Online Lean Training Opportunities in 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!  As we approach the end of 2012, it is a good time to begin planning for Lean Training in 2013.  We will be offering a number of instructor-led and blended-learning (part instructor-led/part online) programs in 2013 including Lean Healthcare training, Lean Manufacturing Certification, and others.  Additionally, we will be offering a number of online training programs that are completely self-paced and can begin upon registration.  These online lean training programs include:

If you have an interest in online training, you might consider experiencing our system utilizing a free trial.  To get started with a free trial, visit Lean Training Free Trial Online.


Heijunka: Leveling The Mix and Volume of Work

In lean thinking, we often talk about leveling the mix and volume of work.  This is the concept known as heijunka, and most people simply accept this as just another “tool in the toolbox.”  However, it actually is not a tool at all; heijunka is a principle.  It is the idea that if we level the quantity of work we output at each point in a process, we can facilitate connected flow throughout our value streams with as few delays and as little inventory (or things waiting for the next processing step) as possilble.  Without heijunka, pull systems and one piece flow do not function properly.  This prevents us from achieving the ultimate condition: providing a defect-free product or service to the customer when they need it and in the right quantity.  We’ve created a somewhat humorous cartoon in our lean series of animated videos for you to enjoy.  To learn more, visit our website and read some of our lean manufacturing articles, sign up for our lean newsletter, or take one of our lean manufacturing training courses.

Interactive Lean Training Plus Kanban Video

We want to make our readers aware of a unique lean learning opportunity, our 3-day blended-learning lean manufacturing certification program.  This Lean Manufacturing certification program will equip participants with targeted technical and facilitation/team leadership competencies in lean manufacturing and kaizen.  The program includes 3 days of interactive, instructor-led training plus self-paced online training as well.  Participants will learn how to apply each of the principles and tools of lean including Value Stream Mapping, Continuous Flow Manufacturing Cells, Lean Production Control, Level Pull Production, kanban and pull systems, 5S, quick changeover, TPM, problem solving methods, and kaizen events. Certification requires the completion of a lean manufacturing project to reinforce the learning and achieve real results.  This program will take place at the Hilton San Diego Airport/Harbor Island in San Diego, CA on July 17-19, 2012.  For more information on this program, please visit: Lean Certification Training.  For those of you that prefer a fully instructor-led Lean Manufacturing Certification program, we continue to offer this option as well in Southern California.

If you are a follower of this blog or a subscriber to our lean newsletter, you know that we like to use animated videos (cartoons) in addition to articles to help explain lean and continuous improvement concepts.   Since pull systems is one of the topics we cover in detail in our certification programs, we thought it might be useful (for those that are unfamiliar with these concepts) to view one of our most popular animated videos on the subject.  Enjoy!

Lean Healthcare

We often say that Lean Manufacturing is about providing a defect free product or service to the customer when it is needed and in the right quantity.  This is a useful way of understanding the thinking behind lean manufacturing.  Is lean healthcare different?  I would argue that it is not as different as many in that industry might think.  We might define lean healthcare as providing the right service error-free to the patient when it is needed.  In healthcare, there is an understandable skepticism towards lean, since it originated in manufacturing.  However, once we understand what lean is really all about- providing a better service to the customer- lean healthcare makes a lot more sense.  In the following, somewhat humorous video, a doctor and patient talk about lean healthcare.  If you have an interest in lean healthcare, you might consider our lean healthcare online course or our September 27-28 Lean Healthcare training course in Southern California.

Lean Healthcare: The Doctor Visit Video

Lean Leadership

There has been a lot of buzz about lean leadership in the past year or so.  People are beginning to realize that, as author John Maxwell has said, “everything rises and falls on leadership.”  It takes good leadership to create an environment for kaizen to flourish.  We want everyone in the organization to be working toward improvement toward the next goal or target condition.  This is done by identifying problems that get in the way of achieving the target condition and then identifying and implementing countermeasures.

While the tools of lean are great (I am not one of those that say that the tools are unimportant- they are important!), leadership is critically important.   Following is a 3 minute cartoon that talks about the various aspects of lean leadership, including creating a lean culture, strategy deployment, and coaching and development.

Lean, Kaizen, and Continuous Improvement

What is management’s role in continuous improvement?  Very often, management folks believe that their role is to tell their employees what to do, solve their problems, and identify better ways to carry out their work.   When you mention continuous improvement to them, they talk about projects lead by “experts.”  But, can this actually be called continuous improvement?  While projects and rapid improvement events work very well for making breakthrough improvements, they are not really “continuous improvement.”   They are step improvements at points in time.   Continuous improvement requires day-to-day recognition of problems and identification of solutions, a continuous quest toward providing defect free products, services, and information to the customer when they are needed.  The people who do the work are allowed to identify problems and even propose and implement solutions.  Management creates the environment for this to happen and provides the support and resources.  Engineers provide expertise in problem solving and faciltiate the development and application of countermeasures to problems.

Following is a short cartoon about continuous improvement; feel free to share it with your colleagues.

Value Stream Mapping

Our April 2012 newsletter has just been released using our new, more streamlined format.  The focal point of this month’s newsletter is value stream mapping. To view it, please visit: Following is a brief video that gives an overview of value stream mapping, including an explanation of the definition of a value stream, current state mapping, and future state mapping.

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