Saturday, August 21, 2010

Does a sustainable Lean Implementation require inventing the wheel again?

The comparison of a Lean implementation with evolution is exactly what I think Lean ‘was’ all about, when Toyota started their Lean journey in the 50th.

Today, everyone is staring at Toyota as role model, but at the same time many seem to be paralyzed like a bunny staring at the snake!

Some companies I consult for want to be a Toyota – at least at the beginning before they understand what it’s really about.

But we need to keep in mind that in respect to successfully implementing Lean, there is a huge difference between
  1. Toyota in the 50th and how Toyota started and evolved over time and
  2. Toyota today and how inexperienced companies want to jump into being the Toyota of today.

For instance, people will - or will not - get the hang of why Toyota is so successful today, after 50+ years working hard on their TPS system or more correctly on their ‘Toyota Way’, how they found the way of single piece flow, documentation, standard work, applying the Asian cultural advantages, respecting people etc. etc. etc. …

But how can Toyota build one plant after the other in the Western world, hiring Western people and still run a TPS system very successfully and [almost] flawless within weeks…???

There is s clear and very important difference between starting a Lean journey from scratch and duplicating a Lean status quo within an organization into a new entity in the same of very similar industry.

What is the difference?

When starting a lean journey from scratch you face the same situation Toyota was facing in the 50th and you have to make your way through evolution, trial and error etc. to move forward and to improve. Yes, not quite because you can take some, but limited experiences and learning from Toyota to speed up your process. If you are an automotive manufacture your implementation will – should - go faster than for companies outside that industry.

When duplicating a well defined model such as TPS into a new entity or industry, everything is based on two aspects:
  1. The ‘EXACT’ knowledge of how to build your product with bulletproofed and very well developed and defined processes and Standard Work Instructions for ‘EVERY!’ process involved including a system with 100% transparency in sharing and communicating this knowledge to everyone in the most effective way – the framework.
  2. An advance hiring and training process to select exactly the right people with the right skills, knowledge, desire and personality profile that are matching the job profile to be filled.
    I am not elaboration on the technical infrastructure such as equipment, IT and logistics, since this usually does not make the difference in business performance.
So, it’s about ‘knowing’ the best way to build a car or product PLUS having this ‘documented’ in a way that everyone understands it, without any room for errors or misinterpretation.

This is the case for Toyota, knowing how to build cars and having it documented in a way that the execution is people independent to a high degree.

GM – and some others – know how to build cars but the degree of process optimization and especially bulletproofed documentation of standard processes, not to mention open internal information sharing is far behind the leading companies.

Even if GM - or some others - would fire all their workforce to get around the always stressed Union constraints and benefit burdens and would hire all new employees, they would fail completely since they don’t have the best processes in place nor are they documented as standard in the needed sufficient way.

==> Catch 22 or tough luck, right?

I believe Toyota’s journey was exactly an evolution of trails and errors with a clear goal in mind. The main contents or goal might have been: ‘JIT and no inventory’ and the evolution took place around that guiding principle.

Like a tree that might be guided by the nature of growing, but without a pre-set building plan about where exactly the branches and leaves will be growing – well, I might be on thin biology ice with this comparison …

A better comparison might be to ‘us’ – humans -, born and just equipped with the BIOS chip to get us booted up but without an operating manual and (almost) doomed to fail…if we did not have our parents to start programming some application software into our brains.
I would still call this evolution, even if the experiences of our parents are guiding and biasing their programming, training and teaching.

Now, trying as company to get to today’s Toyota level as sort of benchmark is already doomed to fail, since
  1. It took Toyota 60+ years of evolution to get there, if at all you could benchmark against Toyota’s level in the 60th or 70th and trying to get to that level – but who wants THAT??
  2. No business nor company is comparable in products and culture, hence most of the time it would not even make sense to use Toyota as benchmark
By the way, benchmarking against other companies makes not a lot of sense anyhow, since you limit yourself automatically. The only benchmark acceptable from my perspective would be against ‘perfection’ or ‘excellence’ or something like that.

Now, does this imply, that in order to implement Lean successful we always have to invent the wheel again and need to go through all failures and spend 50+ years to move our companies towards today’s Toyota level…???

If looking at the ONLY real difficulty in implementing Lean sustainable – The Human Side or Cultural Aspects of Lean -, one might come to a conclusion that is pretty close to that….

Friday, August 07, 2009

Just a quick reminder of our next
Human Side of Lean Conference Call !!!

…and you don’t need to say anything, you can just listen if you like…

Coming Wednesday August 12, 2009 & 7pm.
Call toll free 1-866-469-3239 and enter Pin Code 18874421#.

(see details below)

Here is the suggested topic for our call:

Does Group Size really matter?
You would think engagement is easier with smaller groups than with larger groups …?

Here are some thoughts:
• What impact has the team size on the approach of creating engagement within an improvement initiative.
• How to deal with small groups (up to 6), medium size groups (<20) and larger groups (>20)?
• What are the key-factors to achieve sustainability at different group sizes?
• What impact have different personalities on a group dynamic?
• How to compare our work with a lead actor, star or entertainer on stage?
• And this [********] is the space for your questions!!

Tell us your applications, cases, experiences, and lesions leaned in engaging a bunch of people in order to discuss it on our call and to possibly find THE common denominator for successful engagement.

Andreas Hug has volunteered to summarize the outcome into a one page whitepaper, documenting the major insights and lessons learned from this conference call. – Thanks Andreas !!!

ALL participants will receive a copy!
So, don’t miss this Human Side of Lean Call !!!!

If you haven’t been on the call recently …. you might be astonished…about what is going to happen, or not going to happen…. 

We are looking forward to having you on the call!

Thank you

Juergen Boenisch
(Co-Chair Human Side of Lean Tech Group)

+++++ Call Details +++++

Human Side of Lean Call
Call toll free 1-866-469-3239 and enter Pin Code 18874421#.
2nd Wednesday of each Month at 7 p.m. Eastern Time EST
Call toll free 1-866-469-3239 and enter Access Code 18874421#.
No advance registration required.
You don’t need to be a SME member, nor do you need a special invitation.
The only condition for you participating on THIS call:
Your sincere interest in Lean Implementation and especially in finding out what makes a Lean Implementation stick or what makes it sustainable.

Co-Chairs - Juergen Boenisch & Chuck Yorke

Juergen Boenisch, Ph.D., CMC, CSCM
Supply Chain Innovation Program SCIP™

Achieve Measurable Results. Together.
2113 Falling Green Drive
Oakville, ON L6M 5B6
Phone: (905) 847-9298
Cell: (416) 839-7759
Skype: Juergen.Boenisch

(JBEELINE, former Executive Management Consulting EMC)
SME - Society of Manufacturing Engineers
Chair of Human Side of Lean Tech Group
Past Chair & Executive Advisor Toronto Chapter 26

NOTE: This e-mail message, and any attachments, is intended only for the named recipient(s) above and may contain information that is privileged, confidential and/or exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If you have received this message in error, or are not the named recipient(s), please immediately notify the sender and delete this e-mail message. Thank you.

Friday, May 29, 2009

GM: The bailout amounts go up, and up, and … yes, they will go up further!
Not long ago we learned about a $39billion tax write off, out of the blue? – These losses were accumulated and it was well known to GM that this will hit the bottom line. Now we are in the bailout bidding process, and it feels like being on an auction.

The reason lies in the fact that currently no one has any idea about the TRUE situation of GM. But from my perspective we will learn pretty soon about what really happens behind the financial GM scenes.

Pretty soon – probably next week - GM will file for bankruptcy protection and a few days later the public will be told about the true GM situation. We better take a comfortable seat and enjoy the bumpy ride, since these numbers won’t be even funny anymore and my best guess is that they will at least double the currently publicized financial situation of GM.

Filing for Bankruptcy protection is inevitable, and always was!

Around one year ago I was part of a discussion with senior automotive executives, government representatives and other experts. The common view was pretty stunning. Almost all of us clearly expressed the opinion that GM will file for bankruptcy protection no later than within the next 12 months – and here we are right now.


Let’s look at one other player out there: Toyota. While Toyota also lost money the first time in history this year, still Toyota has become the number one in global care production. Both, Toyota and GM are experts in state of the art assembly technology and in implementing Lean Manufacturing process improvement initiatives – one the expert in theory & practice and one the expert in only in theory.

Toyota has developed a unique and extremely successful enterprise philosophy over the last 50+! years. This so called “Toyota Production System TPS” is primarily based on Lean Manufacturing principals but most importantly TPS manages to address the “Human Factor” – we call it the Human Side of Lean - and consequently the company culture in a remarkable way. TPS flawlessly combines business and process improvement with engaging and truly respecting their employees leading to continuous improvement and more importantly to sustainability in every improvement step they take.

As Stephen Hawking ones said:
Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.”

It’s all about change and the speed in which companies can mobilize their workforce to adjust to the ever faster changing world, environment and customer demands. The time of economy of scale is coming to an end, small lot sizes, fast response times and highly dynamic and innovative companies will make the race of the future. In short, it’s all about Leadership and Company Culture to sustainable infiltrate the required change in a fast and dynamic enough way.

Unfortunately, GM will not be one of them … because it’s too late now!

A change in GM top AND middle management was avoided for far too long. Under everybody’s eyes, management was allowed to drive GM completely in to the ground which now makes it very difficult to find a shuffle long enough to dig them back out.

GM missed the chance to find a way to re-brand itself in order for their employees to even being willing to mentally join in. GM missed the chance to change its company environment since a culture cannot be changed directly! The culture will follow if the environment in which people work is changed first. The people will make the change to the new culture – if only somebody would have gotten them involved.

The sad part: Nobody listened to all the dedicated and hard working employees at GM and their great ideas and willingness to help. So stop blaming the employees and unions and legacy cost and high health obligations for the GM mess!

These are just consequences and effects of the root cause: Management. It is the fault of management and the fault of the system of how management is brought in and how management’s incentive system is set up (to name only a few). In the 50’s Dr. Edward Deming (you might remember this guy who taught the Japanese quality since nobody in North America wanted to listen to him)brought up “The System of Profound Knowledge” that already at that time highlighted the need to understand psychology and working with your people instead of against them.

Let’s keep one think in mind: Ford that was in a worse financial shape than GM. There is one difference: Alan Mulally, a true leader with his head at the right place. Since he came in as president and CEO things did start to change to the good. As prior executive and president for The Boeing Company, Mulally follows the Toyota Way and he knows how crucial a healthy company culture really is. He started to align and engage the minds and hearts of his team nicely and Ford is the only D-Three automaker at this time not asking for bailout money.

Dr. Juergen Boenisch, Ph.D., CMC
JBeeline Consulting, Toronto Canada

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Phone Call 01AUG2006

Group discussion on dealing with management by expediting.

The notes from the call in map/pdf form are here. The notes in document form are here. If you have MindManager software, the original map is here.

Key topics:

Differences between consulting and managing.

If you would like to join the Human Side of Lean calls in the future, typically every Tuesday evening, the details are here.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Tuesday Phone Call 11JUL2006

Group discussion on dealing with performance issues on the team.

The notes from the call in map/pdf form are here. If you have MindManager software, the original map is here.

Key topics:

Being a change agent can be frustrating.
Like any management task, helping people see how their behavior is impacting others is difficult. But, this topic resonates with this year's discussion about personality and behavior.

If you would like to join the Human Side of Lean calls in the future, typically every Tuesday evening, the details are here.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Predictive Index - Phone Call 27JUN06

We were joined by Erik Herman for a discussion and example of the Predictive Index (PI) tool. He was kind enought to let us take the PI questionaire (about a 5 minute exercise) and then discuss the results.

Very interesting discussion as a follow-on to our DISC and MB phone sessions.

The notes from the call in map/pdf form are here. If you have MindManager software, the original map is here.

If you would like to join the Human Side of Lean calls in the future, typically every Tuesday evening, the details are here. Playback instructions for this call are here.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

More on DDI

I've read the Inc. Magazine article on DDI. It is a good profile of the company as well as other competitors in the hiring/consulting field.

Toyota and BMW only get a passing reference. So I wonder if there are actually multiple ways that Toyota screens candidates? Maybe someone can comment.

Adam Hanft wrote the article for the March 2003 issue. It has a number of interesting quotes. The major emphasis seems to be the behavior can be measured/detected and those behaviors are key to hiring success.

If you read the article, check out the do's & don'ts at the end of the piece.

HS Lean Phone Call 23MAY2006

Short follow on discussion from last week's DISC session. We also looked at possible future topics for the Summer. One to pursue is to find someone to talk about DDI Assessments.

The notes from the call in map/pdf form are here. If you have MindManager software, the original map is here.

If you would like to join the Human Side of Lean calls in the future, typically every Tuesday evening, the details are here. Playback instructions for the call are here.

UPDATE: Andreas found an article in Inc. Magazine during the conference call. It discussed DDI (The consulting firm). It is an interesting, but somewhat lengthy article.

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