May 13, 2013
By Jim Womack via lean.org Source
Making Things Better Without Authority
“Without broad authority, you have to lead by facts … You have to lead by learning more. You have to lead with a positive spirit. You have to help people raise their consciousness. People want to do better, they don’t have a method. You’re bringing the method.”
April 29, 2013
By Bob Emiliani via youtube.com Video
April 1, 2013
By Bill Flury via squawkpoint.com Article
“A good idea. We were discussing how we could get started with the business of process improvement. Somebody said:
“Hey! … Let’s hold a series of best practice workshops and see what ideas people bring us. “
We agreed that we should test the idea by each of us calling some key people in our respective centers and getting their reactions. What a surprise we got!
Reaction 1: “We don’t have any best practices.” I’m not sure we even have anything that you could call a practice. Every job is different. Every customer is different. We just do what we think is best for each case.
Reaction 2: “How would you compare practices?” We don’t really keep track from one project to the next on what we do. …
Reaction 3: “Who are the best practices supposed to be best for?” Who would we want to please with our best practices?
The support groups …
Reaction 4: “How could you convince everyone that one version of a practice is best?” … Lots of people come up with ideas but nobody ever comes forward with anyconvincing data – just opinions.
A better idea
We decided that it would be premature to try to hold the proposed workshops. We had to attack the feedback first. So here’s what we did: ….”
March 18, 2013
By Mark Graban via Lean Blog Article
“I Don’t Always Ask Why, But When I Do, I Ask it 5 Times”
March 11, 2013
By Mike Shipulski via Innovation Excellence Article
Error Doesn’t Matter, Trial Does
“If you want to learn, to really learn, experiment. But I’m not talking about elaborate experiments; I’m talking about crude ones. Not simple ones, crude ones.
We were taught the best experiments maximize learning, but that’s dead wrong. The best experiments are fast, and the best way to be fast is to minimize the investment. In the name of speed, don’t maximize learning, minimize the investment. …
Define learning narrowly, design the minimum experiment, and run the trial. Learning per trial is low, but learning per month skyrockets because the number of trials per month skyrockets. … The first trial informs the second which shapes the third. But instead of three units of learning, it’s cubic. …
Another way to minimize investment is to minimize resolution. Don’t think nanometers, think thumbs up, thumbs down. Design the trial so the coarsest measuring stick gives an immediate and unambiguous response. … Think sledgehammer to the forehead.”
March 4, 2013
By L.M Loucha via Lean Math Article
Rules of Thumb - Begin quote
- 80/20 Pareto Principle – roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.
- The most difficult part of a project is the last 10%. The 90-50 project management rule of thumb comes into effect when you have completed 90% of the project leaving only 50% left to complete.
- “Measure twice, cut once” – master carpenter Norm Abrams.
- Read an important e-mail at least twice, then answer once.
- “The total work content – that is the operator time required to process one piece from start to finish – should not vary by more than about 30% between the different end items processed in the cell, especially when a moving conveyor is used.” – Creating Continuous Flow by Mike Rother and Rick Harris.
- Adding manpower to a late project always makes it later.
- “We have two ears and one mouth so we may listen more and talk the less.” – Epictetus, a Greek-born Roman slave and Stoic philosopher (55–135 A.D.)
- Do as little QA as possible and no less.
- “A place for everything, and everything in its place.”
- Staff the KPO with 1% of total headcount.
- Anyone should be able to walk into a workplace and identify the flow of work being done within 60 seconds.
- A good estimate of the standard deviation of a set of measurements is (max – min)/6.
- “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.”
- “Don’t just do something, stand there.”
- Parkinson’s Law: Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. – Cyril Northcote Parkinson, 1955 (generalized and extended – The demand upon a resource tends to expand to match the supply of the resource. And. The reverse is not true.)
February 25, 2013
By John Shook via Lean Enterprise Institute Article
Lead From The Front, Lead From Behind
“I am growing ever more leery of cries for “strong leadership” of the hero variety with the leader exercising command and control, telling the troops what to do. … As long as any system is dependent on “leadership” it is fragile and dependent – literally – on the individual who happens to be in charge today. Fans of charismatic or forceful leadership squirm at this message. But over time I have come to think that the real issue is learning to build systems that accomplish the things we advocate (problem solving culture, individuals engaged in continuous improvement, etc.). …
There are occasions that call for more directive leadership behavior and those that call for patient consensus building, always in pursuit of attaining organizational purpose. But, lean thinking in practice calls for more than just leadership that sways with the situation of the moment. Close examination reveals a few common denominators. Observable behaviors include demonstrations of respect for people, rigorous application of scientific thinking, and flexible application of practices to solve problems and continuously improve processes. Observable behaviors – things we can see; things we can choose to do.
Most important of all, lean leadership isn’t a matter of position, it’s a matter of action. Action that can be taken at any level, in any situation, and the leadership can work down, up, or sideways.”
February 18, 2013
By Bill Waddell via Manufacturing Leadership Center Article
“C. K. Prahalad and Gary Hamel wrote The Core Competence of the Corporation in the Harvard Business Review back in 1990 and it has been the rationale for outsourcing ever since. The logic behind it is the antithesis of lean thinking, and based 100% on a functional silo mentality. Twenty year old anti-lean thinking doesn’t die easily, but dying is exactly what the theory of core competence is doing, as anything that flies in the face of lean principles inevitably does.
The idea behind lean is that the entire process – the value stream – from the most basic supplier to the final end customer must be optimized. ‘Optimized’ means synchronizing, tightening, and integrating the sequence of steps so as to maximize the efforts creating value for that end customer, and eliminating anything and everything that is not contributing to customer value. Most of that waste – the steps, resources and money expended on activities that don’t add value – is the result of gaps and friction between the different functions along the value stream. Different departmental priorities, capacity imbalances, different planning methods and systems, and geographic space between functions are all typical drivers of waste.
Core Competence thinking ignores all of that – even adds to it. The idea behind it is that a company should pluck a step or two out of the process that it thinks it does particularly well – product engineering, say, or precision grinding – and outsource all of the rest to someone else who thinks those other vale adding steps is more in their wheelhouse. That is the path GE and just about everyone else went down. The hole in the thinking – the problems and waste that inevitably results from disconnecting the value stream – has finally become apparent.”
January 21, 2013
By Mark Graban via Lean Blog Article
Alabama Coach Nick Saban – National Champion & Lean Thinker?
“Just before kickoff, ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi asked Saban, “Coach, you love to talk about process… but this game is all about results. What do you need to do to win tonight’s game?” …
In the Lean mindset:
- Good results, bad process = Bad… we must have gotten lucky or we still need to improve
- Bad results, bad process = Yup, we have to fix the process
- Bad results, good process = Hmmm, maybe we don’t have the right process after all
- Good results, good process = The ideal situation …
Saban described “the process” as “what you have to do day in and day out to be successful.” He elaborated:
“We try to define the standard that we want everybody to sort of work toward, adhere to, and do it on a consistent basis. And the things that I talked about before, being responsible for your own self-determination, having a positive attitude, having great work ethic, having discipline to be able to execute on a consistent basis, whatever it is you’re trying to do, those are the things that we try to focus on, and we don’t try to focus as much on the outcomes as we do on being all that you can be.
Having standards. Being responsible. Having a positive attitude. Working hard. Those are all core Lean principles.”
September 10, 2012
By Lonnie Wilson in Manufacturing Leadership Excellence Article
How to Design a Lean Implementation So Failure is Guaranteed
“Someone from the C-suite, like the CEO, makes a visit to a nearby facility that claims it is “lean by every measure.” … And he is sold, absolutely, totally sold on this “lean thing.”
He promptly gathers the rest of the C-suite and with conviction and passion declares that this “lean thing” is “exactly what we need.” With animation like he has never displayed, the CEO relays all of the wonderful things he has just seen. Soon he is surrounded by a group of impassioned followers. Quickly they devise a plan by appointing Juan as the lean leader. He is a midlevel manager who is proficient in many of these techniques and has been a vocal advocate of lean for years. Next they appoint three others to work with Juan — the lean implementation team — and announce that Juan will unveil the lean implementation plan in 30 days. The team, on schedule, publishes the implementation plan. They want to get everyone involved so their year-one objectives are to implement 5S and standard work across the entire corporation. Juan and his team teach all the facilities and spend a great deal of time traveling to each facility. Juan and his team not only introduce the initiative but also teach the tools. They then are required to follow up and assist the various locations as those workers implement the lean tools.
Does this sound good to you? Well . . . don’t be fooled. This is the perfect formula for failure. So what’s wrong? We have a jazzed-up top management. We have dedicated expert resources to train and support. We have a published plan. Everyone appears to be on board. Excitement and anticipation are high. Doesn’t it sound like success is right around the corner? Well, the lean answer is “no.” The not-so-lean answer is “hell no.”"
September 3, 2012
By Al Norval in Lean Pathways Article
Wisdom vs. Bureaucracy
“There’s an old adage about wisdom that says “A wise man knows when to break the rules”. This wisdom comes from years of experience and is learned slowly over time through solving countless problems.
Bureaucrats on the other hand hide behind rules and blindly enforce them no matter how silly they are and how bad the consequences are. After all, the rules need to be followed. We’ve all had experiences with steely eyed bureaucrats enforcing ridiculous rules. …
In Lean we equate rules with standards. We teach people that standards are there to be followed. Not blindly like bureaucrats but followed and if we can’t follow them, then pull the andon and raise the problem. By raising the problem we give ourselves a chance to problem solve and eliminate the root cause from happening again. In Lean, standards are there to tell us when we can’t follow the standard. They are there to help us identify problems.
Standards then become the basis for all improvement and as Taiichi Ohno said “Without Standards, there can be no improvement””
July 30, 2012
By Pascal Dennis on Lean Pathways Article
“Like most people, I went to business and engineering school with the best intentions – get a better job, learn interesting stuff, become a better manager and so on. But we pick up more than we bargain for – including dysfunctional mental models, which I’ve written about at length. We begin to believe that, because we are so smart and well-educated, we can manage from a distance. And the corollaries:
- What can front line workers possible teach us?
- Improvement means head office INITIATIVES dreamed up by people — just like us!
Result? Endless INITIATIVES stream out of head office. They crowd out real work and often crush our managers and team members. Everywhere, I see good people struggling under the weight of actual work plus the funny work head office insists on. Executives are like crows – they like shiny things. …
At our old Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada plant – we never had INITIATIVES. We had tough performance targets set through Strategy Deployment, and the expectation that we’d figure out root causes & countermeasures. Result: we focused entirely on making the day’s production and improving our management system. We were free to balance continuous improvement with breakthrough. We owned our management system.”
July 23, 2012
By Al Norva at Lean Pathways Article
Value Added vs. People Being Valuable
“A big part of Lean is observing the work that people do and breaking it down into three categories:
- value added work,
- non-value added work
- necessary non-value added work
When teams go through this exercise, people are always amazed at how small a percentage of their time is actually spent doing value added work. For knowledge workers in an office environment, it could be 15-20% of their time is spent doing value added work. For a product moving through a value stream, the amount of time spent on value added activity is often less than 1% of the total lead time for the product. …
It’s often a shock to people when they learn that 80% of their work is non-value added. Many times they assume we are saying they are non-value added and react accordingly often with anger and indignation. On the contrary, we aren’t saying the people are non-value added, we are saying much of the work they do is non-value added. The people themselves are still valuable team members. We need to separate the people from the work they do. …
When this happens, I always fall back on the pillars of Lean and talk about how Lean is built on Respect for Humanity. Lean is very respectful of people and so sees it as dis-respectful to ask people to do work that is full of waste.”
June 18, 2012
By Jason Piatt Article
Lean is About People, Not Tools
“If we consider the position of a typical American plant manager, the problem-statement has historically been “keep hitting your numbers, make sure the plant has plenty of work in the backlog, and avoid too many problems with the union and vendors.” This perspective typically forces the plant manager to stay in his or her office, focus on “the numbers,” run large batches of product to gain efficiency, etcetera.
Utilizing TPS, the problems are redefined entirely. The new goals are “produce only items that have been ordered by a customer, never let plant personnel face a problem alone, never skip past a problem in the plant, and continually improve the plant’s processes.” The work of the plant manager will now dramatically change. In order to solve the problems in the TPS perspective, the plant manager must spend most of his or her time on the shop floor understanding the intimate details of the plant’s operation and working with teams to be more precise and to improve the processes with which they interact.
So what’s the answer? Knowing that long before rolling out lean tools in our operations, we must first teach our people to see the operation through lean eyes. This is best achieved through respect for people. In a respectful way, we teach the team within our operations to see waste without feeling wasteful. We show that we are using lean to improve the processes and to ultimately increase success on an organizational and personal level — never to identify opportunities for headcount reduction.”