Friday, February 28, 2014

Greenbelt Operations Vancouver Module 2 finishes up with blue skies

What beautiful weather to finish off the week. Spring must surely be around the corner.

The view from our office!

Here at the Lean Sensei headquarters, the Greenbelt Operations Vancouver group completed Module 2 today with a session on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.


Seeking to learn more about oneself and about team members and how the team interacts is critical to successful team dynamics.

Instructors Hilda and Jake
 
 
Thank you Greenbelts for your hard work this week.
 
 Please keep an eye out next week for a post about the Greenbelt Operations Toronto kick-off.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Lean Sensei's Newsletter Released!

http://us4.campaign-archive2.com/?u=fdd1be583ab7989cf1510f321&id=fd107259f0#mctoc2
Here at Lean Sensei we have a quarterly newsletter and our issue for the first quarter travelled to inboxes across the globe yesterday.

Newsletter Contents

Coach's Corner, a regular column in our newsletter delves into one specific lean topic. This column is rotated between all of our coaches so you can bet that this column will provide you with a wealth of useful and practical information. This quarter, Executive Coach, Andrew authored the column with a topic on Lean Engagement.

Feature Company is a reoccurring column that comes from interviews with one of the many organizations we are coaching. In this column, the organization shares highlights and learnings from their lean journey. It is a great learning tool and way to learn about other local companies that like you are striving towards becoming world class lean organizations.

Upcoming programs here we showcase our most popular, new or returning by popular demand programs. You can always refer to the calendar on our website for all programs.

We also have occasional contests with great prizes that range from having the honour to name our mascot to free spots to select lean workshops.

Keep on the cutting edge of lean and email info@leansensei.com if you would like to be included in our newsletter (e)mail-outs.

Click here for the online version.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

From the Eyes of a Lean Sensei Master Blackbelt: Last day of Florida Benchmarking Tour

Here is a post about the last day of Lean Sensei's Florida Lean Benchmarking Tour written by Master Blackbelt candidate, Brett Hiscock.

Jacksonville Sheriff's Department

Jacksonville’s Sheriff’s Department is the benchmark for Continuous Improvement in Law Enforcement Agencies. They started implementing Lean Principles around 2000. 
 
One of the projects undertaken in 2013 was called CHOP.  It looked at the correlation between low risk offenders who have been arrested or jailed on numerous occasions and being homeless. This program (in pilot now) is offering these individuals the opportunity to have a permanent home with a life coach, substance abuse counsellors as well as mental health counselling if needed. The purpose of this program is to try to break the cycle of repeat offending. If the results prove to be as big as the initial months have shown, this will be put forward for review as a national program.

 




Pilot Pen

Our next stop was Pilot Pens. The plant we visited supplies all pilot pens for the U.S., Northern Mexico and most of Canada. They produce on average 60,000 pens a day and have over 10,000 sku’s. The newest pen on the market is called a friction pen and it is erasable.

Florida Benchmarking Tour Photo Recap


 
 
 
 
 
 


 
Brett Hiscock, CIM, P. Mgr. is a Lean Facilitator and Training Within Industry Instructor at Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters

As part of the Lean Team with the MB CME team, I work with Consortia companies to train, coach and mentor on Lean Manufacturing Principles. I am also responsible for delivering the CME Training Within Industry J-Programs across Canada. Currently, I am working on my Master Blackbelt certification with Lean Sensei International.



 

Monday, February 24, 2014

From the Eyes of a Lean Sensei Master Blackbelt: Florida Benchmarking Tour Day 2

Welcome back David, Jake and team from sunny Florida. Let's keep warm in this snow by recapping the warm memories from the trip. Below Master Blackbelt Candidate, Andrea gives us the summary of the second day of Lean Sensei's Florida Benchmarking Tour.
Mayo Clinic
Today we had two tour stops planned, both in the medical field. Stop number one: The Mayo Clinic


 

It's a big campus with a hospital, education centre, and outpatient clinics. They have been in operation for 150(!) years as a not-for-profit organization, and it is truly an impressive operation. They have only really been at lean management in the last few years at this facility (they have two other clinics in the US), and started with focusing on teamwork, internal communication, and training.

 

They branded their lean initiative "The Culture of Safety" which I thought was very clever... They don't necessarily use the terms "lean" or "continuous improvement" or six sigma" or other words which may make people nervous... However, in the healthcare field, employees care very deeply about their patients and really just want to give them the best care possible. So to use the Safety card to get employees engaged - extremely clever
The focus on safety was a good way to encourage everyone to feel safe to speak out about what could be done to improve patient care, without feeling pressured or afraid. 
This is a common theme, it seems, regardless of industry. People fear raising their hand to ask for help or to point out a problem. 
Why is that? 
Is it culturally-isolated to North America? I don't think so, I have seen it in Europe, China and Japan. 
Is it only front line workers? I don't think so either, I have seen many a c-level employee exhibit this behaviour.
I suspect that it is inherent in everyone to want to please others, and this, coupled with fear of public shame, is what drives this behaviour. Can we learn to manage this response? You bet. But how many employees, supervisors and managers are actually taught anything useful about human behaviour in order to do just that? If they are, it's often only later in their careers. A long time ago, a very good manager of mine (one of my first) told me that "people are messy." She didn't mean it in a bad way but in an honest, let's-face-reality, kind of way. It was her way of saying, sometimes people's lives get messy and it's in no ones best interest to make it worse. I have found that showing true respect for people means that you actually have to respect people's lives including what lies beyond the work day. 
Mayo also had an impressive simulator lab - a dojo - for learning and testing new tools and technologies. It included an amazing digital anatomy table, where you could take real CT scans and spin, slice, add or remove layers. Absolutely fascinating - but imagine what they could use this for in the future? Pre-planning surgeries. Creating custom joint replacement parts (3D printing anyone?). I have to imagine that in my lifetime, everyone will receive regular full body CT scans as part of preventive medicine.
 

Medtronics

Medtronics had decoupled most of their manufacturing processes from their ERP system, and simply replenished what was purchased by customers. They had a small amount of inventory as safety stock, set into a two-bin kanban system (coach Andrews also calls this bin-ban), such that as soon as the first bin was picked and shipped, a trigger was sent to production to replenish the safety stock. When raw materials for production ran low (similar two-bin system), a trigger was sent to purchasing to buy more. So simple. They used heijunka to redirect excess staff to improvement activities, or to overburdened areas. If pick to ship was slow but production was hopping, staff could be moved to where the need was greatest. They also used a simple red card/yellow card for issues - at the line, in each functional area, and cascading up to the value stream level.
Red: needs action
Yellow: actioned with a due date
 
Daily 12-minute huddles only focused on the red cards or overdue yellow cards. 

 


 
 

The thing I like about this approach - as you can see by the picture above - is that the supporting functions realize that if they want to be part of the process (managing and resolving issues that is) they need to actually participate.
In university, I had a chemistry prof who used to joke: "If you aren't part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate" (insert groans here). 
But if you don't participate, you aren't part of the solution. Even if it is messy at times.
 

 
Andrea MacIntosh is the Director of Quality and Continuous Improvement for Alpha Technologies Ltd., a Burnaby, B.C. Organization that provides power system solutions to the information and communication technology, traffic, security, and smart grid/utility  sectors. Andrea has been with Alpha since 2011, before which time she spent ten years in the defence supply sector (subsea technologies, electronics) in various management roles including quality, manufacturing, supply chain and materials, regulatory compliance, industrial security, information technology, and contracts. Prior to that she was a business owner in the software services sector. Her educational background includes a B.Sc. In Physics from the University of British Columbia, and she is currently working on her Master Black Belt in Lean Management.
 
 
The Florida Lean Tour is one of four Lean Benchmarking Tours you can take to complete Lean Sensei Executive Lean Certification. The Executive Leanbelt program allows you to take one to five day workshops on specific lean topics.
 Upcoming Executive courses:
Japan Benchmarking Tour - March 17-21, 2014 (FULL*Inquire for the next date)
Back by popular demand: Europe Benchmarking Tour - if you are interested, please inquire as we are in the process of setting the date.
 
Visit the Executive Certification page on our website or contact us at:
(604) 264-1000
info@leansensei.com

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Gemba Report: Blackbelt-Made Movie

Below is the movie for created by Dean, Blackbelt candidate for Winter 2014, which was released on Lean Sensei's Facebook page.

Each module of Blackbelt has a dedicated movie director endowed with the responsibility of managing the class movie project for that module.




Next Blackbelt:

Blackbelt VANCOUVER FALL 2014  
Lean Strategy & Lean Assessment Module Sep 22-26
Japan Lean Tour  (flights extra) Oct 20-23
Lean Supply Chain Module Nov 17-21
Extreme Makeover Kaizen Module Dec 8-12

Register at http://leansensei.com/register
Or call our office for more information: 604-264-1000

Thursday, February 20, 2014

From the Eyes of a Lean Sensei Master Blackbelt: First Day of Florida Benchmarking Tour

About Lean Sensei's Florida Benchmarking Tour

Not many people know that there is a Lean City right here on our continent. This unassuming city is none other than Jacksonville, Florida. Lean Sensei has specifically chosen to showcase six organizations for the Florida Benchmarking Tour. These companies demonstrate the possibilities when companies make the investment to pursue lean. Attendees of this tour have the opportunity to see first-hand how lean is applied in a wide array of industries.
Below is a post written by one of the attendees of Lean Sensei's Florida Benchmarking Tour, Andrea MacIntosh of Alpha Technologies.
 
We finished up day one of our Lean tour in Jacksonville with a pool-side hansei – and asked the question: “What did everyone take away from our visits today?” “Was there any one thing that stood out, perhaps as something to try at your workplace?” 

We had visited Dr. Bahri, an area dentist who spent many years learning about Lean before trying it in his practice.  After 13 years of reading and learning about Lean processes, he starts with...

 
 

SMED

Yes, SMED - or single minute exchange of die - where one tries to minimize the changeover time between jobs - or in the case of our dentist friend, the setup and changeover time between patients and even multiple operations on a single patient. Not an easy place to start.
In the world of Lean, we are used to newcomers starting with 5S, maybe basic value stream mapping, even heijunka or load leveling. But SMED? Not a typical starting point on the Lean journey due to its sophistication. Nevertheless, it was very interesting to see what he and his staff had done to make significant improvements in a dental practice. Customers were happier; less chairs had to be filled; the waiting room was empty. The doctor had real passion for continuous improvements, particularly those that made his customers happier.


 



For the second half of the day, we visited Saft Batteries, which is housed in an awesome new building.
While this is still a pretty new facility, the team has made huge improvements since ramping up production in 2011.  They have put a very strong Lean people development system in place and they know what to work on next so it looks like Lean will continue to be further entrenched at Saft.

My takeaways from today? Sometimes simpler is better - it is always about the customer - and it is most definitely about the worker and respect for people. 
 


Andrea MacIntosh is the Director of Quality and Continuous Improvement for Alpha Technologies Ltd., a Burnaby, B.C. Organization that provides power system solutions to the information and communication technology, traffic, security, and smart grid/utility  sectors. Andrea has been with Alpha since 2011, before which time she spent ten years in the defence supply sector (subsea technologies, electronics) in various management roles including quality, manufacturing, supply chain and materials, regulatory compliance, industrial security, information technology, and contracts. Prior to that she was a business owner in the software services sector. Her educational background includes a B.Sc. In Physics from the University of British Columbia, and she is currently working on her Master Black Belt in Lean Management.

 
The Florida Lean Tour is one of four Lean Benchmarking Tours you can take to complete Lean Sensei Executive Lean Certification. The Executive Leanbelt program allows you to take one to five day workshops on specific lean topics.
 
Upcoming Executive courses:
 
Back by popular demand: Europe Benchmarking Tour - September 8-12, 2014
 
Visit the Executive Certification page on our website or contact us at:
(604) 264-1000
 
 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

F-A-C-I-L-I-T-A-T-E


This is the Kick-off week of our first Service Greenbelt of the year. The class has already learned some of the tools necessary to successfully apply Lean.

Today, the ground rules were officially announced. Yesterday, the class came up with the ground rules as a group, under the facilitation of one of their classmates. This Greenbelt candidate applied Lean Sensei's FACILITATE methodology for effective facilitation- facilitation is much more than simply standing in front of the room and speaking. In fact, only 20% of learning happens from listening. 90% of learning is from doing, therefore the ability of the facilitator to get the group going is vital.

 
It is a rather rainy week for a kick-off....
 

But everyone is in good spirits!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Lean Deployment: how do you successfully deploy Lean… and still embrace vision?

How does transformation help companies become Lean… without hampering idea creation and innovation?

The Lean Deployment program focuses on providing a foundation for shared direction and alignment; It’s about making the difficult, hard choices to clarify what you want to do… or more importantly, what you don’t want to do!
Through this program, participants will learn Lean Deployment methodologies (including Lean Sensei’s proprietary STANDARD tool), the importance of mentoring, Process ownership, Balanced Scorecard and Hoshin Kanri.

Learning Outcomes

  • Learn what Lean deployment is all about
  • Learn how to apply the key concepts of Lean deployment, including Hoshin Kanri (Shared Vision Deployment) and Balanced Scorecard (SC)
  • Develop thinking and mindset of a first-class Lean company
  • Develop your own Lean deployment framework

Date

April 1, 2014

Location:

Lean Sensei's training facility

Register

http://leansensei.com/register

More details?

Contact info@leansensei.com

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Lean Strategy and Assessment Kaizen


 
 
Last week, the Blackbelt class wrapped up the week on a high note with their Lean Strategy and Assessment kaizen. The kaizen was held at an organization that has over 10 000 employees and has been on their lean journey for several years. Using the Lean Assessment tools devised by Master Coach, David Chao, the group discovered that there were pockets that were sustaining lean well. However, the class did have some recommendations on how to have management better plugged into lean.
 
Whether you have a strong start or slow start to your lean journey, sustainment and management of lean cannot be successful without a corporate vision that incorporates lean.
 
Lean Sensei has one to five day executive workshops that help management with their role in ensuring their investment in lean develops.
 
Upcoming Executive Programs:
Lean Deployment - April 1, 2014
Lean People Development - July 7-8, 2014* the popular one day Juku workshop has evolved into a two day executive program to cover the topic of Lean People Development with even greater detail, based on your feedback.
 
Or call us for more details: 604-264-1000

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Continuous Service Improvement: The power of reflection

Today's post is by one of Lean Sensei's recent Blackbelt graduates, David Cresswell, Associate Director of Strategic Practices in I.T. Services at British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) in Greater Vancouver, BC ( www.bcit.ca ).  

The following is an article that was originally posted to BCIT's internal Lean collaboration site. 



Without learning – we can’t improve…..and without looking back, we miss a huge opportunity to learn.
I recall someone telling me many years ago in a Leadership workshop that “great leaders pause and reflect on a regular basis”. It seems to me that great leaders often need to find the wherewithal and energy to sometimes ‘renew’ themselves daily. True self-reflection, and the ability to make changes based on that is a skill that requires inquisitiveness, humility, optimism and persistence.
You have to be willing to ask the “what” questions (“What is, and what isn’t working well?”), as well as the tough “why” questions (“Why is it like that? What could I do differently to improve the situation?”). You need to be willing to put ego aside and take a good hard and humble look at your actions and interactions for opportunities to improve yourself. When something isn’t going well – always ask yourself “what part of this do I own?”. And you need to do all of that without feeling overwhelmed or dejected. Instead, like a prospector, mine those moments and reflections for the “gems” that you can work with and go after those with a renewed vigor and optimism. And then, on a regular basis, do it again. And again. And……

Additionally, they need to often be prepared to adapt and even reinvent themselves and/or their whole organizations – based on situation, circumstance, and again, largely through those insights and self-awareness of “what’s working, and what isn’t”. To quote from an article I was reading by Margaret Wheatley (www.Margaretwheatley.com/writings.html): “Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, often creating more unintended consequences that intended and useful ones”.
Reflection is definitely a form of learning. It is a form of learning that is very personal, and that can have significant impact on our actions and outcomes. Unfortunately, when we are busy, and under pressure to meet deadlines and deliverables, it is one of the things that is too easy to give up. A great deal of emphasis is put on the ability to make quick-decisions and react fast to changing environments. While no one could argue that this isn’t a valuable skill, when used on its own it too can result in unintended consequences. Leaders at all levels of an organization need to consciously put aside enough time to reflect not only on current decisions their department or organization needs to make, but also to review past decisions to learn from that experience. I believe that if people consciously make time for it, they are likely to discover that regular time spent in reflection will bring greater perspective and clarity, and help guide their decisions and actions to new levels of continuous improvement.

By relearning how to use your reflecting skills as a tool in your toolbox, you can increase your ability to see possible challenges early, and seek alternative solutions before you are forced into a corner. You become proactive. Making time to reflect on past decisions and outcomes, both good and bad, and allowing yourself the opportunity to learn from it, is a critical step to continued growth and development.
So what does this have to do with Lean and Continuous Service Improvement (you might ask)? One critical tool in the Lean practitioners’ toolbox is something called “Hansei”. Hansei is a Japanese word that means to “look back”. When visiting a number of very advanced Lean organizations in Tokyo and Nagoya in late 2013, it was clearly evident that Hansei is a cornerstone of Japanese culture and behavior. In Japan, it is practiced inherently and in almost every walk of personal and professional life. It is a simple exercise, but needs to be practiced with rigor in order to fully assimilate it into our culture so we all reap the benefits of this powerful methodology.

Hansei has to be based in a ‘no blame’ environment, and requires everyone to accept a level of humility so they can not only reflect on what the team or workgroup could improve upon, but also legitimately ask themselves “what could I have done differently to have improved this (project/outcome/customer service interaction/ etc). Hansei doesn’t need to be an onerous task – in fact, it should be designed to be quick and easy. A five minute stand up meeting with your work group, department, project team is all that is required – but do it often. Have someone “own” the Hansei process. Have them facilitate the 5 minutes. Rotate that responsibility around the group. And ask those 3 simple questions, encouraging everyone to be brave and to truly reflect deeply on the situation.
Always start with the positive: “what went really well today?”. Encourage participation. Ask the quiet ones to speak up – often they are by nature reflective and may have some real gems! Next, ask “what didn’t go as well as we hoped or planned?”. Remind everyone that this is a no-blame exercise. It is ONLY about finding opportunities for improvement. Mature companies like Toyota, who have been practicing Lean for decades and have matured their practices to expert levels still do this, and still look for improvement opportunities.
And finally, ask “what can we (or what can I) do differently to improve the situation?”. Don’t struggle to find huge transformative ideas. Look for small things that could make a difference. Share the ideas in the group and ask for feedback. And ask for commitment to try to implement the ideas. Together, those simple actions, repeated on a regular basis will result in continuous improvement over time. And each small improvement is compounding the benefits realized by all of the prior small improvements.
Reflection is about learning. Learning from the past. Learning about the things that worked, and the things you may want or need to do differently. Try to make room in your day, or in your department, or in your project for this to happen on a regular basis. It’s about changing habits for most of us. You need to practice the new behavior a lot before it becomes a “new habit”. Go ahead – give it a try.
There is a reason the past is often clearer than the future. It's because you have already been there – so use it to help guide your journey forward.

David Cresswell, Associate Director of Strategic Practices in I.T. Services at British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) in Greater Vancouver, BC ( www.bcit.ca ).  

As part of his portfolio, David and his team are responsible for identifying, incubating and introducing new methodologies and practices to benefit the Institute.  Lean is one of those methodologies that is being implemented through the Strategic Practices portfolio.   
David can be reached at Dave_Cresswell@bcit.ca  
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Blackbelt Group

Oilfield equipment, building system components, baking products, fusion equipment, just a few of the industries, this spring's Lean Sensei Blackbelt class represents. The exposure to different industries you get at Lean Sensei public lean programs inspires different ways of applying lean, insight into your suppliers, distributers or customers and opportunities to network.

Lean Sensei Blackbelt Spring 2014 

And the infamous "hi-yah!"


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

First Blackbelt of the Year!

This week is the Lean Strategy and Assessment module for Blackbelt (also available for Executive Leanbelt certification). Lean Sensei's Blackbelt program focuses on the strategic application of lean compared to Greenbelt. Similar to Greenbelt, the class will work on real projects at local companies in the Greater Vancouver area. Stay tuned for the project results from this Lean Blackbelt class at the end of the week.

 The class is pumped!
 
 Lean Sensei programs always have an element of fun
 
 Games and team building exercises that demonstrate key lean concepts
 
 Group lunch
 
Andrew, Executive Coach and David, Master Coach and Lean Sensei Founder