Process Improvement Blog


Looking for ways for your organization to increase productivity and trim budgets? You’ve come to the right place.

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The Rise of Paperless Practice Adoption in Manufacturing

August 04, 2015

The work that goes into manufacturing even the simplest of products is a mystery to most people. The fact that a can opener is on the store shelf when they need it is good enough. But industry insiders know more.

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It's Not Management For Dummies

April 29, 2014

It’s always fun to see how the things lean companies do thoroughly confuse traditional thinkers. Toyota’s announcement that they are bringing manufacturing, engineering, sales and finance together in a new headquarters campus in Texas is a good example. At the same time they are moving procurement to close proximity with the design folks in Michigan.

Before the formal announcement from Toyota the...

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Playing to Win, or Playing to Tie

April 08, 2014

In one corner we have the Germans with their love of Technik. At the big show in Hanover robots and advanced automation were center stage – “machines take over factories,” the headlines proclaim; and the experts say, “where the technology has been implemented, increasing automization is leading to significant improvements.” Given Germany’s position as a manufacturing powerhouse and the fact that...

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Process Excellence Week 2014 - Look out for the Bear Traps!

January 10, 2014

Lately I have been somewhat bombarded with information about an event called PEX – Process Excellence Week going on the week after next in Florida. Seems like a high potential, but also high danger event to me. By way of full disclosure one of the reasons for my being subject to such bombardment is that the host of the blog – iDatix – is participating. That said, I have no involvement in it and...

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Get Past the Estrogen

December 11, 2013

The business press is in full froth today over the appointment of Mary Barra to the CEO position at GM, most of it similar to the Wall Street Journal trumpeting, “GM's Promotion of Barra to CEO a Breakthrough for Women.” To grasp the significance of Barra’s ascendency at GM, the world really needs to get past this obsession over her lack of testosterone. The fact that she buttons her shirts right...

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What do monkeys, Tim Geithner and cat urine have in common?

November 18, 2013

Answer: They all made for interesting news recently ...

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[MLC Exclusive] What’s in it for Me?

October 20, 2013

An article in the Financial Post explains “Why ‘temp’ is no longer a four-letter word in the workforce.” While it offers all sorts of reasons why the employer shouldn’t view temps as comparable to four letter words, it acknowledges that “it can be more difficult to see an advantage for an employee or job seeker.”

“Difficult” is putting it mildly.

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Transitioning Into New And Growing Sectors

October 08, 2013

You’ll have to pardon me if I raise an eyebrow at the way the word ‘crisis’ is bandied about to describe the government shutdown that has been going on for the last week or so. As something on the order of 9 million manufacturing jobs were lost in large measure due to inane regulations and absurdly imbalanced trade deals over the last twenty years I don’t recall that being viewed as a ‘crisis’ in...

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Failure of Leadership and Culture

October 01, 2013

The ’leaders’ in Washington can’t reach a budget agreement … so my daughter (whose husband is in the military) has her honeymoon canceled and the zoos are closed. Can leadership be any more lacking than to allow things like this to happen? Can a culture be much worse than the one in D.C.?

In a recent interview with the New York Times Jonathan Klein, CEO of Getty Images, addressed culture and...

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A Long Overdue News Roundup

September 11, 2013

Lots of interesting and curious news to contemplate lately …

Give Boeing a round of applause

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The Descent of Microsoft

September 04, 2013

Manaus Brazil is probably the least lean manufacturing location on the plant. It is virtually unreachable by land. Some 750 or so miles up the Amazon River it is a manufacturing hub that is heavily subsidized by the Brazilian government in an effort to create lots of low wage jobs for the native folks who call the Amazon rain forest home. The only road in – a wretched two lane affair, impassable...

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Draw Your Own Conclusions

August 28, 2013

In order to write the blog I have a daily routine of checking out close to a hundred sources and gathering up everything that looks interesting. usually there is no immediate topic in mind - just articles and opinion pieces with some info that might fit into something sooner or later. Some times there is more good stuff than I have the time and space to write about.

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A Little of This and a Little of That

July 26, 2013

Best sentence I read this week

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The Insights of Others

July 16, 2013

Just wanted to steer you to a few interesting pieces written by some other folks that include some very interesting and valuable insights … plenty of foodfor thought to start out your day.

Dan Pontefract on Leadership

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A Roundup of Especially Interesting News

July 01, 2013

Shoulda Seen This One Coming

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Catching Up On The News Again

May 26, 2013

A long overdue catch-up on news of interest to lean manufacturing leaders ….

There May Be Hope Yet

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Using Manufacturing's Grief As Sleazy Political Fodder

April 27, 2013

A guy named Ohman drew an editorial cartoon mocking the tragic deaths of my fellow Texans and our fellow Americans”, according to Texas governor Rick Perry.

He went on to say, “Additionally, publishing this on the very day our state and nation paused to honor and mourn those who died only compounds the pain and suffering of the many Texans who lost family and friends in this disaster."

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What if They Have a Party and No One Comes?

April 15, 2013

Walmart has announced plans to buy an additional $50 billion worth of American made goods over the next decade. “This is a commitment around manufacturing and more economic renewal. We see it as a critical issue for us in the American economy,” says Duncan Mac Naughton chief merchandising and marketing officer for Walmart U.S.” It sounds a bit like Henry Ford’s $5 day – by paying the workers...

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Leaving Japan Behind

April 11, 2013

Rahul Garga wrote a piece concerning the Japanese economy in Seeking Alpha the other day called “Why Japan Might Find it Hard To Ease Out of This One”.

Among his points were:

“Japan once held a major competitive advantage in the field of manufacturing, which it successfully used to dethrone major Western industrialized countries in many different areas. For example, in 1980, Japan held over 50%...

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Time for Another News Roundup

April 04, 2013

The Customer Service of the Year Award

And the winner is …. Australia’s Georgina Fatseas-Sano, owner of a store called Celiac Supplies. She charges $5 to anyone who enters her store claiming to be ‘just looking’. She declares people who look but don’t buy to be “rat bags”. She has had “a gut full of working and not getting paid.” She’s not there “to dispense a charity service.”

Calling everyone...

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Change everything but your wife and children

April 03, 2013

The popular notion is that young people are somehow naturally more knowledgeable and adept when it comes to technology. I have found that this really means they are better at its application, but woefully ignorant of its core. They can figure out how to get it out of the box and working very, very quickly, but have little or no understanding of binary math, for instance, or how the various...

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Another Week, Another News Roundup

March 21, 2013

The Worker Shortage Issue

A post at the Lean Accountants cites survey results indicating some 91% of manufacturers are having trouble finding qualified workers. Lots going on to resolve this. Businessweek writes about the resurgence of vocational schools. Lots of publicly funded worker training and re-training programs out there, most of them mediocre at best, but the one in Tacoma seems to be...

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Catching Up On The News

March 11, 2013

Lots of fallout, but not the expected kind

Today is the second anniversary of the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami in Japan that has had a huge impact on how manufacturers tink about their global supply chains. Forbes as an excellent recap of the long lasting economic and other impact of the event on Japan.

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News of the Week

March 01, 2013

"Ports of L.A., Long Beach warn of delays if sequestration occurs"

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Lean Tales of the South Pacific 1

February 21, 2013

Normally no one would really care if New Zealand wanted to jump on the ‘innovation as our sole salvation’ economic bandwagon. The government wastes lots of money, so what’s the difference if they want to waste it on that? But the Kiwi’s didn’t stop there. They are taking the ‘Lean By Design’ program from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and tiering it under the Innovation program where it is...

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