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 'work'
Jon Miller

What is the true value of a work cell?

By Jon Miller, - Last updated: Monday, December 16, 2013
"Twenty years later, have workplaces moved to multi-process cells or do you still find many isolated operators?" The answer to this question is not either-or, but a "Yes" to both. Progressive workplaces are moving closer to cells, and we still find many isolated processes a.k.a. islands. Agile development, scrums, sprints and so forth engage in cell-like continuous flow within non-production environments. Hospitals and clinics are being designed for patient flow, moving the care to the patient continuously rather than delivering islands of care among oceans of waiting time. Discrete manufacturing processes are increasingly being reconnected to flow like it's 1913. But ...

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Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: hoshin kanri links the kaizen activities of leaders and work groups at all levels so they are working toward common goals

By Jeff Liker, - Last updated: Saturday, April 27, 2013
In "The Toyota Way to Lean Leadership" we have a 4 step model of leadership development.   We place Hoshin Kanri fourth, after self development, developing others, supporting daily kaizen, and finally hoshin kanri.  What hoshin kanri can do is link together the kaizen activities of leaders and work groups at all levels so they are working toward common goals.   In a sport, for example, basketball, a game plan can do that.   But imagine the perfect game plan with a bunch of novice players going up against professionals.  It will be a blow out.  The novices do not have a chance ...

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Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: When standardized work is changed, every one who performs the job needs to be trained

By Jeff Liker, - Last updated: Sunday, March 17, 2013
By standards I am assuming you are referring to standardized work.  There are many kinds of standards,   When standardized work is change everyone who performs the job, or audits the job, needs to be trained to follow the new standards--no question.   Presumably the change is for a reason in which case you would not want to ration out the changes over time based on the capacity to teach.   You need to make the changes and do the teaching.   There are many ways standardized work can be changed. For example, ...

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David Meier

David Meier: Good units produced (total parts – scrap) / (Available work hours – wait Kanban) = GPPH (good parts per hour)

By David Meier, - Last updated: Wednesday, January 30, 2013
The first point I want to make is that any measure has flaws and will not completely reflect reality. They should be considered indicators and in some way all refer to some sort of “standard” or desired condition. This is the basis for problem identification, which is the main purpose. Any measure is a “snapshot” of conditions during a specific time period and reflects many variables that are occurring. Some measures such as productivity are based on assumptions such as standard hours. The notion of standard hours is flawed in many ways that I won’t get into, but this measure can ...

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Tracey Richardson

Tracey Richardson: Involvement and engagement of people at their process(es) where the work is being done must be a priority

By Tracey Richardson, - Last updated: Saturday, July 14, 2012
It's always music to my ears when I hear a company is willing to invest time in people development from the executives to the floor level of the organization.  I believe that the training of the concepts or values are just the beginning of the lean journey, the more difficult task is the sustainment, improvement and growth of leaders and their practices to ensure the company is doing business in a way that meets customer expectations through people engagement in the value stream of order to customer. As we have all heard throughout time in the TWI realm that "repetition is the motherhood of all skills", ...

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Tracey Richardson

Tracey Richardson: Without work standards there can be no kaizens

By Tracey Richardson, - Last updated: Saturday, June 23, 2012
This is a very interesting and complex question but one Im drawn to answer based on my experiences at Toyota on the production floor, a current instructor at Toyota, and as a consultant over the past 14 years.  I've had the opportunity to be very close to this situation with a couple of my clients who could be categorized as silo based organizations. It's difficult at times to have a linear approach to such a nebulous type situation in trying to change a way of thinking that has been in place possibly for many years.   To say there are 5 major ...

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Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: Changing the structure doesn’t change the work – don’t reorganize, teach teamwork

By Jeff Liker, - Last updated: Saturday, June 23, 2012
I often think that questions like this suggest a misunderstanding of the problem.  Simply stating the problem is we have silos and we want to turn the organization sideways to focus on business processes is not a  good problem statement.   Presumably there is a process that cuts across silos and the silos need to work together to solve specific problems to achieve specific objectives. The reason they currently do not work together to solve those problems is because of the history of the company, what they were taught, how they are evaluated, and how they have been led.  Organizations often ...

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Michael Balle

Michael Ballé: Work standards are both individual and collective

By Michael Balle, co-author of The Gold Mine and The Lean Manager - Last updated: Saturday, June 23, 2012
I was in a plant this week where assembly operators filmed each other and compared how they work on the same station stopwatch in hand, and get to an agreement on the standard way to build a specific part. On most aspects they agreed there was a “best way” in the stopwatch sense, on some they agreed to disagree as each individually preferred to do this gesture this way or that. As they went through the exercise repeatedly, they also highlighted many opportunities for kaizen to improve the workstation to make the job easier. I’m not sure the source of ...

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Jean Cunningham

Jean Cunningham: Standard work is the best way that is currently know to do the work

By Jean Cunningham, - Last updated: Thursday, May 31, 2012
Standard work is the best way that is currently know to do the work.  As decided by the people who do the work.  To get the best possible standards, the people doing the work might have involved customers and suppliers of their work to better understand what is needed.   The standard will evolve over time as the work content changes, the understanding of waste improves, and the supplier and customer needs change.   The real question I think is "why have a standard?"  And as the question implies, the purpose of the standard is achieve repeatable results irrespective of who does the work which improves downstream quality and results.  Additionally, ...

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Cécile Roche: Are work standards individual or collective?

By , - Last updated: Wednesday, May 30, 2012
"Standards of work: an individual or a collective discipline? I understand that standards are the basis of respect in Lean, established, followed and improved at a team level as the better way to identify successes and failures (and then act .). How to balance the individual effort of everyone and the collective contribution of the team?"
Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: Dispel the myth of “lean will not work here”

By Jeff Liker, - Last updated: Friday, July 8, 2011
In our newest book,  The Toyota Way to Continuous Improvement, the bulk are seven case studies of organizations very different from auto--health care, iron ore mining, heavy machinery, nuclear submarine overhaul and repair,  product development, nuclear fuel, and more.  Each tells the story from the sensei perspective of the process they went through to help the organization understand lean and develop the skills to make significant improvement.  Success ranged from a model line to a model mine to a model department.  These were all large organizations and none so far led to a transformed total organization on the way toward ...

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Jamie Flinchbaugh

Jamie Flinchbaugh: “Lean won’t work in MY field”

By Jamie Flinchbaugh, - Last updated: Monday, June 27, 2011
What is the hardest field to apply lean? It doesn't seem to matter what field you're in, they all think theirs is the hardest. And they can back it up with evidence. One of the most frequent questions I get is "who else in my industry is doing lean?", because no one wants to be first, and no one wants to be last. There is a wide range of answers to this question in the series so far, and all of them valid. I'm not sure which is the hardest, but every field of work and every functional application brings its ...

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Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: Teamwork is not “work teams”

By Jeff Liker, - Last updated: Tuesday, May 10, 2011
I had in interesting experience about fifteen years ago when we were doing research for a book about Japanese manufacturing in the U.S. (called Remade in America).  We were studying a Japanese auto supplier with overseas plants in the U.S.   One question we had was how the Japanese would bring teamwork to the American culture.  At the time there was a lot of discussion about the use of work groups in Japan--work groups that were part of quality circle programs, natural work groups on the shop floor with team leaders, collocated cross-functional teams in product development and so on.  In ...

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Michael Balle

Michael Ballé: JOB = WORK + KAIZEN

By Michael Balle, co-author of The Gold Mine and The Lean Manager - Last updated: Thursday, October 14, 2010
Bob Woods, in The Gold Mine, argues that he’d change every manager right away for someone better – if he could. Since that’s hardly practical, he then says you’ve got to start developing those you’ve got. And then the chances are that, in a short time, they’ll become better than anyone you’ll find on the job market. It’s certainly is an interesting conundrum, but which also hinges on another: how good are we at developing people in lean? One common temptation is to try and teach the whole lean shebang: the TPS, the 14 principles, the toolbox and so on. For ...

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Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: Communicate clearly improvement expectations, with specific objectives and work with each manager to develop a plan

By Jeff Liker, - Last updated: Monday, October 11, 2010
You said four very positive things in this question.  1)  You are the manager of the pilot site and you are taking responsibility for lean, 2) you are using a pilot site to gain experience and deep learning, 3) you have a lean sensei to teach you, and 4) the lean sensei is pushing you to delegate downward to get better sustainment.  Just by virtue of those four key points you are ahead of many companies that assign lean to a lean six sigma department to deploy broadly across the company with minimal ownership by management.  A good sensei will ...

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Steven Spear

Steve Spear: Managing work to see problems when and where they occur

By Steven Spear, - Last updated: Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Managing work to see problems when and where they occur is a necessary precondition--one too often overlooked--if an organization is going to achieve bona fide continuous improvement in pursuit of operational excellence. Here's why. Absent an ability to design perfect systems for design, production, and delivery on the first try, operational excellence depends on continuous improvement and relentless innovation.  As important as it is to have rigor in solving problems, the necessary pre condition is managing work so problems—flaws in the current design of systems and the current approaches to doing work--are seen when and where they occur. Deming, for example, was a passionate advocate of the 'Shewhart Cycle' of Plan, Do, Check, ...

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