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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Message to our Greenbelt graduates


Here's a simple message for our graduating Greenbelts.....

Please remember the word "GREEN":

G = Go and transform the world
R = Reflect and hansei often
E = Excite the people around you
E = Engage the customers
N = Never stop improving!

Congratulations Spring Greenbelt Operation Winnipeg Graduates!

LSI proudly presents our 20 new Winnipeg Greenbelt Graduates, who successfully completed the 3 challenging modules!

A sincere congratulation to all of our graduates in Manitoba.  We wish them all the best for the new beginning in Lean. May you reach all your goals!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Quote of the day

"Never stop dreaming about changing the world."

David Chao

Monday, June 27, 2011


LSI visits Nissan factories twice a year in Japan.  The following information is interesting to note:

LSI and Japan Lean Tour group at Nissan Factory

YOKOHAMA, June 27, 2011 – Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., today announced a wide-ranging, six-year business plan that will accelerate the company’s growth across new markets and segments. The plan for fiscal years 2011 to 2016, called “Nissan Power 88,” is effective immediately.

The name of the plan emphasizes key corporate goals: Nissan will renew its focus on the overall customer experience through actions that elevate its brands’ power and sales power. By the end of fiscal 2016, the company will aim to achieve a global market share of 8% and increase its corporate operating profit to a sustainable 8%.

Highlights of Nissan Power 88 reflect Nissan’s clear, global vision and strategic direction through fiscal 2016:
  • Nissan’s extended new product plan will deliver, on average, an all-new vehicle every six weeks for six years. The company’s global portfolio will have 66 vehicles and will cover 92% of all markets and segments.
  • The emphasis on sustainable mobility will continue, encompassing zero-emission vehicles and low-emission technologies that support PURE DRIVE. Cumulative electric vehicle sales for the Renault-Nissan Alliance will reach  1.5 million units.
  • ”Mobility for all” will expand with dedicated new cars and light commercial vehicles (LCVs) developed for entry-level segments and emerging markets.
  • Nissan will introduce more than 90 new, advanced technologies, averaging 15 per year.

“Nissan Power 88 is the roadmap for our company’s profitable growth,” said Nissan President and Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn.  “We will accelerate our growth, bringing more innovation and excitement to our products and services as well as cleaner, more affordable cars for everyone around the world, in line with the energy and environmental challenges of the 21st century.” 

Nissan will increase investments in its brands and retail networks to enhance its customers’ entire ownership experience. Nissan currently has 6,000 major points of sales globally; the retail network will expand to 7,500 in the midterm plan period.

Business expansion will focus on growth markets and further developing the company’s Infiniti and light commercial businesses.
  • In 2012, Nissan will have a production capacity of 1.2 million units in China. China has become – and will continue to be – Nissan’s largest single global market. Nissan aims for a 10% share of the Chinese market. Nissan will also increase its presence in Brazil, Russia and India, as well as in the next wave of emerging markets.
  • In Brazil, Nissan will build a new plant, with a capacity of 200,000 units as a first step.
  • Nissan NV200’s selection as New York City’s “Taxi of Tomorrow” illustrates the company’s momentum in the LCV field. By 2016, Nissan will be the world’s leading light commercial vehicle manufacturer.
  • The Infiniti premium brand will grow from its 2010 sales level of 150,000 vehicles to 10% of global market share among luxury brand segments, a level today that would represent 500,000 vehicles.1 Infiniti will be present in more than 70 markets with a product range of at least 10 vehicles.

“Nissan Power 88 is a demanding business plan, but our company has a proven track record of achieving challenging objectives,” said Mr. Ghosn.

About NissanNissan Motor Co., Ltd., Japan's second-largest automotive company, is headquartered in Yokohama, Japan, and is part of the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Operating with more than 248,000 employees globally, Nissan provided customers with more than 4.1 million vehicles in 2010, generating revenue of 8.77 trillion yen ($102.37 billion US). With a strong commitment to developing exciting and innovative products for all, Nissan delivers a comprehensive range of 64 models under the Nissan and Infiniti brands. A pioneer in zero-emission mobility, Nissan made history with the introduction of the Nissan LEAF, the first affordable, mass-market, pure-electric vehicle and winner of numerous international accolades, including the prestigious 2011 European Car of the Year award and 2011 World Car of the Year. For more information on our products, services and commitment to sustainable mobility, visit our website at

Photo of the day

Our coach Bob Low making funny faces at one of our kaizen blitzes. Who said we can't perform lean improvements and have fun at the same time?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Cycle time reduction Kaizen

This week, LSI delivered a cycle time reduction kaizen blitz in the San Francisco area (near San Jose).  Performed at a medical device company, this very successful kaizen of a particular process, resulted in a 50% cycle time.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Cycle time reduction going on

LSI is currently conducting a cycle time reduction blitz in San Francisco area at a medical device company.  We expect huge improvement by moving batching operation to a single piece flow. More information to come later!

Just for fun: Mr. Lean vs Muda Monster

Our new mascot, "Mr. Lean" can be seen here fighting
the "Muda Monster" (muda means "waste")

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Continuous Improvement

David Chao talks about continuous improvement with a Blackbelt graduate Derek Nakamoto during their most recent Japan Lean Tour program. They are discussing what CI is, inside the massive Toyota museum in Nagoya.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Off to San Francisco, Calgary

LSI has a busy schedule this week again, with Whitebelt programs going on in both Vancouver and Calgary, as well as a cycle time reduction kaizen happening in San Francisco area.

Even with so much activities going on, we continue to reflect on how important Lean is to our world - and our desire to "transform the world" keeps growing stronger each day as we work on different lean projects throughout the world.

Lean Sensei proudly graduates 14 new Greenbelts last Friday!

Congratulations to our 14 Spring Penticton Greenbelt graduates!

After 3 months of challenging tasks, 14 talented Greenbelts graduate from Penticton class. It really takes a great deal of teamwork, talent, effort and determination to achieve this signficant goal.
Best wishes for continued success!

Please see below for some of the highlights from the graduation last Friday:
-Group photo taken at the picturesque Penticton Lakeside Resort-

-Greenbelt sponsors thanking Greenbelt Program Coordinator, Kelly-Rae, at Penticton-
-Guest Speaker, Derek Nakamoto, addressing the class-

-One last group chant (HaiYah…)-

-Grad Speakers, Susan, Shawna and Dave-

-Group photo of all Greenbelt graduates with their sponsor Derek Nakamoto-

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Photo of the Day

Downtown Vancouver

Error-proofing a parking spot

An error-proof parking system in Tokyo, Japan. A parked car
cannot leave the spot until the parking fee is paid
(see the automatic locking mechanism under the van)

Friday, June 17, 2011

LSI confirms Japan trip for fall 2011

We received messages of concern and phenomenal support from our clients and sponsors during our visit to Japan in March this year, when we experienced the effects of the traumatic earthquake that devasted parts of Northern Japan.

Our initial thinking in terms of the next Japan trip was to postpone this trip until 2012, but we received overwhelming comments that we need to keep supporting Japan.
Now that safety concerns are not an obstacle in Tokyo, we are happy to confirm that LSI will take executives and Blackbelts participants to Japan in November this year, for the Japan Lean Tour.

We are excited to be able to support the economy of Japan and are now in the process of confirming various details for the trip.  The Japan Lean Tour for November 2011 is now 99% full, thanks to your support.

If you are wondering what the trip is all about, please see the YouTube video below for the summary of our last trip in March.  Included, are my emotional comments that I made the day after the earthquake.

Quote of the day

“If it is possible for a small number of people to cause trouble and create chaos, it is equally possible for a small number of dedicated and respectful people to create something beautiful and wonderful.
I think it’s time to forget the painful past, and begin the healing journey towards a bright and beautiful future, in which people care for each other.
Let’s make dreams come true and make every effort to transform the world around us.  We CAN create a better world.”
By David Chao

Various articles about LSI

LSI is proud to represent the ever growing lean community here in west coast and across Canada in general.  We believe that true lean transformation takes place one organization at a time, and we look forward to a day when the majority of Canadian companies have reached the "lean excellence" status.  Here are some compilations of various articles written about LSI and our vision to transform the world through lean:

Click on the link below

Articles about LSI

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Lean Sensei Services

People often ask for more information about our lean programs and lean services, and sometimes it's easier to explain through videos than in words. So here are some of the program highlights to provide further insights about our lean programs, which are considered to be the best in Canada.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Greenbelt for Service module 3 in Penticton

This week, the Greenbelt team is working hard in Value Innovation Kaizen at Valley First Credit Union in Penticton,.  The objective of this kaizen is to create more value in the eye of the customer on key business processes. They are using tools such as Value Innovation Mapping, Fishbone, 5 Whys, Value Graph, Kano Curves, Benchmarking, etc. to develop a new improved process which will “wow” the customer.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Toyota Global Vision

In case you missed this back in spring, Toyota announced its new global vision.  The details provide amazing insights about the future direction of Toyota and its subidiaries.  Take a look:
Toyota Global Vision PDF
Toyota's Global Vision - brief summary
"Rewarded with a smile by exceeding your expectations"

Toyota Motor Corporation's "Toyota Global Vision" was first outlined in spring of 2011, which will serve not only to give direction to Toyota employees around the world, but also to convey such direction to customers and to the public at large.
The Global Vision incorporates lessons TMC learned through the market downturn that followed the global financial crisis and through a series of product recalls. It outlines the ideal form the company should take in response to self-asked questions about what kind of organization TMC should be and what kind of values it should honor. TMC-related operations around the world will define their own missions in the context of fulfilling the mission statement and will translate those missions into concrete actions.
Compiling the Toyota Global Vision was a team headed by TMC President Akio Toyoda that included members drawn from the company's operations around the world. Highlighting the mission statement is a commitment to being a company that customers will choose and will feel good about having chosen. Toyota has expressed that commitment with the slogan: "Rewarded with a smile by exceeding your expectations".
In unveiling the Toyota Global Vision, Toyoda observed that TMC has strived through its 74-year history to create socially beneficial automobiles and to earn smiles from customers worldwide. "All 300,000 of us at Toyota worldwide," declared Toyoda, "will take part in laying a foundation for sustainable growth. Working side by side, we will strive to earn smiles by exceeding customers' highest expectations. Together, we will write a new chapter of Toyota history."
"Toyota will lead the way to the future of mobility, enriching lives around the world with the safest and most responsible ways of moving people. Through our commitment to quality, constant innovation and respect for the planet, we aim to exceed expectations and be rewarded with a smile. We will meet challenging goals by engaging the talent and passion of people, who believe there is always a better way."

Photo of the Day

David feeding two giraffes at San Diego Zoo

Six Common Misperceptions about Teamwork

Source: Harvard Business Review, by J. Richard Hackman

Teamwork and collaboration are critical to mission achievement in any organization that has to respond quickly to changing circumstances. My research in the U.S. intelligence community has not only affirmed that idea but also surfaced a number of mistaken beliefs about teamwork that can sidetrack productive collaboration. Here are six of them.

Misperception #1: Harmony helps. Smooth interaction among collaborators avoids time-wasting debates about how best to proceed.
Actually: Quite the opposite, research shows. Conflict, when well managed and focused on a team's objectives, can generate more creative solutions than one sees in conflict-free groups. So long as it is about the work itself, disagreements can be good for a team. Indeed, we found in our earlier research on symphony orchestras that slightly grumpy orchestras played a little better as ensembles than those whose members worked together especially harmoniously.

Misperception #2: It's good to mix it up. New members bring energy and fresh ideas to a team. Without them, members risk becoming complacent, inattentive to changes in the environment, and too forgiving of fellow members' misbehavior.
Actually: The longer members stay together as an intact group, the better they do. As unreasonable as this may seem, the research evidence is unambiguous. Whether it is a basketball team or a string quartet, teams that stay together longer play together better.

Misperception #3: Bigger is better. Larger groups have more resources to apply to the work. Moreover, including representatives of all relevant constituencies increases the chances that whatever is produced will be accepted and used.
Actually: Excessive size is one of the most common--and also one of the worst--impediments to effective collaboration. The larger the group, the higher the likelihood of social loafing (sometimes called free riding), and the more effort it takes to keep members' activities coordinated. Small teams are more efficient--and far less frustrating.

Misperception #4: Face-to-face interaction is passé. Now that we have powerful electronic technologies for communication and coordination, teams can do their work much more efficiently at a distance.
Actually: Teams working remotely are at a considerable disadvantage. There really are benefits to sizing up your teammates face-to-face. A number of organizations that rely heavily on distributed teams have found that it is well worth the time and expense to get members together when the team is launched, again around the midpoint of the team's work, and yet again when the work has been completed.

Misperception #5: It all depends on the leader. Think of a team you have led, or on which you have served, that performed superbly. Now think of another one that did quite poorly. What accounts for the difference between them? If you are like most people, your explanation will have something to do with the personality, behavior, or style of the leaders of those two teams.
Actually: The hands-on activities of group leaders do make a difference. But the most powerful thing a leader can do to foster effective collaboration is to create conditions that help members competently manage themselves. The second most powerful thing is to launch the team well. And then, third, is the hands-on teaching and coaching that leaders do after the work is underway. Our research suggests that condition-creating accounts for about 60% of the variation in how well a team eventually performs; that the quality of the team launch accounts for another 30%; and that real-time coaching accounts for only about 10%. Leaders are indeed important in collaborative work, but not in the ways we usually think.

Misperception #6: Teamwork is magical. To harvest its many benefits, all one has to do is gather up some really talented people and tell them in general terms what is needed--the team will work out the details.
Actually: It takes careful thought and no small about amount of preparation to stack the deck for success. The best leaders provide a clear statement of just what the team is to accomplish, and they make sure that the team has all the resources and supports it will need to succeed. Although you may have to do a bit of political maneuvering to get what is needed for effective collaboration from the broader organization, it is well worth the trouble.

J. Richard Hackman is the Edgar Pierce Professor of Social and Organizational Psychology at Harvard University and a leading expert on teams. The misperceptions that are summarized in this post are explored in greater depth in his new book Collaborative Intelligence: Using Teams to Solve Hard Problems (Berrett-Koehler, 2011). He is interviewed by HBR in "Why Teams Don't Work" (May 2009) and is the author of Leading Teams: Setting the Stage for Great Performances (Harvard Business School Press, 2002).

Friday, June 10, 2011

Photo of the Day

BMW Museum, Munich Germany at LSI Europe Program

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Special Robot

I am not sure if this Japanese engineer works for Toyota but he certainly is creative and ingenious!

While I am not clear on the usefulness of this invention, it's clever and funny nevertheless.

Take a look:

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Photo of the Day

Vancouver at dusk

Greenbelt Operation Spring Video

Congratulations Spring Greenbelt Graduates!

Here is a short 7-minute clip, which our Greenbelt Spring Graduates have created, on their experience during the three modules. The summary video of the Greenbelt Operation class has been uploaded to Lean Sensei YouTube channel.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Go Canucks, Go Lean

In anticipation of the Canuck's win tonight, we've uploaded a couple of "go lean" wallpapers.  Please click on the wallpapers (to enlarge them) and save them to your PC!  Go Canucks Go, Go Lean Go!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Congratulations Greenbelt Graduates!

Pursuing your Dream

June. We start dreaming of the long, hazy days of summer – lying by the pool, flipping burgers on the backyard BBQ and walking along the beach.

Before those long hot days become a reality, you may be the guest or proud parent at one or two graduations or commencement speeches. This past Friday LSI proudly graduated 21 new Greenbelt Graduates.  As they continue along the path towards world excellence, we wish them well, encourage them to transform their organizations and spur them on to make their dreams a reality.

Here's what happened when Larry Page, decided to literally pursue a dream

You may not be familiar with his name.  Read the address he gave two years ago at the University of Michigan Commencement and you'll realize how profoundly he impacted the world.

You know what's it like to wake up in the middle of the night with a vivid dream? And you know how, if you don't have a pencil and pad by the bed to write it down, it will be completely gone the next morning?

Well, I had one of those dreams when I was 23. When I suddenly woke up, I was thinking: what if we could download the whole web, and just keep the links and... I grabbed a pen and started writing! Sometimes it is important to wake up and stop dreaming. I spent the middle of that night scribbling out the details and convincing myself it would work. Soon after, I told my advisor, Terry Winograd, it would take a couple of weeks to download the web -- he nodded knowingly, fully aware it would take much longer but wise enough to not tell me. The optimism of youth is often underrated! Amazingly, I had no thought of building a search engine. The idea wasn't even on the radar. But, much later we happened upon a better way of ranking webpages to make a really great search engine, and Google was born. When a really great dream shows up, grab it!

If you’re interested, here’s a link to Larry Page’s entire Commencement address, which he gave in 2009 at the University of Michigan

Photo of the Day

Japan Lean Tour March 2011 photo in Asakusa, Tokyo Japan a few days before the earthquake

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Funny Parking Situation

Here's a funny time-lapse video of a parking lot in which "anything appears to be OK." The chaos which follows someone leavng a parked car where it does not belong is hilarious.

The video is not clear where the situation takes place, but it's definitely not in North America.

Take a look:

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Japan Disaster Shakes Up Supply Chain Strategy

Source: Harvard working knowledge

The full cultural and sociological aftershocks of the earthquake in Japan—the worst disaster to hit the country since World War II—are washing like a tsunami across many industries as manufacturers and their customers scramble to replace suppliers disrupted and even closed down by the events of March 11.

Tokyo, and indeed much of eastern Japan, is an epicenter of high-tech manufacturing. But dozens of suppliers in other industries are located in the region as well, and the loss of their production may have far-reaching effects in many economic sectors for years to come.

The disaster is causing many companies to rethink their supply chain strategies, which suddenly seem extremely fragile.

When a natural disaster hits, relief organizations such as the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders swing into action with crisis-response plans that have been honed, refined, and improved with experience. Not so manufacturers and their complex webs of suppliers, who in many cases lack that same experience or large-scale backup plans. The result: a chaotic scramble resulting in production delays, product shortages, and higher prices.
"They put all of their eggs with one supplier that had the best product at the lowest price"
About 22 percent of the world's 300 mm silicon wafer supply came from the Shin-Etsu Handotai's Shirakawa plant in Fukushima prefecture, and 60 percent of critical auto parts were in the same area, says professor Willy Shih, who has studied the ways that supply chains work and the performance of the factories that comprise them. The area is also a primary supplier of lithium battery chemicals, flash memory, and anisotropic conductive film used in LCD flat panel displays.

"In the race to provide better quality at lower prices, manufacturers picked very narrow, optimized supply chains," Shih says. "They put all of their eggs with one supplier that had the best product at the lowest price."

Suppliers squeezed, too

At the same time the suppliers, also under pressure to continuously cut costs and optimize production and delivery systems, focused on serving niches rather than being generalists. So a company that in the past produced a specific auto part now makse one component of that part, and then pasess it on to another supplier in a different country for additional assembly. One small piece can pass through six or eight or ten suppliers in as many countries before it lands in the hands of the final assembler.

"The sequential, multicountry production model is what dominates now, and it's a model where little bits of value get added here or there and it's hard to see country of origin. It can be a very costly process to figure it out," Shih says. "For example, if you really wanted to trace conflict minerals, you would turn off the valve at the Congo border and see who screams. It's the same structural problem as in Japan. A Wii has a chip designed by IBM, which may have been fabbed in New York, tested in Taiwan, stored in Hong Kong, aggregated in parts, and sent in kits to China for assembly."

All the suppliers in this chain are typically operating on very thin margins and tight schedules—any disruption can have severe consequences for companies several steps down the chain as well as end users. Already, some auto parts plants in the United States have had to suspend production because of shortages, and it's likely many more problems will follow, especially in the high-tech sector. Lithium battery production, for one, is likely to slow, resulting in the delay of lots of consumer electronics.
A consequence of the rise of the modern, highly dispersed supply chain is that many manufacturers — let alone consumers — have little idea where the things they buy come from. Most consumers likely don't care, until they try to buy an iPod and discover that there are none to be had because of a shortage of lithium-ion battery components.

"This kind of disaster cuts a wide swath across the auto industry, but there's probably some similar geographic area that, if hit, would affect a different industry. It only takes a very small piece of the world to influence an industry in a major way."

The open question is how quickly manufacturers can recover from the shortages and delays. It may take several months for all the economic and supply-chain effects of the disaster to be felt fully, and the product shortages could extend well beyond that. Still, Shih says from what he's seen so far, suppliers and manufacturers have done fairly well.

"It's the luck of the draw when it comes to natural disasters. We have very highly concentrated pockets of expertise in small areas around the world. It's how we've designed modern production systems," Shih says. "We've seen moderately good behavior from this quake so far."

Who pays the price?

As Japan recovers from this disaster and other countries prepare for future ones, manufacturers and all the various companies that make up their supply chains need to rethink their strategies, Shih says. But the answers, such as using redundant suppliers in various parts of the world, can be expensive. Would customers be willing to absorb some increase in cost if it meant that there would be fewer shortages or production delays?

"Will consumers pay more for a more robust solution to this problem? I don't know. It's an important question, though," Shih says. "Should I distribute my suppliers around the world to avoid things like this? We don't know. But the shortages are starting to emerge, and over the next couple of months we'll see a broader impact from this."

A number of companies are already making investments in redundancy. Canon is considering a move to diversify its production base by expanding its under-construction Hita factory in Kyushu in southern Japan, and increasing production lines at its two factories in China's Guangdong province. Manufacturers in mainland China, Taiwan, South Korea, and Thailand are reporting increases in orders as companies look for alternate sources, according to analysts.

"There are a lot of moving parts in this, and it will be interesting to see how it works out," says Shih. "Companies need to understand the depth of their supply chains and critical dependencies. Then they can think through how 'narrow' is the optimum solution, and the cost/benefit tradeoffs of steps like incorporating more supplier or geographic diversity."

Greenbelt Summer Operations going through module 2

It's also a busy week for Greenbelt Summer class, which is going through module 2.  It consists of cycle time reduction kaizen and presentation skills classroom. On Friday, this class will also learn about MBTI.  It's going to be a busy week for this Greenbelt class!