February 2012


From the Editor

Kevin Meyer

Welcome to the Lean CEO newsletter!

As you may have noticed, we have updated the Lean CEO website yet again. This new format allows for more discussion, and you can also subscribe to the RSS feed in order to get immediate updates to new content.

This month's feature article by Bill Waddell takes a stab at explaining why some business functions and activities, although generally considered necessary, really do not add value.

Our online training partner, Gemba Academy, is offering two free webinars in March.

Finally, all of the 115+ PowerPoint lean training presentations and the Lean Enterprise Strategy Kit have now been moved to our partner at LeanPresentations.com so that Lean CEO is now non-commercial.

- Kevin Meyer


Featured Article

Harry Kenworthy

Necessary and Valuable are Not the Same

By Bill Waddell

Heather Peters is not someone you have likely heard of - unless you are a lawyer, that is, or Honda.  In that case, you have not only heard of her but are probably either furious with her, or scared to death of her.  Honda, it seems, sold a couple hundred thousand hybrid Civics billed to get 50mpg.  Turn

s out they only got 30. In traditional fashion, the bottom feeders of the legal profession jumped in, a class action law suit was filed, Honda negotiated a deal, the car onwers got a hundred bucks and a gift certificate toward their next Honda, and the lawyers pocketed millions in legal fees.

Only Heather didn't go along with the deal.  In California small claims court, the rules are no claims over $10K and no lawyrs allowed.  Heather, being a California resident, said no thanks to the hundred bucks and filed a claim in small claims court.  The 'no lawyers allowed' rule meant Honda had to send someone from management to defend the case.  The facts being on Heather's side, she won a shade under the $10K max, and lawyers got zip.  She launched a web site to help everyone get the same deal, and the class action lawyers are facing the pathetic reality that, for years they have been getting rich while adding next to no value for their clients, and the jig may very well be up.  They are facing the brutal reality that they may well go the way of the horse and Blockbuster Video store.

Read entire article | More Lean CEO articles


Featured Book

A Factory of One

A Factory of One

By Daniel Markovitz

Most business readers have heard of the Lean principles developed for factories—a set of tools and ideas that have enabled companies to dramatically boost quality by reducing waste and errors—producing more while using less. Yet until now, few have recognized how relevant these powerful ideas are to individuals and their daily work.

Every person at a desk, drafting table, workstation, or operating table must (like a factory) deal with the challenge of reducing the waste that creeps into their work. The same Lean principles that have improved efficiencies on the factory floor can be just as powerful—in fact, far more so—in helping individuals boost personal performance.

A Factory of One: Applying Lean Principles to Banish Waste and Improve Your Personal Performance describes how you can foster a new mindset and improve your performance by applying Lean methods to your work. It translates powerful Lean tools such as visual management, flow, pull, 5S, and kaizen to your daily work, revealing how they can help to improve efficiency, reduce waste, and link you ever more closely to customer value.

More information | More books


Featured Video

Hoshin Planning

Gemba Academy has just released an twelve video module video training course on Built in Quality.

This course is part of Gemba Academy's Complete Lean Package, which now has over 220 video modules and is used by over 1,000 companies worldwide. More information.


Key Upcoming Events

Upcoming events that must be on your calendar:

AME Conference

AME Annual Conference
Chicago, Illinois
15-19 October 2012

The Association for Manufacturing Excellence hosts the world's largest lean conference, for practitioners by practitioners. Workshops, serminars, and tours of factories and other lean facilities.

Lean CEO maintains a comprehensive list of hundreds of upcoming events and workshops.

Full Lean CEO Events Calendar


Evolving Excellence Blog

Join over 10,000 readers who get their daily dose of blunt manufacturing and business reality by subscribing to the Evolving Excellence blog!

or Subscribe to Evolving Excellence by Email

Recent posts in the Evolving Excellence blog include:


Forum Discussions

The 9,000 members of the Lean CEO LinkedIn Group are discussing a variety of topics including:

  • Strategic planning and tactical execution.
  • Dumping China for America.
  • The best is the enemy of the good.
  • Manufacturing Moneyball.
  • Do you think it matters what workers are called?
  • Why do companies find change so difficult?

Lean News

Lean-oriented news stories from the past month.