Monthly Archives: January 2011

Top Posts of 2010

The wonderful people at and Stats Helper Monkeys provide some great statistics over the year.  I thought I would share the Top 5 Posts based on views from 2010.

If you saw them it might be a refresher.  If you didn’t see the post I thought it might be good to share what seems to be the most popular ones.

These are the posts that got the most views in 2010.


5S in the Office September 2010

This is about applying 5S in the office.  When is it appropriate to use and when is it not.


Comparing Lean Principles to the 14 Toyota Principles (Part 1) July 2010

This is the first of a three part series comparing the 5 Lean Principles from the Lean Learning Center to the 14 Toyota Principles.


Dilbert Leading Transformation July 2010

A funny Dilbert Cartoon from Scott Adams about how employees might react to a boss wanting employee engagement after years of not caring about the employees.


Walmart Changing Transportation Strategy June 2010

Comments on an article about Walmart changing their transportation strategy.


Redbox Produced In the U.S. Using Lean October 2010

Highlights of an article showing what Redbox is doing to use lean and keep the manufacturing in the U.S.

FIFO Fast Food Style

The other night I went through the drive-thru at Wendy’s.  All the times I have gone through the drive-thru, I don’t know why it hit me this time….this is a great example of First-In-First-Out (FIFO).    It struck me as to how well fast food restaurants execute this, some better than others.

An order is taken and it is produced in that same order and given to the car as they pull up in the same sequence their order was placed.  I know this common, but what if a Fast Food restaurant operated in the same fashion a lot of our processes do.  Say you pull up and order a value meal for you and a kids meal for your child.  Then the next car orders only a soda and the third car only orders fries and a soda.  What if the Fast Food restaurant told you to pull forward because they are doing the other orders first, because they are easier orders to process.  We would get upset.

That is exactly what we do in most manufacturing environments.  We skip jobs because the setup on another job is easier or it is a simpler job to run.  Why?  Usually because the setups are too long or complicated.  Instead of working on the set up we just re-arrange the work.

I have been asked to pull up before.  Not because they wanted to do an easier order but because there was a problem in the process of getting my order ready.  The pulling up can be considered visual management for when something in the process didn’t go smoothly.  Kind of like pulling an andon cord on a manufacturing line.  I wonder if they measure how many cars they have to have pull up on a daily basis?

We don’t want to jump to FIFO just to be doing FIFO.  The drive-thru made me think a little harder on it though.

What are your thoughts?

My Goals for 2011

It is now the new year.  I hope everyone had a safe and fun time over the holidays.  For most of us, it is back to work today.  Has everyone set goals for themselves this year, whether it is at home or at work?

I haven’t used the term New Year Resolutions on purpose.  I don’t like the connotation resolution has.  Most resolutions are thrown out the window by the end of January.  Plus, it says I need to completely change something I am doing.  Not that there is anything wrong with that, but as a lean practitioner I am reflecting and changing on a constant basis.  Not just at the start of the new year.

So here are some of my goals for 2011:

  • Continue to blog for a full calendar and make it meaningful and thought provoking to my readers
  • I want to meet more people from the blogshpere
  • Make my first reaction to a problem to go and see

What are some of your goals for 2011?  I would love to hear them.  If you make them public and known, it can help drive accountability.

Good luck in 2011!