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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Spooky and Enchanting at the Lean Sensei Office

Happy Halloween!

Today was an even more special Greenbelt presentation day as it fell on Halloween. The Lean Sensei team was all dressed up!

Greenbelts dressed for the occasion

Business casual?
Fight waste!

Super Jake!

Lean Sensei family include swift ninja, Jessie!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Accelerated Transformation in 3 Days - Lean Kaizen

 A hallmark of Lean Sensei's lean training programs is the focus on real hands-on application of learned concepts, tools and methodologies from class. The opportunity for real time application is made possible by our partnerships with local companies.
Lean Sensei works with local companies to identify projects that will provide the most valuable experience for the Greenbelt class and where the company can gain the most benefit.
Participants of the Greenbelt program can take the opportunity to host kaizens as an added service to their certification program at no extra cost. Hosting a kaizen when your Greenbelt candidate is part of the class makes sustainment easier, because you already have a project champion who has been involved since the beginning of the project. You can have your cake and eat it too.
Last week our Greenbelt Service class literally ate a kaizen cake. Our host company for module 2, Process-Time Reduction Kaizen rewarded the hardwork of the class with a kaizen cake!
Watch this video about hosting kaizen for more information. Or call our office at (604) 264-1000 or email us at to find out how you can host our next kaizen. Kaizen topics include:
  • 5S
  • Cycle time reduction
  • Process time reduction
  • Lean Office
  • Value Innovation
  • Lean assessment and strategy
  • Lean supply chain
  • Extreme makeover

Monday, October 28, 2013

And the winner is...

This year in addition to being the only speaker on Lean Strategy at the AME conference in Toronto, we had a contest for a once in a lifetime experience- Japan Lean Experience.

The winner will receive one free spot to our Japan Lean Benchmarking tour, April 14-17, 2014. We host this tour only twice a year. A visit to the birth place of lean is a must for all serious lean practitioners. Our Japan benchmarking tour is an intensive four day program that gives you an inside look at Toyota, its suppliers and other model lean companies from both service and manufacturing sectors. Each trip, the roster is thoughtfully drafted to provide the most valuable experience for that group participants.

But the lean experience is not limited to the factory tours. Japan tour participants are fully immersed in lean, as the Japanese culture is a naturally conducive to lean and thus it is everywhere! Every minute of this intensive tour holds educational and cultural value, including the discussions and debriefing sessions on the bus between tour sites.

At our booth at the AME, contestants had to put together a compelling account of why they should be chosen for a Japan Lean Experience. There were many excellent entries but one stood out above the rest...

Find out who the winner of Lean Sensei's coveted Japan Benchmarking Tour was in the video below.

Visit our website for more information on the Japan Lean Benchmarking tour.
And next year, come visit us at the AME in Jacksonville, Florida.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Blackbelt Vancouver Fall 2013 Module 2 Video!

Another great overview video of Blackbelt Supply Chain module! Enjoy!

BB Supply Chain Oct 2013 - Vancouver from Lean Sensei Leanbelt on Vimeo.

Stay tuned for the Japan Trip video recap!!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Fog Lifts in Vancouver! Greenbelt for Service Vancouver Module 2

It has been a very foggy week in Vancouver. This morning, that fog finally lifted and gave way to clear blue skies. The view this morning from our office:
It is a wonderful metaphor to the power of visibility and clarity with regards to Lean. The Greenbelt for Service program participants are engaged in a process-time reduction Kaizen this week, where they are "cutting through the fog" to pinpoint hidden areas of waste and improve process efficiency.
 The Greenbelt teams are spending time with Lean coaches Jake and Bob and learning to apply tools such as value stream mapping, root cause analysis, Brainstorming methodology, value graphing (to prioritize ideas and solutions), project charters, and an implementation plan to reduce the process time of the 5 designated projects for the kaizen.

We can't wait to see the results tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Day 2 at AME conference

Phew, today was a busy day.

We are having a lot of fun here talking to other people who are passionate about lean! Looking forward to day 3!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME) Conference 2013

We are really excited to kick off Lean Strategy workshop again at AME Toronto this year! 

If are you in town, please visit Lean Sensei at Exhibitor booth 100 at Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel, 123 Queen Street West, Toronto M5H 2M9

Conference Exhibition ends at noon on October 25th.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Lean for Sales and Marketing kicks off!

We had a great first day of Lean for Sales and Marketing. The sales and marketing functions would usually be considered a business value adding component of the organization. That is it is necessary for the proper functioning of the company, but not necessarily tasks the customer would willing pay for.

Today, David and Lean Sensei Master Blackbelt graduate, Kevin discussed how Lean should be applied to the Sales and Marketing functions of an organization. Lean Sensei's own ACE methodology was introduced and topics such as Lean Alignment and Lean Creation were thoroughly discussed.

Of course there were ice breakers that highlighted key topics to be discussed and brought an element of play into the session.

David Chao, Master Coach and President defines the different types of value

Developing a marketing strategy to sell ice to Eskimos, no small feat!

Jake having fun, playing the role of Eskimo customer
Lean Sensei Master Blackbelt graduate, Kevin takes in David's fun teaching approach

A participant in deep contemplation of the material covered in the morning

Lean Sensei's sessions are informative and always fun!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Greenbelt Calgary is Underway!

This week the fourth fall Greenbelt program kicked off: Greenbelt for Operations Calgary. This group comes from many different organizational backgrounds and we are so pleased with the great work so far. Keep it up!
Interested in more information on our Greenbelt programs? Please see the video below:

As well, please visit our website at: for all the most updated information on upcoming program offerings in your area. Don't see a Greenbelt program in your area? Please contact us at for information on our in-house programs.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Why Lean is Crucial for Sales and Marketing

Vicki Morgan is a Business Partner of the Continuous Improvement team at First West Credit Union. Currently, she is a Blackbelt candidate for our Fall 2013 program. In this interview, Vicki sheds light on an issue often brushed under the rug- embedding Lean principles into the area of business focused on customer value, the Sales and Marketing department.

Why is Lean often overlooked when it comes to the Sales and Marketing arm of the business?
Most people look at Lean from a process improvement stand point.
We describe it as a three pronged stool:

  1. What does the change mean to the organization
  2. What does change mean to the employee
  3. What does change mean to the customer
The third prong is our "why". Ultimately, we want to improve the customer experience and the other two prongs are supporting roles to that reaching vision.

One might argue that the Sales department is already customer focused, what value does Lean bring to the Sales department?
Lean puts a lot of emphasis and optics around the customer. It is easy for us to get tied into our own routines and as such we have the danger of being motivated to perform our work with the goal of making my own work easier. If you are approaching your processes from the customer driven standpoint sometimes this may mean moving some of the expectations that we have on our clients to the back office and taking on a bigger piece of the pie. If your customers feel that it will take their own time and energy to deal with you, then they will shop elsewhere.

In this respect, Lean is a mechanism to help you walk through your process thinking about what a customer would think. This is your competitive edge.

Companies that fail to do that suffer in product delivery, product creation and how they market their product is based on what they think versus marketing from the customers' standpoint. Generally, we all have similar products and services but Lean thinking, looking at your processes from the customers' perspective is what will set you apart.

Lean Sensei's two-day workshop will examine how traditional sales and marketing practices are filled with “muda” that not only waste resources but even worse, block attempts to become a Lean enterprise.

October 16 to 17, 2013
Lean Sensei training facility,Vancouver, BC 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Supply Chain Module Kickoff Blackbelt

Great kickoff of module 2!

The photos below depict the class engaging in a simulation that draws upon the skills of Lean Supply Chain the participants have learned, including vendor management and negotiation.

Monday, October 7, 2013

A Lot Going on at Lean Sensei

Welcome back from the weekend!

Today is the first day of the Lean Supply Chain module for Blackbelt. The Blackbelts will learn how to negotiate with vendors and how to remove muda (waste) in processes involving external suppliers.
The main topics the class will cover are:
  • Lean Procurement
  • Process Simplification
  • Lean Inventory Management
  • Heijunka (Load Balancing)
  • Supply Chain reduction Kaizen
Visit our Facebook page for more photos from our programs.

Next week, our Executive Leanbelt participants will delve into how to apply Lean into the Sales and Marketing functions of organizations. The ramifications of not being Lean in this part of a business are larger than some of us may recognize.

Greenbelt in Calgary
Lean for Sales will take place next week on October 16-17th and counts for 2 Executive credits.

Last but not least, Greenbelt Operations in Calgary kicks-off today!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

What's Your L.E.A.N. Score?

Members of the Lean Sensei team were onsite last week working with a company that is going through a Lean Diagnostic Assessment.  

Strategy Session
The Lean Assessment is a rigorous process that results in a ‘snapshot’ of at what stage of maturity a company is with regard to their Lean activities.  Members of the company’s senior management and Leadership teams joined Lean Sensei practitioners in arriving at an all-important L.E.A.N. Score which provides a baseline from which to set targets and plan next steps in the Lean Roadmap.

Lean Sensei team members joined the Executive Leadership team in an intensive Lean Strategy session that involved an in-depth examination of the current competitive environment, crafting new vision, value statements and setting the stage for future growth.


Ice Breaker in between heavy analysis during the assessment
Team building and friendly competition

This company is ready to let Lean soar!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Greenbelt Operations kicks off in Toronto!

"For man, Autumn is a time of harvest, of gathering together. For nature, it is a time of sowing, of scattering abroad."
- Edwin Way Teale
As the leaves change color and we begin to don our warmer clothing, we are very grateful to welcome so many Greenbelts our way this season. This week, the Greenbelt Operations program kicks off in Toronto.
Greenbelt Toronto:

For many, coming of fall is a time for reflection, or hansei. While it is a good idea to practice re-alignment consistently throughout the year (much the same as an airplane is never travelling in a straight line, but rather the pilot is always making small adjustments left and right to end up at the precise landing location), it is also a good idea to step out of the box and take a wider objective view. What opportunities for improvement have presented themselves to you so far this year? Where in your organization could use some hansei, or reflection?

For more information on our upcoming Winter and Spring 2014 programs, please see our website here.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013