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Michael Ballé


  • Lean Development   view details
    Explores the Toyota system for product development: "it is not a collection of best practices which can be implemented piecemeal, but a system."
  • Why Create Poka-yokes, and Why Disconnect Them?   view details
    "Lines with overly complex Poka-Yoke devices tend to lose much productivity by having operators simply run the part through the detection device again until a part would be consistently stopped. Not surprisingly, production management can be tempted to simply disconnect the poka- yoke in order to run the line."
  • Are lean principles universal?   view details
    "There is only one golden rule: we make people before we make parts. This requires a spirit of challenge, open mind and teamwork, as Pascal Dennis phrased it in his great lean novel Andy and Me. Every industry is different, but all human beings share the same capabilities and potentials – that is universal. As one Sensei once told me, the biggest room is the room for improvement."
  • Treat yourself to the best coach you can find–talking lean management with Michael Ballé   view details
    The essential steps of becoming a lean leader are first, to lead from the ground up: to spend a lot of time at the gemba, challenging and listening, teaching problem solving and clearing obstacles for employees, encouraging kaizen and learning from people’s initiatives and creativity in order to align the company’s direction with individual fulfillment. The next step is to accept the learn-by-doing discipline of a pull system. Without the tension of the pull system, real problems won’t appear and people will spend their time kaizening irrelevant issues, essentially learning the wrong things. The third step is to understand the importance of teamwork and to learn how to intensify collaboration. Quality of problem solving is mostly dependent on how intense the collaboration between people from different specialties. The key to lean leadership is a gut feeling understanding that every one wants to understand where the company is going and why, and wants to contribute to that goal if not discouraged by silly policies and petty bosses. So the true aim of lean leadership is to enable every employee to partake in the joy of creation by having suggestions to move the business forward in their own job sphere, and implementing these suggestions themselves.

Web sites

  • Lean Edge
    "Lean management is a method to dramatically improve business performance by teaching people how to improve their own processes. The two main dimensions of lean management are continuous process improvement (going and seeing problems at the source, challenging operations and improving step by step) and respect for people (developing and engaging employees by developing teamwork, problem solving and respect for customers, employees and all other partners). ... The aim of the discussion [on the site] is to share different points of view and to collectively build a vision of lean management."

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