Visual Management of Focused Teams using a Whiteboard

Visual Management is an important tool in your organization’s quest for Operational Excellence. I mentioned in my last post a great way to create action using a whiteboard for cross functional teams. Today I want to present a whiteboard layout that I have used for well over a year with a focused team (such as an engineering support team). This particular layout is suitable for teams of individuals who generally work on similar tasks, but tend to work individually (or as team members on other teams). (more…)

Lean Stand-Up Meeting: Get Ready for Action!

Many Lean focused organizations adopt some sort of daily stand-up meeting. These daily meetings may take different forms depending on the type of team, the typical problems to solve, and the nature of the business. Common elements to the daily stand-up meeting are: they tend to be short (5-15 minutes), have a visual management component (such as a whiteboard), and are conducted standing (as opposed to sitting) to keep discussions brief. There are multitudes of potential formats appropriate for these meetings. However I am going to present one type of format you can use for a daily meeting that may be well suited for bringing together a cross-functional team, such as management or supervision staff. (more…)

A3 Thinking on a Whiteboard for Finding Root Causes

Here’s the death to problem solving:
A group of people sitting around a conference table trying to solve a technical manufacturing problem. Only one person in the group has actually seen the problem or defect, and the entire rest of the group hasn’t even seen the process first hand that created it. One person is outspoken of their particular idea, and eventually everyone “agrees” to buy into the argument and we march along with an action plan. This is probably the worst possible way to attack a problem – I call it “Engineering by Consensus.”

Here’s a better way: (more…)