Articles

ARTICLES

“Leaders as Coaches” (August 2021). The role of managers is changing.  No longer should they have to direct the most basic tasks day in and day out, even hour-to-hour.  Instead they should be focusing on organizational development: looking ahead, inspiring team members to improve their processes and themselves.   This article discusses the role of leaders as coaches, and provides some clarity on what this means.  It appeared in FIA magazine.  Click here to go to the article.

“We’re Different: Applying Lean to Knowledge Work” (August 2019).  Knowledge work has unique characteristics that can make the application of operational excellence concepts difficult.  This article provides several suggestions as how to best approach the subject.  It appeared in the August edition of FIA magazine.  Click here to go to the article.

“Lean Layout Do’s and Don’ts” (May 2019).  This article, authored by Austin Weber appeared in Assembly Magazine.  The articles talks about the need for flexibility and flow when designing efficient assembly lines.  Important considerations for layout design are provided.  Drew Locher contributed to the article.  Click here to go to the article.

“What Leaders Can Learn From Science” (May 2019).  This article published in FIA, the magazine of the Forging Industry Association, reviews several scientific laws and theories and how they can apply to management.  Newton’s First Law of Motion, the Second Law of Thermodynamics, and others are discussed, and how they apply to organizations. Click here for a copy of the article.

“Lean Culture Drives Continuous Improvement” (December 2018).  This article published in Assembly Magazine discusses the importance of developing a sustainable culture for continuous improvement, as well as what is really needed to achieve this lofty objective.  The article includes contributions from U.S. Synthetic Corporation, that has a mature CI culture, as well as several long term Lean practitioners, including Drew Locher.  Click here to go to the article.

“Step on It: Accelerating Your Lean Transformation” (Summer 2018).  Every organization is trying to accelerate their lean transformation.  This is possible if they learn from organizations that went before them.  This article provides several important tips from past experience that, if heeded from the outset, can help speed up a lean transformation.  It appeared in the Summer 2018 edition of ‘Target’ magazine, the periodical from the Association of Manufacturing Excellence (AME).  Click here for a copy of the article.

“Andon Cues Service Center to Respond” (March 2018): This article written by Chet Marchwinski of the Lean Enterprise Institute (LEI), describes the application of Andon in an insurance company.  Andon systems identify abnormalities to summon a quick response.  Manufacturing examples abound, but application to services is rare.  See how it can be done to help manage customer flow.  Click here to go to the article.

“How Lean Makes a Job Shop Better” (October 2017): This article appeared in “The Fabricator”, the periodical of the Fabricators and Manufacturers Association (FMA).  It describes 9 practical steps to implementing Lean concepts in the challenging ‘job shop’ environment.  The key is to adapt the concepts to the needs of each job shop.   Click here to go to the article.

“9 Basic Myths of Accounting” (July 2017): This article appeared in ‘The Fabricator’, the periodical of the Fabricators and Manufacturers Association (FMA).  The article covers the 9 classic issues that arise in many organizations with regard to their Accounting practices.  These become particularly important when implementing Lean concepts.  Drew Locher contributed to the article written by Tim Heston.  Click here to go to the article.

“We’re Different!” Overcoming the Challenges of Applying Lean Principles to Knowledge Work” (May 2017): This article appeared in the newsletter for GxP Lifeline published by MasterControl for the Life Sciences industry.  It provides some practical advice to overcome some of the more common challenges faced when applying Lean to knowledge work. Click here to go to the article.

“What Too Many Value Stream Maps Completely Miss” (March 2016): Posted on the Lean Enterprise Institute’s  ‘The Lean Post’ this article explains the use of the powerful future state questions when designing lean future states for any manufacturing or information process.  Unfortunately practitioners of the VSM tool often do not use them, choosing to take a ‘war on waste’ approach.  Click here to go to the article.

Lean Product Development Interview (February 2015): Facilitated by Invetech in Melbourne Australia, this interview covers the application of value stream mapping to the product development process as depicted in the book “Value Stream Mapping for Lean Development.”  Click here for a transcript of the interview.

Kata Konfusion: this interview by the Lean Enterprise Institute (LEI) covers the subject of Toyota Kata.  Discussed are some key points that are commonly missed when applying the rapid PDCA improvement methodology.  Organizations tend to overlook the importance of the approach to creating the mindsets and skills of those practicing it to become more amenable to change, and to develop their problem solving and process improvement skills.  Click here for a transcript of the interview.

LEI Article (January 2013): An article based on the Introduction from the book “Lean Office & Service Simplified” (a 2012 Shingo Prize recipient) appears on the Lean Enterprise Institute website.  Click here for the article.

Retail Environments (March 2012): Drew Locher wrote an article “It’s All in How You Say It – Words Matter in Continuous Improvement.  The article discusses several important points when practicing CI and problem solving including: Deming’s emphasis on “experimentation” and the need to “drive out fear”.  Also covered are the often unintentional responses to seemingly innocent questions that can seriously undermine a CI or problem solving effort.  Click here for the article.

Target Magazine (Fourth Issue, 2011): An article “Lean Office: Get People Involved in Change” appeared.  The article describes the effort at MarquipWardUnited in Hunt Valley, MD to apply lean concepts in non-production areas.  Drew Locher contributed to the article.  Click here for the article — available to AME members only.

AME Target Online Magazine (June 2011): An article titled “Leadership, Excellence and Standard Work” written by Drew Locher of CMA appeared.  It describes several of the key themes and learning points at the annual Shingo Conference held in April 2011.  These include: “going to the gemba”, leaders teaching the principles within their organizations, and others.  Click here for the article — available to AME members only.

Plastics Today (April 2011):  An article titled “Lean Journey Leads to Fat Rewards” tells of the successes that Remcon Plastics in Reading PA has achieved with the application of Lean concepts.  Reducing scrap rates from 6-7% to 0.5-1.5% is just one such example.  Equally important is that Remcon is laying the proper foundation for a sustainable lean system.  Standard work is being developed, including that for the leaders.  Basic problem solving skills of the workforce are being enhanced.  CMA has supported Remcon Plastics in these and other areas. For the article, click here.

Assembly Magazine (February and March 2010): A3s continue to be misunderstood and misused.  People do not fully understand the intent of the document and the process of creating it.  Austin Weber wrote two separate articles covering the subject.  “The ABC’s of A3 Reports” appeared in the February 24, 2010 issue (article).  “How to Write an A3 Report” appeared in the March 26, 2010 issue (article).  Drew Locher contributed to both articles.

Value Stream Mapping Podcast (December 2009): Value Stream Mapping has been described as the “assessment and planning tool of lean practitioners”.  It answers the most common questions such as; “Where do we start?”, “What lean tools should I be looking to apply?”, “What results can I expect to achieve?”  Drew Locher participated in an approx. 20 minutes podcast on the use of the powerful Value Stream Mapping tool, and the common pitfalls in the use of the tool. Click for access to the podcast.

Retail Environments (November – December 2009) In this issue Drew Locher wrote an article titled “Applying Lean Thinking to the Sales”.  The article describes the typical approach taken to apply lean concepts to the important sales function.  It is imperative that an organization fully leverage the gains made by the application of lean by increasing the value delivered to its customers and markets.  This puts pressure on sales and marketing processes and personnel who must find better ways to perform their functions.  This is particularly the case in today’s economic environment.  For a copy of this article click here.

Retail Environments (May – June 2009). Retail Environments is the periodical for the Association for Retail Environments (ARE).  In this issue, Drew Locher wrote an article titled “Lean in the Office: Even in Creative and Variable Work Environments Standard Work Can Reduce Lead Times and Ensure Quality”.  It provides an in-depth discussion of this important concept, and how it applies to office and service environments.  The article identifies the key elements that must be present in all standard work, as well as responses to the most commonly heard arguments against it.  For a full length copy of this article click here.

Retail Environments (March – April 2008): Is the periodical for the Association for Retail Environments (ARE).  In this issue, Drew Locher wrote an article, “Lean Thinking in the Office”: Organize Administrative and Office Processes by Value Stream Rather Than Function”.  In this article, the author challenges traditional ways in which companies are organized that give rise to departmental or functional “silos”.  Organizing by process or value stream can dramatically improve flow and improve lead time and quality.  For a copy of this article click here.

Quality Progress (October 2007): Is the periodical of the American Society for Quality (ASQ).  In this issue, Drew Locher wrote an article, “In the Office: Where Lean And Six Sigma Converge”.  The article describes how various lean concepts help to reduce variability in any office environment.  For a copy of this article click here.