The Psychology of Lean Improvements: Why Organizations Must Overcome Resistance and Change the Culture, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Psychology of Lean Improvements

Why Organizations Must Overcome Resistance and Change the Culture, 1st Edition

By Chris A. Ortiz

Productivity Press

182 pages | 16 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Hardback: 9781439878798
pub: 2012-04-09
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780429251795
pub: 2012-04-09
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Fear of change—we all experience it. Some accept change immediately, some gradually adapt, while others may never get there. Whether it’s poor leadership, the inability to change, or pure ego, this Shingo Prize-winning book explores this perplexing commitment to inefficiency.

Winner of a 2013 Shingo Prize!

The Psychology of Lean Improvements: Why Organizations Must Overcome Resistance and Change the Culture examines the psychology behind why businesses avoid Lean transformations. It investigates why businesses cling to the eight deadly wastes and why they still find ways to place continuous improvement on the back burner.

Frequently sought out for his expertise in Lean manufacturing, Chris Ortiz has been featured in a number of trade publications and on the television show Inside Business with Fred Thompson. In this book, Mr. Ortiz breaks down the fear of change within executives and organizational leaders. He examines the psychology of dysfunction, provides insight into why so many businesses fall short in creating visions for growth and prosperity, and identifies tools that can help you address resistance to change.

Detailing implementation techniques with a proven track record for success, the book considers specific strategies that can be helpful towards improving your company and changing its culture—including cellular manufacturing, total productive maintenance, setup reduction, Kanban, visual communication, and in-line production. It explains how to get started on your Lean transformation, describes why an economic downturn might be a good time to embrace Lean, and warns of the dangers behind failing to do so.

Chris A. Ortiz is the founder and president of Kaizen Assembly, a Lean manufacturing training and implementation firm in Bellingham, Washington. Watch Chris has being interviewed on Inside Business with Fred Thompson on CNN Headline News.


Table of Contents


The Psychology of Change

Perception of Change


Letting Go

Lean Is a Battlefield





Changing Your Business Strategy for Lean




Floor Space Use

Throughput Time

Psychology of Metrics

Leading the Lean Journey

What Have We Done for Our Customers Today?

Dangers of Not Going Lean in a Down Economy

Business Is Good, Why Improve?

Business Is Good, We Must Improve

Business Is Poor, Why Improve?

Business Is Poor, We Must Improve

Changing into a Lean Leader

Acknowledge and Involve Your Staff

Provide an Environment in Which People Can Be Successful

Do Not Humiliate Anyone Who Works for You

Create an Environment Where Mistakes Are Okay

Do Not Hide behind Your Position

Be Approachable

Admit Your Mistakes

Listen in a Way That Encourages Employees to Talk to You

Be Clear in Your Requests

Stand behind Your People

Be a Good Communicator


Need an ROI


Team Building

People Development

Strategic Planning

World-Class Products Need World-Class Processes

You Are the Creator of Your Business Reality

The Psychology of Waste

Psychology of Overproduction

Psychology of Overprocessing

Psychology of Motion and Transportation

Psychology of Inventory

Psychology of Defects

Psychology of Waiting

Psychology of Human Potential

"I’m Paid by the Hour"

No Investment in the People

People Are Expendable

Psychology of Waste: Conclusion

The Psychology of Dysfunction

Misconception of Working Hard


Living with Waste

Living with Overproduction


Quality Problems

Machines Issues

Living with Motion

Living with Transportation

Living with Overprocessing

Administrative Functions

Extra Steps and Redundant Effort

Inefficient Machines

Inability to Identify a Completion Point

Living with Defects

Living with Waiting

Living with Inventory

Facility Space

Production Process

Making Change Happen with 5S

5S and Visual Control


Set in Order

How to Make a Shadow Board

Personal Tools: Dilemma or Solution?

Tool Check Cards

Right Sizing during Set in Order

Examples of Right Sizing




Human Will

End of the Cleanup Procedures

Daily Walkthroughs

5S Audit

5S Tracking


Psychology of 5S

Making Change with Lean

What Type of Manufacturer Are You?

Process Based

Assembly Line

Cellular Manufacturing

Inline Production

Cellular and Inline Production

Inline Production

Total Productive Maintenance (TPM)

5S Maintenance

Baseline Equipment and One-Turn Method

Operator PM Requirements

Proactive TPM

Predictive TPM

Maintenance Technician

Visual TPM Boards

Kanban and Material Replenishment

Setup Reduction and Quick Changeover


Tool Placement

Visual Setup Boards

Material Handling

Intermediate Jigs

Visual Metrics and Performance

Facility Performance


On-Time Delivery (OTD)




Metric Communication Boards (Production)

Production Control Boards

Keeping the Lean Fire Going


Pay-for-Skill Program

Number of Jobs



Kaizen and Kaizen Event Participation

Quality Errors

More Returns

Lean Training Programs

New Employee Training Programs

Level 1: Company Product Overview Training

Level 2: Quality Overview

Level 3: Introduction to Lean Manufacturing

Eight Wastes

5S and the Visual Workplace

Standard Work

Available Time


Level 4: Mock Line Training

Cross-Training Program

Levels of Progression

Novice (N)

Certified (C)

Trainer (T)

Temporary Worker Progression

Training Managers and Engineers






About the Author

Chris A. Ortiz is the founder and president of Kaizen Assembly, a Lean manufacturing training and implementation firm in Bellingham, Washington. Chris has been featured on Inside Business ( with Fred Thompson on CNN Headline News. He is the author of five books on Lean manufacturing, (see list below). Chris has been featured in dozens of publications including Assembly Magazine, Industrial Engineer, Industrial Management, Metal Finishes, Plant Engineer, Auto Body News, and Collision Repair Magazine to name a few.

Chris Ortiz is a frequent presenter and keynote speaker at conferences such as the IIE Annual Conference and the NACE Automotive Exposition. He has also been interviewed on KGMI radio, and has written numerous articles on Lean manufacturing and business improvement for various regional and national publications. Chris also was recently on the national radio show the American Innovator. He is invited to speak at a few international business and manufacturing conference in Europe every year.

Kaizen Assembly’s clients include industry leaders in aerospace, composites, processing industries, automotive, rope manufacturing, restoration equipment, food processing, and fish processing.

Mr. Ortiz has been trained by the John Costanza Institute of Technology in "Demand Flow Technology" and by the Georgia Institute of Technology for ISO 9001: 2000 Internal Quality Auditing. He is also a member of the Institute of Industrial Engineers and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers. He is the creator of the LEAN Marketplace ( Chris Ortiz is considered to be an expert in the field in lean manufacturing implementation.

He is the author of:

  • Kaizen Assembly: Designing, Constructing, and Managing a Lean Assembly Line (Taylor and Francis, 2006). Now in its second print.
  • Lesson from a Lean Consultant: Avoiding Lean Implementation Failure on the Shop Floor (Prentice Hall, 2008)
  • Kaizen and Kaizen Event Implementation (Prentice Hall, 2009). Translated into Portuguese
  • Lean Auto Body (Kaizen Assembly, 2009)
  • Visual Controls: Applying Visual Management to the Factory (Taylor and Francis/Productivity Press, December 2010).

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Quality Control
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Workplace Culture