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In my last post, I laid out the difference between special cause and common cause variation. Why is it important to know the difference? Because when you embark on an improvement initiative, variation must be reduced or eliminated. But it’s hard to know where to start, and what actions will make a difference. And inevitably, […]

The post Cut the Noise and Tame the Common Cause (Part Two of Two) appeared first on LeanBP.

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As most of you know, variation is a very big deal in manufacturing, because even the smallest change in production processes can have big consequences down the line. Keeping variation low means fewer defects, less waste, higher quality, and lower costs. That’s why manufacturers use statistical process control, charting numbers to see where variation lies […]

The post Variation in Your Processes—A Game of Chance (Part One of Two) appeared first on LeanBP.

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It’s counterintuitive to think that maximizing your job or your department’s throughput can have a detrimental effect on your company. But that’s exactly the problem leaders face in running the modern organization. And once the problem starts, it creates a vicious cycle that quickly gets out of control. Optimizing without a balancing metric is a […]

The post Optimizing Without Balance—A Vicious Cycle appeared first on LeanBP.

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  In my first LeanBP Blog post, I explained the “why” for Lean Applied to Business Processes (LABP). Now, I’m going to explain the “what.” What exactly are the wastes that kill productivity in the business office? I adapted LABP from the basic principles outlined in the Toyota Production System (TPS). As you probably know […]

The post The 8 Biggest Wastes in the Business Office appeared first on LeanBP.

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If you read this blog regularly, you’re aware that the same lean tools that make manufacturing more efficient can work wonders in the business office. It usually just requires a slight shift in mindset, and a bit of imagination. One of those tools is 5S. It’s an amazingly simple tool that increases productivity by leaps […]

The post Putting 5S to Work in the Business Office appeared first on LeanBP.

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Teaching Lean Applied to Business Processes is never dull. But once the conversation turns to finding value in the steps of a business process, things get downright crazy in my classroom. Students argue with each other. They argue with me. Once, someone was so upset by the discussion that he stormed out. Why all the […]

The post Where’s the Value in Your Business Processes? appeared first on LeanBP.

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How are you coming along with your end-of-year initiatives? Are you realizing noticeable gains, or are you getting bogged down with too much work in process? Do you feel calm about where you’re headed, or are you already in crisis mode? You don’t need more people to achieve your goals; your people need more time. […]

The post LABP’s Biggest Gift Is Time appeared first on LeanBP.

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This month’s blog post will be short and sweet. Why? My WIP is at max! (If this concept is new to you, revisit my video on work in process.) I want you to know I practice what I preach as a lean teacher, so it’s important for me to keep my WIP optimal so that I […]

The post When Finger-Pointing Is a Good Thing appeared first on LeanBP.

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“Constraint: anything that limits a system from achieving higher performance versus its goal.” —Eli Goldratt, What Is This Thing Called Theory of Constraints and How Should It Be Implemented?  (1990) So many efforts toward continuous improvement begin with great intentions. The idea of attacking waste and ramping up productivity is exciting, and there’s a whole arsenal […]

The post Three Warning Signs Your Process Improvement Effort Will Fail appeared first on LeanBP.

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Determining root causes seems to be a lost art. It’s a discipline, and if we aren’t willing to apply disciplined thinking when diagnosing a problem in the business office, we end up making things worse. We see this all the time in social media these days, with people jumping to the wrong conclusions and acting […]

The post A Better Way to Brainstorm Root Causes appeared first on LeanBP.

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