Identifying the Biggest Waste to Increase Productivity

What comes to mind when we talk about waste? Some may think of things like wasted resources, such as water or energy. They may think of wasted materials, like lumber or steel or even scrap parts, which come off a production line. While these are all good examples of waste, they are not the major […]

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 […]

Book Review – Learning to See

by Mike Rother and John Shook Forward by Jim Womack and Dan Jones Learning to See is perhaps the best instruction manual for implementing a Lean transformation on the manufacturing plant floor. The authors take you step-by-step through a process, paving the way to improvement. Value Stream Mapping (VSM) comes first. By creating the Current […]

Kaizen Burst Mini Projects

Many organizations and consultants apply specifically designed lean methods and tools as a means to continually improve overall corporate performance. This lean practice is referred to as “kaizen”. Kaizen, translating to “continuous improvement” – kai meaning “continuous” and zen meaning “improvement”, brings many different methods for implementing overall improvements into the workplace. Some of these […]

Transaction Cost

Every transaction has a cost. For a buyer and seller to consummate a transaction, both parties must expend the effort, energy and expense. From the buyer’s perspective, the transaction cost must be proportional to the value of the goods or services they are selling. From the seller’s perspective, the total costs of attracting the buyers […]

Mapping Workflow to Improve Customer Service

  What should flow look like?  More importantly, is the current flow on the factory floor truly serving our customers’ needs? To answer this, we must work our way backward from the customer’s needs and buying habits, allowing the customer to dictate flow. For example, the customer often procures materials or services for a project. […]


What is value? Value is realized through transactions exchanging cash, goods, services and information. Through transactions, these value pieces flow between the customer and the company. Identifying each value stream is essential. Once defined, a value stream can be improved, optimized and controlled. Acquiring market knowledge and assuring customer satisfaction requires carefully designed systems. In […]

Systems Are The Glue

Systems are the glue of a company. They keep the company running smoothly, codify company learning and knowledge, and build the company’s operational efficiency. Properly designed systems support customers and keep employees happy and functioning effectively and efficiently in their roles. Workflows are defined within company value streams, which are comprised of people working within company […]