A Baker’s Dozen of the Best in Lean and Continuous Improvement in 2018

The end of a year is a good time to reflect. As IndustryWeek looks back over 2018, we cannot help but appreciate the excellent lean manufacturing and continuous improvement content that has appeared on our site, in our newsletters, and across our community. Everyone is worth a read and will teach you something. Following are 13 highlights in this topic area that drew the greatest interest from readers in 2018.

1. An Operational Nod to Anthony Bourdain

How a fluffy egg sandwich became a lesson in continuous improvement? (Illustration by Jennifer Lawson)

2. Getting to the Root Cause of a Poor Customer Experience

How did a simple technique help solve a pilot-to-production issue?

3. Cardboard, Duct Tape, String, and Toyota: The Do-First Lean Mindset

True lean practitioners demonstrate how to make a physical change at the gemba. Just coaching advice isn’t enough if the gemba doesn’t change for the better.

4. 2017 IndustryWeek Best Plants Awards: The Super Seven

These seven North American manufacturing plants share a winning combination of people, process and technology.

5. Tesla vs. TPS: Seeking the Soul in the New Machine

We are dealing with the same clash in paradigms that has been going on at least since the early 1980s: lean management versus modern computer-integrated manufacturing.

6. Why Won’t My Boss Embrace Lean? An Epiphany

How leaders are measured for effectiveness needs to change?

7. Why Do Good Leaders Fail? The Leadership Spectrum in Action

A truly great leader can flex his leadership style to meet organizational demands. These examples help you understand why.

8. Building a Better Leadership Team through Trust and Quickly Resolving Conflict

How a global oil and gas company transformed its business and behaviors to manage through change?

9. The Unseen Advantages of Adopting Lean Manufacturing Principles

There are at least three major unrecognized advantages of instituting lean principles, including better navigating the competitive life cycle.

10. Lean Lessons from Tesla

This piece throws no shade at Tesla, a company that serves as a highly-charged conduit for many a heated debate about the future of manufacturing, mobility, innovation, modern business models, and, what, space travel. Rather, here are a few lean principles that Tesla’s tale calls to mind.

11. Ask the Expert: Lean Leadership — Can We Talk About OEE?

Overall equipment effectiveness is a powerful metric used to improve the effective use of resources, by machine.

12. Why Your Workforce Won’t Participate in Making Improvements or Problem-Solving

Shyness is not the reason. Get to the root cause of their behaviors and actively engage to resolve the issues.

13. Intelligent Poka-Yoke: When Lean Manufacturing Meets Deep Learning

What if human operators on the assembly line had some equivalent of a red, squiggly spellcheck line that highlighted errors as they were made?