Follow the Yellow Belt Road
This chapter describes the introductory training program. It also notes where there may be differences among Lean practitioners in terminology and methods. The lack of standardization may seem somewhat paradoxical, since standard work is one of the core tenants of Lean. However, the principle of continuous improvement coexists with standard work, as the improved product replaces the previous product. It is in this spirit that we developed our Lean Yellow Belt training. The typical Yellow Belt class runs for 3 days. Six of the 18 hours are comprised of instructional periods, interspersed with 12 hours applying Lean techniques to a kaizen project. The assembly line in American manufacturing was an innovation in the use of smooth flow and standard work. Toyota added the component of customer value by designing an innovative management system. Lean in manufacturing initially targeted seven wastes: defects, overproduction, waiting, transportation, inventory, motion, and excess processing. The cost of producing unsold items or unusable items clearly impacts the bottom line.