An Inflection Point

By: Ken Snyder

A few months ago, I had the chance to visit two companies that the Shingo Institute uses as “benchmark” companies. Both of these companies started their Lean journey about 20 years ago. Both companies received the Shingo Prize about 10 years ago. And both companies have continued their journey seeking perfection since receiving the Shingo Prize. We hope all Shingo Prize recipients follow their example in continuing their own journeys. Continue reading “An Inflection Point”

Want Different Results? Change the Right Behaviors

By: Luc Baetens at Möbius

A supply chain director recently expressed to me his frustration that his new integrated business planning was ineffective. “We have spent so much time and money defining the new process, the reports we were going to use, and the monthly meetings we would hold. Even after all that, the only people who use the new system seriously are the supply chain team. Everyone else keeps doing things the old way.”

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The Principle of Flow and Pull

By: Chris Butterworth of S A Partners

Too often the principle of flow and pull is seen as applicable only in a manufacturing environment. In fact, the principle can be applied in many different ways. On a recent trip to Kenya I had the pleasure of experiencing the “Matatu” bus service in Nairobi. It really got me thinking about the principle of flow and pull. 

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Truly Understanding Customer Value

By: Chris Butterworth, S A Partners, LLP

Many organizations assume that customer surveys tell them what their customers truly value. This approach has its limitations. There is a difference between customer satisfaction and customer value. These must link to strategy and deploy throughout the organization.

A deep understanding of customer value is critical to drive business excellence and innovation. Traditional survey approaches fail to identify customer value so an alternative methodology must be used.  

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“Medical Taylorism:” An Article that Does a Huge Disservice to Needed Healthcare Transformation

By Dr. Patricia Gabow and Ken Snyder

The article, “Medical Taylorism,”[1] by Pamela Hartzband, M.D. and Jerome Groopman, M.D., in the New England Journal of Medicine, reflects a major misunderstanding of the principles and practice of the Toyota Production System, or Lean as it is often called. Specifically, the article appears to conflate poor implementation with the underlying principles. Several commentators, including many from the Lean community, have weighed in on this debate, but more needs to be said given healthcare’s need for transformation and the powerful solution that Lean offers in this transformation. Continue reading ““Medical Taylorism:” An Article that Does a Huge Disservice to Needed Healthcare Transformation”

KPIs are Dead, Long Live the KBIs!

Project succeeded?

About a year ago, the head of logistics and purchasing asked me to carry out some observations on the floor. Their new ERP system had been implemented about two years ago, and he wanted to know where knowledge was still lacking so he could use the information as input for a training plan. So off I went to talk to some of the employees. I asked an employee to tell me exactly what she did while she was working on something, a bit like TV-chef Jeroen Meus. “And now I change this printer to the correct printer … This has been wrong in the system for a long time.” She felt no regrets to report the issue and get it solved once and for all, instead she solved the problem herself on a daily basis. And she was certainly not the only one I noticed doing this during my observations. The employees certainly knew what the final output should be, but they were less concerned about how it should be achieved, or even how efficiently it should be achieved. Is this the behavior and the consequent results you want to achieve as an organization?

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Hoshin Kanri: Translating “Big Vision” from Strategy to Execution

By: Rick Edgemen

 Part 1: Hoshin Kanri – Concept Origins

Published March 1, 2016

Prior to World War II, the U.S. share of the world export market was approximately 30%. In the aftermath of World War II that share grew to more than 70% – a result of a generally healthy and educated workforce, as well as a U.S. infrastructure that remained largely untouched by the war. In contrast, many European and Asian nations were left to deal with infrastructure devastation and human tragedy alike, often with less educated workforces using antiquated equipment.

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Create Constancy of Purpose

By: Mark Baker

Mark Baker will be teaching the Discover Shingo Model™ Workshop at the 28th International Conference this April

When I was a young mechanical engineer at Honda Motor Company, Mr. Honda was still alive and he used to always say, “Unless we have 100% of the people in the organization engaged in making the company better, we will never be able to realize our true potential.” I remember hearing this for the first time, and over the years I have found it to be a great insight, but the real question now is how is this achieved? Mr. Honda’s statement hits on two key points of building a successful organization, namely engagement and alignment. Without both of these aspects, success will be hit or miss.

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Mistake-Proofing Mistakes

By: Bruce Hamilton, President, GBMP

There is a popular lore provided by Shigeo Shingo that the original name for mistake-proofing (poka-yoke) was “fool-proofing” (baka-yoke). Shingo chided managers at Panasonic for using the latter term, as it was disrespectful to workers, essentially calling them fools. Shingo substituted the word “fool” for “mistake,” because, as he aptly noted, making mistakes is part of humanity. “Mistakes are inevitable,” he said, “but the defects that arise from them are not.”

Notwithstanding Mr. Shingo’s admonitions, however, I still hear the term “fool-proofing” used regularly, and occasionally with a little more venom, “idiot-proofing.” No doubt, these derogatory terms, along with others like “screw-up” and its less gentile derivatives, have given a bad name to one of the most energizing, empowering and creative tools from the TPS toolbox.

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