We are not Toyota

By: Gert Linthout

Some years ago, we guided a lean transformation project in a regional hospital. The ambition was to drastically improve the experience of patients in the surgical ‘one-day pathway.’ An in-depth patient survey and analysis of the value stream revealed that missing information for the patient and long and unpredictable waiting times were the main drivers for dissatisfaction. A sub-optimal planning and system appeared to be the most important root causes. Although the problems were recognized, quite some resistance existed in the organization to change the current way of working.

As part of the cultural transformation, we took a group of key players (doctors, nurses and managers) to a car manufacturing site. We weren’t there just to observe but mainly to assemble cars together, as a team, in a simulated work environment. We experienced and practiced the principles of teamwork, coaching, leadership, structured problem solving, flow and pull, quality at the source… at the assembly line.

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The Taste of Quality

By: Jose Paredes, UL

The fall in New England is one of my favorite times of the year. Hues of saffron, paprika and pumpkin speckle the landscape. Combined with the smell of wood-burning fireplaces scenting the crisp night air, and the sound of rustling leaves, it becomes a living masterpiece. When I am not traveling for work, one of my passions is cooking. I am a native of Nicaragua, and have adapted to cooking with whatever ingredients are around me, because I find that the best end-result starts with using the best quality products available.

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Process Problems: Hidden Treasures, Part II

By: Randy Cook and Allison Jenkins, McKinsey & Company

Most of the leaders we meet pride themselves on their problem-solving ability. But when we watch how they work, we often see them behaving instinctively rather than following a rigorous problem-solving approach. All too often they fail to define the real problem, rely on instinct rather than facts, and jump to conclusions rather than stepping back and asking questions. They fall into the trap of confusing decisiveness with problem solving and rush into action instead of taking time to reflect.

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Process-Problems: Hidden Treasures, Part I

By: Randy Cook and Alison Jenkins, McKinsey & Company

When a company engages its people in problem solving as part of their daily work, they feel more motivated, they do their jobs better, the organization’s performance improves, and a virtuous cycle starts to turn. Such an approach can tap enormous potential for the company and its customers.

At one auto-parts manufacturer, each employee generates an average of 15 suggestions for improvement every year. Over a period of 16 years, these suggestions have helped secure major advances that reached well beyond productivity and into safety and quality.

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Shingo Institute has a new Director of Research, Dr. Rick Edgeman

The Shingo Institute recently gained a new director of research. Rick Edgeman, Ph.D. joined the Shingo Institute at Utah State University in August 2015 as research director and clinical professor of management. His role at the Shingo Institute is to conduct studies and help us bridge the gap between scholarly knowledge and practical application.

Dr. Edgeman continues to serve as a visiting professor of quality management in the Industrial Engineering & Management Division at Uppsala University in Sweden, and sustainability and enterprise performance at Aarhus University in Denmark. His areas of expertise are in sustainable enterprise excellence, six sigma innovation and design, quality management, and social-ecological innovation.

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The Shingo Institute Has a New Executive Director: Mark A. Baker Bids Farewell, Ken Snyder Takes Over

Ken SnyderLOGAN, Utah—The Shingo Institute, part of the Jon M. Huntsman School  Business at Utah State University, bids a fond farewell to Mark A. Baker, who has served as the executive director of the Shingo Institute from July of 2014 until August of 2015. In the short time Baker served as executive director, he led the effort to continue the transition from an organization that offered executive education delivered primarily by the Institute to an organization with a network of distinguished licensed affiliates who provide executive education in partnership with the Shingo Institute.  

“We have a great deal of momentum that has been created by the Shingo team over the course of the last year, and we will continue to build on that, including the launch in the coming year of a focused, Shingo MBA program,” said Dean Douglas Anderson of the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business.

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Cultural Principles in Organizations

By: Abel Gómez Medina

I had the opportunity to make a business trip to the “Land of the Rising Sun” and was able to submerge myself in their customs and traditions. A couple of weeks was enough to begin to understand the history, practices and culture which is presented to us in books, reports and conferences that have led Japan to be ranked among the top places worldwide in quality, manufacturing, service, innovation and more.

It is amazing how Japanese people live principles on a daily basis such as “respect every individual” and “lead with humility.” These two principles are taught from a very early age and are the basis for their everyday life. So, what is it that they have or do that we do not? Are they more intelligent or maybe taller and stronger? No, definitely not. The difference lies in that they are lovers of teamwork through principles. They simply live them as part of their daily routine both inside and outside their workplaces. They do not worry as much about security fences, police equipment or alarms, they worry how to help each other, how to make things better. If something does not belong to them, then it belongs to someone else.

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24 Elements of Successful Organizational Change

By: Mckinsey & Company

In this survey, we asked executives about 24 practical actions most important to the successful implementation of an organizational transformation. Below are the specific actions in order of their impact (from greatest to least) on the likelihood of a transformation’s success, according to the results.

1. Senior managers communicate openly about the transformation’s progress and success

2. Everyone can see how her/his work relates to the organization’s vision

3. Leaders model the behavior changes they ask employees to make

4. All personnel adapt their day-to-day capacity to changes in customer demand

5. Senior managers communicate openly about the transformation’s implications for individuals’ day-to-day work

6. Everyone is actively engaged in identifying errors before they reach customers

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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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