:00am — No Comments

Lean Application in Healthcare Medication Delivery

Ran across this article in the Journal for Healthcare Quality...

Newell, Terry, L., Laura L. Steinmetz-Malato, and Deborah L. Van Dyke, Applying Toyota Production System Techniques for Medication Delivery: Improving Hospital Safety and Efficiency. Journal for Healthcare Quality, July 23, 2010.

The article describes a 2007 improvement process at a large regional acute care hospital where TPS (Toyota Production System) principles…

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Added by Henry Burdg on July 24, 2010 at 6:30pm — No Comments

Senior Leaders are Ultimately Responsible

Using the picture below as an analogy for a work situation for senior leaders, many things come to my mind.

Obviously, during the course of routine business activity you come upon…

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Added by Henry Burdg on July 24, 2010 at 8:42am — No Comments

Auburn University Bank Directors’ College

ATAC, along with Auburn University's College of Business and the Special Council to the President, is sponsoring the inaugural Bank Directors’ College this Fall. The idea for Auburn University to sponsor a bank directors’ college was originated by Jack Miller, a partner in Jones Walker law firm and Trustee of Auburn University. Unfortunately, Mr. Miller died (cancer) while a Trustee and before his…

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Added by Walker Jackson on July 23, 2010 at 1:58pm — No Comments

Time to Get Started!



"The secret about getting ahead is getting started." – Sally Berger

You’ve made the decision to move your organization ahead by addressing issues of culture, quality and cost through the adoption of a healthcare process improvement system such as Lean Healthcare. That’s great news, however, many senior leaders are left wondering, "now what?"

The way I see it, there are three phases to…

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Added by Terri Lawrence on July 23, 2010 at 1:38pm — No Comments

These decisions are just killing me!

In order to determine if our process is operating as planned, we need to be able to measure the output with accuracy and precision. Although some lump these two terms together, they actually mean different things…accuracy is a measure of bias, and precision refers to the amount of dispersion in the measurement system. If our measurement system is biased then we are consistently off target in one direction or the other, and we…

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Added by Mark M. Clark on July 22, 2010 at 11:54pm — No Comments

Lean Sigma-the best decision you could make in 2010

What methodology should you be using to run your business today? I am totally convienced that you should be using Lean Sigma. Lean Sigma are process focused methodologies and can be used in any business (processes make products or provide services).

Sigma came from Motorola in 1987. GE's Jack Welch made it the central focus of his business strategy in 1995. Now Sigma is one of the fastest growing business management methodologies today. Sigma is a data driven…

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Added by John David Hayes on July 22, 2010 at 1:06pm — No Comments

The Texter’s (I Mean Nexter’s) Are Our Future

I am a Gen X person that is a father of 3 teen-age girls. Being an Xer, I must confess that I can do without many of these new technologies such as Mi-Fi, Xbox, ESPN 3D, IPad, Kindle and many others. Come on, by the time I get done with this blogging…

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Added by Rick Battye on July 21, 2010 at 6:50pm — No Comments

How do you apply standards? An example for leadership

In an earlier post, we considered the key features of standards, focusing on how executives can change from a reactive culture to proactive through the application of standards.



An example is often a good way to learn as we compare and contrast our situation to the example. Here is an example of one manufacturing company’s approach to operational standards (1):



After the normal on-boarding process, but before the employee enters the production workforce, they receive a… Continue

Added by David Hicks on July 21, 2010 at 10:19am — No Comments

Evaluating the Effectiveness of Training

In my last post I discussed management commitment and responsibility. Training can be a critical element of corrective and preventive actions as well as process improvement and directly impacts Management’s responsibility for ensuring that a quality management system is effective. Many quality system standards today require that the effectiveness of training be assessed. For example, AS9100, AS9110, and ISO 9001 state that when training is developed and implemented, the organization shall…

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Added by Chuck McPherson on July 20, 2010 at 3:00pm — 2 Comments

How Organizations Sustain Continuous Improvement?

Glenn Marshall - Benchmarking and Sustainabilaity Champion for Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding - has sent out an excerpt on how to sustain change. This benchmarking report is taken directly from a new book by Robert…

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Added by Hank Czarnecki on July 20, 2010 at 11:00am — No Comments

Key Features of Standards- An Executive's guide to dramatic improvement

In his famous work, Gemba Kaizen, Massaki Imai discussed the importance of operational standards when trying to improve a process. He listed nine key features of standards:


1. Represent the best, easiest, and safest way to do a job….

2. Offer the best way to preserve know-how and expertise.

3. Provide a way to measure performance.

4. Show relationship between cause and effect.

5. Provide a basis for both maintenance and improvement.

6. Provide…
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Added by David Hicks on July 20, 2010 at 7:00am — 2 Comments

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