With the new year upon us posts regarding health are widespread. Resolutions have begun, talk of parking further away and staying in the green aisles of the grocery store seem to whisper to our ears on every social media channel known to humans. Well this post will do the same. If you're looking to grab a few extra steps during your day, strap on the fitbit and let's head on out for a "waste walk."
Jesse Allred - email@example.com
Lean manufacturing offers a number of tools and strategies to complete projects, streamline processes, identify wastes, and improve efficiency. One tool that’s often overlooked is the project management concept known as the Obeya room.
Obeya, sometimes spelled Oobeya, is a Japanese term translating to the "big room." These physical rooms utilize visual management and collaboration to ensure projects are seen through completion and in a timely manner. Using posters, charts, and graphs allows everyone who enters the room to quickly understand thought processes, plans, and offers a space for people to review the relevant information easily. An Obeya room is a great area for managers, workers, and planners to get in the zone when working on projects. Obeya rooms foster an environment that will help keep the project on track.
Many years ago, newspapers lined the streets of almost every city in the world. People would gather at the "newspaper stands" and browse each page while sharing a story or two. Word of mouth and the rugged ink stained paper were the main drivers of news, suggestions and ideas.
Today we still have ideas and suggestions, but things aren't quite as simple as the good ole days. Today making a suggestion often involves filling out a tedious small slip with more information than you can even read, shoving it in a bin that nobody collects and then hoping it gets "approved." Here's the idea! Workers see it all, touch it all and often have the closest connection with a process. Why is this significant? That connection can act as the perfect vehicle when looking to identify issues, collect improvement suggestions and or come up with innovative new ideas. The best part is, you don't have to walk to a newspaper stand to do it.
The Kaizen template or improvement newspaper is a powerful tool that can be used with employees. They can suggest improvements, possible solutions and even create opportunities for improvements without necessarily having any idea of a solution. Sounds a bit crazy doesn't it? Well it is! We’ve all been there before, a problem you see all the time and no ideas on how to solve it. The Kaizen template enables employees to support improvements whether they have a fix or not. So how will this tool help employees? To start, the suggestion or person filling out the kaizen template will need to capture a few pieces of information and document the information on the kaizen sheet.
Here's the important thing to understand, no matter how much information you capture, it will do no good if it's shoved in a box waiting for review or hidden on a desktop only to become trapped in cyberspace.
Like any other lean tool, the kaizen template works best when it is made visible. Here are a few important things to keep in mind when using improvement newspapers for a suggestion system.
1. Make it Visible
Like we mentioned earlier improvement newspapers should not be contained within a network or hard drive, they need to be visible. Think for a second to a problem you’ve had before but couldn’t solve. Eventually you share with a friend and they share a possible solution. Immediately you think, “why didn’t I think of that?” When opportunities are visible everyone can see, understand and help each other. One advantage when using a computer to fill out the suggestion is that there will be no sorting through legible and illegible papers. You can fill the paper out and print it out, placing it in an area where everyone can see the idea and before you know it someone is there to support you in finding a possible solution.
2. Keep them Alive
About the era when tv was in full swing and computers began to emerge newspaper stands were laid to rest. Now we get quarter machines by selected restaurants and no more standing with our friends talking and sharing the latest news on the front page. Fortunately, Kaizen templates are far from dead. They are in fact one very effective way to obtain opportunities for improvement but they must be kept alive. Monitoring the suggestions during a huddle is one way to keep status up to date and ensure that each suggestion is moving forward. In a huddle you can address the needs of the suggestion and help ensure ideas continue moving forward. Possibly the most valuable aspect of this constant and continuous activity is that the people who make the suggestions will begin to understand that they are part of a team and their ideas mean something to others. When people get a sense of belonging, support, action and appreciation your possible improvements will increase sufficiently.
If you have ever used a new tv changer there is a bit of a learning curve to it. Directions in hand and a thousand different settings to program it will never be as simple as walking to the newspaper stand to get some information. The same principle should apply to our kaizen templates or improvement papers. Not everyone knows how to use excel and not everyone will understand the process right from the start. That makes it the perfect opportunity to train employees and go for a Gemba walk. The bottom line, make it easy for the people filling the papers out. The only thing that employees should be responsible for is filling out the template and doing their best to discover the root cause.
Although we may never see newspaper stands lining the streets again, kaizen templates or improvement newspapers could line the huddle boards of your organization. They could fill white boards, line the walls and flow from the mouths of team huddles. All while capturing innovative ideas from talented employees and driving improvement initiatives day in and day out. The best part about this great tool is that it won't even cost you a quarter.
If you would like a template for a Kaizen/Improvement newspaper to get started click on the button below and begin experimenting with different tools that will help transfer improvements from idea to action.
March is almost here and that means the ©GEMBA methodology is almost ready. Watch this update on the course progress.
Going to the Gemba is one of the most powerful principles of a lean journey. If you have not yet engaged in an initiative for daily Gemba walks we suggest you begin as soon as possible. At the Gemba we discover things that we simply can not discover at our desk (unless that is where the work is being done). The Gemba as you know is "where the work is done" it is "where value is created" and it is where "problems can be solved."
It is a powerful Skill to be able to treat the "Gemba" or a "Gemba Walk" as a Methodology in itself. Methodologies allow us to reveal issues and give us the possibility of solutions through teamwork and various methods. Here is one example of a methodology for "Gemba Walks."
Just Remember GEMBA
G- The G reminds us of the Overall concept that we all know, Genchi Genbutsu. Genchi Genbutsu means Go and See, we do this so that we can understand what is happening at the Gemba. This is a key principle and technique of any lean strategy. When we go and see what is actually happening we are better able to base our decisions on real facts, instead of hunches, opinions, guesses or assumptions.
E- "Engage" Engagement at the Gemba is very important. When we engage people at the Gemba it should be question based. The idea is to help the gemba stretch their minds and empower them to develop problem solving skills of their own. We are trying to understand what is happening in the current condition and not jump to conclusions. The 5 Why technique is a great way to understand why certain things are happening. Like any other problem though try to discover the "What" "Why" "How" and "Where". One last thing, take notes while engaging; some of the best solutions you will hear come from the people at the Gemba.
M- Muda, Mura and Muri, simply put being at the Gemba is a great time to observe what is going on there. You will have great opportunities to discover many forms of Muda, so introduce yourself to TIMWOODS while you're there. While at the Gemba you will get a sense of where people may feel overburdened and you will see processes that are not level. Take notes. Then you can attack all origins of waste later on.
B- Be respectful at the Gemba. This is a time to exercise humility and to serve others. We promise if you are respectful, humble, sincere and willing to serve, people will tell you where the pain is.
A- Finally analyze what you have collected. Be sure at this stage of the Gemba walk to include everyone at the Gemba. The individuals from the Gemba will be able to help analyze findings and often may add details to your initial discoveries. Including everyone will also foster a culture of teamwork and help develop a true lean culture.
The Gemba Methodology is a great format to follow when performing daily Gemba walks and it is rather easy for anyone to understand. One last thing to note after you have performed your Gemba Walk be ready and willing to support The Spirit of Kaizen. One way that you can do this is to offer yourself in service of finding solutions to the issues that are discovered. A Gemba Walk can be quick, easy and very effective in pinpointing opportunities for improvements, so start today and in time you will discover great and powerful ways to "transform" activities in each of your many Gemba's.
Don't forget if you need more information on the ©GEMBA Methodology or how to go to the Gemba,
Register for our course coming out in March of 2018, The ©GEMBA Methodology.
After a holiday break it can sometimes be hard to get the body up and moving again the first morning of work. Extra caffeine, long conversations and a fuzzy memory are some of the signs you may experience. For others though getting started again is simple; they just jump back in the groove like they never even knew there was a break. Here are three simple things you can do to jump back in the improvement groove after an "extra" day off.
How did they leave?
Most individuals and teams will start their holiday break off by making sure there desk area is in 5S condition and neater than they left it before. Many studies have shown that if you take the time to clean things up, organize and set things in order the morning you come back in will be much smoother. Think of it like planning for the day you come back. Just like Admiral William McRaven shares in the video below: "If you wanna change the world, start off by making your bed." If you leave your work area in a neat, tidy and in a sanitary condition you will return to an organized, more energized, calm and ready environment. Along with these benefits comes one other notable effect. By displaying a behavior of always maintaining a standard condition in your area, you in turn promote a culture that does the same.
Spend some time at the Gemba.
You may be tempted to hang out by the coffee dispenser and chug down one cup after another. While the caffeine will certainly give you a boost of energy, to much caffeine may leave you feeling anxious, frantic and disorientated. Don't get me wrong a little energy is good for everyone, but try taking one cup to the gemba. At the gemba you can review the process and refresh your mind while interacting and strengthening relationships with others. Take a piece of paper with you as you visit the gemba and jot down notes pertaining to: the energy of the value stream, the load of demand placed on the team and of course any changes in the process that may have occurred in the interim.
Last but not least, bring the team together. Take some time for icebreakers, sharing and quality time. Though from a production efficiency standpoint this might not make any sense at all, ponder for a minute the tactical approach. Meeting together in a morning huddle and taking 5 minutes to share one thing or begin with an icebreaker can be a nice transition that helps others feel as though they are cared for.
There you have it; three very simple things to get continuous improvement started again when you return from a holiday break.
***How do you reach out and re-energize teams when they return from a holiday break?***
By: Liliana Domingues
Liliana Domingues has been a star performer in Lean Strategies International LLC's white belt course online. She has recently completed her white belt and performed exceptionally well. As a stand out Liliana graciously accepted our request to share some of her wonderful activities which she completed online. If you would like to see more of Liliana's inspiring activities you can enroll in the Lean Six Sigma White Belt course online by clicking on any of the links in this description. Thank you Liliana for your wonderful performance, keep up the great work!
The following was part of an activity that Lean Six Sigma White Belt students are asked to complete online. Liliana has been a star performer online and has graciously let us post her answers to one of our activities (shown below). You can enroll online by clicking here. Without further adieu, here is Liliana's thoughts:
•In what ways have you experienced the waste of underutilized skills and talent?
Where I work, this is a well-known and visible form of waste. There are several cases of employees who were hired to perform tasks to which they are clearly over qualified. In the very beginning it’s ok, but they learn fast, they start performing their tasks extremely well and quickly. They start wanting to improve processes and innovate…, but there is a culture of “we have always done things like this” in place with little margin for change. And after a while they start getting demotivated and bored, so they start engaging into training (getting even more qualified). On the other hand, their good job is not recognized in terms of salary benefits or promotions and their talents are not used into new responsibilities or possible relocation to more challenging internal posts.
•How would you go about removing this type of waste?
First of all, I would say management can start by reviewing HR processes for recruitment (finding the right candidates with the competences needed for the jobs available) and specially nurturing and harness a culture of change, of constant improvement as a responsibility of all.
Managers have to find ways of keeping employees motivated and engaged by redistributing tasks and resources allocation whenever needed (high/quick achievers can be useful to help colleagues, give trainings, share good practices, develop new and improved work methods… they just need to be entrusted and to have an opportunity), by updating/improving internal rules, by empowering employees (if a colleague is over qualified, why not give him a new responsibility or involve him into the decision making process), making the reward/recognition system fair, and saying “good job”!
•Other ideas for commandments of team work:
* Share your good practices and ideas
* Motivated each other
* Have a positive approach
***DON'T FORGET TO LEAVE LILIANA YOUR COMMENTS***
PHENOM ENGINEERING, LLC SPECIALIZES IN DESIGN, PROTOTYPING AND MANUFACTURING. WE HELP INVENTORS, ARTISTS, HOBBYISTS, SMALL COMPANIES AND INDIVIDUALS TURN AN IDEA INTO REALITY - FROM A SINGLE PART TO A FULL MANUFACTURING RUN. You can contact Phenom Engineering via email at: PhenomEngineering@gmail.com.
In my career, I’ve been lucky enough to work established defense industry programs as well as starting up new products and factories. This has given me many opportunities to see problems and do something to fix them. I’ve used many Lean tools over the course of my career and I would like to explore these tools with real world examples of how they were applied and the results they produced.
One of the most important aspects of a successful lean journey is leadership. Lean brings powerful changes to each and every organization the strategy is implemented into. Any Lean practitioner who has seen a few projects or benchmarked various organizations has most likely witnessed a unique culture that somehow just happens naturally in lean companies. For this reason leadership often times takes on a more servant style of leading, afterall they exist to help the people they serve succeed.
Here are a few important concepts that will help leaders keep moving forward.
1. Pareto Leaders- As a leader you may start off in an improvement project, in fact you probably should. Experiencing kaizen and improvement events first hand will help you understand what happens in the events and experience first hand the spirit of kaizen. In many organizations as much as 80% of Kaizen is driven by those who are closest to the work. Finding out where those 80% of improvements are coming from can give you insight regarding the areas your mentorship is needed in. As a leader application of the pareto principle can also help you identify:
2. Genchi Genbutsu- Many years ago "the Gallow" would drop and everyone in the company knew that leadership had made a directive. We have all seen it and felt it, but in today's day and age the "dictator" approach doesn't yield such great results. Today Leaders are responsible for developing, training, discovering and mentoring future leaders. This most often times involves "Leader Standard work" and frequent Gemba walks where you can "Go and See" (Genchi Genbutsu).
- Often times employees are considered resources amongst machines and equipment. This sort of mindset will certainly place your lean journey at a stand still if your employees are just "resources." As a leaders one of the most important things you can do for your organization is empower others. Those people should feel empowered and prepared for success and if they stumble they should know exactly who to look to for mentoring and guidance.
- Training, Training, Training. Did we mention training? One of the most important aspects of developing the organization is developing the people who work their. Like any "Sports Team" every individual must be prepared to carry and support their weight. For this reason helping individuals develop their skills will certainly press your strategies forward. Establishing a standard onboarding process which includes basic training like learning foundational concepts of a lean strategy can help ensure all employees start of on similar ground. Even if employees are at advanced levels, we can all agree, review still helps.
- Building a solid foundation for any strategy is quite the task and as a leader it should be a top priority. One common mistake is passing the orders down from the top and interpreting value as the amount of direct labor your projects absorb. This is known as the underutilization of skills or more commonly the eighth form of waste. You need to build a solid support system amongst team members. Part of this process is creating a culture where people are confident that they are part of decisions being made. It will not happen overnight. Some things you can do to support your teams and people are:
3. Lead by example - Above all else lead by example. For many employees leadership is someone they look up to. Whether you carry the title of owner, C-level director or front line we all have different levels of "leadership" we are responsible. Setting a good example for those that follow is a sure fire way to influence others in a positive way.
There will be many different things that you can do for your organizations as the year progresses, but if there is one key element to driving effective change, it's the way we Lead, Support and develop one another. Effective Change agents whether in manufacturing or service commonly spring from a culture and leadership that supports the people not just the projects.
**What concepts, ideals, examples or behaviors do you appreciate most in a leader?
This guy is perfect! Kind, team player, technical skills and desire to grow in the organization. It's like a dream come true finding this type of employee. Then the final interview question is presented, "how do you feel about lean six sigma?" They respond, "I've only heard of it." With the ever growing "popularity" of both lean and six sigma it almost feels like a game changer if a new employee or existing individual has not sought out lean six sigma education or joined a group to become more familiar with these two powerful strategies. Then of course there is the "gap." Yes the gap, it's that ever increasing distance between those with "master black belts" and lean six sigma expertise and those who "missed the boat" for training or were part of "next years group." How do we bring those individuals up to speed so that the changing dynamics of an organization or job market of a career does not continue to drift further and further apart?
The answer to that question has remained the same for hundreds if not thousands of years; education, training and experience.
It's no secret that education for employees or learning for yourself yields: improved performance, consistent knowledge and a specialized skill set. But along with these benefits education can influence a group of behaviors in a positive way too. Imagine for a second an individual who had absolutely no understanding of soccer (I know it's hard to imagine) going with you to a soccer game. While fans are cheering, eating good food and actively engaged in the game, they just sit there with absolutely no connection with the game or anything going on around them. Worse yet they may feel left out and never want to be a part of a soccer game again. A tragedy indeed. Now let's imagine that for a few minutes, maybe an hour before you share with them important moments in the sport of soccer's history, you briefly explain to them the rules of soccer and you help them understand the general strategy of the game. Flashback to our soccer game and this time when everyone is cheering, screaming and excited they understand a few things. Soon they begin asking you more questions and shortly thereafter they want more knowledge. Similar to this most employees and individuals may feel discouraged in environments where they don't understand what is going on around them. Whether it's technical or philosophical it is hard to be a part of something you haven't ever heard about. Why would anyone see the value in eliminating waste when they could crank the machine up and sweat themselves to death creating more value? How would anybody understand the difference between creating value and non-value? They can't unless they have some knowledge or education where they can then begin to wrap their minds around the concept. In our recent release of the brand new completely remade 8 forms of waste course students first participate in an educational experience learning about general aspects of lean, waste and then moving on to the specifics of waste. Like a soccer game the community is now completely open to posting in each of the 15 lectures. This gives students an opportunity to discuss with one another the knowledge they are acquiring. Additionally they gain a firm understanding of fundamental lean concepts helping them to join or be a part of groups, strategies and initiatives that will surely cross their path sooner or later.
Educate someone on the strategy or direction of the organization and they are off to a good start. Now instead of "I've only heard of it," we might hear, "oh yeah, I was lucky enough to take a class on that." Place the individual in a community with others and now they can discuss, share thoughts and learn from others. Add a little training to their already educated mind and talking transforms into doing. That was the focus of the transformed 8 forms of waste course giving people the opportunity to take education and engage themselves or employees within an organization in activities that provide a real training experience. The benefit to this of course is that everyone knows what is going on around them and nobody "misses the boat."
With education and training under one's belt the last piece of the puzzle is experience. As the saying goes "if you don't use it, you'll lose it," the same is true for education and training. If all you do is sit through a course and complete a few reports then after obtaining your prized certification you set aside your new found knowledge you will surely forget what it is you've learned. Like kaizen a good way to continue developing skills in a field or closing gaps between expertise and novice is to practice everyday. whether it's a large scaled project or touching up on a recently read book try to stay engaged so that you don't have to start the process all over again.
There are many ways to onboard new employees and close gaps in the skill sets of current individuals. Whether it's a 2 hour course like the newly released 8 forms of waste course or a training program like the introduction to lean finding an effective and affordable way to welcome new faces to your organization and graft them into the field comfortably will empower and enable employees to be a part of your improvement journey and may possibly set them up as a future leader.
Going to the gemba is one of the essential activities of Lean and Six Sigma that we all must do. Every project requires it, every issue needs it and every person should do it. Toyota Chairman Fujio Cho once said "go see, ask why, show respect." A perfect summary of going to the gemba, but what are some of the basic items a lean practitioner can take with them for their trip to "go and see?"
Amongst the various reasons we "go and see” are the objectives to understand or observe what is going on at the gemba. It won't always be a problem and you may not always find an opportunity, but if we take the time to go, then we should take the time to try and remember the gemba too.
Pencil and Paper
One of the most basic tools you can take to the gemba is a sheet of paper and a pencil. Although there will be times when you need more, you don't need to resize PowerPoint slides, copy and paste excel sheets or shove a laptop in your pocket every single time you get marching orders to go to the gemba, just grab a simple sheet of paper and write a few notes. One thing to be aware of is that the notes you take do not get prioritized over the people you engage with. Keeping things organized is important, but you don't always have to draw a Picasso portrait while you are at the gemba. A simple list of the steps you walk will get you very far when you return from the gemba.
Depending on your objective a phone can be either good or bad. If you are going to "ask why" it's probably safe to say your phone should stay in your pocket. One of the purposes we ask "why” is to develop and stretch others capability to problem solve for themselves. This would not be a time to break your phone out. A few times when your phone would come in very handy are:
1. Gathering data - Most phones are equipped with stopwatches that you can use to gather data such as cycle times while you are at the gemba.
2. Photo/Video - Sometimes while you are at the gemba you will see something that you will need to remember or would like to watch again (slower/faster, closer/further) later on, the phones of today's day and age are a perfect tool for this.
Probably the most important item you can take with you to the gemba is a positive attitude. Greet everyone with a warm welcoming spirit and be ready to listen to anything that people have to say. Additionally, having a positive attitude in all situations will help show others that you are welcome to challenges and opportunities in both good and bad situations.
There are many other items, attitudes and tools we can take to the gemba. Templates can be very helpful in standardizing activities and formats but should be easily accessible and quick to grab. Check out our upcoming course called the ©WASTES methodology for waste walking.
Discussion Opportunities (leave in the comments below):
1. What items do you take with you when you go to the gemba?
2. What are some best practices you have used when going to the gemba?
3. What struggles have you experienced associated with going to the gemba?
One of My Favorite quotes from a great Manufacturing legend says "If you always do what you've always done, you will always get what you have always got." This saying rings true today years after Mr. Henry Ford has passed away. Why is that? That saying doesn't note that what you've always got is bad nor does it say that what you've always done is not the right way either, but it does give heed that if we try something new we will get something different. This can be a troubling thought for some. Maybe what you will get, is not quite as good as what you've always got. Maybe you just don't know any different way to do what you've always done. So how do we make sure that what we are about to do yields results that are better than what we have always done?
1. First Define where it is you want to be
This is actually not quite as hard as it sounds. We often times think of defining where we want to be at a strategic level, you know visions and alignment and much larger scaled initiatives. But this concept is applicable to just about anything that we do in life. " I am here, but I would like to be there." Maybe it is as simple as my profit has always been this much but I would like to increase it to this much. Wherever you want to be just make sure that your "Vision" or your "Target" is at a level that is appropriate and accomplishable. Some ways that you can define where you want to be are; Setting visions, defining charters, strategic planning or outcome statements. Whatever the method you use, just be sure to define where you are headed.
2. Where am I at?
Now that we know where you want to be, it's time to figure out where you are at? A variety of lean tools can assist at this point in the Journey, but one of the most useful tools you can use is the value stream map. Understanding where it is we want to be and clarifying the gap between where we are and where we would like to be, is often a variety of issues. Mapping the current state, will help you grasp the entire situation and plan the best route to get where you want to be. Some other tools you can use to clearly reveal the current state are: Process charts, SIPOC maps, organizational value streams, implementation plans or just your memory and the Gemba. Just make sure you are honest and open with where you currently are.
3. How do we get there?
Now we have defined where we want to be and what it is we are currently doing. The next step is to figure out how do we do it? How do we reach our goal? Whatever method you used for the "current state" you should have revealed multiple issues that are impairing you from getting where you want to be. Now it is time to map out your future state (immediately after the current State). You now know where you want to be and where you currently are so you can properly plan how you are going to get where you want to go. Keep in mind as you document your future state map, you will need to create counter measures that remove all the "issues" you found in the current state. This will ensure that the future state map is an improved version of the current state practices and in many cases might yield a complete and total transformation.
4. Help your Team Get the Wins
Of Course with any transformation of what is normal there is always the risk that people will go back to “the way things are always done.” This is where tools such as standard operating procedures, updated policies and company training come into play. We want to make sure that people know what changes will occur and set them up to enjoy the journey in getting there. A few ideas that may help manage the change as you go from where you are to where you want to be are:
Submitted By: IEDP Developing Leaders
About the Author - IEDP has been reporting on the global executive development sector for the past fifteen years. By promoting the latest research, thought-leadership, and executive programs being delivered by the world’s premier business schools and other providers, we seek to improve the performance and expand the learning horizons for our international corporate audience; while furthering the reach and impact of the sector as a whole. IEDP offers independent and objective support for executives and organizations, including: Articles: regular high-quality editorial articles which report on an and analyse the latest developments from around the executive development sector globally. Resources: white papers, reports, e-books, podcasts, webinars, videos and other free-to-access resources available from the world’s top business schools.
The mistake many make, perhaps believing in the superhuman qualities of their leaders, is to leave strategy formulation in the C-suite, in corporate strategy departments, or with high-end consulting firms. The far better approach is to harness the creativity and sense of purpose of employees and develop strategic thinking across the organization.
You may be thinking about implementing a Lean Strategy in your organization. Or maybe you just you haven't heard much about lean and you want to find out what everyone is talking about.
Wherever you are on your journey here are a few of the most common reasons organizations and individuals embark on the "lean journey".
Some of the small and medium sized organizations have realized that in today's global market it is not only tough to compete but very hard to survive. With the internet now reaching all around the world our competitors can research and access information with the click of a button. Along with the digital power of the internet many markets have been forced to be cheaper and quicker with no spared expense of quality. This means long lead times, safety stock, batches of inventory and excessive queue times must be eliminated. Whether you're in manufacturing or service the solution is lean. Lean is a continuous improvement strategy that a company embarks on to maximize customer value and minimize waste. The term "Lean" was first used in the book The Machine That Changed the World by James Womack. A lean organization focuses on providing complete value or Value added activities to their customers. Lean truly enables a company to focus on what customers want, while increasing satisfaction, improving a company's competitive market and ultimately enabling anybody to change for the better. What are those changes that we refer to as better?
Here are four changes you can expect as a result of a lean implementation:
1. The first and most obvious reason we will list is that a Lean Strategy Removes waste. Lean places a strong focus on what is known as Muda and the elimination of the 8 forms of waste. Those 8 forms of waste are Transportation, Inventory, Motion, Waiting, Over Processing, Over Production, Defects and underutilized Skills. By eliminating waste a company spends more time creating value and less time on wasteful activities. Let's look at an example. Valentine's day you're looking to go out to dinner with your family. When you place your wallet in your pocket do you put it their to wait in line? probably not. How about for the restaurant to rework your food? Hopefully not. No you probably put your wallet in your pocket to purchase food that you're going to eat and contribute to the transformation of the ingredients into the food you're going to eat. Those activities that you the customer are not willing to pay for are what we call waste. Lean works to drive these hidden costs out of processes.
2. Lean Brings People together. In order to build a lean organization a company must recognize the need for change. The strategy requires buy in from every level of an organization and asks that all team members are focused on doing their part. Principle number 10 in The Toyota Way: 14 Management Principles, Dr. Jeffrey Liker writes: "use cross-functional teams to improve quality and productivity and enhance flow by solving difficult technical problems." He goes on to say: "empowerment occurs when people use the company's tools to improve the company." While it's true individuals create value the simple idea that lean tools require interaction and teamwork helps us begin to understand why the development of people and healthy culture is so important to the strategies success.
3. The Pursuit of Perfection. One of the best part about a continuous improvement strategy like lean is the continued focus on improving. The term kaizen suggests that it is through small incremental improvements that breakthrough results are created. If we look into the North American definition of kaizen we see the word "continuous" used alongside the word improvement. One synonym for the word continuous is constant. Constant means to happened all the time or very often over a period of time. By understanding this definition, we understand that Kaizen or continuous improvement is not so much an activity or a project as it is a part of our work ethic and culture that helps us to pursuit perfection and never give up.
4. Streamlines Processes, implementing lean helps companies dramatically streamline their processes. This includes office functions, manufacturing tasks, educational organizations and healthcare environments. If you have a process it can be improved, if you don’t it can be created and standardized. This enables companies to work to their full potential which results in a reduced operational expenditure along with increased speed and service to the market.
In Short a Lean Strategy really is the improvement strategy. Although these are only four reasons a company might embark on a lean journey, there really is no question that if you are looking to grow, transform and survive in today's global market lean must be a part of your organization or skill set.
What reasons can you think of that may cause a company or an individual to shy away from lean?
By: Steve Murphy
Mr. Murphy frequently writes about "Six Sigma in the real world." Mr. Murphy can be contacted via email by clicking here: Steve Murphy To submit your post on listen to the gemba visit: Submit a Post on Listen to the Gemba.
Like a lot of university students of my era when I wasn’t “working on the post at Christmas” I worked on factory production lines. One local factory used excess yeast produced by Burton’s brewing industry to produce stock cubes. No not OXO another brand using a modern technique to produce a crumbly cube. The production machines were modified sweet making machines and operating one was a black art. The correct process depended on getting the right balance of gloop and water to produce cubes of the right weight and strength to allow the wrapping machine to individually foil wrap them.
The term yokoten refers to the sharing of best practices and learning laterally throughout an organization. Could you imagine if the news did not report anything they learned? What if the radio never shared insights based on experience and what if the internet was controlled by one brain? Well we probably would not know about a lot of things.
While the term yokoten is mostly associated with "horizontal deployment" it is a much broader sharing than just strategically. The term can also be interpreted in a technical, methodical and philosophical way. When the principle of yokoten is effectively embraced by many, yokoten can transform a process, organization, online community and the world. Let's use 5S as a simplified example. It is quite common for areas of an organization to take a "liking" to 5S, at least in the early stages. As teams, departments and employees mimic and improve upon the original 5S (first performed internally) they not only gain the same benefits, but they gather new and innovative ways of improving the way the 5S system is executed. Now let's imagine some areas of an organization decided that they were not going to wait for others to notice the successful implementation of their 5S and so, like good students of an art, they shared what they did with other areas of the organization. Knowledge would then spread far and wide... Fast.
Of course we all want the positive benefits of improved performance but yokoten also contributes to a positive open culture. Here are a few ways you can begin using the powerful principle of yokoten in your organization:
Chances are you have seen the andon system before. Chances are you may have engaged with the andon system before. The term andon is a Japanese term that refers to a system of notification which is widely used in many industries today. The word andon can be translated as "signal" or "sign." Simply put andon is a visual alert which highlights an area that needs support.
Just think if you were walking through a machine shop and every one out of ten machines was down. That would-be ten percent of your production for every ten machines. The andon system helps notify others of a need for support. If the proper personnel can be notified quickly of a line stop, the proper support can help contain the problem and eventually get the line moving again. Likewise, the system works in offices, healthcare and food industries.
How does the Andon System work?
The Andon system is a fairly simple, yet a very valuable system. A worker notices a problem or an abnormality, the worker then pulls a line, presses a button or activates a "trigger" by some other means. The photo above was taken in a lobby at Toyota, where lines were used to begin the trigger. The trigger then highlights the area where the problem is by visual and sometimes other sensory means. Once the area is highlighted a support team can then identify where the problem is and come to help resolve the issue through the application of countermeasures. Some of the common situations the andon system might be used in are: shortage of parts, defects found, a tool not working properly and most importantly if a safety issue is found. You may have seen the andon system in a grocery store or other retail outlets. When a checker needs support, they will normally flip a switch which notifies a team leader, manager or other employee that they need support. Whatever the abnormality the magic of the andon system is in the response. As soon as a trigger is engaged a team leader responds within seconds ultimately containing the issue and facilitating a root cause analysis of the issue. If the problem cannot be resolved the line will stop and further analysis will be performed. The idea is to contain a problem and resolve it as quick as possible however when this does not occur the andon system normally incorporates other means of capturing the issue and facilitating a much deeper investigation.
Using a system like the andon system ultimately prevents defects. Whether those defects are data related, health related, part related or transactional the andon system is one of the most effective ways to expose the hidden factory and prevent issues in the future which ultimately leads to a smoother flow.
As the new year comes to an end, new strategies, resolutions and goals kick into gear. We share with friends how much weight we want to lose. We talk with superiors about how we are going to improve and we set goals we've set before with the hopes of reaching them this year. Day one begins with the new goals. Day two, we are executing and day three one of them falls to the wayside. Why is this?
While there are many different reasons resolutions, goals and objectives might get misplaced one common way to avoid this is through the use of visual controls.
What is a visual Control?
A visual control refers to methods, devices, activities and or systems which are designed to assist in the management or control of activities. These means of control often employ other sensory characteristics along with a visual to better manage. A visual control is one method of communication that we can use to show at a glance:
1. How we are performing or progressing with our activity or work effort.
2. If anything is deviating from a standard.
3. What we need to do.
1. Progress/Performance - The visual control should show anyone who looks at it how the work effort or activity is performing in comparison to the standard or objective. One example of visual management that could be used for a new year’s weight loss goal might be a weight loss chart like the one shown below.
2. Deviations from a Standard - Visual management also seeks to identify abnormal conditions. While it is important that we see, and know when conditions are not meeting the expected level of performance, it is probably even more important that visual controls share knowledge throughout an organization allowing individuals to look, understand and act accordingly. If you had as part of your new year’s weight loss goal a diet, the plate shown below may be helpful to use at each meal. You can see what the standard is and you can see if the standard is being met or not and correct it accordingly. Now that's Lean.
3. What you need to do - Exception messages in ERP/MRP give us information and prompt us to act or receive information. A gas light on our car tells us we need gas and both our weight loss tracker and portioned plate show us what we are doing in relation to the standard. If we are not meeting a standard we need to understand the abnormality and act accordingly. If we are meeting the standard, we keep doing what we are doing or do a little better. The point is the means of communication being used for visual management should help us to make decisions of what needs to be done.
There you have it one easy tool you can use in 2017 to become much leaner. Just remember:
While we all understand how powerful value stream mapping can be, selecting a value stream to begin with can sometimes be a daunting and task. Along with exhausting brainstorming sessions, the effects of product flow can be quite deadly if the "spray and pray" approach is used. Here is a three-step approach for selecting a value stream to map that will put you in a much better position to establish a flow down the line.
1. Family Comes First:
The first step in the selection of a value stream is to group your products into families. A product family is a group of products that pass through similar processing steps and share common equipment prior to leaving your company (shipping to customer). The grouping of product families can be done using a product routing matrix like the one shown below. The left column shows your products/services and the top row lists all of the processes or pieces of equipment within your organization.
We then would go through each box and place a number in the box to show us the 1'st step, 2'nd step etc. X's can also be used too. After the products/services have been matched up with the appropriate process steps or machine centers a simple sort will reveal the initial product families. As you map your way through each value stream adjustments should be made.
2. Select your family:
Now that our families are grouped we can select the family that will provide the biggest impact for your business needs. This could be based on:
3. Look at the Gemba:
Once you have figured out where the biggest impact for your mapping efforts is, it's time to take a look at the Gemba. The gemba walk should be performed from a customer’s perspective, meaning you will observe the value stream from the customer and work your way upstream. It's important that you view the value stream with the following considerations:
In our next post on Listen to the Gemba we will look into some more important details that will help us to map the appropriate value stream and set our mapping efforts up to create an environment where products flow evenly down the stream.
Twas the night before kaizen when all through the value stream, not a value added activity was flowing not even engineering. Stickies were hung on the wall with great care, In hopes that Lean Strategies International would soon be there.
The teams thought of processes, visions and hoshin kanri while waste sat in the value stream acting quite ornery. Transportation, inventory and even some waiting... their work would be hard, but with ©Treat 1,2,3 in their toolbelt the waste was not so large. Somewhere in the process of examining, a constraint showed up. The team ran to the gemba to see what was up. They grabbed their cameras, glasses and measuring tape, only a moment would pass before they had their current state. With review and examination not far behind a future state was almost ready, the improvements close behind.
Those team members were passionate, lively and quick it became very obvious this was not St. Nick. More rapid than eagles they wrote up their action plan, they whistled and shouted while improvements began. "Now kanban! Now 5S! Now TPM and Standards! To the top of the metrics to the top of the charts." They improved like crazy while employees bought in. Shortly thereafter the transformation came to an end.
The plant stood there watching as the consultants walked out, not a word of a purchase order not a face with a pout. Certificates, belts and knowledge in hand this plant became another successful lean six sigma land. Shortly thereafter the events continued on, kaizen had begun and it was far from gone. With tools, methods and strategy held tight in their belt, the organization realized quickly Lean Strategies was there to help. The coaches turned with a smile and a tilt of their ear we all felt their good spirit and joyous holiday cheer. Whether Lean, Six Sigma or Kaizen, every strategy takes time for new culture and behavior to set in. But as the minutes turned to hours, organizations found solutions igniting their powers. As the new year approaches and strategy begins remember Lean Strategies will help you earn the wins. As we close out this holiday week and approach the new year we just want to wish a Happy holiday to each of you and a joyous New Year.
The house of Toyota is a perfect representation of a production system being linked together. Each pillar supporting the goals and the entire home resting its weight on a solid foundation. The model has been used for thousands of operating systems over the years and each time the house seems to do the trick more and more effectively. So, what does each of the elements of this house represent in an operating system?
Goals - First and foremost are the goals which are most often shown as the roof, which balances amongst the other elements.
Pillars - Next there are two pillars which balance and hold the goals up. One pillar represents the "just - in - time" while the other is commonly labeled Jidoka. The just-in-time system "supports" the idea that we should always deliver the right part, in the right amount at the absolute most perfect time. But of course, the goals (roof) would come crashing down without the support of quality. That is the Jidoka pillar that is shown on the right. Together quality and effective, efficient production give the goals a place to rest.
Foundation/Stability - So where do the pillars get their strength and support from? The base or foundation as it's often called in construction today represents stability in operations. There is one more element that is surprisingly left out of many models.
People/Culture -The last piece of the puzzle is people. Personally, I've always found the model quite fascinating.
When we stop, and reflect on the home it becomes quite evident that the entire system, organization, operating structure must work together. It is not just a set of tools but rather a culture, a foundation, walls that need maintaining and a roof that must continually be kept in mind. People must continually strive to maintain their home and patch, plaster or touch up pieces that may become damaged. Forget about any one piece of the home and over time it will decay. But if the house is watched over, worked on and regularly inspected it becomes a home that provides safety, shelter and the possibility of expansion.
"What gets measured gets done!" That's the saying and we've all heard it before, but what exactly to measure is amongst the most critical questions we can answer in relation to our lean six sigma projects. Lean six sigma is a data driven approach of improvement. With that in mind the data that we choose to establish in our improvement projects must be measurable and aligned with project goals.
There are three general categories of metrics that almost any lean six sigma (CTx's) objective will fall under: Quality, Cost and Time. However, these metrics are quite broad inherently and can still leave us wondering how "improvement" is defined. Which brings us to the most important point of project development, defining up front what "improvement" means.
Before any project kicks off or mapping begins all parties associated should know exactly:
1. What measurements will be used.
2. How those measurements constitute a win.
3. Why those measurements constitute a win.
Defining what metrics will be used to play the game helps employees to stay aligned with objectives and ensure that both the team and the organization get the results they want.
Like the game of basketball teams also need to understand how their metrics constitute a win. For instance an employee with a goal of reducing defects could simply show a traditional yield measurement. Although this measurement may show reduced defects and an improved yield, it may not be exactly "what" the organization wants as traditional yield often creates a hidden factory scenario. For this reason, teams, should understand clearly "how" the measurements align with project goals.
The team who puts the ball in the hoop on any given day more times than their opponent is the winner. The reason why is that there is correlation between a team’s skill, conditioning and teamwork and the amount of points they score. Understanding why they want to score more points helps the morale, motivation and dedication of the team. Going back to our yield calculation example it becomes clear that using a first time yield or a rolled throughput yield is a much truer measurement than a traditional yield would be. After all, why would anybody want 100% yield if there were months of rework involved?
While we sometimes end up on the short end of the stick with projects because what, how and why aren't clearly laid out up front many organizations may find that the wins they wanted were much bigger than what they actually saw. Establishing upfront what, how and why the "game" is being scored the way it is makes it much easier for both the organization and the teams to end with a winning score that aligns with everyones needs.
The benefits of lean six sigma are widely known now throughout the world. With organizations, such as Motorola and GE leading the way, where do small businesses sit in terms of the strategic benefits seen by these giants? Simply put, the same benefits that have been realized by organizational giants are usually more applicable to smaller organizations. Why? Smaller organizations have less people and often do not stretch across global boundaries. This gives them the ability to train more people, move quicker and create results in lightning fast fashions.
Reducing capital expenses, increasing efficiency and minimizing variability are only a few of the benefits any sized company can realize by undertaking strategic implementation of lean six sigma. But there are many other benefits that we don't see right away:
Engaged and Confident Employees
Along with reduced capital expenses, waste and increased efficiency lean six sigma gives employees a means of using their talents in a positive way. Since every strategy requires effective execution of tactics there is no better way to drive improvements than through the people who are closest to the work. Those people are the individuals who produce products and services day in and day out. They are the ones who live at the gemba. That makes those individuals the perfect resources to tap into when looking to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of a process. As these employees begin to engage in kaizen events and develop their skills confidence grows within each of them. As confidence grows within employees and they begin to see, feel and realize their positive impact the benefits reach far beyond performance and accountability, in fact "they are life changing" as Bob Chapman once put it. As people become confident, motivated and realize their talents they often times continue to search out opportunities and engage in continuous improvement.
Stronger Economic Conditions
As the years go by it becomes more and more obvious that we need lean and six sigma if we are to survive in changing times. If not for the more obvious reasons of reduced waste and stable processes but for the reasons we don't always see right away.... What reasons can you think of?