The Power of Process : A Story of Innovative Lean Process Development book cover
1st Edition

The Power of Process
A Story of Innovative Lean Process Development

ISBN 9780367690304
Published October 29, 2021 by Productivity Press
252 Pages 124 B/W Illustrations

FREE Standard Shipping
USD $39.95

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

Lean Process Creation teaches the specific frames—the 6CON model—to look through to properly design any new process while optimizing the value-creating resources. The framing is applicable to create any process that involves people, technology, or equipment—whether the application is in manufacturing, healthcare, services, retail, or other industries. If you have a process, this approach will help. The result is 30% to 50% improvement in first-time quality, customer lead time, capital efficiency, labor productivity, and floorspace that could add up to millions of dollars saved per year. More important, it will increase both employee and customer satisfaction.

The book details a case study from a manufacturing standpoint, starting with a tangible example to reinforce the 6CON model. This is the first book written from this viewpoint—connecting a realistic transformation with the detailed technical challenges, as well as the engagement of the stakeholders, each with their own bias. Key points and must-do actions are sprinkled throughout the case study to reinforce learning from the specific to the general. In this study, an empowered working team is charged with developing a new production line for a critical new product. As the story unfolds, they create an improved process that saves $5.6 million (10x payback on upfront resource investment) over the short life cycle of the product, as well as other measurable benefits in quality, ergonomics, and delivery. To an even greater benefit, they establish a new way of working that can be applied to all future process creation activities.

Some organizations have tried their version of Lean process design following a formula or cookie-cutter approach. But true Lean process design goes well beyond forcing concepts and slogans into every situation. It is purposeful, scientific, and adaptable because every situation starts with a unique current state. In addition, Lean process design must include both the technical and social aspects, as they are essential to sustaining and improving any system.

Observing the recurring problem of reworking processes that were newly launched brought the authors to the conclusion that a practical book focused on introducing the critical frames of Lean process creation was needed. This book enables readers to consider the details within each frame that must be addressed to create a Lean process. No slogans, no absolutes. Real thinking is required. This type of thinking is best learned from an example, so the authors provide this case study to demonstrate the thinking that should be applied to any process. High volume or low, simple or complex mix, manufacturing or service/transactional—the framing and thinking works. Along with the thinking, readers are enabled to derive their own future states. This is demonstrated in the story that surrounds the case study.

Table of Contents





Foreword by Jim Morgan, PhD



Section-1: Setting the Stage





Chapter-1: The Situation


The Steering Team – State of the Business


The Design Review


High Voltage Switch Product Overview – Concept 1


Lessons from the Factory Floor


Kaizen or Touzen?


The Stages of Lean Process Creation


6CON model


The Steering Team – Establishing a Cadence


Must-Do Actions for Getting Started


Key Questions for Getting Started


Section-2: Innovative Lean Process Development

Chapter-2: Context


One Day Later


The Value Stream


Objectives and Targets


The Value Stream’s Operating Strategy


Operational Declaration


Takt Scenarios


The War Room


The Steering Team – Learning to be Helpful


Must-Do Actions for Context


Key Questions for Context


Chapter-3: Concepts


Natural Cycle Time


Concept 2




Concept 3


Work Combination Table




Motion Kaizen




The Steering Team – Depth, then Breadth


Must-Do Actions for Concepts


Key Questions for Concepts


Chapter-4: Converge




Creativity Before Capital Revisited










The Steering Team – Planning for Breadth


Must-Do Actions for Converge


Key Questions for Converge


Chapter-5: Configure


Engaging the remaining Enterprise




Common and Unique Parts


Workplace Design Details


Quality Control


Supporting the Team Members


The Steering Team – Normal vs. Abnormal


Cell Shape




Supporting the Team Members – Take 2


Must-Do Actions for Configure


Key Questions for Configure


Chapter-6: Confirm


Value Stream Readiness


Trail #1 – Poor Planning


The Steering Team – Waiting for a Signal


Trail #2 – Back on Track


Trial #3 – Quality Strikes!


The Steering Team – Helpful Help: Responding to the Signal


Trail #4 – Back on Track Again


Trail #5 – Safety & Engineering Support


Trial #6 – The Details


The Steering Team - Confirmed


Must-Do Actions for Confirm


Key Questions for Confirm


Chapter-7: Continuously Improve


The Team Reflects


The Steering Team - Six Months Post-Launch


The Steering Team - Twelve Months Post-Launch


Must-Do Actions for Continuously Improve


Key Questions for Continuously Improve


Chapter-8: Conclusion


What Now?


An Action Plan for Today


The Work: The 6Con Model and Key Starter Questions from each Chapter




About the Authors

View More



Matt Zayko has more than 25 years of experience in leading lean enterprise improvements in numerous industries by helping them transform product development, engineering, manufacturing, service processes, and operating systems. Matt worked in a variety of staff- and management-level roles under the guidance of former Toyota mentors for Chrysler / University of Michigan, Gelman Sciences, Delphi, and Pall (now part of Danaher) before starting his own consultancy and affiliating with the Lean Enterprise Institute (LEI). Matt has authored numerous works based on successful transformation, including articles that have been published in “Journal of Quality Engineering”, “IIE Solutions”, “Journal of Cost Management”, a chapter in the 1998 Shingo-Prize winning book “Becoming Lean”, and white papers for the Lean Enterprise Institute. Matt is a frequent presenter at conferences related to lean transformation and a long-time faculty member of LEI (, working closely with smaller, entrepreneurial-minded organizations, as well as larger, global companies. Matt received his M.S. in Industrial & Operations Engineering from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.

Eric Ethington is passionate about improvement, with over 35 years of experience feeding that passion. Starting as a fabrication area industrial engineer at General Motors’ AC Spark Plug division, making today better than yesterday has always been part of Eric’s routine. For 22 years Eric had formative experiences at Delco Electronics and Delphi, making him comfortable working with front-line operators within the plants up to senior executives at the company headquarters alike. Eric’s final years at Delphi had him leading the company’s corporate lean team, and developing and implementing processes specifically targeted at improving new product launch performance. Eric then spent the next five years in an executive position at Textron, supporting lean and six-sigma activities across several diverse businesses and industries. It was during this period that Eric earned his six-sigma black belt in design. Since 2009, Eric has continued learning and advancing both the science and art behind lean throughout the enterprise, working in diverse industries such as aerospace, healthcare, services, manufacturing and logistics. Eric holds a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial Engineering from Kettering University (formerly General Motors Institute) and an MBA in Operations from the University of Michigan, Flint campus. He supports the Lean Enterprise Institute in support of their Lean Product & Process Development initiative, and he serves on the Board of Directors at Goodwill Industries of Mid-Michigan.


"Eric and Matt have thought about why most kaizen is really rework for poorly designed processes. They have developed a way to align all parts of an organization to eliminate waste of all sorts in production processes before the start of production. I’m delighted with their important contribution to Lean Thinking that goes far beyond 3P and other methods of process development."

-- James P. Womack, PhD, Co-founder of the global Lean movement; Co-Author, Lean Thinking and The Machine That Changed The World; Founder, Lean Enterprise Institute


"Making things is important. Making things well with high quality, on time and low cost with improvements everyday leads to success and prosperity. The Power of Process both outlines the end goals and provides a realistic story of the path for getting to extraordinary goals. The book is well worth an investment of time and energy." 

-- Don Runkle, Senior Multi-Industry Executive; Former CTO & Board Member, Delphi Automotive Systems; Former Engineering VP, General Motors


"With The Power of Process, Matt Zayko and Eric Ethington give us something unique in the world of books about continuous improvement, management, and work design, which typically focus on either the product or the people creating it: this book shares a practical approach for engaging people in developing great processes. Anyone involved in designing or managing work should keep this book handy for quick reference on their physical or digital desktop."

-- John Shook, Chairman Lean Global Network


"The timing for this book could not be better. Many organizations are so very frustrated with their lack of CI progress. This framework is certain to help them to close the gap and adds context to demystifying lean transformation. And I love the presentation of learning through doing using case studies to cement the approach."

-- Crystal Davis, Founder & CEO, The Lean Coach Inc.; Experienced Operations and Engineering Leader at Fortune 50 Companies


"Finally, a book that lays out how to apply lean concepts to the process development phase through launch. The authors have done an excellent job of showing the benefits of engaging a cross functional team early on in the process so that touzen (rework) does not take place after launch. I only wish this book would have been in print earlier in my career."

-- Mary O'Neill, Senior Vice President Lean Manufacturing, Gates Industrial Corp


"The Power of Process is a remarkable guide and a must-read primer for anyone considering embarking on their own process design transformation. Through this self-reflective story, we are challenged by the reality in which we live today and inspired to drastically change our future -- NOW."

-- Mari Cummins, Retired Vice-President of Operations Excellence, Cardinal Health; Coach for the Master of Business of Operational Excellence at Fisher College of Business at the Ohio State University