CAPA Corrective Action Preventive Action

There is one basic fact about life: 

We make mistakes. 

A lot of it is unintentional, but IT happens; and, when it does, it carries with it a litany of problems, that, in my world, called WASTE, the bane of existence that results to longer and costly cycle times and defects.

Your Business - Customer Identification and Valuation

One fundamental question I ask when I start a training session targets deep into the first principle: customer identification and valuation: Who is your customer and what does your customer value, value defined as any product or service your customer wants and needs that’s delivered on time hassle and defects free. 

That’s one lung full of words that basically point toward two words: Customer and Value.

Lean Enterprise: Bone Basic Version

Backed by popular demand, I was asked to provide a condensed version of Lean Enterprise.  

Forget about the long class sessions, thousands of pages of reading, and hours of practice. -What’s asked for is a bones basic version of what I know. 

Okay.  Let’s see what I can do.

There are five concepts to Lean:  Value; single-piece-flow; flow; waste and continuous improvement. 

  1. Identify who your customer is and what he/she values, value defined as any product or service he/she wants and willing to pay for that’s delivered on time and hassle and defects free;
  2. Adopt single-piece flow methodology as opposed to batch and cue.
  3. Use Eli Goldratt’s Theory of Constraint’s five principles (identify, exploit, subordinate, elevate and repeat) to keep the flow of work in constant and unencumbered motion;
  4. Use Muda, Mura, Muri and TIMWOOD concepts to recognize and eliminate waste;
  5. Improve (aka continuous improvement) every second of the day.

There you go.

Now, let’s get LEAN!

Yamazumi Chart

The following takes you to a link that helps you understand the Yamazumi Chart's what and how.


Picture courtesy of

Lean Sigma in Healthcare

Years ago, my wife owned a medical billing practice.  Being her partner, I got deeply involved with her operations and the interaction with her clients.  Years later, I started my own durable medical equipment company that included me consulting and assisting pharmacies and doctor practices.  At the time, mid-1990’s, to assist my endeavors, I attended seminars and workshops that introduced me to process improvement methodology that included Management by Objectives, Theory of Constraints, Total Quality Management, Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma.  It was intriguing but over my head with too much information and not enough time to understand what it all meant.  I was also servicing providers on the Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act more known as HIPAA.  At the time I was fortunate to work with consultants strong in LSS as they mentored me on how I can use these methods slowly in our efforts to streamline medical practices.

I realized then that LSS Management could tremendously help the Health Care Industry.

Surfer Culture Meets Standard Work

Every once in awhile, you come up on some real neat articles.  This is one that I feel needs to be shared.  The title speaks for itself.  Enjoy.  

Surfers Learn from Lean Enterprise

Chalk One Up for Process

In one of my jobs as a raw materials buyer for a cGMP culture media manufacturer, I was tasked to purchase a particular chemical compound that, historically, was cost prohibitive.  Because it was the only vendor that carried this product, I didn’t have a negotiating leg to stand on, except to buy in bulk, which was not feasible.  Matters worse was that due to this material cost, our client, a non-profit hospital could not afford the expensive cultured media plate.  

Lean Six Sigma Can Help Save Oil Field Jobs

This important post affects thousands of men and women working in the oilfield industry. In days past, I’ve read articles (way too many) as key indicators in the field I work in. Lower gas prices mean lower demand and to balance this imbalance, supply is reduced. The Saudi’s and OPEC have done so with the effect of bringing prices up which we’d all complain and point fingers of blame. Now China's economy's tanking that further drives more instability in the world trade market. Regardless, production becomes less of a priority especially when drilling new horizontal fracked wells cost about $60 per barrel.

Oilfield Companies: Don't Forget to Negotiate

The time to negotiate for lower prices is now. Companies are laying off, liquidating assets, and dipping into their cash reserves. The renewed task of sending RFPs or RFQ’s will require suppliers and vendors to respond favorably or lose business to those that do.

Lean Enterprise Case Study: Four Stones Machine Shop

By Dominador "Sensei Domi" Tomate


            “How in the heck did you make money?  Look at this place?”
            Daryl replied, “What’s wrong with it?”
            “It’s a freaking mess?  You didn’t start this business, did you?”
            “What do you mean?”
            “Easy question.”
            Long pause.  I stared him in the eye and Daryl relented. “I had a partner.  We ran the business together, and he kind of.”
            “Yeah?  What happened?”
            “…died six months ago.”
            “Jesus.  How long did you work together?”
            “About 20 years.”
            Didn’t take long for me to process this.  I knew Daryl in college and from what I remembered, he wasn’t good with details.  He had tremendous talents, a very smart man with creative ideas and, at the time, a pretty good martial artists; but, that was many years ago, and he had problems that I wasn’t sure I had the moxie to handle.  He asked for my help, and I could, like they say, give it my best.

Knowledge Is Power (Click Picture)

Need for Balance (Click Picture)

 Mind Body Balance

Lean In the Oil Fields

Lean Manufacturing 2007 Article reprint by Ric Van Der Linden

We have all heard stories about the great results possible when lean techniques and culture are applied to manufacturing and assembly.  Though we hear less about lean in the service industry, lean concepts are being successfully applied there, and results are showing.  The oil fields are one area that has taken on lean as an initiative to not only deliver improvements, but to develop a culture of continuous improvement.

Sink or Swim

To “reflect” is “to think, ponder, or meditate a fixing on thoughts with careful consideration.” So far we’ve learned certain concepts, examined both relevant and irrelevant anecdotal examples. With reflection, we ask: “why” for the sake of asking “WHY?” Children ask all the time: Why?” It is perhaps the most fundamental and essential of question of all. Like life itself “WHY?” has to do with its essence: “WHY?” is deep, philosophical, profound, simple, all a bit out of the ordinary. If one question leads to another, the second one will take us to a journey, an experience. There is this thing called “Life” that is both an experience and a journey. What else do we need to know about “journey” and “experience?” It’s days, one after the other that represents a journey, each and every one adding a life’s experience. There are good days and bad, and some barely all that a person can do is just to be able to deal. Despite the aches, pains, trials and tribulations, we manage to persevere, get through the day albeit frustrated, exhausted or drained. As we live and breathe, our lives have purpose and meaning, gauged by accomplishments or lack thereof. They follow a course, path or life road map, planned or unplanned. For those journeying down the path of deliberateness, life is methodical, with direction and predestination, and along the haphazard or prescribed course we call life, and there are tasks that we take charge.

Importance of a Company Newsletter

When I first realized the company I recently started with had locations in Pennsylvania, Texas, and California and in South America, I asked how we communicated critical information to our employees.  I was told the owners and executive management met with employees directly or sent emails.