About Your Instructor

Art has been active for over 30 years in the fields of leadership, problem solving, and improvement. Join numerous other organizations and teams who have improved dramatically from his advice.

Art Smalley

Art Smalley is a renowned author, consultant and expert specializing in the areas of leadership, lean thinking and world class methods for improvement based upon the Toyota Production System. Through his company Art of Lean, Inc. he has served numerous companies and leading organizations around the world. He is frequently called upon to speak at conferences and advise organizations in the area of performance improvement and leadership development.

In the latter part of the 1980’s Art was one of the first American’s to work for Toyota Motor Corporation in Japan first studying at different universities. Art was assigned to the famous Kamigo Engine Plant where Taiichi Ohno was the founding plant manager and perfected many of his improvement concepts. During his time with Toyota in Japan Art helped launch several key facilities involving precision engine components.

After a decade of both education and work in Japan, Art returned to the United States and served as Director of Improvement for Donnelly Corporation a $1 billion tier one automotive parts supplier. During this time Donnelly Corporation executed one of the most impressive multi-site improvement transformations in North American winning multiple awards while substantially improving net income as well as operational metrics in safety, quality, productivity, delivery, and morale. As a result Art’s work was profiled in Forbes magazine and subsequently mentioned in numerous books and conferences.

In 1998 Art subsequently joined the international management consulting firm of McKinsey & Company and was one of the firm’s leading experts in the area of operational improvement. During this time he counseled numerous Fortune 500 clients on operational matters involving lean implementation and oversaw specific cost, quality, and delivery improvement projects.

In 2002 Art launched his own company Art of Lean, Inc. and now divides his time serving a diverse base of manufacturing companies, service organizations, national laboratories, and private equity holdings.

In addition Art serves as senior faculty member and periodic adviser to the Lean Enterprise Institute and its global affiliates delivering lectures and workshops to leading operational executives around the world. Art has authored four different books pertaining to improvement and problem solving. Links to the books on Amazon can be found on the Publications page of this website.

In 2006 Art was inducted as a lifetime member of the Shingo Prize Academy for Excellence in recognition of his contributions to lean manufacturing knowledge. In his spare time Art enjoys spending time with his family, woodworking, martial arts, photography, and reading books.

What People Are Saying

Find out what it's like to work with Art Smalley

"I had the pleasure of working with Art Smalley first at Toyota in Powertrain Operations and then later on leading teams in American companies on their lean journey. There is no finer problem solving thought leader or coach I can recommend other than Art Smalley."

- Russ Scaffede, Retired VP Toyota Motor Corporation

"Art and I go back over 30 years to our time in Japan together working on the original materials and training for the Toyota Production System. His problem solving mastery and explanation of the 4 Types of Problems is the best way I can recommend to any leader thinking of improving problem solving in their organization."

- John Shook, Retired President and Chairman Lean Enterprise Institute

"Art Smalley has been a key resource in our thought development for creating a problem solving culture across global Timken. His approach and experience brought clarity to the 4 Types of Problems and how we needed to train, support, and leverage all associates in order to continuously identify and solve problems across our organization."

- Dan McFadden, Director Operations Timken Corporation

"We have found that our problem-solving framework inspired by Art Smalley's 4 Types of Problems has helped us build more effective improvement capacity within our company and improve the efficiency of problem-solving across our organization and with our partner organizations as well."

- Tim Reimann, Executive VP Operations McGough Construction

FREE Online Course

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Start your journey today to better problems solving skills and leadership mastery with our free 2-hour introductory course.

What you'll get:

  • An introduction to the 4 Types of Problems
  • Why one type is not enough.
  • How experts think about problems solving
  • What mistakes most organizations make
  • How to improve your own skills
  • How to think like a problem solving leader

And many other benefits as well. Act now while we are in the initial phase of this site. This trial offer won't last long.

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