illustration of sound frequency

Cut the Noise and Tame the Common Cause (Part Two of Two)

In my last post, I laid out the difference between special cause and common cause variation. Why is it important to know the difference? Because...
image of woman throwing dice

Variation in Your Processes—A Game of Chance (Part One of Two)

As most of you know, variation is a very big deal in manufacturing, because even the smallest change in production processes can have big...
image of small stones balanced on a larger stone

Optimizing Without Balance—A Vicious Cycle

It’s counterintuitive to think that maximizing your job or your department’s throughput can have a detrimental effect on your company. But that’s exactly the...
image of 5s diagram: sort, set in order, see, standardize, sustain

Putting 5S to Work in the Business Office

If you read this blog regularly, you’re aware that the same lean tools that make manufacturing more efficient can work wonders in the business...

Where’s the Value in Your Business Processes?

Teaching Lean Applied to Business Processes is never dull. But once the conversation turns to finding value in the steps of a business process,...
images of a calendar and a clock

LABP’s Biggest Gift Is Time

How are you coming along with your end-of-year initiatives? Are you realizing noticeable gains, or are you getting bogged down with too much work...

When Finger-Pointing Is a Good Thing

This month’s blog post will be short and sweet. Why? My WIP is at max! (If this concept is new to you, revisit my...
This photo of a garden hose with kinks illustrates the bottlenecks that impede workflow in the business office.

Three Warning Signs Your Process Improvement Effort Will Fail

"Constraint: anything that limits a system from achieving higher performance versus its goal." —Eli Goldratt, What Is This Thing Called Theory of Constraints and How...
illustration of cause-and-effect diagram

A Better Way to Brainstorm Root Causes

Determining root causes seems to be a lost art. It’s a discipline, and if we aren’t willing to apply disciplined thinking when diagnosing a...
sipoc table diagram

SIPOC with a Twist (Think Policies, not Processes)

In order to do your job, you need to see your job. As some of you already know, SIPOC is a process improvement tool that...