Lean For Dummies book cover

Lean For Dummies

By: Natalie J. Sayer and Bruce Williams Published: 03-26-2012

Take charge and engage your enterprise in a Lean transformation

Have you thought about using Lean in your business or organization, but are not really sure how to implement it? Or perhaps you're already using Lean, but you need to get up to speed. Lean For Dummies shows you how to do more with less and create an enterprise that embraces change. In plain-English, this friendly guide explores the general overview of Lean, how flow and the value stream works, and the best ways to apply Lean to your enterprise.

This revised edition includes the latest tools, advice, and information that can be used by everyone — from major corporations to small business, from non-profits and hospitals to manufacturers and service corporations. In addition, it takes a look at the successes and failures of earlier Lean pioneers — including Toyota, the inventors of Lean — and offer case studies and hands-on advice.

  • The latest on the Six Sigma and Lean movements
  • The role of technology and the expanding Lean toolbox
  • Case studies enhance the material

Lean For Dummies gives today's business owners and upper level management in companies of all sizes and in all industries, the tools and information they need to streamline process and operate more efficiently.

Articles From Lean For Dummies

8 results
8 results
Lean For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Cheat Sheet / Updated 02-18-2022

To understand how to apply Lean in any organization, you should know the basics: the principles, the definitions of value and waste, how to lead effectively, and how to define and improve the value stream. You should also be aware of how a Lean leader thinks and acts.

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The Kaizen Project PDCA, or PDSA, Cycle of Lean

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

The term Kaizen is derived from two Japanese characters; kai, meaning “change” and zen meaning “continuous improvement.” Eliminating waste in the value stream is the goal of Kaizen. The PDCA (or PDSA) Cycle is the Lean working structure –the system for executing Kaizen. The acronym stands for: Plan. Create a plan for change, identifying specifically what you want to change. Define the steps you need to make the change, and predict the results of the change. Do. Carry out the plan in a trial or test environment, on a small scale, under controlled conditions. Check (or study). Examine the results of your trial. Verify that you’ve improved the process. If you have, consider implementing it on a broader scale. If you haven’t improved the process, go back and try again. Act. Implement the changes you’ve verified on a broader scale. Update the standard operating procedures.

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Set Up Corporate E-mail on Your iPad

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

The iPad makes nice with the Microsoft Exchange servers that are a staple in large enterprises, as well as many smaller businesses. What’s more, if your company supports Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync, you can exploit push e-mail so that messages arrive pronto on the iPad, just as they do on your other computers. (To keep everything up to date, the iPad also supports push calendars and push contacts.) For push to work with an Exchange Server, your company must be able to work with Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync 2003 (Service Pack 2), 2007 (Service Pack 1), or 2010. Ask your company’s IT or tech department if you run into an issue. Setting up Exchange e-mail isn’t particularly taxing, and the iPad connects to Exchange right out of the box. You still might have to consult your employer’s techie-types for certain settings. Start setting up your corporate e-mail on your iPad by following these steps: Tap the Microsoft Exchange icon on the Welcome to Mail screen. Fill in what you can: your e-mail address, domain, username (sometimes domainuser), and password. Or, call on your IT staff for assistance. Tap Next when you’re done. On the next screen, as shown in this figure, enter the Server e-mail address, assuming that the Microsoft Autodiscover service didn’t already find it. Tap Next when you’re done. That server address may begin with exchange.company.com. Choose which information you want to synchronize through Exchange by tapping each item you want. You can choose Mail, Contacts, and Calendars. After you choose an item, you see the blue On button next to it, as shown in this figure. Tap Save. The company you work for doesn’t want just anybody having access to your e-mail — heaven forbid if your iPad is lost or stolen. So your bosses may insist that you change the passcode lock inside Settings on your iPad. (This is different from the password for your e-mail account.) And, if your iPad ends up in the wrong hands, your company can remotely wipe the contents clean. By default, the iPad keeps e-mail synchronized for three days. To sync for a longer period, head to Settings; tap Mail, Contacts, Calendars; and then tap the e-mail account using ActiveSync. Tap Mail Days to Sync and tap No Limit or pick another time frame (1 day, 1 week, 2 weeks, or 1 month). If you’re moonlighting at a second job, you can now configure more than one Exchange ActiveSync account on your iPad; prior to iOS 5 there was a limit of just one such account per device.

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Leading a Lean Organization

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

To create a sustaining Lean organization, you lead differently. Lean leaders lead from gemba, where the action happens. They know the only way to truly understand what is happening is to go to the place where the action occurs. Once there, they apply 3Gen or the 3 Actuals: genchi — (like gemba) go to the actual place genbutsu — observe the actual product, process or service genjitsu — gather actual facts

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What is Lean?

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Lean is a customer-centric methodology used to continuously improve any process through the elimination of waste in everything you do; it is based on the ideas of “Continuous Incremental Improvement” and “Respect for People.” Focus on the fundamentals The basic principles of Lean are Focus on effectively delivering value to your Customer Respect and engage the people Improve the Value Stream by eliminating all types of waste Maintain Flow Pull Through the System Strive for Perfection Your customer tells you what they value You customer defines value or value-added with the following three conditions: It must transform the product or service. The customer must be willing to “pay” for it. It must be done correctly the first time. If you don’t meet all three of these criteria, then you have non-value-added activities or waste. What’s “waste” anyway? Waste comes in three main forms: Mura or waste due to variation Muri or waste due to overburdening or stressing the people, equipment or system Muda also known as the “seven forms of waste” The following are the wastes most commonly associated with Lean: Transportation: Is there unnecessary (non-value-added) movement of parts, materials, or information between processes? Waiting: Are people or parts, systems or facilities idle — waiting for a work cycle to be completed? Overproduction: Are you producing sooner, faster, or in greater quantities than the customer is demanding? Defects: Does the process result in anything that the customer would deem unacceptable? Inventory: Do you have any raw materials, work-in-progress (WIP), or finished goods that are not having value added to them? Movement: How much do you move materials, people, equipment, and goods within a processing step? Extra Processing: How much extra work is performed beyond the standard required by the customer? Sometimes you will also hear “the disengagement of people" identified as a form of muda.

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Defining Waste in the Lean System

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Waste comes in three main forms: Mura or waste due to variation Muri or waste due to overburdening or stressing the people, equipment or system. Muda also known as the “seven forms of waste”. The following are the wastes most commonly associated with Lean. Transportation: Is there unnecessary (non-value added) movement of parts, materials, or information between processes? Waiting: Are people or parts, systems or facilities idle - waiting for a work cycle to be completed? Overproduction: Are you producing sooner, faster or in greater quantities than the customer is demanding? Defects: Does the process result in anything that the customer would deem unacceptable? Inventory: Do you have any raw materials, work-in-progress (WIP) or finished goods that are not having value added to them? Movement: How much do you move materials, people, equipment and goods within a processing step? Extra Processing: How much extra work is performed beyond the standard required by the customer? Sometimes you will also hear “the disengagement of people" identified as a form of muda. Muda comes in two flavors called Type-1 muda and Type-2 muda. What’s the difference? In both cases it fails to meet all three criteria for value-added as defined by your customer. Type I muda — Non-value added, but necessary for the system to function. Minimize this until you can eliminate it. Type II muda — Non-value added and unnecessary. Eliminate this first!

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Behaviors of a Lean Leader

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Lean leaders effectively exhibit the following behaviors every day. They know how the business serves the customer by Understanding what customers want, need, and value, or what will thrill them Knowing how the business satisfies the customer Improving the effectiveness of how the business satisfies the customer They build ability in the people through Guiding problem solving — root cause, right problem, right resources Leading from gemba; applying 3Gen Asking open-ended, probing questions They show a continuous improvement mindset by Continually challenging the status quo Knowing that there is always room for improvement Understanding that the customer changes — what delights today is a necessity tomorrow They focus on process and results by Obtaining results Ensuring that how the results are achieved is the most effective utilization of all resources, in the direction of the ideal state Improving how the organization accomplishes results They demonstrate an understanding of the value stream at a macro and micro level through Knowing what the customer requires and how the value stream satisfies them Having knowledge of the overall value stream, including tributaries Asking questions when changes are made at the local level to ensure that the team understands how the change will impact the customer and the rest of the value stream They create a culture to sustain improvement by Identifying, modeling, and encouraging Lean behaviors Finding the lessons in every “failure” — blame does not foster improvement or innovation Respecting and improving standards — questions when the organization is deviating from the standard

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Using Lean to Define and Improve the Value Stream

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

The value stream includes all of the activities, materials, people, and information that must flow and come together to provide your customer the value they want, when they want it and how they want it. You identify the value stream on a value-stream map, using specific icons. You improve the value stream by following the Plan-Do-Check-Act process (sometimes called the Plan-Do-Study-Act process). The 3P Methodology (Production Preparation Process) is used upfront to design products and processes before they are in the final form. By creating an environment of safety and order, you can more easily identify where waste happens. The process for this environment is sort, straighten, scrub, systematize, and standardize while eliminating any unsafe conditions; this is known as 5S+. Example value-stream map (VSM) When you have created your VSM, you will identify areas for improvement. Here is an example of a VSM showing the current state of the process and several potential areas for improvement. The current-state VSM markup for a salad company.

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