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This Lean blog is dedicated to providing useful Lean information that both changes the way you think about continuous improvement, and gives you tools to act on those changes. It is the only blog backed by The Continuous Improvement Companion, our extensive Lean reference guide.

Think about what trust is. It is, in effect, a shortcut. It means that you have faith in something, or someone, and have stopped double-checking on all expectations.

If you trust your mechanic, you stop visiting different shops to get a problem looked at. If you trust a salesperson, you stop spending as much time verifying claims. If you trust your neighbors, you might feel comfortable leaving the garage door open while you are in the back yard.

The same holds true at work. If you trust your employees, you don’t need to check up on them as much. If you trust your vendors, you can give them access to do replenishment in your facility. The list goes on. Trust improves efficiency and effectiveness.


Read the section “Build Relationships” before this one.

Section Details

Estimated Time for Section: N/A. (Ongoing principle)

Difficulty: High. While people are, by nature, social, they are also wary. Developing trust can be a challenge, especially where relationships have been strained.

Risk: High.

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Continuous data can have any value within a given range. Compare this to discrete data which is limited in the values it takes.

For example, the number of dots on a pair of dice or the number of wheels on a car limit you to a finite set of values. Measuring the size of the dice or the temperature of those wheels, with a precise enough measuring device, could give you infinite results. The dice might be 0.746″ and 0.748″, for example.

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CRM stands for customer relationship management. It essentially is the practice of taking an active approach to understanding how a company interacts with its customers and creating a strategy to manage that relationship for both current and future customers.

In practice, CRM is typically used to describe software systems, of which many are available.

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PDSA stands for Plan-Do-Study-Act, or less commonly, Plan-Do-Study-Adjust.

It is a structured, iterative problem-solving approach popularized by W. Edwards Deming, who originally was mentored on the process by Walter Shewhart. With that origin in mind, it should come as no surprise that this method is also known as the Deming cycle.

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Little’s Law is a basic mathematics equation for calculating lead time. In the layman’s version, it says:

Lead time = Number of units in WIP / Average Production Rate

Let’s say you had 34 items in work-in-process, and you produce 10 per day. That means that it will take any new item 3.4 working days to make its way through your system.

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Indirect costs are those expenses that are not directly attributable to a single cost center or cost object (product line, service, etc.) Indirect costs may include shared resources or overhead.

Administrative costs, website costs, IT infrastructure, and similar expenses fall into this category.

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Jeff Hajek

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