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Body of Knowledge for Lean Manufacturing

Jim Wynne

Super Moderator
#31
asutherland said:
Isn't it great to be in America where we can not see beyond our own arrogance?
Trying to make sure that everyone understands the requirements isn't arrogance.

asutherland said:
With English being the World language of business, as foreigners come to this country, we expect them to speak English. And, as we go to a foreign country, we also expect them to speak English. (Thank goodness many of them do). How arrogant is that.
You said yourself that English is the language of business, and that's the way it is, like it or not. Businesses outside the US have a choice--they can conduct business in the native languages of the people they want to do business with, or not. I understand the "ugly American" syndrome and agree that it is at times too true and it is indeed arrogant, but that has little to do with the point that Wes was trying to make.
asutherland said:
How dare us to steal a function from another country that was stolen from us and was made more simple in its application and more functional in their environment.
And yet you deny the signifcance of cultural differences :confused:.
asutherland said:
Need we be reminded that the Japanese culture is not our enemy, but our competition. We should not strive to use these tools to be as good, we should improve on them to make them better.
No one here, as far as I can see, is suggesting any kind of enmity proceeds from cultural differences in business (although it obviously does in politics).
asutherland said:
When we fail to implement lean manufacturing concepts into our environment, are we not arrogant is saying, this only works in Japan because of their culture.
Wes was making the point that there is reason to believe that some "tools" we identify as Japanese, with transliterated Japanese names, are inaccurate representations even in Japan. No one is saying that x won't work in the US because of cultural differences, but if you don't acknowledge that adjustments might be necessary in order to account for cultural disparities, and that some strategies which are wholly dependent upon cultural norms might not make sense at all, then you're denying the bloody obvious.
asutherland said:
Are we so blind to our own faults to admit our failure and lack of understanding? Or are we just arrogant enough to blame someone else for our poor understanding, and worse, truly believe it?
I don't completely share Wes's opinion regarding what we call things, so long as the substance is properly understood (a rose by any other name...). We confuse the container for the thing contained too often, imo. But Wes made a good point in saying that it doesn't make much sense to use the terms kaizen and poka yoke when (a) they might not make sense even in Japan, and (b) we can just say "improvement" and "mistake proofing" and be sure that everyone will understand what we're talking about.
 
#32
asutherland said:
Isn't it great to be in America where we can not see beyond our own arrogance?

With English being the World language of business, as foreigners come to this country, we expect them to speak English. And, as we go to a foreign country, we also expect them to speak English. (Thank goodness many of them do). How arrogant is that.

Does this really mean we should no longer say "Kanban" without any implied acronyms? Should we call this "purchase order", or "invoice" depending on its function? Should we call it " ticket that makes purchasing 90% obsolete". Or should we simply call it "Kanban" with an English translation of its function?

How dare us to steal a function from another country that was stolen from us and was made more simple in its application and more functional in their environment.

Need we be reminded that the Japanese culture is not our enemy, but our competition. We should not strive to use these tools to be as good, we should improve on them to make them better.

When we fail to implement lean manufacturing concepts into our environment, are we not arrogant is saying, this only works in Japan because of their culture. Are we so blind to our own faults to admit our failure and lack of understanding? Or are we just arrogant enough to blame someone else for our poor understanding, and worse, truly believe it?
There's no doubt whether I may be arrogant. Power and privilege do, indeed, reinforce arrogance and lead to hubris. In this instance, though, I am not substituting my own, unaccompanied point of view on the topic, but a SYNTHESIS of the points of view of many of my colleagues around the world who are on the day-to-day firing line in a multitude of corporations. I add to that the point of view of a Japanese national who continually harps on the theme that kanban, kaizen, poka yoke are bastardized versions of techniques and tools perfected in the USA long before Deming went to Japan after WWII.

Normally, I would just link to the following exchange in the ASQ Forum, but it lies in a members only section of the site. I think it illustrates a large part of the issue. I've been lucky in my own career where "expert from afar" has earned me money and some prestige. Certainly, any of us who travel from the USA to a foreign country to consult are taking advantage of the cachet that "expert from afar" adds to the pearls of wisdom we drop.

Note, especially, that I did not take part in the following series of posts.
ASQ Discussion Boards » ASQ Member Discussion Boards » Quality Disciplines and Technologies
Topic: Rescuing a Kaizen implementation
Replies: 24 Pages: 2 Last Post: Sep 22, 2005 10:23 AM by: Akio Miura
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Gregory Barnes
Posts: 4

Rescuing a Kaizen implementation
Posted: Aug 8, 2005 7:33 AM Reply

I believe 100% in Kaizen philosophy and was looking forward to getting hands on experience with it when our company was acquired by a Japanese corporation.
Unfortunately, the implementation has not gone well. Here are some of the problems we've seen:
1. Lack of training for all but the top personnel. Even the "Kaizen" advocates who direct day to day activities have not received more than a couple of hours training.
2. Lack of commitment. Management holds quality circles but gives them poorly defined projects (projects in areas out of the groups' control) or will not give the circles time to do tasks (need to get that production out).
3. Inability to manage change. Kaizen was introduced at the same time the company was going through a crisis and had to lay off 2/3 of its staff and workers. Also, another plant that made radically different products was closed and merged into ours. This doubled the workload for the plant. All of this happened in two years!
I am a beginning quality engineer, but am very passionate about Kaizen. I have no direct control over the Kaizen efforts. What could I do to help save our Kaizen efforts?
Part of the problem is cultural. The Kaizen mindset is different for Westerners, but it can be learned and it can succeed. The learning curve is going to be slow. How could I help explain this to our Japanese leaders without being disrespectful?
Thank you for your help.
Greg Barnes
Atlanta, GA
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Akio Miura
Posts: 325

Re: Rescuing a Kaizen implementation
Posted: Aug 8, 2005 10:02 AM Reply

Dear Greg:
I believe kaizen is 100% stupid and useless. It is not the improvement, but just the game of most stupid kindergarten level people. I wonder why you are passionate about “kaizen”. While waiting for your reply to this question, my comments are as follows:
The company who acquired your company looks to be a very typical company with Japanese style of management where top management do not have any responsibility, with no commitment, no policy, and doing nothing value-added. I call it “topless management”.

If you check all other responses of mine in ASQ Discussion Forum/Boards, you can entirely agree with me. It is Japanese actual status. According to Japanese old saying, “there is neither medicine nor cure for idiots, except death”. You are experiencing it now, as I have repeatedly warned you all, and some (or rather many) of you were unhappy with my comments. I am honest, sincere and serious.

I am a Japanese management consultant covering all of quality management, quality assurance, good manufacturing practice, and quality engineering. I am the first ASQ CQE, the first CQ Manager, and only one ASQ CSSBB in Japan. I am telling all clients of mine in Japan never try to do “kaizen” and “lean” because such things are the most stupid things in the world.

The best therapy for your company is that the capable (serious, diligent, intelligent and cognizant) persons leave the company. The stupid company should be operated only by the stupid people. It is not the place for the intelligent people to work.

This is not the problem of culture. Japanese culture is not so poor, but some crazy Japanese people have lowered the culture level of Japan in the past 50 years.

One more thing. None of kaizen and lean people have passed the ASQ CQE and CQManager exams so far. All such people are not the quality professional but the fake, I dare say.

If you stay with lean kaizen poka-yokel company, you will become really lean (in brain), and poka-yokel bumpkin or monkey in a couple of years.
Akio Miura, ASQ CQA/CBA/CQE/CQManager/CSSBB
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William Pflanz
Posts: 289

Re: Rescuing a Kaizen implementation
Posted: Aug 8, 2005 11:22 AM Reply

Gregory,
Akio has very strong opinions about blindly following Kaizen, Lean and other heavily promoted Japanese methods. The same comments can be applied to TQM, Six Sigma and other American quality methods that are not properly supported and led by management. During the last few months, Akio and others have discussed the myths related to Japanese quality, Deming's influence on the Japanese and how the U.S. can compete. Like everything in life, there is variation in the implementation of the methods.

Corporations fail in their quality efforts since many executives believe they can purchase quality philosophies that will solve their problems. Leadership is the key to success. Training is not useful without some objective. Quality circles are not useful unless they are working on problems that have been identified through data collection and are understood to not just be normal variation. Getting out of a crisis does not take quality methods since it is too late at that point. Some of the changes that your company has gone through may have been needed to stay in business.

Once your company stabilizes, the tools need to be taught so they can be used to work on immediate problems that have been identified through not meeting customer requirements, being wasteful or not meeting competition. Each should be supported by management since they should relate to the strategic goals of the company.

The problem does not appear to be cultural so much as looking for an easy fix. All quality engineers would like to see that but the truth is that if it was easy to fix your problems, it would be done already.

I would recommend leading a project with defined objectives, that is important to the company and that is supported by one of the enlightened managers. Your job would be to show how to collect data and use the problem solving process and tools.
Bill Pflanz
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Gregory Barnes
Posts: 4

Re: Rescuing a Kaizen implementation
Posted: Aug 8, 2005 11:30 AM Reply

Wow! That is not a response I expected! What about Toyota and Honda? Don't they use Kaizen principles? Of course, auto makers are in a distinct class of manufacturing because of their size and complexity.

Like I said, I am new to quality and Kaizen certainly sounds good. From my limited experience, it has seemed to work well, also.

I have applied Poka Yoke concepts to eliminate data entry errors and they worked very well. Obviously, the idea can be taken to extremes. People are going to have to think, no matter what system you put into place. If you are not careful, you can end up spending more and more money in an effort to make something completely idiot proof. I use Cost of Quality to help determination the point of diminishing returns, although there may be better ways. Maybe that is not true Kaizen.

I believe in Quality Circles when they are given time to do what they need to do. My background is in manufacturing engineering. I worked in one very well run plant that used a lot of input from operators to drive continuous improvement. We had quality circles without the title. Taking ideas from the best operators and systemizing them, we were able to bring a very unstable process under control very quickly. Only senior operators who do the work everyday would have observed some of the things we implemented.

However, it also seems to me that a big part of Kaizen depends upon individual behaviors that can be difficult to control. I am curious about what may be done to change these behaviors. In the good plant I mentioned above, teamwork was part of the culture. The teamwork tradition was established because of the founders' personalities. They attracted like-minded people and it became the norm for the company.
Greg Barnes
Atlanta, GA
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Akio Miura
Posts: 325

Re: Rescuing a Kaizen implementation
Posted: Aug 8, 2005 10:56 PM Reply

Bill Pflanz is correct, but I would like to add something.

I may look to have very strong opinions about Kaizen, Lean and other heavily promoted Japanese methods. However, I have checked many Japanese friends of mine before posting my comments on them. In my network, there are people of Honda, Mitsubishi, Mitsui, and some other leading Japanese companies. They do not disagree with me. They know well that so-called kaizen, lean, and poka-yoke are merely the casual thoughts or makeshift or perfunctory suggestions of shop floor level operators. The smart company management does not take them important. This is the fact.

Good things and good people are good, and wrong things and wrong people are wrong, in any country in the world. I’m not saying that Japan is any wrong, but I’m trying my best effort to prevent my good friends in the world from being misled or contaminated by wrong things. A friend of mine, Henrietta Morgan, is the Quality Manager of a big U.S. firm in the Great Lakes area. Her company has decided to adopt “Lean” and started that project with some Japanese “sensei” a couple of years ago. Henrietta found something wrong or strange, and asked me “what is lean, kaizen”. I replied the same way as I did to you, and she entirely agreed with me. She is a CQE/ CQA/ CQ Manager, smart enough, altogether different from such a stupid sensei who cannot solve any easy multiple choice question of the CQE exam. Her company did not fire such sensei and is still doing that project. So they are still suffering from many wrong things and has deteriorated considerably, she confessed to me when we met at Seattle in May. Another friend of mine, Johnny Blackbeard who was the Quality Director of a big Japanese manufacturer in New Jersey has left the company saying that there is no management responsibility and support and he got sick of it.

To your question “What about Toyota and Honda?”, I know them because I have friends in such companies and I taught quality to some people of Honda and some other auto makers 10 to 12 years ago. Their sense of quality is terrible. They have no CQEs at all. Their kaizen is not improvement in my sense and concept. It is only for their own purposes. I wrote the fact about Toyota’s kaizen in some other thread a couple of months ago. They made some Japanese post offices in a mess and caused many mails and parcels to disappear. If increase is improvement, this is a great improvement in the numbers of troubles and problems, most Japanese people agree. You may admire and believe Toyota and Honda. It is up to you.

When asking a question, some people have their own answer or have some preconception, and would not listen to any right answer if it is different from theirs. I just hope you are not that type. I am a sincere, honest and conscientious man, and teaching the improvement, in the way of the sincere and honest people. It is altogether different from selfish or dishonest kaizen.
Have you checked some other threads about the stat of Japanese kaizen? More than 99% of self-claimed kaizen turned out to be stupid and made the companies into a mess, according to the report of a big research institute in Japan in 1990s.

Quality Circles is not the Japanese system. Very low level new companies who did not know quality at all learned it from AT&T through Deming, etc. about 50 years ago. Many of smart or cognizant Japanese companies are now sick of Quality Circles.

I do not like the word “Poka Yoke” because it is the slang of rather indecent people (maybe sort of “yokel”) as I wrote before. It should be said “mistake proofing” or “error proofing”. It is nothing new, but the practice in all countries in the world for many centuries.

Barnes said:
>> . . . it also seems to me that a big part of Kaizen depends upon individual behaviors that can be difficult to control. I am curious about what may be done to change these behaviors. >>
This is one of the reasons why I am not recommending Kaizen to Japanese clients. It merely makes the organization in a mess.

Teamwork is important in everything. Almost all cultural heritages of human being, such as pyramids in Egypt and Mexico, the Great Wall in China, good temples and cathedrals in Asia and Europe are the products of good teamwork, I think. In the meantime, there is another type of teamwork in this world. In Japan, auto manufacturers association has established an ISO registrar, who are assessing and registering auto manufacturers and auto part suppliers. It seems that they are taking it as a good “teamwork”. I warned them years ago because I did not like them to be unethical, but they did not listen to me at all. This is another reason why I do not like Japanese auto and auto parts companies. The sincerity with fairness – the quality of heart – is most important.

This is my tentative reply before I get your reply to my question “why you are passionate about kaizen?” In my previous post, I sympathized with you, but you look to be dissatisfied with the fact and my sympathy.
Akio Miura
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Gregory Barnes
Posts: 4

Re: Rescuing a Kaizen implementation
Posted: Aug 9, 2005 7:12 AM Reply

Bill and Akio,
I appreciate your comments, although I was surprised at first by Akio's response. But, I also much appreciate the candor. I think that the long and short, is that there is no substitute for leadership. There is no "magic" pill that will make problems go away.

You cannot buy a "canned" solution. I learned that early on when an employer bought a complex automated line to solve their production problems. There was a whole new set of problems implementing a complex piece of machinery.
What I am seeing is a lack of leadership. The best thing I can do is exhibit leadership so others may follow my example. And, I should not be afraid to politely challenge thinking when it violates the laws of common sense.
Thank you, Bill and Akio, for your insights.
Greg Barnes
Atlanta, GA

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William Pflanz
Posts: 289

Re: Rescuing a Kaizen implementation
Posted: Aug 9, 2005 9:13 AM Reply

Gregory,
Please revisit and share your successes - and failures. There is much that can be learned from the Discussion Board so continue to ask for advice. You sound like you are not a rookie and were looking for confirmation about your suspicions. Based on your replies, you also have much to offer others who need help so feel free to give advice too.
Bill Pflanz
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Dan McLaughlin
Posts: 17

Re: Rescuing a Kaizen implementation
Posted: Aug 9, 2005 9:30 PM Reply

You paint a pretty bleak picture with layoffs and other chaos going on. Some times you have to take a step back to move forward again. Maybe it is career decision time for you. Leadership is the key. Doesn't sound like they have it.
It may take the company years to get on track again. It is very hard to tell what is going on at the Senior Leader's level. Without their commitment don't expect to do anything but flounder. Whatever quality initiative is tried.
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Akio Miura
Posts: 325

Re: Rescuing a Kaizen implementation
Posted: Aug 10, 2005 11:13 AM Reply

Greg:
I feel very happy because you have two very good friends here, Bill and Dan.
If you are not a rookie in quality engineering and management, you should read “Quality Planning and Analysis” by Frank Gryna and Joseph Juran, published by ASQ. It is not only useful in our day-to-day quality business but in the ASQ CQE exam. It is far beyond the level of Toyota, Honda and Nissan, who have no CQEs at all. It is a very enjoyable book if you read it. In Japan, there is almost no person who understands its plain English except my deputy and me. This is the reason why there is only 7 CQEs in Japan and it is a serious problem with the current Japanese quality. The good company having a good quality control written in this book and your company are both extremes, I’m afraid.

The actual situation you are in would be about the same as depicted by Dan, I guess. They have no leadership, but they will delegate responsibility to you with no right and authority. They will make no good commitment. They do not know “empowerment”. They retain power. This is one of the main features of typical Japanese management with lean and kaizen kanban poka. So you will have a tough time. My friend John, who posted in the thread of the Quality Audit Division a couple of times, know it very well because he worked for Tokyo Branch of some big oil company six years in 1980s, and entirely agree with me. According to him, everything is “saka-sama”, which means “upside down”, “inside out”. It is in my words, “left is right, and right is wrong”. Your right things will be wrong for them, and they may ask you to make some “kaizen” in their sense.

You have to be tactical enough in every action at your company. There will be no poka-yoke (fool-proof) measures for your situation. It will be a challenge for you. Sorry I cannot help you because there is no good medicine for such idiots according to Japanese old saying. Only one thing I can advise you now is to look for some good refuge – non-poka (non-idiot) company for your new career decision, as Dan advised you. I like to play baseball (currently, only practice). I used to be a substitute pitcher in bull-pen, and sometimes a pinch-hitter in a non-pro company baseball club because I was no good in running. However, I learned from baseball many good things useful for our day-to-day business and management. For example, the good back-up formation system in fielding (really good teamwork), and having good inventory of enough substitute players in dugout.

Also I used to play saber fencing, and learned a good thing from an American fencing coach 40 years ago. It was that we have to practice and use various alternative techniques for every action and reaction, either in defense or offense. Otherwise, we are easily trapped and beaten by the opponent. Conditional response in one way is most vulnerable in fighting, because the opponent is observing our movement and doing “trend analysis” during fighting. He used to say “just one thing is nothing”. (Its equivalent in Japanese old saying is: “the idiot (poka or baka) knows only one way.”)
You may have been surprised at my comments on Toyota, Honda, etc. A friend of mine who is an ISO registrar auditor audited and approved Toyota Kentucky upon their initial ISO registration. He said to me Toyota’s management system is good. However, I knew it better than he because another friend of mine, Greg, helped them conform to ISO standards. Greg was my baseball friend, and live in KY. (He was an MLB candidate catcher 23 years ago.) From this fact, I do not think Toyota system was not so good before, and I am not sure if it is really good now.

I am not interested in criticizing Japanese manufacturers, but the reason why I know they are not so good is that I taught them and helped several Deming Prize holders including one big car manufacturer get certified to ISO about 12 years ago. They were big companies and were proud of their Deming prize, but their quality management system was terribly poor to my astonishment. So I had tough time to correct and help them. They were proud of numbers of kaizen cases. However, they did not know the correct meaning of kaizen in Japanese – their own language. Their “kaizen” is merely some change, independent of whether for better or for worse. They do not care. Therefore, in some ASQ books, it is defined as “incremental changes”. It is not the improvement at all. (In correct Japanese language, kaizen is improvement. Improvement is different from correction and corrective action as I explained in the thread of “ISO Discussion Forum” two years ago.) I saw many cases of kaizen, poka-yoke and kanban, and found that they are really crazy and ridiculous. Therefore, I cannot say that lean and kaizen are any good. Many Japanese newspapers and magazines wrote the same thing in the past decade many times, quite irrespective of me. According to them, the IQ Level of lean people is about the same as kindergarten kids.

To all readers: If you believe such junk books and your company wants to get into a chaos, do kaizen, lean and poka yoke as you like. I hope you all understand the actual status of such tools.
Take good care.
Akio Miura
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Akio Miura
Posts: 325

Re: Rescuing a Kaizen implementation
Posted: Aug 11, 2005 6:46 AM Reply

About Kaizen in their actual practice:
If you observe the Lean kaizen companies, you will find that many of them are boasting of numbers of kaizen or changes they made, i.e., they are repeating changes bit by bit, and sometimes calling it “continuous improvement”. Their kaizen is actually not the improvement but mostly fixing or correction, or merely the change. They cannot tell the difference of correction, change and improvement. In case of change, they believe change is improvement, and they do not care whether it is for good or for bad. I found that their processes are mostly deficient, and their operation procedures and instructions are poorly written, or quite often, they are not in place. That caused lots of errors and troubles, and hence they need kaizen or poka-yoke.
As the first management system consultant in Japan, I have taught more than 100 companies since 1990. In many cases, I prepared their Quality Manual and key operation procedures. In case of most of my clients, there are very few opportunities for CAPA and improvement. At good companies among them (who honestly followed my advice), there were no needs for kaizen or poka yoke or lean. It was because I have included all good preventive measures for errors and troubles in their processes and operation procedures.

The cases of poka-yoke or kaizen by Shingo or Imai are mostly for the trivial components of operation processes and the matter of the floor level workers. They are not aware that the root cause of errors, deficiencies and shortcomings in operation processes is mostly in the process or procedure. The system, process or product that needs continuous improvement (actually, patchwork) eternally is always deficient, insufficient or something wrong. If the good process is designed and a good operation procedure is prepared for it, there will be almost no need for devising error proofing after starting the operation of the process. It is the matter of management and the process engineering function.

If you have any question, please do not hesitate to ask me.
Akio Miura
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Gregory Barnes
Posts: 4

Re: Rescuing a Kaizen implementation
Posted: Aug 15, 2005 7:28 PM Reply

Thanks for the advice, everyone!
I have to admit that I have felt sometimes lost with the new system. The best quality system I worked in was governed primarily by the Pareto principle. Instead of fixing everything at once in a flurry of unfocused activity, we would focus our energies across departments on the vital few. We were able to accomplish huge gains quickly because everyone was focused and because everyone was accountable. That seems to be 180 degrees from our current Kaizen system where everyone is going in a different direction.

This company did not have titles (those of you familiar with American manufacturing may have guessed the company). Production folks freely shared their ideas and were treated as equal members of the team. The production folks on our team helped interview job candidates. It was a neat experience.
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Manoj Mathur
Posts: 13

Re: Rescuing a Kaizen implementation
Posted: Aug 17, 2005 11:44 PM Reply

Most Respected Akio Miura Sir,
I Bow my head for the Truth you said sir. But Kindly reply me that If you Leave the things as it is, considering people are stupid and they do not consider Leadership is a real issue. Is it not Escapism. If you leave one such organization, join other what is the guarantee another is also good.

Sir, Second thing I would like to ask, If Organisation is good, People are wise, Leadership is prudent then what is the role of Guru or Sansei or Consultant ?
Sir, Whay i am asking this point that has validity. Because I am working with an organisation which is on path of Improvement. In this company everything is there but it needs a teacher who present the shop floor improvements in such a manner that it's replication (Horizontal Replication as well as Vertical Replication) becomes easy and not only its replication but promote a motivation where people think outside Box Thinking.

Sir, For that matter I am here in this company and Sir, Due to above mentioned reasons I used to promote World Class Manufacturing (WCM) Concept in my plant which includes TPM, Kaizen, Poka-Yoke, Six Sigma, SPC/SQC, JIT/SCM etc.

I am WCM Coordinator for this plant.

Please Reply sir that will help me to decide my future course of actions.
Regards,
Manoj Mathur
manojmathur@adityabirla.com

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Akio Miura
Posts: 325

Re: Rescuing a Kaizen implementation
Posted: Aug 18, 2005 3:52 AM Reply

Barnes said:
> I have to admit that I have felt sometimes lost with
> the new system. The best quality system I worked in
> was governed primarily by the Pareto principle.
> Instead of fixing everything at once in a flurry of
> unfocused activity, we would focus our energies
> across departments on the vital few. We were able to
> accomplish huge gains quickly because everyone was
> focused and because everyone was accountable. That
> seems to be 180 degrees from our current Kaizen
> system where everyone is going in a different
> direction.
>
Greg:
Right. Vilfredo Pareto’s principle is the best way to identify vital few problems or causes. After your Pareto analysis, you will find:

1. There is no commitment of management, and no awareness. They are lack of training, but they do not think so. They think they are knowledgeable and competent enough.

2. Inability to manage change – no knowledge of change management.

3. They think the “Quality Control” is “holding quality circles”. They have no knowledge of quality system and quality engineering.

That is, the same as your first impression on the company’s new management. Also you find that the meaning of kaizen in their term is merely some change either good or bad, as I wrote previously. The challenge will be how to train management with your leadership. Good luck.
Akio Miura
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Akio Miura
Posts: 325

Re: Rescuing a Kaizen implementation
Posted: Aug 18, 2005 4:34 AM Reply

Mr. Manoj Mathur:
Thanks for good questions.
The initial poster, Greg, has the difficult challenge that he has to train or lead his new boss(es). While there is no reason for him to be permanently loyal to the new management who recently acquired the company. If you were a captain of a ship and that ship was wrecked, you would tell all crew to leave the ship using life boats. Escaping, avoidance, or evasion or some other alternative will be necessary strategy for Greg. It is up to Greg whether to prepare refuge or not.

As a consultant, I worked also for some good organizations with wise people and prudent leaders. Then I made them much better, smarter and more prudent. It is the true improvement in my definition – making good things much better. They are very happy. Me, too.

You may continue shop floor improvements, as long as you identify needs of improvement there, but if you have good management system and good processes with good operation procedures, the opportunity of such improvements will decrease dramatically.

If you have good management system with good management practices, you will not need such junk or monkey tools as so-called TPM, kaizen, poka, and JIT/SCM. By the way, can you do and manage all of these junk tools? Have you ever tried to practice them and found that they are any good? I saw lots of cases of terrible or miserable results.

Traditional Shewhart/Deming/Juran’s SPC/SQC and statistical techniques based on probability theory (topics of CQE and CRE) are useful for good management. They should be used as necessary.
Akio Miura
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Dan McLaughlin
Posts: 17

Re: Rescuing a Kaizen implementation
Posted: Aug 18, 2005 11:32 AM Reply

My expereince has shown that many companies are trying to use quality tools like DOE when they should focus on the more basic tools. Pareto charts and basic check sheets can tell you a whole lot about the process if applied properly. My thinking is if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck then it must be duck. No need to check its DNA for verification.
Pick the low hanging fruit and hold the gain. In most companies that will keep you busy for a whole career.

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Akio Miura
Posts: 325

Re: Rescuing a Kaizen implementation
Posted: Aug 18, 2005 7:39 PM Reply

McLaughlin said:
> My expereince has shown that many companies are
> trying to use quality tools like DOE when they should
> focus on the more basic tools. Pareto charts and
> basic check sheets can tell you a whole lot about the
> process if applied properly. ...
>
It is a good idea for any people to pick the low hanging fruit and hold the gain.

I have never said such a thing that DOE, Pareto chart and check sheets are part of stupid kaizen or Lean. These are very traditional tools and proved to be useful for decades. Pareto analysis was devised by Vilfredo Pareto in 1906. Checksheets have been used by many people in various countries for centuries. DOE was devised by some mathematicians and scientists many decades ago. All these good tools are included in the BOK of CQE for decades. They are not unique to Lean or poka.
Akio Miura
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Muhammad Imtiaz
Posts: 2

Re: Rescuing a Kaizen implementation
Posted: Sep 18, 2005 2:25 AM Reply

I totally agree with Mr. Akio about kiazen and quality circles..I worked as a consultant and provided consultancy to automobile sector and one of my client was Toyota Car Assembling Plant, when I started my work there I got surprised that the incharge of Kaizen/Quaity Circle program was a person who in my opinion didnt know the basics of quality (that I experienced throughout my consultancy assignment and not to mention suffered because of that)...there they adopted a very smart concept (btw thats what they believed not me) that they combined the kaizen and quality circles together and was celebrating annually by helding the competitions between various kaizen project teams, I witnessed one of their ceremony and I totally agree with Mr. Akio that was a total waste of time and resources...not a single kaizen project yielded any improvement rather than just correction and in some cases there were increased set of problems due to new modifications they adopted as a result of a kaizen project.
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Akio Miura
Posts: 325

Re: Rescuing a Kaizen implementation
Posted: Sep 18, 2005 9:48 AM Reply

Muhammad:
Thanks for feedback. I am very happy to hear that you were not deceived by such fake or bogus people. Seeing is believing.
We all have to take “preventive action”. I am already old enough and going to retire, but would not like the good friends all over the world to be affected by wrong concepts.
Akio Miura
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James Shelor
Posts: 101

Re: Rescuing a Kaizen implementation
Posted: Sep 18, 2005 10:49 PM Reply

Bill, Akio, etal,
Wow, it is good to run into another lively discussion.
I agree that most companies have lots of low hanging fruit that can be picked and make a lot of headway.
I would caution those companies to at least do enough research on which piece of fruit to pick lest you find yourself in an avalanche of low hanging fruit that you were not yet ready to pick and your system gets hurt instead of helped by the low hanging fruit you picked.
Just make sure you are going after the right ones first, etc.
Regards,
Jim Shelor PMP
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William Pflanz
Posts: 289

Re: Rescuing a Kaizen implementation
Posted: Sep 20, 2005 7:02 AM Reply

Shelor said:
>
> I would caution those companies to at least do enough
> research on which piece of fruit to pick lest you
> find yourself in an avalanche of low hanging fruit
> that you were not yet ready to pick and your system
> gets hurt instead of helped by the low hanging fruit
> you picked.
>
> Just make sure you are going after the right ones
> first, etc.
>
> Regards,
>
> Jim Shelor PMP
Jim,
The problem is not the availability of low hanging fruit or even picking it because it is easy. The real issue is that a Kaizen implementation implies that spending a week on an intensive effort to fix a problem and get immediate gains is the best way to improve.

True quality improvement must also be done on problems that are difficult to identify and solve and do not return as a problem later. When quick solutions are done without longer term monitoring of the data, you are deceived into thinking that you have solved a problem and taken credit for savings that are not really there.
Bill Pflanz

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Muhammad Imtiaz
Posts: 2

Re: Rescuing a Kaizen implementation
Posted: Sep 20, 2005 10:38 PM Reply

Let me clear the issue of kaizen, take an example of having a dinner...now if one continously works on how to imrpove the tools to be used to prepare dinner and design innovative ways of using utensils and saving energy by cutting unnecesary time for cooking and as a end result he gets successful in all the efforts and claims that the project was a success...but the question is without the main ingredients i.e grocerry items, would that project makes any sense? what if the required food items are not available in the market or the end user i.e the person who will eat, will not like the dish itself? then whats the use of that innovation? Same is true for kaizen that it focuses mainly on the production tools to be improved not the main processes and the business itself.
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James Shelor
Posts: 101

Re: Rescuing a Kaizen implementation
Posted: Sep 20, 2005 11:51 PM Reply

Bill,
Let me expand a little on what I meant.
I meant, do the research on the processes and the analysis on the process and fully define the problem you are going to fix.

If you pick the first piece of low hanging fruit you find, you are probably going to cause more problems than you solve.

Just make sure the fruit you pick is not an apple when you wanted an orange.
Regards,
Jim Shelor PMP
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Akio Miura
Posts: 325

Re: Rescuing a Kaizen implementation
Posted: Sep 21, 2005 5:00 AM Reply

Muhammad said:
> Let me clear the issue of kaizen, take an example of
> having a dinner...now if one continously works on how
> to imrpove the tools to be used to prepare dinner and
> design innovative ways of using utensils and saving
> energy by cutting unnecesary time for cooking and as
> a end result he gets successful in all the efforts
> and claims that the project was a success...but the
> question is without the main ingredients i.e grocerry
> items, would that project makes any sense? what if
> the required food items are not available in the
> market or the end user i.e the person who will eat,
> will not like the dish itself? then whats the use of
> that innovation? Same is true for kaizen that it
> focuses mainly on the production tools to be improved
> not the main processes and the business itself.
Muhammad:
I guess you wrote about some typical Toyota kaizen cases as you actually observed. You must have realized that it is patchwork or cursory retouching for self-satisfaction by shop level workers. In the worst case, it is “tampering”. Therefore it turned out that more than 99% of kaizen cases were not improvement at all, according to some Japanese big research institute. Honest and conscientious people in Japan call it “monkey business”. I think real monkeys in jungle are much smarter than such kaizen people, and know which low hanging fruit they should pick up. I am a professional of management system and improvement and encouraging true improvement, of course, but never recommending to do kaizen.
Akio Miura
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William Pflanz
Posts: 289

Re: Rescuing a Kaizen implementation
Posted: Sep 21, 2005 8:50 AM Reply

I agree that only focusing on low hanging fruit can be a problem and does not really work towards fundamental changes in the process. Although we all do easy projects at times, it would be unwise to focus on only those. The difficult problems are hard to find, difficult to determine root causes and sometimes have solutions that are difficult to implement.

My remarks were directed at Kaizen blitzes but it could be any improvement using any methodology that is done in a short term period like a week. Also, as you noted, fixing a problem because it is easy is not always a good idea if it is not a strategic objective for the organization.
Bill
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Akio Miura
Posts: 325

Re: Rescuing a Kaizen implementation
Posted: Sep 22, 2005 10:23 AM Reply

I entirely agree with Bill. Kaizen blitz (like German army in 1940s) is no good at all.

According to the TV news in Japan today, a case of Japanese typical Kaizen (as Honda style) by a big calculator company CASIO was blamed by the Fair Trade Commission of Japanese government, and they have to submit the Corrective Action Plan to the government. I am not sure if they really know that CA is to preclude the recurrence of their misbehavior. Maybe it is “we will never do it again”, but how do they guarantee it?

This kaizen is very unethical, unfair and illegal, but quite typical among auto makers here. I do not write its detail, because I would not like to give you the tip how to make money by an unethical, unfair and illegal way. Fortunately, the auto makers here are not investigated by the government yet. Do you still admire Honda, etc? It is up to you.
Akio Miura
 
A

asutherland

#33
What a mouth full.

As strong as Akio is against kaizen, I am just as strong for it.

In any perfect system, if enough stones are thrown, eventually you will find holes.

In every poor kaizen you will have problems.

In evey good kaizin, you will get positive results.

Just how poor are kaizen activities..... Toyota is now the #2 automaker in the world, thats how poor kaizens are.

In regard to cultural differences, It is fine to teach cultural differences, but with respect to kaizens, if I use these tools in a kaizen, did I effect culture or effect a change in which we do business? Pareto...., Cause & effects, Tick charts or P-charts, X-bar / R charts, etc,etc. All of these kaizen tools are quality tools.... does using these tools change culture (do I have to quit eating beef?).
PERT, VSM, Standardized work charts, these are also kaizen tools. They are also process tools. If I use these tools, am I again changing culture? (Do I have to eat fish on Friday?).

Kaizen is a philosophy of continuous improvement. The tools we use are the same quality and process tools that have been around for years. The application (Kaizen) of these tools develop the direction of the process improvement.

Changing the name of the tool adds no value, unless it makes it easier to remember.
"A rose by any other name, still smells like a bee wiped its butt on it".

Just as Akio would probably disagree with my take on kaizens, I also disagree with his.... no disrespect.... I 've just seen more success in them than without them, as it seems clear buy his statements that he has seen more disaster with them.
 
R

Rob Nix

#34
I sometimes wonder, asutherland, whether we're even on the same planet :confused:

Your own response supports the "opposing" side. It is just plain weird from my perspective (IMHO).

You are using many continuous improvement tools (some of which existed before "kaizen"), which we all use from time to time, and are simply labeling them "Kaizen". Yet you say, "changing the name of the tool adds no value". But you change X Bar & R to Kaizen???

I have no quarrel about any company using any internal catch phrases they want if it helps them succeed. That's what Motorola and others have done. But they should not "trademark" their terms to apply to tools that came before them.

What you seem to really be saying is, you use continuous improvement tools, and they work. Period.

As to your references to beef and fish, I have no clue what you are talking about. :(
 
A

asutherland

#35
Kaizen is an activity based on a philosophy. Kaizen is not a tool. Kaizen uses tools. Those tools that are used in a Kaizen are basic process and SPC tools.
 
A

asutherland

#37
What you seem to really be saying is, you use continuous improvement tools, and they work. Period
Yes

Kaizen is just continuous improvement which can not be done with out these tools.
 
#38
FWIW:

"Often, folks think they are doing something wonderful when they blindly repeat something from a book about a topic. The Scientific Method, which much of Quality is built on, requires rigorous experimentation to prove the theory. In the same manner that GE never translated its "billions of dollars in savings due to 6S" down to its bottom line (because they were merely moving dollars from one account to another, never posting an absolute net saving), so, too, do many schemes proposed as theories in books fail to pass the test when they are put under rigorous examination.

To take one ridiculous concept, consider the 5S scheme, which presents standard housekeeping as if it were some wonderful new invention. Folks let themselves be blinded by some Japanese words when they would laugh loudly if the same concepts about wearing clean clothes and keeping debris picked up were presented in plain English. As Quality professionals, we are pledged to consider a root cause analysis (the Scientific Method again) when we tackle a perceived problem. Blindly jumping into a solution (5S) without first determining filth and poor hygiene are the root cause of our problems is to ignore the basic precept of Quality!

Also to be considered is the mental state or competence of business leaders who would let their business become FILTHY and thus have to engage in a massive cleanup."
 

Jim Wynne

Super Moderator
#39
Rob Nix said:
I sometimes wonder, asutherland, whether we're even on the same planet :confused:

Your own response supports the "opposing" side. It is just plain weird from my perspective (IMHO).

You are using many continuous improvement tools (some of which existed before "kaizen"), which we all use from time to time, and are simply labeling them "Kaizen". Yet you say, "changing the name of the tool adds no value". But you change X Bar & R to Kaizen???

I have no quarrel about any company using any internal catch phrases they want if it helps them succeed. That's what Motorola and others have done. But they should not "trademark" their terms to apply to tools that came before them.

What you seem to really be saying is, you use continuous improvement tools, and they work. Period.

As to your references to beef and fish, I have no clue what you are talking about. :(
I'm with you, Rob and repeated references to beef and fish have made me hungry, so now I'm going to lunch:D
 
A

asutherland

#40
I have the same problem when trying to understand many failures and problems in discussing "Kaizen" in this forum.

If I was to describe Kaizen without any Japanese terminology it would be:
Kaizen is continuous improvement.....period.
How we implement continuous improvement can be described in the systems we use.
Whether we call it QC circles, Cross-functional teams, Problem solving, preventive maintenance, PERT Charts, defect prevention, .....all of these items have been incorporated into "Kaizen". I have not come across any quality or system tool that has been use in a "Kaizen" event that has not already been used in the last 30 yrs.

When we first started Quality Circles, the same tools were used. When we implemented cross-functional teams, the same tools were used.

When I use the term "Kaizen" I use the whole umbrella of SPC tools and process tools that fit the situation.

Some company's are at a level that does not even have tick charts to capture defects.
Some company's capture defects and use lip service to address this concerns.
Some company's use defects charts to address daily problems but do not stratify the data.
So, in my world of "Kaizen" I propose that any quality tool that best fits the environment that needs to be use, should be used in a structured approach to generate improvement.

Is Kaizen always the same so that it can be used as a structured approach? Absolutely not.

The only thing I keep the same is, 1st 5S.

The rest depends on the environment. Example.... In the Sweden project I am working on, I chose to use VSM 2nd to identify bottleneck process, and 3rd Standard work. This means that I did not capure savings on 5S, or VSM. Why, we didn't do any tangable monotary improvement.... we just organized, cleaned, and identified our bottleneck process.

As Wes just stated
To take one ridiculous concept, consider the 5S scheme, which presents standard housekeeping as if it were some wonderful new invention.
This is not a new invention...so why do it.

First, most people think this is common sense. If this were so, how come during the 1st S, you can usually remove 2 to 5 pallets of crap that doesnt belong in the work place? If it was common sense, why was all this crap there?
Common sense is only common when everyone that needs to know, knows.
That why we train.....not 5's.....common sense. 5 S is just a canned program.
Is that confusing?.... how about.... we really train common sense, and call it 5S (as it pertains to work place organization.)

5S is not new.

Common sense is new.
 


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