Noted author and consultant Norman Bodek is featured in the first two episodes of the LeanBlog Podcast, available now. The LeanBlog Podcast uses the new “podcast” medium to help explain Toyota Production System and lean manufacturing concepts to a large audience of companies that are implementing lean in industries ranging from manufacturing to banking and healthcare.

The podcasts are an extension of the LeanBlog Web site, which has been featuring discussion and commentary about lean manufacturing since February 2005. The LeanBlog site currently receives more than 300 visitors per day.

Future episodes of the LeanBlog Podcast will feature other innovators and thought leaders in the lean manufacturing world, including author and consultant Jamie Flinchbaugh, of the Lean Learning Center. Podcasts will be published every three to four weeks.

The podcasts can be heard and downloaded by visiting www.leanpodcast.org or www.leanblog.org. The podcasts are also available for free download with Apple iTunes software and the iTunes Music Store.’

In the first podcast episode, Bodek and Graban discuss the development of “kaizen” (continuous improvement) and suggestion programs at Toyota, along with the evolution over time and from Japan to North America. Bodek explained, “Kaizen is small incremental change, incremental improvements, getting everyone in the company involved. The purpose of a suggestion system is to get employees’ ideas, to get everybody involved and to empower people, to help them contribute, in a direct way, to the organization.”

The second podcast focuses on the lean concept of not blaming individual employees for quality defects or other problems that occur in the workplace. Bodek said, “Respect for people is the key difference between Toyota and other companies that are attempting to do lean and are failing or not maximizing lean. When we blame others we are only shifting responsibility away from ourselves. Every manager should feel like former President Harry Truman, who said, 'The buck stops here.' Sure you challenge people to succeed. You lead them, you inspire them, and you change the process that allows mistakes to occur. When you focus on process improvement, develop people properly - especially through their own creative ideas, you then accept every problem as an opportunity to improve. Blame people and you can lose them forever.”