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Friday, February 27, 2015

Greenbelt Toronto Kick-Off

This week our coach, Andrew was braving the cold and kicking off the Greenbelt Lean program for Operations in Toronto!

Value Stream Mapping exercise 

Stay tuned for more updates with this group!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Day 2 of the Florida Lean Tour

Lean is everywhere!  The Homewood Suite where the tours participants are staying in Jacksonville has a huddle board!  Sometimes, if you look for it - you will find Lean everywhere.  Even before we left the hotel - while chatting to the reception clerk, I happens to glance around the corner and through an open office door.  There it was! The Homewood Suites huddle board. One of the simplest, yet incredibly powerful Lean tools. A way to "work out loud". A way to engage the team. A way for everyone to be accountable.  Nicely done Homewood!  And speaking of engaging the teams!  We had a lovely attendant named Ivy taking care of us this morning while we were getting breakfast.  Ivy, a retired nurse, loves her work, and loves people.  She would come around to all of the tables and personally welcome us, tell us not just her name, but also why she loves her job and all about her life, why she feels blessed to work with people every day, and all about her background.  Being a retired nurse, she knows a lot about nutrition.  And she made a point of telling everyone they should be sure to have a banana before leaving for the day.  She was sweet, compassionate, and engaged.  And she certainly didn’t seem at all like a 66 year old.  Maybe a 16 year old!!! The power of being positive!! 

First stop on the tour today: Grainger 

After yesterday's incredible tours of vastly different scales of Lean implementation, the group is looking forward to seeing Lean in action again today.  There is a sense that everyone is even more prepare and charged up with questions for our hosts today.  


And we were not disappointed.  We were met by Brad Lyght, Director of Distribution.  Grainger's Jacksonville (JAX-DC) is a large industrial supply distribution center employing approximately 140 people.  They receive, stock and ship over 117,000 product SKU's.  They process over 9,000 outbound line items a day.

The tour started with Brad sharing some of Grainger's continuous improvement and corporate culture, as well as some samples of some Lean artifacts they use daily.  We then went to the Gemba where we saw great examples of visual management.  There were leader standard work boards that implemented visual controls to easily see when each leader had completed their daily leader standard work. Any team member can go to the board and review the comments and completion of any leader's work. This is a clear demonstration of modeling the behaviors that the leaders were looking for from their teams.

As we toured the floor, from outbound shipping, to inbound receiving, to order picking, and on to packing - we could see where error proofing, elimination of waste, flow and safety design were part of every aspect of their operation.  The visual management and safety cues were everywhere.  One of the most critical roles in the warehouse operation is a role called “Flow Manager”.  This person was responsible for distributing the incoming orders to the order pickers on the floor.  The Flow Manager was looking for leveling opportunities (Heijunka), and ensuring that each order picker had a logical flow through the warehouse so they weren’t doubling back on their route as they completed an order.

While the operation and adoption of Lean philosophy and tools was amazing, Brad acknowledged during the wrap up that Grainger knew it had a long way to go.  They knew there was much still to do.  As he mentioned in the hallway “that’s just the nature of continuous improvement”. 

The second site visit of the day: Medtronic

Medtronic has been on the journey of lean for the past 13 years. Here are some highlights: Lean is woven into the fabric of the company, each EE is involved into the continual improvement. Policy deployment and expectation is clearly defined throughout. Successes are celebrated and visually displayed throughout the facility. Daily communication regardless of value stream manager or floor technician consists of a huddle focused on identifying problems.

Assembly lines and shipping areas are line balanced using heijunka and status of production is visual via computer monitors and andon lights.

Cell based production is set up on kanban, line balanced and each step of production is visually displayed. Cells are also i-pad equipped which also come equipped with SOP's and the ability to track operator competence.

Highly visual, very professional looking documents are present throughout. You can see that Medtronic takes great pride in their product and where they are at in their Lean journey.
Very impressive!!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Lean Sensei Kicks Off 2015 Florida Lean Tour!

Day 1 – Jacksonville Lean Benchmarking Tour:

Today - 12 people from various backgrounds and industries converged on Jacksonville Florida to tour through a number of mature Lean organizations. The objective is to "go to their gembas" to see how these companies have implemented Lean and to experience first hand through observation and inquiry what it takes to be a Lean Organization.

First stop: Dr Bahri's Dental Office:

Dr. Bahri has been experimenting and implementing Lean for over 13 years, he just didn't know it at first.  He just knew that there had to be a better way of running his practice.  So he started reading books (by authors like Womack and Ohno) and trying to introduce some problem identification and solving techniques he was learning from the books.  It wasn't until much later - around 2005 that someone who was what he was doing told him he was implementing LEan tools and ideas.

Since then , he has made significant change in his practice. And in doing so, has completely shifted his focus to a patient centric one, where he and his staff thought about how to make the experience more efficient and of more value to the patient.  He has successfully taken concepts like kanban, one piece flow, and daily huddles and has seamlessly integrated them into his practice.  Now, when a patient comes to the office, they are taken immediately to an open chair that has been readied by one of the hygienists - they have eliminated almost all waiting time at the front by applying heijunka (balancing) techniques to their scheduling.  If the patient needs a cleaning (hygenist), some diagnostic tests (dental assistant), and a filling (dentist) - the patient stays in one chair. The various dental professionals move from chair to chair in the necessary order to "complete the order" (one piece flow).  They have implemented a Manager of Patient Flow who puts kanban cards at each station so that as a dental professional completes one task at a chair, they know exactly which chair they are moving to next.  They have visual replenishment queues for supplies at each workstation, reorder processes that allow for just enough stock to meet immediate needs, and have enough cross training to allow for flexibility in helping complete treatments (orders).   And over the past few years, their patients have consistently rated them as excellent (98% customer satisfaction).

And true to Lean, it never stops.  Dr Bahri has a full team huddle every morning to review the previous day and work on solving problems.  He and his team have a clear and definite culture of continuous improvement. It is in everything they do, without having to think about it.  It just happens.  

Day 1 afternoon Johnson & Johnson Vistakon

For those who have never heard of Vistakon they are "the world leader on vision care" specifically contact lenses.

This facility alone pump out a whopping 1.5 billion pairs of contact lenses per year...yes billion!

Our time with Vistakon was hosted by Bill Fogel "manager of operational excellence".

After a very thorough overview of the company and their LEAN journey. We then participated in a facility tour. Wow!

The epitome of continuous flow, their facility runs 24/7 only shutting down only for a couple of key holidays each year.

Because their product caters to health care the facility is spotless.  When walking through the facility, we saw many of the same VISUAL MANAGEMENT queues you see when you visit a Toyota or Mitsubishi plant in Tokyo.  There are ANDON lights on each line at at various stages telling the operators if there are any problems on the line. There are production TARGETS and progress toward them on large visual display monitors.  There are heat-maps showing where in the flow any issues are showing up.

Vistakon also takes great pride in employee communication as is evident throughout the facility using interactive touchscreen displays. Which display everything from up to the minute metrics to Environmental Health and safety reminders.

One highlight was the integration of the I pad done so to shape communication capability key focus areas were compliance, safety and continuous improvement "oh yea, and to go paperless during their daily GEMBA walks."

Their staff takes great pride in a building a world class product in a world class facility and showcasing the way they do it.

Definitely worth checking out!!

Day one - We toured Johnson & Johnson's Vistakon facility in Jacksonville, FLA.

The Florida Tour is not complete without a visit to Bahri Dental with guidance from the world's first "Lean Dentist", Dr. Sami Bahri.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Greenbelt Service Winter Kick-Off in Vancouver

This week marks the kick-off of the Greenbelt Service Winter class in Vancouver. This is our second Greenbelt to kick off this year and we have more to go!

This group is comprised of employees from healthcare and financial organizations. 

The coffee/tea simulation is designed to convey the value of customer pull and how to integrate perceived value into the service in a hands-on and fun way.

Value Stream Mapping is an effective way to review the value of work processes

For information on upcoming Greenbelt programs, please see our calendar at Registration is available online here.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Lean Sensei HELP Program

This week Lean Sensei conducted an in-house Hybrid Executive Lean Program (HELP) program in California for a major defense supplier of military, aircraft and other associated equipment. HELP program offers a fast track to Executive Lean certification with its comprehensive combination of lean training, hands-on experience and deep insight into what makes lean truly effective in the small business environment.

The program consists of both a class-room session and a working session – not a conference, not a lecture, and definitely not a static one-way speaking engagement. This session provides participants with dedicated time to develop their own lean strategy and lean thinking style by following simple methodology with the support of Lean Sensei senior coaches.

For more information on our lean training and coaching services, contact us at or 604-264-1000.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Blackbelt Spring 2015 Module 1 Video

In the spirit of reflection- LSI enjoys collecting video clips from our groups.

Thank you very much, Thomas Hanus for creating this wonderful video that shows your experience working with the BLACKBELT team members and LSI coaches!

 Take a moment to sneak peak at Blackbelt Module 1. Enjoy!

LSI 2015 Blackbelt video module 1 Vancouver from Lean Sensei Leanbelt on Vimeo.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

A Day With Lean Sensei International

We know the weather is still somewhat wintery but the spring is just around the corner.  Here at LSI, we like to “work hard and play hard” therefore, we look forward to spending team-oriented games and outings with both our staff and with our clients.  Here’s a short clip of some activities that we often get engaged in….

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Blackbelt Spring 2015 Kick-Off

Our Spring Blackbelt program has successfully kicked off yesterday. All participants are engaged and ready to embark on an intense and fun Lean journey. Have fun and good luck!

This icebreaker involves strategies, brain works and team works.

Keep an eye out for more updates with this group!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Lean Training at American Express

Lean Sensei conducted a Lean Strategic Planning session at American Express in Phoenix, Arizona, just a few days before the Superbowl game.  Senior executives of the company spent a number of days with Lean Sensei’s facilitators  to learn, discuss, brainstorm, and develop various elements of LSI’s strategy methodology, called VALUES (Vision, Alignment, Leadership, Unity, Execution, and Sustainment).  The team had to work through many aspects of lean transformation and were excited to embark on a lean journey.

Please visit our website to learn more about Lean Sensei and our programs, or contact us at or 604-264-1000.