Underpinnings of Lean Leadership

Underpinnings of Lean Leadership

December 8, 2020

Mr. Yoshinio was a young man working in a paint shop when he applied the wrong paint to a product.  Fearing his manager would fire him for this mistake, Mr. Yoshino was inspired when his manager listened and worked to correct a faulty process instead.

In cooperation with the Lean Enterprise Institute, consultant Katie Anderson describes how Lean legend Isao Yoshino learned first-hand the value of blaming the process instead of the people when failures occur.

Supply Chain Digest’s article highlights the underpinnings of Lean leadership in action.


Video Spotlight: 


This post is based on the Supply Chain Digest article, Supply Chain News: Lean Thinking Means Blaming Process, not People, by SCDigest Editorial Staff, October 14, 2020, and the YouTube videos in the Spotlight. Image source: Juice Images/Alamy Stock Photo

Discussion Questions:

1. How did Mr. Yoshino’s manager demonstrate “respect for people” as a Lean principle?  What impact would this type of management behavior have Continue reading

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Map Your Supply Chain

Map Your Supply Chain

Supply network mapping is labor intensive but can reduce risks to supply chain disruptions from COVID-19 to earthquake damage.

Most companies do not map their network and do not know how to mitigate risks when a crisis unfolds.  Another reason the mapping proves helpful is removing the focus from lowering procurement costs to better understanding critical suppliers at many levels upstream.

To reduce the labor costs involved in mapping, focus on key components from a bill of materials, such as the top five products by revenue, and then drill down to the raw material vendors.


Video Spotlight: 


This post is based on the Supply Chain Digest article, Supply Chain News: Coronavirus Again Illustrates Need for Mapping Your Supply Chain, Harvard Business Review Article Says, by SC Digest Editorial Staff, April 6, 2020, and the YouTube videos in the Spotlight. Image source: ConceptCafe/Shutterstock

Discussion Questions:

1.  Supply chain mapping for a retailer could be beneficial.  Draw a supply chain map for a grocery store chain.  What are missing items from your supply chain map that Continue reading

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“The Great American Logistics Machine” Catches the Coronavirus

“The Great American Logistics Machine” Catches the Coronavirus

June 30, 2020

Logistics – the seemingly simple process of moving goods from Point A to Point B – has been an American strength and continually improving science.  Witness the ability of Amazon to deliver in as little as 2 hours in some markets.

The public has taken this capability for granted.

But now, in the Coronavirus era, we are experiencing rationing of meat, shortages of basic goods (paper products) and necessary ones (masks, drugs).  Even for products and ideas not invented here, starting with the industrial revolution and most currently demonstrated by the smartphone, Americans improved and mass marketed better products in smoother supply chains.

How else could Walmart serve 200 million customers a year across 11,000 stores?

Even the remarkable performance of Amazon is enabled by Google mapping of the earth.

The much maligned U.S. postal service delivers more letters per employee than any other country in the Group of 20 (per this 2012 Oxford study).  The historical success of the public-private partnership that landed a man on the moon 51 summers ago is now struggling to deliver testing kits despite a much publicized appearance of industry leaders with the President in the Rose Garden.

The Continue reading

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