11 Things for Lean in 2011

December 27, 2010

To wind-down 2010 I thought it would be fun to come up with a list of eleven things to do in 2011 related to lean. Maybe there is something on the list that will spark your imagination. These are in no particular order.

1. Go to a conference

There are many good conferences related to lean out there. If you have been any one of these before I highly recommend it. You’ll get a great opportunity to learn, network and make friends with other like-minded lean professionals.

2. Attend a webinar

Attending a webinar is an alternative to travel to a conference and a quick way to learn more about a subject. There are many great sources for webinars available and this is great way to train your team.5S Supply will continue with its highly popular and FREE webinar series in 2011. Check back each month to see what the new subject is.

3. Attend a class on Lean

Sit in a one of the many Lean courses that are offered throughout the year and come away with some new knowledge. I know that one of the best ways to learn is hands-on, but an alternative is to learn and then apply. You can either pick a new subject on lean that you want to learn more about or do a ‘deep-dive’ session to become an expert in a specific area of lean. I thoroughly enjoy when I get to teach our two-day Lean Enterprise course and one-day Lean Kaizen course for ASQ. Come check it out if you get a chance.

4. Watch a video

Check out a video on lean. This is another fantastic way to share information about lean with people at work. I am currently working with SME to update their Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) video and it will be out in 2011. This will be a case study of one of my clients and how they performed a TPM Kaizen Event around several pieces of production equipment. I’ll keep you posted when it becomes available. At 5S Supply, we will be adding more videos to our website and YouTube channel throughout the year focused on lean subjects and our “One-Minute, One-Point Lesson” video series. Stay tuned for more.

5. Read a book

In a world were the average person doesn’t even complete one book in a year, you can stand out by reading a book (or two or three) on any lean subject. The number of books on lean has exploded over the last five years; practically any concept in lean has a book now. Another major project I’ll be working on (along with many others) in 2011 will be a Lean Handbook based off of the Body of Knowledge for the Lean Certification (see #6 below). This is a great project that I am honored to be part of. For the largest selection of lean book please visit 5S Supply

6. Get Lean Certified

AME, SME, Shingo Prize and ASQ have all teamed up to provide you with the premier Lean Certification. I was lucky enough to be one of the original team members that worked on creating this certification five years ago and currently I am an ASQ representative to the Certification Oversight and Appeals Committee. Becoming certified shows your commitment to lean and that you have a basic understanding of the BOK.

7. Find another company that you can benchmark with

This one actually started because one of my lean practitioner friends in Chicago asked me to help link him up with other companies that are doing 5S. He wanted to show his 5S Champions what other companies are doing and have an opportunity to benchmark & network. Check to see if there is a Lean Consortium in your area or even start one yourself. There are several resources that will help you including local sections/chapters of ASQ or SME, AME regions, LEI’s Forums or possibly LinkedIn.

8. Write a Lean article for your company or organization’s newsletter

Consider writing a short article for your companies newsletter or intranet. You can write about a recent kaizen event, share a “One Good Idea”, explain a lean concept or just pick something of interest to you. If you want to start a newsletter at your organization we offer free word templates to get you started.

9. Make a video about one of your kaizen events and post it on YouTube

If you don’t feel like writing maybe you can make a short video (with your company’s permission of course) and post it on YouTube. Once again, you can show clips for a recent kaizen event, show some before & after lean ideas, or even have some fun and make a parody video. We’re always looking for good content for our video channel, so if you have something worthwhile please feel free to contact me. 5S Supply will be adding more videos this year including “How to’s”, new product demonstrations and interviews with lean experts.

10.  Coach or mentor

Find someone in your organization that you could coach or mentor in lean. There is no greater way to learn lean than have to teach someone else. This can be a very rewarding experience for both you and you apprentice. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate; just agree to meet periodically and talk lean.

11.  Relax

Well, this is a no-brainer. Even if you did a couple of the things on this list you should be proud of yourself. Take some time for yourself and relax, maybe even do a little honest reflection or to create deeper understanding of lean.


I think that’s enough to get us started for 2011. On a personal note, I would like to thank everyone that has read my blog, forwarded it, bookmarked it, shared it with a friend and even commented on it. I don’t know if I really knew what it would take to do one of these, but it has been a rewarding experience for me over the last year. If you have a subject you’d like to see or ideas you’d like to share, please let me know. I am refocusing my efforts to provide you with relevant content over the next year.

So here’s to 2011, let’s make it our best lean year yet! Have a Happy and Safe New Year.

Thanks – Tony

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: