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Frequently asked questions:
Lean FAQ's . . . . . . . LEAN DEFINITIONS . . . . . . . Listserv FAQ's

For questions about the website, see below.

What is NWLEAN? Back to FAQ's
NWLEAN is an association of manufacturing and non-manufacturing organizations, formed to share knowledge, experiences, and best practices with respect to Lean Manufacturing and World Class Manufacturing implementations.

Formed in October of 1997, NWLEAN is recognized as one of the most successful organizations of its kind, helping companies all over the world implement lean operational techniques.

Why is membership free? Back to FAQ's
The true power of knowledge is only realized when that power is shared. Lean techniques make your company more competitive, and a more competitive environment is better for everyone.

By not charging for this service, NWLEAN hopes to gather as many participants from as many industries as possible, in order to share experiences with respect to their lean implementations.

Who can join NWLEAN? Back to FAQ's
Companies and individuals from all areas of the world are encouraged to participate in NWLEAN. Most participate via email (sharing information and commenting on various NWLEAN activities) and by using the website (
How can I join? Back to FAQ's
The only requirements are to fill out the member profile ( and have a desire to reduce costs, and increase profits and customer satisfaction.
What are 'sponsors'? Back to FAQ's
For NWLEAN to remain an 'ad-free' zone, resources must be donated in order to keep this community active. NWLEAN relies on 'sponsors' to meet those resource needs. These sponsors are individuals or organizations that agree to assist with specific projects, or provide resources for a specific period of time.

Since we don't allow advertising on the website, we allow sponsors to post links to their sites, so that our members can use their products and services as they desire. Our list of current and past sponsors can be found at

How can I (or my company) become a sponsor? Back to FAQ's
Sponsorship information, as well as information on our LEAN LINKS and LINK EXCHANGE programs can be found at
Will my email address be sold? Will I be bombarded by advertising or spam? Back to FAQ's
NEVER!! It is expressly against NWLEAN policy to sell email lists, give away email addresses, or any other related activities. We also don't allow spam to be passed through the listserv (every message is carefully screened), so you can feel free to ask your questions in complete anonimity and safety.
My screen seems crowded, or hard to navigate. How can I maximize my screen to best take advantage of the NWLEAN website? Back to FAQ's
  • Change your screen resolution to 800x600 (TRUE COLOR), or 1024x768 (TRUE COLOR) in order to 'gain more real estate' on your computer monitor.
  • Maximize your browser screen.
  • Close any applications that you don't need, in order to more efficiently use your computer's memory.
  • Update your browser to the latest version of Netscape (preferred) or Microsoft's Internet Explorer. Netscapes current browser can be found at, and Microsoft's current browser can be found at
I didn't find my question here. How can I submit a question about the website? Back to FAQ's
Send any questions to , and the Leanmaster will get back to you as soon as possible!
How does the listserv work? Back to FAQ's
The listserv is an ongoing, online forum. Members use the listserv to ask questions, comment on solutions, and network with the members of the NWLEAN community. Messages sent to the listserv are available to all members of NWLEAN to read and respond to. Some members recieve each message via email, others prefer to have a DAILY DIGEST, while still others prefer no email (accessing the messages via the website). Each member decides whether the individual messages are of particular interest, and can choose to read, respond, or discard the messages. (NOTE: Getting too much email? Click here to learn about other listserv access options.)
How can I join the listserv?
Members who register (by filling out a member profile) are automatically subscribed to the listserv. If you haven't yet registered, click here.
I am getting too much email from the listserv. Are there options available that allow me to recieve less email, while still having access to the messages? Back to FAQ's
The listserv automatically sets up your account for email delivery of messages. However, there are (2) other options which can help you manage the amount of email you receive.

The DAILY DIGEST option collects all of the days messages and places them in a single email. This email is sent at the end of the day, so you receive all the list traffice in one message. There are disadvantages with this option. Most of the listserv messages contain fragments (or the entire text) of previous messages. This makes the DAILY DIGEST emails very long and difficult to read.

The WEB ACCESS option eliminates email altogether. No email is sent, but all listserv messages are stored on the server for access anytime you like. The messages are available at the archive link, on the NWLEAN homepage. The disadvantage with this option is that you can miss the interactivity of the discussion, as it occurs in real time.

To change your account to one of these options, just send an email to, specifying which option you desire. PLEASE NOTE that it may take several days to process your request, and you will be notified when it has been completed.

How can I ask questions of the members? Back to FAQ's
If you are a registered member, all you have to do is send email to

If you are not a member, you can join for free at

How can I respond to or comment on a listserv message? Back to FAQ's
If you received the message via email, you have (2) options. You can use your email programs 'REPLY' function to answer the question (this is the preferred method, so that all members interested in the topic can benefit from the answers posted). If your reply is of a more 'personal' nature (or won't benefit members of the group), you can reply directly to the individual who posted the message.

PLEASE NOTE: When replying to a message, delete as much of the original message as you can, only leaving fragments relevant to your response. This makes the messages more readable for our members who use the DAILY DIGEST option.

Should I respond directly to the sender, or to the entire list? Back to FAQ's
The preferred method is to respond to the entire list (just use your email programs REPLY function). This allows all members to benefit from the problems solving process, and to broaden their understanding of the application of lean techniques in a wide variety of environments.

There are circumstances in which you should respond directly to the sender. If you are sending personal information, if the reply is of a personal nature, or if the reply won't generally benefit the group, please respond directly to the person who posted the message.

How do I respond to the sender, as opposed to the entire list? Back to FAQ's
Your email program should display the email address of the sender. The REPLY function of most email programs will automatically set up your reply to the listserv, since that is where the email was sent from. Copy the senders email address into a new message and send as you normally would.
My response didn't get posted to the listserv. Why is this? Back to FAQ's
NWLEAN is a 'moderated' listserv. Each message is screened prior to posting. This prevents spam, viruses, and 'out of office' messages from being sent.

Because of the volume of traffic we see each day, we can't post all responses. Here is how we prioritize what gets posted:

  1. All questions get posted immediately
  2. Responses which emphasize lean principles and actual experiences (site sponsor responses receive preference)
  3. Responses which contain relevant practical information
In addition, there are specific reasons a response doesn't get posted:
  1. Responses with ATTACHED FILES
  2. Responses which emphasis non-lean solutions
  3. Responses which are redundant, or significantly similar to previous responses
  4. Responses which advocate specific software solutions
  5. Responses which are overly commercial in nature (more latitude is given to our sponsors here...)
  6. Responses which are more appropriate for a private dialog
    (such as 'Hey John, have you tried this....?')
  7. Responses which are in any way derogatory or inflammatory
Some responses may experience a delay in posting, as we try to keep the traffic to a manageable level. So a response may be posted a day or 2 later, when traffic is lower.

If a message outside of this criteria was not posted, it is possible that technical difficulties (anywhere from the time you hit SEND) prevented proper delivery. Feel free to send the message again, or contact the LEANMASTER at to find out why it didn't get through.

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More questions? Please feel free to send email to

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