Filing Systems – Part 3: Paper vs. Paperless

In today’s world, it is no longer necessary to bury ourselves in piles of paper. Advancements in technology now give us paperless options for accessing, collecting and storing our information safely and securely. Still, both paper and paperless systems have their pros and cons to consider. So how do we know which one to use? […]

Lean Empowerment – Part 3: Rejecting Bad Material

This week, we continue to follow one of my client’s, who we also featured in Lean Empowerment Part 1 and Part 2. You will learn how Lean Systems enabled workers to reject bad material. This Lean Empowerment action resolved several negative issues. Workers were able to transform an impeded process into a smoothly operating workflow, […]

Developing People – Part 1: The Plan is Worthless

Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, “Plans are worthless, but planning is everything.”[1] What exactly did Eisenhower mean by this quote? Was it because he could care less about the plan? Maybe he cared about the plan but also felt the need to convey an important aspect or characteristic about plans in general.  Perhaps he cared […]

A3 Sheets – Part 4: Framing Business Decisions

To recap, business storytelling has a purpose, typically to solve a problem or gain project approval. When storytellers and listeners have different expectations, misunderstanding and frustration are the outcome and nothing is accomplished. Both storytellers and listeners need help to resolve their communication issues. To improve communications at all levels, Toyota developed the A3 sheet […]

A3 Sheets – Part 3: Building a Learning Organization

We are buried in questions. To answer the myriad questions, there are so many things to learn but so little time.     Imagine if we all had to do the homework on every subject. Imagine how much information the busy manager, director, or business owner must assimilate each day.     Clearly an impossible […]

A3 Sheets – Part 2: Standard Structure for Business Storytelling

In Part 1, we reviewed business storytelling challenges and introduced the A3 sheet. We now understand business storytelling has a purpose, typically to solve a recurring problem, gain project approval or introduce a new project. Toyota, recognizing a need to facilitate and improve the communication process for resolving these issues, developed a very effective tool, […]

The A3 Sheet – Part 1: Business Storytelling is Born

Business storytelling has a purpose, typically to solve a recurring problem, gain project approval or introduce a new project. Both the storyteller and listener need help resolving communication issues when addressing these situations. To improve communications at all levels, Toyota developed a very effective tool, called the A3 sheet, as a concise standardized structure for […]

Low Hanging Fruit

All factories are full of opportunities for improvement. In fact, any operation with reasonably sophisticated workflows will have many opportunities for efficiency improvements. Although these opportunities are often unseen, much depends on the operation’s manager’s framework for perception. Some operations managers see an abundance of opportunity, also known as low-hanging fruit. Others, also surrounded by […]

Modularity – Options & Committing Capital

Automation projects and facility projects share a common trait: the commitment to large capital projects for long periods of time. The typical commitment is five to ten years in duration and options may extend the life of the commitment by another five to ten years. The company can either benefit or suffer for a long […]

Decision Making

Most dysfunctional companies have very poor decision-making protocols or lack decision-making protocols altogether. In such companies, the “non-decision” decision runs rampant. We should ask ourselves: “When is a decision actually a decision?” If we can easily reverse today’s snap decision tomorrow, then what kind of a decision was it really? It takes time and effort […]