The 3 Ls of lean management

The Routledge Companion to Lean Management has hit the book shelves. Here is a summary of its main conclusions. The key message? Any lean transformation—regardless of the sector and application area—is dependent on the three essential Ls of lean: Leadership for Long-term Learning.

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Beer and Bullwhip: What happens as you drink?

Do you know the far-reaching implications of you ordering a non-regular beer in a bar? I mean, in addition to all the personal pleasures (and problems) that may follow? If you have ever played the Beer Game* you know what I’m talking about: The Bullwhip Effect. When you create small variations in customer demand you start a chain-reaction of amplifying variations upstream the supply chain**. Follow me to the bar. Continue reading

Making veggies flow in Macedonia: Better layout with Closeness Rating Analysis

This autumn, a brand new  food factory opened in the small town Gevgelija in Southern Macedonia. The successful entrepreneur Viktor Petkov has since 1992 built a viable company that employs over 100 persons during peak season. His company, Vipro, produces organic food from fruits and vegetables. In September, Vipro ceremoniously opened their new facilities. My colleague Lars Skjelstad and I were invited to join as “guests of honour” because we have assisted Vipro in planning the new factory layout. In this post I tell how Closeness Rating Analysis (CRA) helps plan a flow-oriented layout.

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The bus driver from Bangalore: Making chaos flow

Respect for the Bangalorian bus driver—who probably has the world’s toughest job.  While I visit Volvo factories in Bangalore this week, I feel the pulse of a thriving city that literally bursts into the streets with all its energy. The traffic in India’s third largest city is straightforward d r e a d f u l. Continuous honking seems to be the most important trick to come ahead and stay alive. In this total chaos of noise, pollution, people and vehicles, I am surprised to find the traffic flowing surprisingly swiftly. How do the Bangalorians create flow of mere chaos?

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Public transportation that works: The Curitiba Case

Cities all over the world strive to improve their public transport system. The benefits of a faster, more reliable and more effective bus transportation system is obvious; both to users and the environment. Why is public transport then often so extremely badly planned, expensive and unreliable?  Curitiba in Southern Brazil offers their solution to the challenge. In fact, in such a way that the city is well-known to city planners worldwide. What has Curitiba done?

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ZipCar: Car sharing for the future

I have two Volvo S40, two BMW 328xi, a Toyota Tacoma Pickup, a Cooper Mini, a Mazda 3, a KIA Soul, and a Ford Escape in my garage. Best of all; I pay less that $20 a year to get access all of them as much as I want. They get washed and cleaned, and I never bother about repairs or maintenance. I pay for use and don’t even worry about gas prices or toll stations. I’m a Zipster by ZipCar. You can be one too!

ZipCar Volvo

My car this weekend – Volvo S40 from ZipCar (c)tnetland

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Forget about your costs and focus on your margins for continued growth in a declining market

During the two last decades, and especially in the turbulent times we have today, cost reduction has been on top of any board-room agenda. Companies are obsessed with the cost focus, but not because they want to be; they know its wrong!

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Pinnekjøtt – made in the USA

It’s here. The most important ingredient of a real Norwegian West Coast Christmas celebration arrived timely to our Washington DC apartment today: Pinnekjøtt. Cured lamb meat ready for cooking and the taste of Christmas Eve. Big thanks to Willy’s Products in Florida (!) for producing and shipping this delicacy in the US (with certain reservations… it remains to enjoy it the 24th:). Norwegian pinnekjøtt – made in the USA.

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Walmart: Delivers

Walmart – the world’s biggest private employer – gives jobs to 2.1 miilion people worldwide. That is close to the complete Norwegian workforce (2.5 mill in 2011, SSB)… Walmart is now and then subject to critique and their products are usually mocked as low quality. I’m testing this out. My hypothesis will be that Walmart gives relatively more value for the bucks than most other retailers out there. How else could they become so hugely successful?

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