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Lean Newsletter Archive, February 2012

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Plus, learn how to get $500 in floor marking materials for free.


  • New Products: We’ve added a great new PowerPoint class that shows how a Lean Management System should work. Only $10.99!

Get our Lean trivia Game free when you buy our Complete PPT Bundle through March 9, 2012.

  • Lean Terms: We’ve added several new terms to our online guide since our last newsletter.
  • Featured Articles: Learn about our initial screening process, and about how spammers can teach you about Lean.
  • What’s New?: We are playing matchmaker and helping to give away $500 in floor marking materials.

Feb. 28, 2012


ISSN: 1946-5386

Jeff Hajek

Owner and Founder

Lean Leadership Training Module Group

Learn about our Lean Leadership Training Modules



Dear Subscriber,

It is a fun, exciting time to be involved in continuous improvement. Economic and political transitions always seem to increase the need for positive change. Higher energy prices will mean belt-tightening. Financial challenges in Europe will likely be felt throughout the world, making capital harder to come by. There is a growing number of companies that are bringing outsourced manufacturing back to their home shores, which likely has some productivity and quality improvement targets factored into the decision. It will be interesting to see how changes in Apple’s contractor, Foxconn, ripple throughout its supply change, and echo into others. And presidential elections in the US always seem to rock the economic boat. So what does all this mean to the CI world?

Well, I recently saw an article that the overall demand for Six Sigma and Lean in job descriptions was up over 100% in 2011 vs. 2010. That confirms that many companies recognize that they need to get serious about how they improve, and that it will require an influx of talent.

More telling, though, was the widening gap between Lean and Six Sigma. In 2011, Lean outpaced Six Sigma by 68%, nearly twice the 35% gap in 2010. Because Lean is fueling the increase in CI requirements in job descriptions, the takeaway I get from those numbers is that companies are recognizing that Lean is a discipline that is more accessible to an organization than Six Sigma is. It is easier to train someone to implement Standard Work than it is to create an expert in ANOVA.

So, I suspect that the shift is more a reflection of what leaders think people are capable of and have time for rather than of how effective either philosophy is. Put simply, most organizations see a better return on investment by getting a hundred people doing small Lean changes than a handful of people doing big Six Sigma projects. I further view the demand spike as a recognition that it takes expertise to create expertise, and the rise in Lean as a job requirement shows that there is a growing push to seed organizations with talent.

But, unfortunately, this probably also means that there will soon be a shortage of qualified candidates with Lean experience in the same way that some companies are now facing an uphill battle filling engineering positions. Most companies, if they really are serious about improving, will have to create homegrown Lean talent.

And what I am seeing in my business bears this out. We’ve seen a significant rise in people seeking Lean information. Web traffic is rising fast. Subscriptions are up substantially, especially on our Lessons of the Day. Sales are growing faster than expected on training materials, and we are constantly receiving requests for even more materials.

To me, that is what is making this year exciting. When business gets better, it opens up new doors. With more resources, we can try new things as we achieve our Policy Deployment goals early. I am truly excited to see how much Velaction can accomplish this year, and how much we can help you do as well.

As always, best wishes on your Lean journey.

Jeff Hajek

Founder of Velaction


Want to get selected to receive $500 in floor marking materials?

A few weeks back, I was approached by the director of marketing from InSite Solutions, LLC, the manufacturer of Superior Mark floor tape. She asked if I knew of a project that would require floor marking, and offered to provide $500 worth of materials in exchange for some case study types of materials. Before and after pictures. Comments. That sort of thing.

I am not familiar with InSite or Superior Mark. But I figured if one of my readers got a bunch of free materials, I could not pass up this opportunity. Some of my subscribers are from small companies, and $500 can make a big difference to them.

So, I am looking for someone who will be running a shop floor project within the next few months. You’ll have to agree to give some “before and after” pictures and provide some feedback about the materials you use. (Non-exclusive, non-restrictive rights to use the pictures will also have to be given to both InSite and Velaction.)

If you are interested, please contact me at Info@Velaction.com. Let me know the size of your company, and send me a synopsis of the project (preferably a charter) with some “before” pictures. Just keep in mind that the obligation is to provide feedback and pictures, not to endorse the products. You can say whatever you want about the materials.

Truth be told, I am looking forward to hearing how they work. They have some good marketing materials, and the products have some interesting features that are supposed to increase durability (recessed adhesive and beveled edges).

Three Administrative Notes:

  1. I’ll put the selectee in touch with InSite to work out the details once my matchmaking is done.
  2. I won’t publish or share any submissions without permission.
  3. I don’t accept compensation for things like this. I’m just doing it to get some free stuff in the hands of a reader.

The latest terms from our extensive online improvement reference guide include:

View our
Lean Dictionary
Lean Dictionary
Now over 400 terms…

From The Gotta Go Lean Blog

The Lean Assessment Litmus Test

One of the jobs of a Lean consultant is to assess organizations to see where they are in their continuous improvement journey.

There are many techniques to get a precise read on a company, but a thorough assessment can take a significant amount of time. Fortunately, there is also a quick litmus test you can use to tell if a company is serious about getting better and ‘gets it’, or if they are more interested in just using tools to make spot improvements.

Read More…

What Spammers and Scammers Can Teach You About Lean

Every morning, as I clean out the assortment of spam, scams, and general junk mail from my inbox, it strikes me that the senders seem to have a fairly strong understanding of Lean principles.

Don’t mistake that comment for me saying that I approve in any way of what they do, or that they are in any way principled. I just mean that they are following some of the same concepts that I teach when trying to improve legitimate processes.

Read More…


Lean Management Overview Module

In our ongoing quest to grow the Lean training System, we have released a new module titled Lean Management Overview. We use it to paint a picture of how a strong Lean management system links big picture policy deployment to frontline operations.

This 25 slide presentation is only $10.99 and available for immediate download. It is also available as part of our Complete PowerPoint Bundle containing 27 classes for only $69.

Note the offer we are running on this product in the “Specials” section of this newsletter. Buy it and get a free Lean Trivia Game.


Buy Our Complete DVD Bundle and Get Our Lean Trivia Game Free!

Engaging trainees is hard, even with the best of materials. While our Complete PowerPoint Bundle (27 classes for $69) is captivating on its own, it never hurts to have something extra in your bag of tricks. Between now and March 9, 2012, when you buy our Complete PowerPoint Bundle, you’ll also receive a great way to get your students actively involved in learning.

This month’s special provides you with a way to grab the attention of your team when energy sags, or to get teams geared back up after a break. For a limited time, we are adding our Lean Trivia Game to the Complete PowerPoint Bundle.

It is created using PowerPoint’s native functionality, so you can modify it to suit your needs. Whether that includes changing the questions, or modifying the look of the game, you’ll be working in a format you are familiar with.


Jeff Hajek is the founder of Velaction Continuous Improvement, LLC, a company dedicated to making your job easier and more rewarding in a Lean environment.

If you liked this issue, you'll love Jeff's practical, easy to read, to the point training materials that help you find win-win solutions so you can quickly overcome Lean obstacles.

You can find out more about Jeff and the wealth of other free resources that he offers at www.Velaction.com.

Jeff is also the award-winning author of Whaddaya Mean I Gotta Be Lean? Building the bridge from job satisfaction to corporate profit. This unique book provides a blueprint for not only surviving, but also thriving in a Lean company. Plus it's like two books in one. The first half provides an overview about how to find job satisfaction in a continuous improvement culture. The second half addresses over a hundred problems that people face when they are asked to do more with less.

Whaddaya Mean? is available at www.Amazon.com.


Velaction Continuous Improvement, LLC PO Box 14700 | Mill Creek, WA | 98082 1.800.670.5805



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