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Monday, April 29, 2013

Blackbelts in the Last Stretch

This week commenced with the Extreme Makeover! This is the last week of the Blackbelt program.

Briefing by the host company

Blackbelts at the gemba

An example of an original Lean Sensei Lean methodology template for Blackbelts

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Developing Effective Leaders, Developing A Sensei

Here is the second part of Lean Sensei's pre-conference interview with Dr. Liker.
Dr. Liker's new book is the Toyota Way to Lean Leadership. He is our keynote speaker on day 1 of the Lean Summit conference, June 18-20, 2013.

The outline of Dr. Liker's presentation as well as information on our industry speakers is on the Lean Summit webpage,

Monday, April 22, 2013

Greenbelt Operation Calgary Spring 2013

Congratulations to our Greenbelt class in Calgary who graduated last week!

We mean business! Look at all the space, time and money we've saved the host companies and our own companies.

Group shot!

The next Greenbelt will be in Vancouver this summer and it will be a Hybrid of Operations and Service:

Module 1: May 27-31, 2013
Module 2: June 24-28, 2013
Module 3: July 15-19, 2013

Registration is still open and can be completed online at:

Friday, April 19, 2013

Mike Hoseus Talks Hoshin Kanri

This is a video from our Executive event with Mike Hoseus. Here he outlines key points about implementing hoshin kanri.

See Mike Hoseus' presentation on leadership at our conference on June 18-20 at the Lean Summit. Visit:

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A Day in the Life of a Greenbelt Participant

This week Lean Sensei kicks off the Spring session in Toronto.

Module 1 is all about 5S. The video shows the Greenbelts working to achieve at least 25% improvement. Each group must also provide recommendations so that the benefits from the strategy they've implemented can be sustained.

Can they do it? Looking forward to the report-out at the end of the week.

The next Greenbelt session is in beautiful Vancouver and at the best time to come... the summer!
Greenbelt Hybrid (Operations + Service)
Module 1: May 27-31
Module 2: June 24-28
Module 3: July 15-19

We restrict our class sizes so secure your spot today:

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Blackbelts keep going and going...

Three's a charm as they say. The third and final flashmob surprise by the Blackbelts in Japan attracted a local Japanese citizen to join in the fun. Watch the video and you will notice that one of the flashmobbers is an employee of the posh hotel the Blackbelts were staying at in the city of Nagoya.

Blackbelt Flashmob in NAGOYA hotel from Lean Sensei on Vimeo.

If you're ready for the Lean experience of a lifetime email You will be put on the waiting list for the Fall 2013 session and if you don't make it in, you'll automatically be moved to the Spring 2014 list.

Blackbelt Fall 2013
Lean Strategy and Assessment Module: September 16-20, 2013
Lean Supply Chain Module: October 7-11, 2013
Japan Lean Tour: November 11-14, 2013
Extreme Makeover Kaizen: December 9-13, 2013

Click here for complete Blackbelt dates.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Another Surprise!

The spunky Winter 2013 Blackbelt class refused to settle for just one flashmob in Japan. This time, they shook things up right at the gemba of life... the train station.

Look at these Blackbelts bust a groove at Yokohama train terminal.

Blackbelt Dance Bullet Train Station Yokohama from Lean Sensei on Vimeo.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Lean Intervention

We've all seen it, the resistance to breaking away from old habits, the resistance to Lean.
Our Winnipeg class encountered just such a scenario. The following video was created by the Winnipeg Greenbelt class and documents the intervention that opened the eyes of a non-leaner and made him a believer.

(The following video is a dramatization, the business and all characters depicted here are fictional)

The next Greenbelt will be in Vancouver. This will be a hybrid session, allowing you to get the best of both the operations world and the service world.

Module 1: May 27-31
Module 2: June 17-21
Module 3: July 15-19

Register online at:

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Japan Lean Tour - Day Four

Day 4 was a big hit starting with a visit to Toyota's Takaoka Plant, then on to the Toyota Kaikan, where we had a chance encounter with a Toyota VIP. We finished up the tour with a stimulating stop at Mitsubishi Nagoya Works. Then it was back to the hotel for a rousing farewell dinner!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Japan Lean Tour Blog Day 3 - A post from one of our Japan Lean Tour Participants

Day 3 was busy with lots of new and exciting experiences as we said goodbye to Tokyo and sped off to Nagoya on the Shinkansen ("Bullet Train") for our last 2 days on the Lean tour.

But before we were very efficiently ushered onto our train we spent the morning at the Nissan Yokohama Plant for a 2 hour tour. So far, all the tours have been very memorable....however, I was having a discussion with another tour member and we agreed that we were missing the human experience of Lean in Japan as we hadn't yet talked to an actual employee other than tour guides.

That all changed today. We were very honoured to spend time talking to one of only four technicians at the Yokohama plant that is responsible for the delicate and highly skilled work of assembling, completely by hand (and his hands only), the engines for the Nissan GT-R. Now, I'm not a huge car buff but wow, watching the technician's eyes light up as he passionately told us about his work and how he accomplishes it was inspiring and made even me excited about cars. Unfortunately, the other production line we were to observe was having serious issues and had been completely shut down. However, that just gave us the unique opportunity to see Lean in action as we learned about how they deal with issues and problem solve.

After the approximately 1 1/2 hour Bullet Train ride to Nagoya we ended our day with a trip to the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology. The museum was quite large and covered the Toyoda history of the loom right up to the future of the Prius. There was a large section dedicated to the history and practice of Lean as well. Pretty exciting to learn about the roots of Lean while being fully immersed in Japanese culture. It all made for a very unique, special experience today.

Bring on Day 4!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Lean Tour Blog - Day 2

Day two started off with a visit to the Toyota Logistics and Forklift site. The simplicity of the improvements seem so obvious, and yet it's clear that even the smallest improvements to racking systems and picking systems is carefully thought out, implemented and then continuously improved.

One thing that stood out at both Nissan and Toyota is the amount of time spent training staff and ensuring employee readiness before team members are sent out for their roles on the shop floor. At Toyota F&L, employees are taught skills and then the practice, practice and practice some more. They only take on the role that they have been assigned on the shop floor once they are able to show that they can capably complete the task with few or no mistakes. This process usually takes 2 months. Can your organization boast that they send employees out to the shop floor fully proficient in their new roles? Or do you rush the training and just accept that you will have to correct errors as they come up, hoping that this will take less time then investing in the proper training? The later may satisfy the immediate need, but is definitely more wasteful in the long term.

Interview with Dr. Liker

David interviewed Dr. Jeffrey Liker on Lean Leadership, the theme of our conference, the Lean Summit, June 18-20.

Here is part 1 of 3 with photos from our last conference in 2009:
The interview and information about our keynotes and industry speakers are available on the Summit website:


Blackbelts in Japan do a flashmob dance!

The spring Blackbelt class has been challenged to do a flash-mob style dance in the middle of downtown Tokyo!  Here's the clip (I think we surprised a lot of people who walked by!).

Day two - Japan Lean Tour

Day 2 was a great success!

Lean Tour Blog Day 1: One of our Japan Lean Tour Participants has posted this great summary of Day 1

We wrapped up day 1 of our Lean Tour with dinner and libations at Gonpachi which is a Japanese restaurant located in Ginza. The "male fish organs" in the first course were a bit intimidating for some but the meal continued more favorably and ended on a high note with everyone agreeing it was an excellent spread overall.

We started our day at the Nissan Oppama Plant. After a quick stop at a nearby "pit stop" to marvel at the selection of vending machines we arrived at Nissan and were warmly welcomed by our guide. The tour was very impressive. The constant, seemingly effortless flow, automated "trains" driving around and the obvious attention to employee safety and comfort was admirable and I've never quite seen anything like it. We learned about the Nissan Production Way (NPW) in a video after we had toured the general assembly, trim and chassis, final inspection areas, as well as the shipping docks.

After we left (and waved profusely) we were treated to a Buffet lunch at the Nikko Kawasaki Hotel's "Natura" buffet. We also had a rehearsal for our flash was amusing to see that pretty much no one stopped or even showed much interest in our antics.

Our last stop before dinner was a couple of hours at Sensoji Temple in Asakusa. We visited the sanctuary and then hit the market for some shopping. I managed to score the Hello Kitty chopsticks my 3 year old had requested so I personally felt the trip was extremely worthwhile.

Overall, I feel like the first day was a huge success and a great introduction to Tokyo and Lean in Japan. I'm excited to see what tomorrow brings as we venture to Toyota Logistics & Forklift Customer Service Centre and the Kirin Beer Village.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Day one - Japan Lean Tour

Amazing day one kick off with a visit to Nissan and a cultural tour in Asakusa.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Our Japan Lean Tour is about to start

The group is slowly arriving and we are ready for tomorrow's kick off of the program. Welcome to Japan!