Lean Frontiers: Are they differences in getting middle management on board from getting executive management support?
Are there differences in getting middle management from executive management on board for 1) developing the lean enterprise and 2) direct engagement on their part? What are the differences, if any?
Posted on May 9, 2015
Archives by Tag 'Pascal'
Pascal Dennis

Pascal Dennis: No cement-heads – ever!

By Pascal Dennis, - Last updated: Saturday, August 2, 2014
Orrie’s response to the question of incompetence reflects deep & rare learning. I can only add supporting comments. I’ve found that transformation obstacles generally bubble up in the following sequence: Technical – weak standards or adherence to standards for core activities Organizational – team structure, org structure etc. People – competence, motivation, mental models etc. Systemic – governance obstacles, e.g. rewards & recognition structure, core beliefs & values, relationship between senior management & Board etc. (Yes, they overlap somewhat) The People category sometimes entails bozos (or as some people say, cement-heads). Harsh terms perhaps, but a fact of life, ...

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Pascal Dennis

Pascal Dennis: Kaizen is the work

By Pascal Dennis, - Last updated: Monday, April 7, 2014
Building on Dave’s excellent insights, who has time for the hugely wasteful & mechanical ‘five-day kaizen events’? Dave’s suggested 1-hour-per-week Quality Circle is not only more time-efficient, but reinforces the central TPS principle: Kaizen is the work. Absent of this core principle, is Lean any more than a set of tools? If we accept it though, Lean comes to life and allows us to take on more & more complex challenges. With respect to freeing up time, especially for senior leaders, I’ve found the trusty Yamazumi (stacked bar) chart to be very helpful. Yamazumi works for quick change-over, job balancing ...

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Pascal Dennis

Pascal Dennis: What problem are we trying to solve?

By Pascal Dennis, - Last updated: Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Very good question. Here are some thoughts for posting How Do I Start with Lean? I'd suggest you begin by asking the most basic & difficult question: "What problem are we trying to solve?" Growth? Profitability? Throughput? Quality? Safety? What are possible causes? Malignant market forces? Core technologies at risk of becoming obsolete? Empty new product pipeline? Decaying factories? Apathetic, stagnant or hostile work force? Dysfunctional mental models? You can begin your analysis with analytical tools, but please, get out of your office and confirm your analysis by seeing root causes with your own eyes. Thereby, you'll begin to develop a deeper understanding the chessboard, and of root causes ...

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Pascal Dennis

Pascal Dennis: People feel good when work we sent away starts coming back

By Pascal Dennis, - Last updated: Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Splendid answers, Steve, Jeff, Sammy and Jean. I'd simply add the following. The implicit deal between Lean companies & their employees is something like this: "You do the work that needs doing, & help us to improve, and we'll give you job security, continuous learning & challenge." As we get better, we free up human & machine time, floor space, capital etc., which all adds up to more capacity. We are able to do more with less. How do we deal with this extra capacity? Do we 'cash in' by down-sizing? If so, the high speed problem solving & learning Steve and Jeff describe, is likely to ...

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Pascal Dennis

Pascal Dennis: Develop a shared language for improvement

By Pascal Dennis, - Last updated: Friday, June 28, 2013
Aligning across disparate silos might be our biggest challenge. As you suggest, Joel, sustaining Lean in a single plant isn't enough. Decisions made upstream & downstream can quickly erode the factory's gains. For example, a chaotic scheduling process will hobble even the strongest factory, as will, expensive, hard-to-build designs. How to avoid this fate? Here are a few thoughts (from "The Remedy -- Bringing Lean Out of the Factory", by yours truly): 1. Develop a home-grown management system based on, say TPS, but tailored for your industry & culture. (Please do not simply copy TPS -- it might not fit.) Develop, thereby, a shared language of ...

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Pascal Dennis

Pascal Dennis: The lean system comprises three ‘loops’ in fact: Design, Make, Sell.

By Pascal Dennis, - Last updated: Sunday, November 25, 2012
Hi all, Good question. Building on Orry's points, the Toyota Business System is about growth -- and not simply efficiency. And you can't grow unless Sales is engaged. The system comprises three 'loops' in fact: Design, Make, Sell. As it happens, one of my favorite Toyota senseis, Shin-san, was a sales & marketing executive! Most Lean transformations focus on the Make loop -- and sub-optimize therefore. A chaotic, lumpy sales profiles will force even the most splendid Lean factory out of its 'sweet spot.' We'll have to  buffer with inventory, lead time or capacity. Engaging Sales, as Wiremold did, entails uncovering invisible governance obstacles. Incentive structures are perhaps the most ...

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Pascal Dennis

Pascal Dennis: Nemawashi literally means “going around the roots” — so as to prepare a tree for transplanting.

By Pascal Dennis, - Last updated: Friday, August 17, 2012
Here are my thoughts. Nemawashi literally means "going around the roots" -- so as to prepare a tree for transplanting. The word evokes images of quiet, patient work: · Finding a the right spot for the tree, both physically and aesthetically, · Ensuring good sun, soil & drainage, · Digging new hole of the right depth & diameter, and then watering and fertilizing · Carefully transplanting the tree, filling in the hole, etc Thereby, we develop a 'shared understanding' -- another rich image. Lobbying, by contrast, implies hectoring, cajoling, and perhaps bribing. (In America, lobbyists vie with lawyers and politician's for the title of Most Despised Profession.) In summary, nemawashi ...

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Pascal Dennis

Pascal Dennis: Sustaining focus & momentum requires effective connected checking — our organization’s nervous system

By Pascal Dennis, - Last updated: Monday, July 16, 2012
Good question & good reflections. I would add the following. Sustaining focus & momentum requires effective connected checking -- our organization's nervous system. We call it Level 1, 2, 3 checking, Level 1 being the front line. To Sammy's point, it's hard to beat daily asaichi at the front line, supported by leader STW checking what's important. But front line asaichi needs to be connected to Level 2 & Level 3. (Some problems are beyond the scope of a front line leader.  Without a help chain, they fester.) A number of enablers & subtleties here: ·         How to differentiate between Breakthrough vs. Run the Business work & ensure ...

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Pascal Dennis

Pascal Dennis: Our business & professional schools teach us to think in a way inimical to learning

By Pascal Dennis, - Last updated: Monday, April 9, 2012
Why Are Learning Organizations So Scarce? A billion dollar question... There are many root causes, which my Lean Edge colleagues will no doubt explore at length. Here's one that I find compelling: Our business & professional schools teach us to think in a way inimical to learning. Here are some of the mental models I picked up at engineering and business schools: 1) We are very smart and successful 2) We can manage from a distance, by the numbers. Corollary: What can front line people possibly teach us? 3) Everything wraps up nicely -- just like an MBA case study. 4) Problems are bad things -- smart, successful managers like us shouldn't have problems! 5) ...

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Pascal Dennis

Pascal Dennis: How do we continue to learn after current leaders move on?

By Pascal Dennis, - Last updated: Thursday, November 10, 2011
Good insights from Steve, Mike et al -- thanks. Here are my thoughts, for posting. How Does Lean Survive a Change in Top Management? Succession planning is indeed the key, but perhaps not in the conventional sense. As Mike suggest Lean thinking entails meta-cognition. Meta-cognition entails 'knowing about knowing' and answering questions like: How do I learn? What do I know? What do I know well? What do I not know very well? Great leaders tend to know themselves thereby, and can make conscious decisions. (The Lean Business System is fundamentally about wakefulness.) Leaders need to ask these questions of their organization: How do we learn best? What do we currently know, and not know, well? Most ...

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Pascal Dennis

Pascal Dennis: Success is the ennemy of future success

By Pascal Dennis, - Last updated: Friday, September 23, 2011
Building on Steven's thoughts, True North entails developing a clear picture of a) Ideal condition, and b) Target condition. As Steven suggests, at the process level, this means answering questions like: "Is the process behaving as expected?" Corollaries: Do I understand my process?  Is our hypothesis sound?  If not, how do we adjust it? "Is there creative tension in our management process? Corollaries: Are problems visible?  Are we challenging ourselves or simply resting on our oars? True North works much the same at the broad strategic level. In my view, its purpose, at each "level of magnification", is to create discomfort, and reflection (hansei) thereby. Wakefulness, if you will Success is the enemy of future success. Perhaps ...

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Pascal Dennis

Pascal Dennis: Excellence books hit the spot but miss the gemba

By Pascal Dennis, - Last updated: Monday, July 11, 2011
In my view, the "Excellence" authors basically got it right.  (I continue to refer to them.) But the "Excellence" books are (necessarily) academic. The Lean movement has brought these ideas into the messy world of practice -- a great and continuing contribution. Imagine a messy changeover kaizen in an Indiana stamping plant.  The team stands glaring at you with their arms crossed. Can we cut changeover time in half?  Can we teach these jokers how to sustain & make further improvements? Our revered and scary gemba -- where the proverbial rubber hits the road... Best regards, Pascal
Pascal Dennis

Pascal Dennis: Engaging the public sector in improvement is vital to the national interest

By Pascal Dennis, - Last updated: Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Like Art, I've found government to be the most challenging environment for Lean thinking. Root cause: the customer usually has no alternative provider & therefore can be ignored -- (sadly, but more or less safely). In my experience, government workers span the gamut of capability & engagement. Some are terrific & would excel in any environment. Others simply don't care.  The attitude of the latter seems to be, "Where you gonna go...?" But engaging the public sector in improvement is vital to the national interest. It's a big competitive advantage, in fact. Greece exemplifies the effect of a vast, disengaged public sector. (Who is going to invest in Greece?)  But Greece is not ...

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Pascal Dennis

Pascal Dennis: Team members have clearly defined & interconnected roles, which in turn, depends on shared purpose

By Pascal Dennis, - Last updated: Tuesday, May 10, 2011
What is teamwork? In my view, a team is an organized group of people with a clearly defined goal. "Organized" means team members have clearly defined & interconnected roles -- which in turn, depends on shared purpose. In the absence of latter, our discourse inevitably devolves into random opinions, factoids and, often, recrimination. "If only those bozos in... would do their jobs!" Shared purpose shifts our thinking to: "Just how are we going to achieve that objective?" (Or "target condition" -- tip of the hat to Mike Rother) What sort of objectives are most compelling & effective? Objectives that are just beyond the capability of the team. (I've found that it's better to ...

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Pascal Dennis

Pascal Dennis: Hubris is a dangerous enemy

By Pascal Dennis, - Last updated: Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Here's another posting that builds on those by Jeff and Steve: "As Jeff Liker writes, an iconic company, synonymous with safety and quality, has been brought low by plaintiff lawyers and an opportunistic government. My sense is Toyota's reputation will recover quicker than expected, whereas the government's has suffered yet another heavy blow. Harpers February 2011 issue has an interesting piece entitled "A Super Bowl Spot for Uncle Sam -- Can Madison Avenue Make Us Love Our Government?" http://www.harpers.org/archive/2011/02/0083294.  Short answer: not if they keep doing this sort of thing... In any event, I believe there are valuable lessons here. Hubris -- excessive pride or self-confidence, arrogance -- is a dangerous enemy. "He ...

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Pascal Dennis

Pascal Dennis: Aim For Delightful Value

By Pascal Dennis, - Last updated: Monday, January 3, 2011
We need to reflect on Value, at least as much as we do on Waste. The latter is comparatively easy to see on a manufacturing floor. "Look, there's a week's worth of WIP in Final Assembly.  There are 25 scratched units at the Primer line.  Line 6 is down for 20 minutes because of a part out..." Waste is somewhat harder to see in, say, a design studio, but with good visual management we can make it visible. "Look at our design funnel -- we have 20 Designs in Process at Stage 1 but our max level is 10.  And we just released 3 months worth of drawings ...

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Pascal Dennis

Pascal Dennis: Character & Competence = Breakthrough

By Pascal Dennis, - Last updated: Saturday, November 6, 2010
Respect for people entails core mental models that are something like: ·         People are basically decent and, treated with respect, will do the right thing. ·         Everybody deserves a chance & most people have valuable, knowledge, insights & experience. ·         Leaders are responsible for building capability – of machinery, methods, material streams, and most of all, people As Orrie points out so well, you can’t fake it.  Eventually, people sniff out phonies & tune out. Respect for people, therefore, reflects the ethical quality of leadership. Respect for people is also good business -- it creates the bond that drives continuous improvement. The unspoken bargain in companies that ...

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Pascal Dennis

Pascal Dennis: Lean methods make gaps visible

By Pascal Dennis, - Last updated: Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Lean methods make gaps visible -- in particular, the gap between What Should Be Happening & What's Actually Happening. These gaps fall under the categories Steve Spear described: a) Target vs. Actual, b) Target vs. future or anticipated actual, and c) Target vs. Ideal Moreover, gaps may comprise end-of-pipe results, as well as, the process by which the end of the pipe result was achieved In fact, in Strategy Deployment, one of the most worrisome scenarios entails: Great end-of-pipe results -- lousy process! (I call this "The Gods have smiled upon us...") In any event, Lean methods make many gaps visible -- but how do we decide what gaps to ...

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Pascal Dennis

Pascal Dennis: You can’t flow or pull without Jidoka

By Pascal Dennis, - Last updated: Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Let me build on my colleagues insights: 1.     Jidoka is a socio-technical system.  Both the social and technical challenges are tough -- but the former more so. 2.     Technical challenge:  How to translate customer requirements into meaningful upstream measures?  How to make the Good/No Good condition visible (see Art Smalley's post)?  The following are part of the answer: a.    Deep understanding of the customer -- and the ability to translate that understanding into the meaningful quality specs i.     In the consumer goods industry this might entail providing clear simple answers to questions like: 1.    What does "soft" mean? What does "dry" mean? ii.     In ...

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Pascal Dennis

Pascal Dennis: How do Lean practitioners connect with the CEO?

By Pascal Dennis, - Last updated: Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Building on Orrie's point, connecting with CEO means understanding upstream & downstream of the factory. Marketing, Design, Engineering, Order Fulfillment, Customer Service & the like. The CEO's gemba, and Value Streams, comprise all of these. How often do lean practitioners go see them? It's hard work, admittedly, to go see such gembas -- understand what we're seeing.   But if we don't, we'll suboptimize & CEO's will tune us out -- (rightly). A few small examples: In Marketing, Brand management would greatly benefit from the clarity & simplicity of Lean thinking. Marketing execs, for example, have found Strategy Deployment to be invaluable in aligning Design activity with emerging portfolio gaps. Moreover, Lean fundamentals like STW, visual management ...

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Pascal Dennis

Pascal Dennis: build the Toyota house

By Pascal Dennis, - Last updated: Thursday, April 15, 2010
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 — ...

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Pascal Dennis

Pascal Dennis: Safety was always first at Toyota

By Pascal Dennis, - Last updated: Saturday, April 3, 2010
Dear Dr. Shein, It’s a pleasure indeed to get a question from you. In my personal experience at Toyota, I found that Safety, pardon the cliche, was always first. First thing discussed at morning production meetings, weekly status reviews, mid-year and year-end reviews. Significant safety incidents including near misses were investigated within 48 hours. Report outs, or “Safety Auctions”, were lead lineside, usually by the group leader and responsible manager. These investigations went far deeper than in any other company I know, with the possible exception of Dupont. In new model launches, safety and ergonomics, were, again, the first order of business. Once ...

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Pascal Dennis

Pascal Dennis: What is to be learned from Toyota now?

By Pascal Dennis, - Last updated: Thursday, February 11, 2010
What is to be learned from Toyota now? Let me suggest a chemical metaphor Leadership is the “enzyme” that catalyzes continuous problem solving. Companies that grow too fast, are unable to grow leaders quick enough. (I agree that it takes 10 years.) Conventional leaders fill open positions and dysfuntional mental models proliferate. Here are a few examples: I’m the boss — do as I say! Don’t make me look bad — (hide the problem)! Make the numbers — or else! Root cause — what’s that? Just make the problem go away! Conventional leaders also fail to see the value stream — the proverbial big picture. They ...

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