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Pascal Dennis

Pascal Dennis: build the Toyota house

By Pascal Dennis, - Last updated: Thursday, April 15, 2010 - Save & Share - Leave a comment

Good question, Mike.

Quality implied in the so-called “House of Lean” image, most obviously in the Jidoka “pillar”. But you’re raising a valid point. Too often Lean implementations underemphasize Jidoka & Quality, and overemphasize the other pillar (JIT).

It’s understandable on some level – JIT seems “cooler” and promises quick payback in finished goods and WIP reduction. But the house, and our improvement activities, become imbalanced. We learn, eventually, that without Jidoka & Quality, you can’t provide the “right part at the right time in the right quantity”.

So what’s the countermeasure? In my view, we need to respect the house metaphor — build a solid foundation of standards and stability (in the Four M’s). Then begin to build the walls (JIT and Jidoka) concurrently.

Recognize that Jidoka and Quality are likely an even bigger challenge that JIT, not least because root causes inevitably lead straight upstream to our product and machine design process.

Here’s a final thought. Jidoka and Quality are even more important in our business processes: marketing, design, engineering, planning & scheduling, and so on.

If you “ship junk” in the factory — everybody can see it. “Hey, look at that big pile of junk!”

But if you ship junk in, say scheduling, very few people can see it. A good drawing/schedule/forecast/test-lab-report looks the same as a bad one.

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