Blog Archive

One of the strengths of The Lean Machine (TLM) is the ability to interlink modules so that you can manage what’s important to your organization.

A service company needed a way to manage projects that generated many documents.  These documents were organized on their file server.

Instead of having to set up a link to each document from their project management software, what they really needed was a way to link the TLM module(s) they used for project management to the project folder(s) on their server.

We decided the bestAttachmentPath approach would be to provide a project folder path field for the attachment system already built into TLM.

That way, regardless of which modules you combine for project management purposes, or how many different project folders need to be identified,  TLM has you covered.

While TLM has a module called “Project Management” that can be used to link together several other modules such as Events, Document Control, Meeting and Reviews, etc, the best combination for your purposes might not require this top level record.

Even just one module, such as Corrective and Preventive Actions, might have enough functionality to manage the information, approvals, and sequence of events that your organization considers a “project.”

Although the most generic project management module would probably be the Events module, as with a Gantt Chart add in (sold separately) you are able to print out Gantt Charts that show the projects progress.

This video describes some new features that we developing to be delivered exclusively through consulting projects that will deliver customized and functional process maps to The Lean Machine user interface.

The current ISO 9001 standard say’s the following about your quality policy.

Top management shall ensure that the quality policy

a) is appropriate to the purpose of the organization,

b) includes a commitment to comply with requirements and continually improve the effectiveness of the quality

management system,

c) provides a framework for establishing and reviewing quality objectives,

d) is communicated and understood within the organization, and

e) is reviewed for continuing suitability.

In order to achieve some of these objectives, we decided to give the management rep the option to display the quality policy on the main menu.   We have feedback from our customers that every auditor who sees this can’t help but smile at the elegance of the solution.  They can’t possibly argue that you don’t meet this requirement if every user of the quality system has to look at the quality policy every time they log into the software.

Helping you meet the requirement was the primary objective, of course, making a good first impression with your auditor was just icing on the cake. 🙂


One of the great features of The Lean Machine is that it let’s you manage multiple job descriptions. However, there is a little bit of a ripple effect to that feature when it comes to assigning users to the Training Record of a new document revision, as users with more than one job description will have their names added for each job description.

The original thought was that while they only need to read the document once, signing off for both job descriptions makes them consider the procedure changes for each job description seperately.

Sounds good, but in practice maybe it’s better to have a little more flexibility. Version 503 will now have a system setting for “Add Training Record for each assigned job description.”

Instead of being a Yes / No option, this setting will be “Always,” “Never,” and “Let user decide.”  This should give the management rep enough flexibility to have The Lean Machine behave in a way that works best at their company.

The Lean Machine is finding itself in larger and larger companies and one of our recent installations was for a company with two different facilities in different states.  We were contacted by Nola, who was asks to provide some reporting on employee training, and specifically who at their facility still needed to sign off on document training from the document control module.

Poor Nola, she wasn’t included in the original decision to purchase The Lean Machine to manage their quality system, but she is a primary user and found a gap between what TLM currently could do, and what she really needed.

It doesn’t matter how many people you have on the software selection committee, and how long you spend trying to itemize all the needs you think you have.

The needs you understand today are going to look different than the needs you have tomorrow for your QMS software.

Luckily for Nola, her company uses The Lean Machine.  Nola sent us an e-mail describing her issue,  and now we are adding a field to designate a facility for an employee that will be going into the next update.

This will then be added to the training reporting screen filters so that she can isolate training reports by facility.

While this small change doesn’t seem like a big deal, just imagine how Nola is going to feel about us making her job easier in this one little area of The Lean Machine.

This little anecdote gives you some insight into what it is like to be one of our customers, and the peace of mind they have knowing that they can pursue the art of continuous improvement at their facility with TLM as a secret weapon of sorts that their competition probably doesn’t even know about.  🙂


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