Blog Archive


When discussing supply chain in an “In Time” environment, it makes sense to look forward in your scheduling and try to anticipate the needs for “unique” materials, both domestic and imported. Calculate each step in the supply chain and even assign order numbers to each unique component if necessary. Build in the capability to move product/service with the right quality, right quantity, right place, at the right time!


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From the Archives of a Common Sensei volume 33: Underlying All “Lean” Manufacturing Initiatives

The basic principles of effective “Lean” manufacturing (operations) initiatives must include two basic principles (as stated in the attached 1997 document from our Toyota (TIEM) experience):
• Reduction of cost through elimination of waste
• Make full use of workers (Associates) capabilities

In this volume of From the Archives of a Common Sensei, we speak to these and additional considerations to make the flow production (principle) work. Various forms of media are filled with discussions about flow, pull, balanced processing, Kanban, waste, JIT, etc., we will graphically show you the interfaced actions of the pull system and the framework for smoothing for just-in–time (in-time) production (processing).

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Paying-It-Forward on a Global Scale

For nearly all of my life, I have been been blessed by the generosity of others providing me with opportunities. Rarely have those opportunities been more than the opening of a door to a challenge myself to be the best version of myself. Likewise, I have tried to follow a path of providing opportunities to those in need and volunteering my time as a means to Pay-it-Forward. Normally, I do not expect anything in return personally. Instead, I ask that those I help provide opportunities to others when the opportunity presents itself.

I have now reached a point in my life where I want to do something bigger. The culmination of my experiences and the foundations of my career endeavors have allowed me to create a very unique capability that is now being turned into a cloud-based software/cell-phone app. The program is being developed by an amazing team that has expanded upon my original vision and in order to make it available to everyone who wants it, I am going to go against my own unwritten rules and openly ask for help. If everyone of the people that I have coached, taught, mentored, or helped over the last 40+ years could find a way to donate $10 to support our new innovation, we believe that what we have created has the ability to Pay-it-Forward to millions of people.

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From the Archives of a Common Sensei volume 30: ENGINEERING CHANGE PROCEDURE FOR NON-INTERCHANGEABLE PARTS (Imported Purchased Parts)

In this volume 30, I present the process for imported but non-interchangeable parts. As in volumes 28 and 29, the handwritten original examples are too big to display at the same time, so I split this engineering change process into three volumes to simplify the overall process of engineering change. Some of you might be more concerned with an engineering change procedure for domestic parts and some might be more concerned with imported parts. The three articles in Blogs 28, 29, and 30 are presented here to potentially give you ideas for your organization.

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From the Archives of a Common Sensei Volume 27: EARLY LOCAL PARTS ORDERING FLOW

Traditionally, many companies have ordered parts based on forecasted projected need, which was most often determined by the forecast handed down from the Sales Department.  This in turn may have also been based on the projections of the Marketing Department, who in turn may have founded their numbers on the profit projections.  There is no need for me to try to reason why the profit projections were on target with reality or not!

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The intent of the questions included in the checklist is to help you be sure that all design considerations are included as you develop a new service or product.  As we began our new product development efforts, we thoroughly evaluated competitors’ products, including piece by piece teardown and doing comparison evaluation against our like (similar) products/components.

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From the Archives of a Common Sensei Volume 15: Nemawashi

This guidance uses many of what we now call “Lean Management” thinking and is heavily dependent on utilization of consensus building (nemawashi), which means using one-on-one discussion with each member of a decision-making group.  This consensus building of those directly or indirectly affected is usually conducted prior to a formal meeting where the indication of support is officially made. In English, the term nemawashi is most often interpreted as “the rooting process”; properly preparing the soil prior to planting so the roots will grow deep and spread.

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From the Archives of a Common Sensei – Volume 13: Management that Practices What they Preach – Standard Procedures

In the early developmental days of the creation of Toyota Industrial Equipment, we realized that when hiring associates, who had previously been employed in a manufacturing environment, it was going to be difficult to retrain and to get such associates to follow established TPS team-based standards.  To ease the situation, we hired new associates based on making sure the new people had the right personality and an aptitude to work in a team-based environment.  We also wanted to be sure that new hires could express themselves in a positive manner so that we were able to improve upon the standards.  As we progressed in our growth, we quickly discovered that it was difficult to hire enough new Associates with the above team-based attributes.  By working with the local school district, we were able to encourage an educational programming that focused more on “team” building in exchange for guarantees of employment of high school graduates who progressed through the team learning model.

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Utilizing Strategic Innovation to Redefine your Normal

A global health crisis and increasing levels of civil unrest are changing the way that we approach our daily lives, from how and where we work, to our social interactions and how we consume information and entertainment.

Organizations who continue doing business in the same way they always have are going to be left behind in a world where innovation is now being measured in days to market as opposed to years. Chances are that your organization has the people it needs to solve problems but, do you have the tools to pull those solutions out of them?

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A Legacy of Lean Thinking

It is awesome to see how implementing a culture of Lean Thinking into training not only helped our athletes on the field but, it is shaping them for success off of the field.

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The RPA Myth

As I watch client after client move toward the promise of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) as a solution to their problems, I am amazed at their disregard for the small print.

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A Holistic Approach to Reducing Fraud, Waste, and Abuse

Overview Under the current administration, there is a renewed emphasis on reducing fraud, waste, and abuse (FWA) within the Federal Government.  While this is nothing new, historical initiatives have focused primarily on external threats and only moderately succeeded at reducing operational waste and have made little to no impact in…

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Ethics and Insanity in Consulting

If we are continually hired to resolve the same issue that was previously addressed, is that insanity, misinformed decision making, misguided, or something else? What roll should we play?

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Low Cost Technically Incapable – Revisited

As we are facing a transition of power with the hope of “Making America Great Again”, we have an opportunity, once again, to fix our broken system which continues, regardless of the party in power, to be a self-licking ice cream cone.

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Talent Identification for Peak Human Performance

Corporations, Military Organizations, and Sports Teams are constantly looking to find and attract “Peak Performers”.  As technology continues to advance, it is becoming clear that the human component is most often the limiting factor in any endeavor.  Utilizing proven Lean and Six Sigma approaches in concert with expertise in Anatomy & Physiology, Kinesiology, and…

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Effective Government Coalition

August 2016 Effective Government Coalition – Exploratory Phase The Effective Government Coalition (EGC) announces its non-partisan mission to create an efficient and streamlined government that lives up to the same operations standards, efficiency, and integrity that the American people have come to expect and require from public companies and businesses…

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Agile Process Improvement — betterbusinessforall

One of my favorite sayings is “if you want to learn somethig new, read an old book.” For years now, we have been hearing about this thing called Agile Development. It seems there are numerous definitions of what that is and even more variations of Agile in practical execution. I…

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Rapid Crisis Intervention/Facilitation Method

Organizations around the globe face critical instances that need a clear and consistent approach to resolving issues in a way that not only fixes a problem in the short term but also helps to ensure that the issue does not happen again.

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Your next goal: becoming a Social Business

Becoming a Social Business means growing into a social and connected entity, centered in the digital field and that has socialized its internal and external processes, achieving, this way, great flexibility and a dynamic in line with its sector that allow it to innovate and lead the business models of the XXI century.

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