524 episodes

Started in 2006, the Lean Blog Interviews Podcast is a series of conversations with experts and thought leaders in the field of lean manufacturing and management. Hosted by Mark Graban, a Lean practitioner, consultant, and author, the podcast offers insights, experiences, and tips for implementing and improving Lean practices in various industries.

The podcast has a conversational format, with Graban engaging with his guests on a wide range of topics related to Lean. The guests come from different backgrounds, including healthcare, manufacturing, and service industries, and share their unique perspectives and experiences on Lean implementation.

The podcast explores different aspects of Lean, including its history, principles, and tools, as well as its application in different industries and contexts. Graban and his guests delve into topics such as continuous improvement, value stream mapping, process improvement, and culture change, and Lean Startup, among others.

Particular emphasis is given to leadership and management system concepts, including the Toyota Production System and related methods. But, we don‘t talk about ”Lean Six Sigma” much around here, if that interests you... but if you agree that Lean is more than ”just a bunch of tools in the improvement toolbox,” this is the place for you. We focus more on Lean as a culture, a philosophy, and a management system. You’ll learn, and our guests will inspire you.

One of the unique aspects of the podcast is its frequent focus on Lean in healthcare. Graban is a well-known advocate for Lean in healthcare, and many of his guests are experts in this field. They discuss topics such as patient safety, quality improvement, and waste reduction in healthcare settings. They also share their experiences and successes in implementing Lean in hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare organizations.

Another notable feature of the podcast is its emphasis on practical advice and real-world examples. The guests share their experiences and insights into what works and what doesn’t when it comes to implementing Lean practices. They provide tips for overcoming common challenges and share success stories that can inspire others to adopt Lean principles.

The podcast is also notable for its inclusivity and diversity. Graban features guests from a range of backgrounds and experiences. This diversity of perspectives enriches the discussions and provides a more comprehensive understanding of the challenges and opportunities of Lean implementation.

Overall, the Lean Blog Interviews Podcast is a valuable resource for anyone interested in Lean manufacturing and management. Whether you are new to Lean or a seasoned practitioner, the podcast offers insights, tips, and inspiration for improving your organization’s performance and achieving your Lean goals. With its engaging format, practical advice, and diverse range of guests, the podcast is a must-listen for anyone interested in continuous improvement and operational excellence.

Visit the blog at www.leanblog.org. For feedback, email mark@leanblog.org.

All past episodes, with show notes and more, can be found at www.leancast.org.

Lean Blog Interviews - Healthcare, Manufacturing, Business, and Leadership Mark Graban Podcasts

    • Business
    • 4.8 • 44 Ratings

Listen on Apple Podcasts
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Started in 2006, the Lean Blog Interviews Podcast is a series of conversations with experts and thought leaders in the field of lean manufacturing and management. Hosted by Mark Graban, a Lean practitioner, consultant, and author, the podcast offers insights, experiences, and tips for implementing and improving Lean practices in various industries.

The podcast has a conversational format, with Graban engaging with his guests on a wide range of topics related to Lean. The guests come from different backgrounds, including healthcare, manufacturing, and service industries, and share their unique perspectives and experiences on Lean implementation.

The podcast explores different aspects of Lean, including its history, principles, and tools, as well as its application in different industries and contexts. Graban and his guests delve into topics such as continuous improvement, value stream mapping, process improvement, and culture change, and Lean Startup, among others.

Particular emphasis is given to leadership and management system concepts, including the Toyota Production System and related methods. But, we don‘t talk about ”Lean Six Sigma” much around here, if that interests you... but if you agree that Lean is more than ”just a bunch of tools in the improvement toolbox,” this is the place for you. We focus more on Lean as a culture, a philosophy, and a management system. You’ll learn, and our guests will inspire you.

One of the unique aspects of the podcast is its frequent focus on Lean in healthcare. Graban is a well-known advocate for Lean in healthcare, and many of his guests are experts in this field. They discuss topics such as patient safety, quality improvement, and waste reduction in healthcare settings. They also share their experiences and successes in implementing Lean in hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare organizations.

Another notable feature of the podcast is its emphasis on practical advice and real-world examples. The guests share their experiences and insights into what works and what doesn’t when it comes to implementing Lean practices. They provide tips for overcoming common challenges and share success stories that can inspire others to adopt Lean principles.

The podcast is also notable for its inclusivity and diversity. Graban features guests from a range of backgrounds and experiences. This diversity of perspectives enriches the discussions and provides a more comprehensive understanding of the challenges and opportunities of Lean implementation.

Overall, the Lean Blog Interviews Podcast is a valuable resource for anyone interested in Lean manufacturing and management. Whether you are new to Lean or a seasoned practitioner, the podcast offers insights, tips, and inspiration for improving your organization’s performance and achieving your Lean goals. With its engaging format, practical advice, and diverse range of guests, the podcast is a must-listen for anyone interested in continuous improvement and operational excellence.

Visit the blog at www.leanblog.org. For feedback, email mark@leanblog.org.

All past episodes, with show notes and more, can be found at www.leancast.org.

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

    Jim Womack's Observations and Reflections on the Evolution of Lean

    Jim Womack's Observations and Reflections on the Evolution of Lean

    My guest for Episode #499 of the Lean Blog Interviews Podcast is James P. Womack. Jim really needs no introduction for this audience, he's the founder of the Lean Enterprise Institute (in 1987) and remains a senior advisor to them.
    Episode page with transcript and more
    In the late eighties, he and Dan Jones led MIT's International Motor Vehicle Research Program (IMVP), which introduced the term “lean” to describe Toyota's revolutionary management system.
    Based on that research, Womack coauthored The Machine That Changed the World (Macmillan/Rawson Associates, 1990), Lean Thinking (Simon & Schuster, 1996), Lean Solutions (Simon & Schuster, 2005), and Seeing the Whole Value Stream (Lean Enterprise Institute, 2011).  
    Jim was really gracious and helpful to me in being an early guest on this podcast, going back to Episode 12 in late 2006 when we talked about Lean in China. Today is his 8th appearance on the podcast: 7 times solo and once last September as part of a group that did a post-game show with me after the GE Lean Mindset event.
    I've seen and talked with Jim many times over the past decade, so it's totally my fault that I haven't had him on since 2011. When I asked him to come back to help celebrate 500 episodes, he quickly agreed — and I'll have him back again much sooner than this last gap between appearances.
    In today's episode, Jim shares reflections and stories on a number of companies, countries, and topics, including:
    China and Vietnam
    GM, Toyota, Boeing, Danaher, Rivian, and Tesa
    And he answers some questions that were suggested by LinkedIn commenters.
    Questions, Notes, and Highlights:
    I think listeners would love to know what keeps you busy these days in the world of Lean?
    Planet Lean – celebrating 10 years
    A few people asked: How can we influence a union to start embracing Lean, when the union at our company has been actively against it from the start?
    Lean in China – almost 18 years ago episode – Ep 12 — Thoughts on how things have evolved?
    Has Tesla ever invited you to visit their gemba?
    Which companies does he consider to be Lean exemplars in the United States?
    What do you think we, as a Lean community, could/should do better?
    Read Ed Schein's Organizational Culture and Leadership
    Did you ever meet Dr. Deming?
    The podcast is brought to you by Stiles Associates, the premier executive search firm specializing in the placement of Lean Transformation executives. With a track record of success spanning over 30 years, it's been the trusted partner for the manufacturing, private equity, and healthcare sectors. Learn more.
    This episode is also brought to you by “The Optimistic Outlook,” hosted by Barbara Humpton, CEO of Siemens USA. This podcast is a hub for those passionate about transformative concepts that shape both our workplaces and our world. Find it in your favorite podcast app.
    This podcast is part of the #LeanCommunicators network. 

    • 57 min
    Jim Womack's Observations and Reflections on the Evolution of Lean

    Jim Womack's Observations and Reflections on the Evolution of Lean

    This episode will be exclusive to subscribers until Wednesday, February 28th.

    My guest for Episode #499 of the Lean Blog Interviews Podcast is James P. Womack. Jim really needs no introduction for this audience, he’s the founder of the Lean Enterprise Institute (in 1987) and remains a senior advisor to them.

    In the late eighties, he and Dan Jones led MIT’s International Motor Vehicle Research Program (IMVP), which introduced the term “lean” to describe Toyota’s revolutionary management system.

    Based on that research, Womack coauthored The Machine That Changed the World (Macmillan/Rawson Associates, 1990), Lean Thinking (Simon & Schuster, 1996), Lean Solutions (Simon & Schuster, 2005), and Seeing the Whole Value Stream (Lean Enterprise Institute, 2011).

    Jim was really gracious and helpful to me in being an early guest on this podcast, going back to Episode 12 in late 2006 when we talked about Lean in China. Today is his 8th appearance on the podcast: 7 times solo and once last September as part of a group that did a post-game show with me after the GE Lean Mindset event.

    I’ve seen and talked with Jim many times over the past decade, so it’s totally my fault that I haven’t had him on since 2011. When I asked him to come back to help celebrate 500 episodes, he quickly agreed — and I’ll have him back again much sooner than this last gap between appearances.

    In today's episode, Jim shares reflections and stories on a number of companies, countries, and topics, including:

    China and Vietnam

    GM, Toyota, Boeing, Danaher, Rivian, and Tesa

    And he answers some questions that were suggested by LinkedIn commenters.

    The Toyota Way: Responding to, Preventing and Learning from Mistakes with Jeff Liker

    The Toyota Way: Responding to, Preventing and Learning from Mistakes with Jeff Liker

    My guest for Episode #498 of the Lean Blog Interviews Podcast is Jeffrey K. Liker. Jeff is Professor Emeritus from the University of Michigan, President of Liker Lean Advisors, and author of the great books in the Toyota Way series.
    Episode page with video, transcript, and more
    He was previously a guest here in Episodes 3, 4, 37, 39, 41, 111, and 400.
    Today, we have a discussion centered around learning from mistakes in the context of Toyota and lean methodologies. The episode delves into the significance of recognizing, reacting to, and learning from mistakes within organizations that employ Toyota Production System (TPS) or lean strategies. Jeff shares his insights on how Toyota's culture of continuous improvement and learning from errors fundamentally drives its success. The conversation touches on Toyota's approach to leadership and problem-solving, emphasizing the structured response to mistakes at different levels of the organization, from the factory floor to top management.
    The episode further explores the Toyota leadership model, illustrating how leaders at various levels are expected to react when mistakes occur. Liker explains the role of the andon cord system in facilitating immediate problem identification and resolution, showcasing Toyota's commitment to quality and efficiency. He elaborates on the multi-layered leadership response to errors, detailing the responsibilities of team leaders, group leaders, and higher management in fostering a culture of learning and improvement. The discussion underscores the importance of a systemic approach to problem-solving, where the focus is on understanding and addressing the root causes of mistakes rather than attributing blame to individuals. This episode offers valuable insights into the principles of lean leadership and the critical role of acknowledging and learning from mistakes in achieving organizational excellence and innovation.
    Questions, Notes, and Highlights:
    How you'd expect Toyota leaders to react to a mistake on the factory floor?
    Less likely to blame an individual? 
    Root cause vs. controllable cause?
    That can be a tough lesson to teach other companies?
    Hardest habit to break is the blame habit?
    Mistakes people make in trying to help change behavior
    What's necessary, in another company's workplace culture, for people to feel safe pulling the andon cord or speaking up?
    Article about the Ford plant and andon cords in 2007
    Jeff insights on that Dearborn plant
    The mention of psychological safety in “Toyota Culture”?
    What do you think of the phrase “psychological safety”? Or just the concept of it?
    Fujio Cho – biggest surprise was that TMMK workers were afraid to pull the andon cord
    New book: Engaging the Team at Zingerman's Mail Order
    The podcast is brought to you by Stiles Associates, the premier executive search firm specializing in the placement of Lean Transformation executives. With a track record of success spanning over 30 years, it's been the trusted partner for the manufacturing, private equity, and healthcare sectors. Learn more.
    This episode is also brought to you by “The Optimistic Outlook,” hosted by Barbara Humpton, CEO of Siemens USA. This podcast is a hub for those passionate about transformative concepts that shape both our workplaces and our world. Find it in your favorite podcast app.
    This podcast is part of the #LeanCommunicators network. 

    • 1 hr
    Improving MRI Safety for Patients and Staff: Tobias Gilk

    Improving MRI Safety for Patients and Staff: Tobias Gilk

    My guest for Episode #497 of the Lean Blog Interviews Podcast is Tobias Gilk, the founder of Gilk Radiology Consulting (GRC). He is an architect by training, but has spent 20+ years focusing on MRI safety... initially through the architecture and planning of MRI facilities, but quickly growing into the technology, clinical practice, regulation, and economics of MRI safety.
    Episode page with video, transcript, and more

    He is recognized by both state and federal courts as an expert in MRI safety issues. Tobias has published dozens of papers and articles on MRI safety. He is also twice a member of the American College of Radiology's MRI Safety Committee (twice named co-author of ACR MRI safety standard guidance).

    In this episode, we dive deep into the complexities of MRI technology, acknowledging its transformative role in health care but equally highlighting the overlooked dangers that require meticulous handling. Delving into safety protocols, process failures, and the risks associated with projectiles and thermal injuries, they underscore the need for stricter adherence to safety protocols.

    We not only discuss the intrinsic risks associated with MRI but also explore the regulatory landscape, identifying key gaps that permit inconsistency in safety practices. The narrative is a pointed reminder that safety is of paramount importance, and mitigating risks requires thorough screening, careful positioning, and a collective commitment to safety-first processes.

    Questions, Notes, and Highlights:

    Give us a quick MRI technology overview... 

    "The safe modality"

    What causes danger to staff and patients??

    Machine malfunctions are very rare -- possible burns?

    A typical safety story?

    Clinically safe but with inherent process-related dangers?

    Why aren't there better access controls and checks about what and who comes near the magnet?

    Couldn't we cheaply brute force this by posting an educated "MRI Guard" outside the danger zone? Is patient safety really the top priority??

    Staffing cost vs. risks of harm or machine damage...

    How common / frequent are incidents that harm or kill?

    "If you've been told that MRI safety only comes at the expense of throughput, you've been lied to."

    "Absolutely, Lean is essential to MRI safety..."

    The podcast is brought to you by Stiles Associates, the premier executive search firm specializing in the placement of Lean Transformation executives. With a track record of success spanning over 30 years, it's been the trusted partner for the manufacturing, private equity, and healthcare sectors. Learn more.
    This episode is also brought to you by "The Optimistic Outlook," hosted by Barbara Humpton, CEO of Siemens USA. This podcast is a hub for those passionate about transformative concepts that shape both our workplaces and our world. Find it in your favorite podcast app.

    This podcast is part of the #LeanCommunicators network. 

    • 1 hr 6 min
    Learning and Leading Lean as the CEO: Randy Carr, CEO of World Emblem

    Learning and Leading Lean as the CEO: Randy Carr, CEO of World Emblem

    My guest for Episode #496 of the Lean Blog Interviews Podcast is Randy Carr, the CEO of South Florida-based World Emblem – one of the largest embroidery companies in the world with plants in the U.S. and Mexico. 
    Episode page with transcript, video, and more
    Since 1993, the family-owned business has been the “go to” for emblems and patches for sports headwear, footwear, sports garments, and other apparel, with an output of more than 100 million products a year.  

    In this episode, we delve deeper into World Emblem's systemic view of their business operations within the scope of the SQDCM (Safety, Quality, Delivery, Cost, and Morale) model. Learn how this approach steered them toward not just honing a product's price-point, but also delivering a superior experience that justifies that price.

    Discover how lean principles became an integral part of their response to various business challenges, ranging from pre-COVID operational inefficiencies to the financial impact of pandemic-induced difficulties. As World Emblem continues to foster a culture of continuous improvement and uphold their focus on safety, quality, and customer service, this lean journey illustrates the effectiveness of lean in maintaining robust competitiveness within a dynamic global market.
    Questions, Notes, and Highlights:
    We'll somewhat structure this interview like an A3
    Let's start by telling us about the background of World Emblem — what was the need for change? 
    Their “management system” wasn't right?
    How did you learn about Lean?
    A 7-figure leap of faith to hire consultants
    Baby steps… vs. trying to learn and do it yourself?
    Countermeasure — Why Nearshoring?
    Hoshin Planning process – how has that worked? Benefits?
    Allocating your time as a CEO — 30% with customers?
    Using Lean outside of production?
    Being honest about problems — a key part of the DNA
    What's next on the action plan? How will continue you evaluating your progress?
    The UK “True Lean” methodology
    The podcast is brought to you by Stiles Associates, the premier executive search firm specializing in the placement of Lean Transformation executives. With a track record of success spanning over 30 years, it's been the trusted partner for the manufacturing, private equity, and healthcare sectors. Learn more.
    This podcast is part of the #LeanCommunicators network. 

    • 55 min
    Habits, Continuous Improvement, and the Latest at KaiNexus: Greg Jacobson

    Habits, Continuous Improvement, and the Latest at KaiNexus: Greg Jacobson

    My guest for this bonus episode of the Lean Blog Interviews Podcast is Gregory H. Jacobson, M.D., a co-founder and the CEO of KaiNexus.
    Episode show page with transcript, video, and more
    Greg, also a practicing emergency medicine physician to this day, was previously a guest in Episode 149 and was a part of a physician panel in Episode 361. He also joined me for Episode 31 of the "My Favorite Mistake" Podcast. We also podcast together fairly often via the KaiNexus Continuous Improvement Podcast.

    Greg is one of the three keynote speakers at this year's Healthcare Systems Process Improvement Conference that's presented by the Society for Health Systems. I'll also be facilitating an intensive session on Psychological Safety and Continuous Improvement. Come join us in Atlanta next month!!

    In this episode, we preview Greg's talk at the conference. Since it's been more than 11 years since Greg has been here, we talk about the progress that KaiNexus has made as a company and as a continuous improvement software platform.

    Questions, Notes, and Highlights:

    The three "Habits" webinars we mentioned: One, Two, and Three

    A video about values and success traits at KaiNexus

    Excerpt from The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation about KaiNexus

    The podcast is brought to you by Stiles Associates, the premier executive search firm specializing in the placement of Lean Transformation executives. With a track record of success spanning over 30 years, it’s been the trusted partner for the manufacturing, private equity, and healthcare sectors. Learn more.
    This podcast is part of the #LeanCommunicators network. 

    • 35 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
44 Ratings

44 Ratings

TK21LL ,

Direct and Informative

This podcast is always professional and business like. Mark is an excellent host who guides his guests with a very realistic approach to their subject matter. Lean Blog Interviews is straightforward, informative, and definitely worth a listen.

obacker19 ,

Empowering, insightful and actionable! 🙌

Whether you’re well established as someone who can translate Lean energy into the impact you want to have on the world, or just getting started as a catalyst for change - this is a must-listen podcast for you! Mark does an incredible job leading conversations that cover a huge breadth of topics related to the ins and outs of building a Lean enterprise and life you can be proud of - with leaders who’ve actually walked the path. Highly recommend listening and subscribing!

David Siegler ,

It will make you think differently about work

Mark’s interviews shares success stories and lessons learned with those who have studied and practiced Lean. I have not had formal Lean training, but Mark makes clear that you do not need certifications to apply the principles of Lean. Listening to episodes over the past two years has made me view my own work differently, and think about how to systematically improve.

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