Category Archives: Other

Flip Conventional Wisdom on Business Process Rework

When applying lean to business processes, one of the most common improvements that has to be made is the elimination of errors in paperwork.  When it comes to design this usually shows itself as someone changing their mind and making changes in the design.  When someone makes changes to the design this is a form of rework.  Anytime rework is added the lead time is lengthened.

Sometimes the redesign is due to change of direction and sometimes it is due to the designer tweaking the design hoping for perfection.  One way to eliminate this waste is to shorten the lead time of the original process before the rework loop is added.  I know this is flipping conventional wisdom upside down.  Conventional wisdom says, eliminate the rework and the lead time will become shorter.  Why not shorten the original process through solid lean practices and waste elimination so that the window for design changes is shorter.  Take away the extra time that gives the designer to fiddle with the product or service.  It also causes the designer to due their due diligence up front to understand what the design must entail.  If the organization is trying to win new business or get a new product to market all the rework could cause the organization to lose the revenue from the new business or product hitting the market.

I’m not saying don’t allow rework for the sake of not allowing rework.  But look at why you have rework.  Is the original process so long that it allows people continue to think and nit-pick every detail?  If so, that may be a good time to look at eliminating waste from the original process.

I worked with a procurement group that had a very long process to go out and get quotes for marketing material.  Because the process was so long, the designers and marketers would come back up to 4 times with changes to the material and then the quoting process would have to start again.  The procurement group shortened their lead time for the quoting process and all of a sudden the marketing and design groups couldn’t come back for multiple changes.  This forced marketing and design to improve their process in order to better understand what markets they wanted to hit up front.

Some times you have to flip conventional wisdom on its ear to see things in a new way.  Even for the lean thinkers.  Our thoughts may be different then conventional wisdom but it is still very standard within our community.  We can’t forget to continue to look at things differently.


Guest Post on the Lean Blog

Today, I have the special honor of being a guest blogger over at the Lean Blog by Mark Graban.  Mark is on vacation and asked if I would fill in for him today.  The blog posted over at Mark’s site is about Traditional Continuous Improvement versus Lean Continuous Improvement.  This link will take you to the post (link).  Have a great Monday!


Pointy-Haired Boss’ Budget Strategy

I hope everyone has a great Memorial Day.  It’s a good day to enjoy the weather and company of family and friends.

Memorial Day is a good day to lighten up the mood a bit on the blog.  This is a quick video of how Dilbert’s wonderful boss proposes to handle a situation we hate…………budget balancing.

As funny as this cartoon is, it is something too many people really experience.


First Post

Over the past 10+ years I have been learning about lean while implementing and coaching others.  Along the way I have learned a lot from the many successes and failures that I have endured.  I have enjoyed every minute of it even though there are times when I want to beat my head against the wall.  Once I step back and reflect on why I am beating my head against the wall, I see it as an opportunity to change and improve.  Continuous learning is what I want to do.  Learn something new everyday and I will be growing and helping my company become more successful.

I not only learn from my implementations, but also from reading and education.  Over the years, I have become a regular reader of a few blogs like the Lean Blog, Evolving Excellence, Jamie Flinchbaugh, and All Things Workplace.  These blogs, as well as others, have helped me to grow in my understanding of lean.  You might see their influences in my blog writing.

I have multiple purposes for this blog.  One hope is to be able to spur reflection and thought in others the way other blogs have done for me.  I want others to understand lean and help dis-spell some of the myths and misunderstandings.

This blog also is meant as a way for me to continue to learn and grow.   I want others to post comments and challenge my thinking and create good dialogue.  Also, I want to grow in my written communication skills.  I’m an engineer by trade and if it isn’t numbers, then I am not the best at getting it down clearly and concisely.   Finally, I want to force deeper reflection on lean and how I see lean in the world around me.  I tried working on these by guest blogging at the Lean Blog, but I had no accountability so I did it a couple of times and then made excuses as to why I didn’t have time.  Having my own blog will hold me accountable for reflecting and working on my written communication skills.

I plan on posting a couple of blogs a week to get started.  I hope I can meet the goals and purposes that I want from the blog.  Please do not hesitate to send me feedback about the site, my writing, or anything else that is on your mind.

Let the fun begin!