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Auburn Technical Assistance Center (ATAC)

August 2009 Blog Posts (17)

Core Value for High Performance - Organizational and Personal Learning

#3 Core Values for High Performance – Organizational and Personal Learning

In my last post we discussed the core value of Customer-Driven Excellence and how all business decisions must be made to achieve excellence within the eyes of the customer. We now want to focus on the core value of Organizational and Personal Learning.

Could the sport of golf have advanced without players and manufacturers trying new ideas and sharing what works and what… Continue

Added by Henry Burdg on August 31, 2009 at 1:25pm — No Comments

About Me :: Mark Clark

I am a member of the AU College of Business (COB) Faculty. I hold a dual appointment with ATAC and the Department of Management. I teach Quantitative Methods and Quality Management at the undergraduate and graduate levels in the COB. I also teach in the Executive MBA Program. I am also a Master Black Belt and a Six Sigma Green and Black Belt instructor in the Auburn Technical Assistance Center.

I have a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering and specialize in the area of production and operations… Continue

Added by Mark M. Clark on August 24, 2009 at 4:05pm — No Comments

Transformers, Lean Robots In Disguise

I watched the Transformers movie with my family the other night and it made me ask why so many organizations never transform into a Lean organization. Similar to the heroic Autobots and the evil Decepticons, many organizations disguise themselves (as Lean). However, unlike these robots, organizations never really transform themselves (into a Lean organization).

Is your organization slow in developing a Lean transformation?

Maybe your organization’s focus is… Continue

Added by Rick Battye on August 19, 2009 at 9:30pm — No Comments

Is Business Growth Really That Important Anyway?

It has been said that trees don't grow to the sky forever. At some point, whatever your current product/service or "offering", it will reach maturity or be cloned by the competition. Either now or later, today's most successfull businesses will have to innovate new offerings to remain relevant.

Oftentimes things are going well until growth suddenly comes to a halt. Sales are steady. Customers are happy. No worries. Then the unthinkable happens. A new technology enters the picture or… Continue

Added by David Mixson on August 18, 2009 at 11:00am — No Comments

Improving Standardized Work

Once you create and begin to follow standardized work, you have developed the “should be” aspect of the job. Observing standardized work often leads to the realization that “as is” and “should be” are not the same. The difference between the two conditions is a problem. Dupree said that managers only have three tasks; “define reality, eliminate problems, and say thanks.”

By making problems highly visible, leaders have the opportunity to serve their employees by eliminating problems.… Continue

Added by David Hicks on August 18, 2009 at 6:00am — No Comments

Creating Standardized Work

Where do you start your standardized work creation process? Most companies use the key performance indicators of Safety, Quality, Delivery, Cost, and Morale. Improvement activities should follow the same path. If people aren’t safe, then they can’t focus on quality, delivery or cost. If delivery improves, but quality is poor, you only make customers mad quicker.

My suggestion is to pick an obvious safety issue and… Continue

Added by David Hicks on August 14, 2009 at 6:00am — No Comments

Role of the Leader in Standardization

Why do Lean Leaders fail to start with the foundation of standardization? I am part of a core group in Alabama coaching companies in the deployment of a production system - This first week we are focusing on building the foundation of standardiztion and developing the "rock" of management commitment rather than a foundation built on sand.

Added by Hank Czarnecki on August 12, 2009 at 6:03am — No Comments

Standardized Work

Yesterday I visited a plant to discuss standardized work training. The manager, a former Toyota leader, knows how to create standardized work practices and documentation. He stated his challenge as “getting everyone to understand the importance of standardized work.”

Why is standardized work important to creating successful organizations? (notice I didn’t limit it to manufacturing) Lean is “a systematic approach to… Continue

Added by David Hicks on August 12, 2009 at 6:00am — No Comments

Core Values for High Performance – Customer-Driven Excellence

Core Values for High Performance – Customer-Driven Excellence.

In my last post we discussed the core value of Visionary Leadership and the role and responsibility of senior leaders.

We are now focusing on the core value of Customer-driven Excellence. Contrary to the belief of many, an organization’s performance, quality, responsiveness, etc., are judged by customers (current, potential, and lost). Let’s parse the core value. First, although an… Continue

Added by Henry Burdg on August 10, 2009 at 5:25pm — No Comments

Why 5S?

As I travel around the country representing the Auburn Technical Assistance Center, many people know about the Lean workplace organization tool called 5S. Unfortunately, many seem confused about the true purpose of using Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain.

Lean implementatons frequently begin with… Continue

Added by David Hicks on August 8, 2009 at 8:00am — No Comments

Core Values for High Performance – Visionary Leadership

Core Values for High Performance – Visionary Leadership.

Ok where do you start? I think you start with visionary leadership and the responsibility and accountability rests squarely on the backs of the organization’s senior leaders (the CEO and his/her direct reports). Let’s parse the core value. First, there is a sense of vision and to me that translates into a focus on the future (way out there) but without a disconnect from short-term operations and the near- and longer-term… Continue

Added by Henry Burdg on August 7, 2009 at 2:00pm — No Comments

Toyota Business Process (TBP)

This is the enhanced PDCA process Toyota is adopting through the organization - After Toyota's Global Learning Center surveyed the various problem solving courses throughout the company, it shockingly found there were 17 versions. Thus, Toyota developed and is standardizing on the eight step Toyota Business Process - which is being uniquely rolled out in both a top down and bottom up approach - More details on the TBP upcoming

Added by Hank Czarnecki on August 6, 2009 at 7:57pm — No Comments

Linking Organizational Core Values and Performance Excellence

We have all had a sense about a person, group, family, or organization in how they approach life, how they interact with other people, how workers are treated within a business or how an organization engages its customers (or not). Many term this a person's attitude, or makeup, or in an organization, its culture or values. I would contend that it is the responsibility of senior leaders to set core values and use those to guide and sustain the organization over time.

Core values being… Continue

Added by Henry Burdg on August 6, 2009 at 1:40pm — No Comments

About Me :: Henry Burdg

I have the privilege of working with the most talented team of professionals that are dedicated to helping managers improve their organizations. Having served as ATAC center director for the past 26 years we have never been better positioned to assist various industries with a portfolio of improvement tools, training and programs.

Added by Henry Burdg on August 3, 2009 at 10:17am — No Comments

About Me :: David Mixson

David Mixson serves as a Management Scientist and assists businesses with innovation facilitation, screening, strategy, planning and tactics. David is a certified Eureka Growth Coach through Doug Hall's Eureka Ranch. As a Professional Certified Marketer, he provides corporate marketing leadership and support to the Alabama Technology Network and supports Auburn's EDA University Center Program. David holds a Bachelor's of Science degree in Management and a Master of Business Administration… Continue

Added by David Mixson on August 3, 2009 at 10:00am — No Comments

Introduction: David Hicks, PE


I'm David Hicks, a Lean Specialist at the Auburn Technical Assistance Center. We provide technical assistance to industries both in Alabama and across the world.

My career began in the automotive industry, first as an auto mechanic, then as an engineer. Later, I worked in the metals industry, managing a couple of copper tubing fabrication plants.

Since 2005 I have worked for Auburn, working with hundreds of companies to implement lean manufacturing. What a great… Continue

Added by David Hicks on August 3, 2009 at 10:00am — No Comments

Capitalize on your investement in Lean using TWI

Capitalize on your investment in Lean using TWI

You have invested in Lean training for your employees. You have undertaken serious efforts to implement continuous improvement within your organization. Training Within Industry (TWI) is the next link in creating and sustaining a Lean Enterprise. This four-component program is the ideal process for training people within your industry who are

responsible for training others in job skills, monitoring and…


Added by Auburn Works on August 2, 2009 at 8:42pm — No Comments

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