Beliefs and Systems Drive Behavior

By: J Francisco Ramirez R, LENSYS

The best decisions are made when there is awareness and knowledge of the different elements of a system, as well as how these elements are interconnected and what the outputs of the system are.

Systemic thinking is a Shingo Guiding Principle that ties together all other principles. Thinking systemically improves understanding by learning to see the system as a whole, including elements sometimes called sub-systems. In reality, most things are connected to something else in an environment that is constantly changing.

A clear example of an integrated and complex system is the human body as it is composed of different sub-systems such as the digestive, circulatory or nervous systems. Each of these sub-systems performs a function while being interconnected with the others, and only its synchronized and balanced function enables the entire integrated system, the human body, to perform perfectly.

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What Would Happen If…?

By: Peter Hines, S A Partners

Think for a minute:

  •       What would happen if you went to the supermarket but forgot to pick up the kids from school?
  • What would happen if you bought a round of drinks in a bar for all but one of your party?
  •       What would happen if you booked your vacation hotel but did not book the flight to get there?

Clearly, in each case you might be embarrassed, frustrated and or an inconvenience to others. You would probably also incur a lot of waste and excess cost. Indeed, your less than ideal behaviour would be a big problem.

Now let’s think about the work situation:

  •       What would happen if you went on a gemba walk but forgot to talk to local team members at their workstation or visual management board?  
  • What would happen if you communicated with the day shift but not the night shift about an important change in your business?
  •       What would happen if you received a flat order profile from your customers but passed on a highly variable order pattern to your suppliers?

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Quality is Not Free – We Have to Earn It

By: Alejandro Ponce, Alfra-Opex

After serving 14 years at a company dedicated to saving lives, by building reliable safety systems for automobiles such as seat belts and airbags, it is clear that quality is the top priority when we talk about product performance. There is no room for mistakes. With only one chance for those products to be used, it needs to be flawless, because human lives depend on them.

During my plant manager days I used to tell our associates the best problems to have are those that never happen; in other words, let´s attack quality before problems occur. To achieve this there must be a high dosage of trust at the gemba and to show respect for associates by listening to every single person and supporting them to fix any quality concern.

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