People are the Linchpin for the System

A tractor is the workhorse of the modern day farm.  Ploughing the field, harvesting the grain, or bailing the hay are all done with a tractor pulling a tool specifically designed for the task.  And the tool is connected to the tractor using a pin, often called the linchpin. In a world of Operational Excellence, […]

What Drives Cost in Your Business

Plant managers of world class organizations know exactly what drives their costs in their operations.  While they do not count every penny, they do know the key drivers of expenses.  For most organizations those key drivers fall into two very obvious categories; labor and material. Labor Costs Labor costs are incurred when you pay employees […]

Fuel for an Effective Operating Model

Driving the real improvement your organization needs is best served with a proven operating model based on the principles of Plan, Do, Check, Act.  It requires a sold Strategy supported by a rigorous Daily Management process designed to identify problems that need to be solved with a pre-specified method for practical problem solving all sustained […]

Follow-up is Fuel for Accountability

World class organizations hold themselves accountable as part of a daily process.  Each member of the team makes commitments and then delivers on those commitments as a responsibility to the whole team and the overall strategy, BUT it probably wasn’t always like that. A leader had to teach the team how to be accountable and […]

Accountability is Forward Looking

Effective operating systems have a process for assigning tasks daily based on an evaluation of the business’ performance in the past 24 hours. David Mann has an effective method – a board that has days of the month across the top and team members down the side. This forms a grid, allowing assignments to be […]

Change the Thinking—Change the Results

Lean operating systems unlock the value in business by changing the way theorganization thinks. Two powerful questions arise from a well-designed operation. What was the cause, and what was the method? What Was the Cause? Almost all lean tools are based on the scientific method, which is often characterized as problem, causes, solution, action, and […]

Authority erodes, but influence lasts forever

“I have a dream…” – Martin Luther King Jr. Unlocking value in your organization requires a certain kind of leadership. It means stepping up and doing it yourself, not usurping authority or transferring it to someone else. A well meaning business vice president tried doing just that. “If Joe says something, it’s like me saying […]

What are the Spices in your Culture?

A recent diner at a very dear friend’s house revealed not only the beauty of different cultures but the reality of the genuine differences. My family, third generation Italians, entered the house of our new friends from India. We were so compelled by the smells of spices we rarely use and only under the direction […]

Standardize Principles – Personalize Approach

World class organizations align themselves around a set of principles that have stood the test of time like; using the scientific method, creating standard work for people paced activities, engaging operators in the preventative maintenance of the equipment. While almost all these organizations agree on the principles, a visit to each would reveal a variety […]


Most people do not choose to go into charity for the money. Most people do not join the military for the money. Most Olympians do not train and compete every 4 years to get rich. In most of these cases there is a greater purpose. A great reason for dedicating effort to the cause. World […]