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December 2010 Blog Posts (22)

Predictable yet flexible service processes

We often hear corporate slogans that talk about meeting customer needs or expectations. As a result, many of our service processes such as accounts receivable, quality, customer service, and traffic tend to operate in a “do what it takes” mode to respond to customer needs. The resulting firefighting mentality becomes so ingrained that team members believe that standard work processes are impossible in service…


Added by David Hicks on December 27, 2010 at 2:51pm — No Comments

A Strong Ethical Culture Pays Off

The last few years, ethics has been a hot topic in the business community. Many organizations have adopted some form of ethical policy or mission, and many have even set up ethics officers to monitor areas of potential deviance. In many cases, however, employees have been reluctant to use the many options established for reporting ethical violations for fear of retaliation. And this fear is a result of the culture.


Culture is the "how things are done around here" aspect of a…


Added by Brian Flynn on December 20, 2010 at 4:30am — No Comments

Can a Small Training Grant make a Difference?

A December 3, 2010 article in The Expositor of Sparta, TN, Moeller Receives $25,000 Training Grant, highlights the award of Tennessee Department of Labor training funds to conduct lean training for 132 employees at Moeller Marine, Inc.

The program from which the funding is derived is know as the Incumbent Worker Grant Program and many states operate programs of this nature with many different variations in award levels, requirements, etc.

In Alabama we…


Added by Henry Burdg on December 17, 2010 at 3:54pm — No Comments

Participants say "take home value" from lean healthcare training is significant

ATAC conducted an open enrollment course for the healthcare profession this week (Dec. 16). The course -- Lean Healthcare 101 -- is our introductory training for teaching the application of Lean Process Improvement techniques in the healthcare industry.


This full-day energetic event gives participants a hands-on, learn-by-doing experience by applying Lean philosophies and tools in a simulated Emergency Room environment. Participants learn the basics of value stream…


Added by Mitch Emmons on December 17, 2010 at 2:31pm — No Comments

Cluster Strategy

Collaboration to increase regional competitiveness of firms is referred to as cluster strategy.  It is described as networks of firms related by common suppliers, shared markets, labor pools or infrastructure that leverage interactions to their mutual advantage.  It involves creating a complex web of common goals that include financial management, transportation and logistics, research and development, adequately skilled labor, appropriate technology and domestic and…


Added by Walker Jackson on December 16, 2010 at 5:47pm — No Comments

How many Rapid Improvement Events are you doing each month or year in your Lean Program?

Rapid Improvement Events are the catalysts to start saving with your Lean Program.  How many events should you do on a process?  What can you expect from each rapid improvement?  The efficiency that you get from your event depends on the experience of your event leader and the individuals on the team.


I am going to list what I think is reasonable for each event on the same process.


          Event         …


Added by John David Hayes on December 16, 2010 at 4:52pm — No Comments

Will U.S. Manufacturing Survive an Internal Challenge?

What does the future of manufacturing look like in the United States? Our greatest challenge may not be from China but from within our own country. According to Scott Doron, Director of the Southern Technology Council, the industry will face a shortage of talent with many current workers reaching retirement age. This is further exaggerated by a major disconnect between how American's feel about manufacturing and the number of people…


Added by David Mixson on December 15, 2010 at 5:05pm — No Comments

Standards for Spreading Knowledge

So, now you have an overall plan for what you need to accomplish, you have standards in place for your tasks, and you've developed a plan for auditing the standards. What's next?

A recent trip to a client provided the opportunity to create a process for sharing knowledge and spreading standards to other areas. This client made the…


Added by David Hicks on December 15, 2010 at 8:09am — No Comments

From Manufacturing to Healthcare, the Tale of a Lean Six Sigma Consultant

Jason Kilgore is much more than just your typical Lean Six Sigma consultant. I ran across Jason on the web answering a LinkedIn question about internal and external consultants. He spoke highly of each, gave practical common sense answers on when to use them and sold nothing! He caught my attention and I went surfing.

What I found was a Business Process Manager for Riverside Health System in Newport News, Virginia, where he has utilized his expertise in Project Management, Lean, and…


Added by Joseph T. Dager on December 15, 2010 at 12:19am — No Comments

Is It Fake?

Ok, this blog is not about detecting a fake from real Coach Wallet, but we will discuss detecting fake Lean, how Coaching is imperative in a Lean Culture, and having money to put into a wallet. For others, maybe the quality…


Added by Rick Battye on December 10, 2010 at 12:19pm — No Comments

What is Industrial Design?

Most names of professions paint a simple picture of what that profession does. An architect designs buildings, construction constructs buildings, doctors heal people, and business people conduct business.

Industrial Design is not a simple profession to describe. As a…


Added by Mark Smith on December 9, 2010 at 4:24pm — No Comments

LEAN vs. ERP at Durabuilt Windows & Doors

Durabuilt Windows and Doors, an Alberta, Canada company with 450 employees has been implementing lean manufacturing practices for about two years. In a recent article, "Family Plus Sound Business Equals Success for Durabuilt Windows & Doors" by Audio Royster (12/7/10) it was stated that the company has a goal to become a world class manufacturer following the principles of lean and implementing new technology so as to continuously improve. The article also describes that in… Continue

Added by Henry Burdg on December 8, 2010 at 5:00pm — No Comments

Improvement Standards

As we saw in our last post, Spear & Bowen (1999), identified four characteristics of excellent companies:

1. All work shall be highly specific as to content, sequence, timing and outcome

2. Every customer-supplier connection must be direct, and there must be an unambiguous yes-or-no way to send requests and receive responses

3. The pathway for every product and service must be simple and direct

4. Any improvement must be made in accordance with the…

Added by David Hicks on December 8, 2010 at 10:00am — No Comments

Manufacturers Are Concerned About the Future

According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) study, manufacturers are growing less optimistic about the growth prospects for the U.S. economy. A Manufacturing and Technology News article examined the PwC study and found that “uncertainty has replaced optimism as the prevailing view of the U.S. economy over the next 12 months.” Only 27 percent of respondents in the industrial products manufacturing sector said the U.S. economy is growing, down 31 points from the prior quarter. Fifty-two percent… Continue

Added by David Mixson on December 7, 2010 at 5:58pm — 1 Comment

Performance Management

Not only is the holiday season fast approaching, but for many companies this is also the season for performance appraisals. For a few employees, particularly those that are low performers, this could also be the year that the "grinch stole Christmas." Hopefully, not many employees will be poor performers, and fewer still will be terminated for such behavior, but for some, that may be the only option.

That's why I found an article in HR Magazine very timely (November 2010,…

Added by Brian Flynn on December 6, 2010 at 5:00am — No Comments

Don't Let AS9100C Sneak Up on You

AS9100C, having been released since January of 2009, is coming up on its two-year anniversary, and for many companies, that brings them ever closer to the deadline for incorporating the key changes into their existing AS9100B systems. During the last three weeks I have experienced a certain level of astonishment after speaking with members of top management in two different AS9100B…


Added by Chuck McPherson on December 3, 2010 at 6:46pm — No Comments


Globalization for a manufacturing firm can range from:



Added by Walker Jackson on December 3, 2010 at 4:07pm — No Comments

Is the word "profit" in your company's mission Statement?

What does your company mission statement say? What do you see your company doing in 10 years? Will you have the same products? Will the company have the same goals?

I think I should…


Added by John David Hayes on December 3, 2010 at 2:47pm — 1 Comment

A Lean Football Lesson

Cris Carter, an 8 time pro bowl retired wide receiver that played for the Philadelphia Eagles and the Minnesota Vikings, reminded me of a couple of excellent Lean learning points this week.…


Added by Rick Battye on December 3, 2010 at 12:04pm — No Comments

Applying lean techniques beyond typical manufacturing processes is a doable thing

In my search for information about the application of Lean and Six Sigma techniques to marketing and promotions processes, I recently ran across an article by Debbie Jenkins for that contains some practical worth. Although geared toward motivating the entrepreneur, Ms. Jenkins’ article supports the efficiency lessons that I have heard our continuous improvement…


Added by Mitch Emmons on December 2, 2010 at 9:22am — No Comments

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