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Samuel Obara

Sammy Obara: You get what you inspect, not what you expect

By Samuel Obara, - Last updated: Saturday, July 14, 2012 - Save & Share - Leave a comment

Ensuring a constant focus on lean efforts seems to be a current interest in many organizations.
I believe that constant focus has always been a reward for constant inspection.   As manager Doug Jennings from NUMMI used to say, you get what you inspect, not what you expect.

It would be very difficult if not impossible to keep the focus and momentum along the lean journey, if you don’t have a structure of constant follow up.  Some of the existing metrics/indicators in your organization, provided that they are correct, will have to be inspected daily, weekly, monthly or with the frequency that is necessary to keep it relevant.
At Toyota, we used to have Asaichi, a morning meeting first thing in the day, every day.  We would cover topics such as quality issues or safety concerns, all of them just highlighted the focus and constancy of purpose.

Since you emphasized training as something you are already doing, one of the pitfalls  to avoid, would have to be overtraining.  Even if it is just one and it is a short session, any training that doesn’t support the purpose or bring return (tangible or intangible), is overtraining.   Sometimes instead of ensuring focus, training can do exactly the opposite.  I see that as one of the wastes under overprocessing and one very, very common.    Unfortunately it is typical to see the degree of lean of a company being measured by the number of training sessions, kaizen weeks, lean events, etc.  I believe those can and should be measured, but as input, not output.   The more lean training you have, perhaps the less lean you are and not otherwise.

Cheers,
Sammy

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