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.

Continue reading

Lean in the primary school?

Do concepts from the assembly line at Toyota apply to the learning environment of children from six to twelve years? One pioneering school in Rogaland, Norway, shows how some elements of lean thinking can be successfully adapted to create better conditions for teaching and learning.

Continue reading

Lean broadcasting: Lean in the BBC

A service you probably consume every single day is broadcasting. Can lean principles help the broadcasting industry produce better value for the audience – and do so more efficiently and more effectively than today? Admittedly, I had never thought about broadcasting as a new application area for lean, but clearly it is coming. This post looks at lean broadcasting, where the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a first mover.

Lean broadcasting_BBC Spark_

Continue reading

Making operations fly – what business can learn from pilots

I am still smiling. On my flight from Oslo to Rome this weekend, I was asked to sit in the cockpit. I gladly accepted. My seat ticket read C01 – Cockpit 1. In a fully seated Boeing 737-800, the captain and copilot of SK4713 showed me how to get 194 passengers safely and timely from far north to the south of Europe in about three hours. I could not possibly get a better start on my travel to the annual conference of the European Operations Management Association, this time in Palermo, Sicily. For a scholar of operations, it was truly inspiring to get a first-hand view of how the aviation industry operates. What can other industries learn from aviation? A lot, for sure. Here are five quick reflections from my flight over Europe.

SAS cockpit operations

Continue reading

This is lean!

A book review of This is lean!

‘If lean is everything that is good, and everything good is lean, what is then the alternative?’ Niklas Modig and Pär Åhlström ask this timely question  in their book This is lean. The authors go on to suggest what lean is, and what it is not. But, at there are more than 7000 books on lean, why should you read this one?

Continue reading

Academy of Management safari in Boston (@AOM Annual Meeting 2012)

In the book Strategy Safari, management guru Henry Mintzberg said that no single perspective or theory can sufficiently cover strategy (or management) as a field; the field is an elephant that requires many eyes and minds to properly understand [1]. Mintzberg is one of the speakers at the Academy of Management (AOM) annual meeting in Boston this weekend. But he’s not alone: more than 11.000 people (!) choose to spend the best time of the year in clammy conference rooms to present and discuss their incomplete opinions on management. (This is the point where I would make a funny remark about that, but the joke would literally be on me). At this mammoth conference, the elephant of management is—for the 72nd time—under attack.

Continue reading

MIT DIY at iTunes University

Ever wanted to follow courses at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)? Harvard? Or, if your prefer, University of Cambridge, Oxford, Yale, Berkeley, Georgetown, University of Tokyo, or the Norwegian University of Science and Technology? Well, you can. It is free and you can easily Do-It-Yourself (DIY).  Why not MIT DIY? … Here’s how I used iTunes University and YouTube to substantially improve my statistics skills over a few weeks.

Statistics courses at iTunes University at my iPad

Continue reading

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?

Continue reading

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

Continue reading

Starbucks: Shoot for the stars, earn a lot of bucks

Starbucks Coffee Company: A success story unprecedented. Out of Seattle, WA, grew the largest coffee shop chain the world has ever seen. Today it has more than 12.500 coffee shops in  the US. The  international expansion started with a shop in Tokyo in 1996.  In 2012 it has more than 17,000 stores in 55 countries. That’s 5000 more shops than Burger King and half of McDonald’s number; this is even more impressive knowing that most Starbucks shops are owned by it and not franchised (!). In these days, Norway gets its first Starbucks shop as it opens at Gardermoen Oslo Airport [1] (though, Starbucks coffee could have been bought in Norwegian retail markets since February 2011). These people sell coffee. Coffee! What kind of operational principles can turn such an every-day product into a billion dollar company?

Continue reading

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!

Continue reading

I am glad that .com are sorry to see me go

New .com business models are popping up more often than I update my Facebook wall these days. Either through apps or web-services, the providers promise you a service that you will not understand how you coped without before. Some of them are definitely adding value for the society, while some are more annoying than good. I’ve tried out several of these electronic products – some I will continue using, but many I will let go. Here’s my decision list for some of the services I’ve used lately:

Continue reading

Why lean is losing it’s mojo (but not it’s significance)

The last 3 years we have seen a renewed explosion in the industrial interest on lean. Ignited by the two waves of economic downturns since 2008 and fueled by consultancy and lean missionaries, literally every business are now going lean. The shared aim is reducing costs and improving customer service by “working smarter not harder”. Today we have “lean services”, “lean construction”, “lean in the office”, “lean healthcare”, “lean ship-building”, “lean logistics, “lean management” and lean this and that… As lean disseminates from its origin in the automobile industry to services and the public sector, I see the word “lean” growing far beyond its roots and often even intentions. For me the term is losing it’s mojo.

Continue reading

Death by choices – how complex can a sandwich get?

I lined up for a sandwich for lunch. Subway should be an excellent choice, claiming their position as the world’s largest “submarine sandwich” chain. However, my experience was different from expected, and as an operations guy, I would like to see some improvements…

Continue reading