Archive for Lean Six Sigma
Hoshin Kanri is a management system that creates a method of policy deployment in the form of both organizational and employees goals. It is a step by step implementation and review process from a systems approach perspective for change. In the simplest form, top management sets a vision and bottom line employee sets the tactics. In the middle, there is a lot of give and take and coordination through the use of a term catchball that results in:
- Prioritizing activities and resources
- Organizational involvement from top to bottom clarify their own target and activities
- Utilizing PDCA in both the management and employee cycles of improvement
The difference in Hoshin planning is that we do not accept the current situation but seek to aspire to something greater. We seek solutions between the current and aspired state by bridging the gap through the process of Kanri the other part of the process. Kanri is defined as a method to efficiently achieve purposes through PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act).
Hoshin Kanri is different than just your typical continuous improvement is that we are not solving the typical workplace problem but rather the value-added problems based on top management thinking (Vision and Targets). The “Hoshin” is developed at each layer of management clarifying strategies and targets to assist in reaching the preceding layer’s targets. This results in both a macro and micro PDCA. This greatly increases the line of sight and shared responsibility to each other in achieving these goals.
The workplace mission is defined within Toyota from the question “For whom and what type of value added products and services should be provided?” In this way, measures are created from the value added problems determined in the Hoshin process. Breaking the annual strategy down to what I call “Doable Chunks” is one of the secrets to Hoshin Kanri’s success.
Hoshin sounds good doesn’t it? In next week’s Business901 podcast, I asked well-known and long time established Lean Six Sigma consultant, Forrest Breyfogle this question:
Joe: Is this similar to the Hoshin Kanri approach where we are taking things down the organization and back up and going through that, kind of Americanizing that approach?
Forrest: I think it really challenges the Hoshin Kanri system. Hoshin Kanri leads from the strategies and then you cascade that throughout the organization. I do have it cascading, throughout the organization, but I don’t have strategies as the lead to cascade throughout the organization. I think there are problems with the Hoshin planning process. A lot of times those strategies are worded like we want to be the best of the best, and also those strategies that are in the Hoshin planning are typically not developed in line with the financials.
What I’m suggesting is you really like to have strategies aligned to financials. We have certain example that we want to improve profit margins; we might look at our data and then we come back and say, “Gee-whiz, we’re just getting an awful lot of returns.” I think one of our strategies is to figure out what we need to do to reduce the number of returns that we actually are having. There’s going to be an owner of that. The owner of that metric is going to be asking for projects and efforts to go in and reduce the number of returns. Using an approach that I suggest, we might come out and say the most important thing to improve profit margins is reducing defect returns. I have never seen a strategy coming out from the traditional approaches saying you need to reduce the number of defects. It’s not so grandiose but to me that may be the most beneficial thing you could do for an organization, just as an illustration.
Forfest Breyfogle: is the CEO of Smarter Solutions. He has authored or co-authored over a dozen books. His most recent book is The Business Process Management Guidebook: An Integrated Enterprise Excellence BPM System. His five-book set, Integrated Enterprise Excellence provides radical management advancements in the utilization and integration of scorecards, strategic planning, and process improvement.
You may remember David Shaked of Almond-Insight from a previous Business901 Podcast, Strength–Based Lean and Six Sigma. David just finished his book, Strength-Based Lean Six Sigma: Building Positive and Engaging Business Improvement and will be my guest next week on the podcast.
David is a Master Black Belt formerly with a large global corporation (Johnson & Johnson) and has specific experience in transactional processes such as sales, marketing, finance, order fulfillment, customer services, distribution, demand forecasting.
An excerpt from the podcast:
Joe: Often engagements in Lean and Six Sigma are driven by Kaizen Events. In the book you specify a way to create a Kaizen Event from a Strength-Based Approach. Could you discuss that and what’s the difference between a typical Kaizen Event and a Strength-Based Kaizen Event. I thought that was a great part in the book.
David: Thank you. Strength-Based Kaizen Event does follow very much the structure you would follow in a Classic Kaizen Event. I introduce an Appreciative Inquiry interview about the process we want to improve. So upfront people interview each other using Appreciative Inquiry questions on the best cases they had when they performed that process or when they’ve seen the outcomes of the process. The purpose of that is to start as I said the very first questions we ask are most important, so to start the conversation right away from a Strength Approach finding out what works really well with this process. We are told to do the Kaizen Events to focus on understanding the process as it is rather than as it should be. We can actually learn from the process as it is when it is working, and that’s the biggest difference.
Then you can take any of the tools that you would use and use them again from a Strength-Based Approach, so many times I do a value stream map and I would do it again from a Strength-Based point of view. Mapping the process as it is, as it is when it’s working and understanding what’s working, what is producing value. I use tools like the Seven Signs of Value because if I want people to generate value, to increase value; I need to teach them what gives value rather than what takes away the value.
A short video clip to provide a high level overview of what is Strength-based Lean Six Sigma.
If we review just a few of the different Lean venues of Lean Six Sigma, Lean Startup, Lean Manufacturing, Lean Healthcare, Lean Software and that upstart of Lean Marketing, it seems once there is a methodology that works we all piggy back on the term to create some foundation for us to tweak and create an opportunity for ourselves. Which is a good thing; it expands the foundational base of the method by bringing new life through new ideas and structure. It is a compliment to the brand, let’s say. It creates Growth. Traditionalists may argue, which is a good thing too, because it reinforces those foundations that make the methodology strong in the first place.
When thinking how Lean has proliferated through industry after industry, we owe a great deal of this credit to the Toyota Production System and Dr. Edwards Deming. However, Lean was originally coined by a MIT Group studying several Japanese motor companies, not just Toyota and Dr. Deming provided little directly to the promotion of Lean itself. I find studying the practices of Komatsu and Honda, for example, very insightful. Examples Such as Four-Fields Mapping and Lean 3P being the ones that cross my mind.
When we look at actual methodologies, such as Lean versus Six Sigma or Lean Six Sigma, we make a comparison how Lean is not limited to a process; it is a way of doing business. When we compare Lean to Systems Thinking, we arguably could say that Systems Thinking is a way of Thinking and not operationally orientated. If you buy into Lean, it has seemed to develop as the best of both worlds.
I wrote a blog post a few months back, The Dead Language of Systems Thinking, in it I said
In summary, I believe that all systems are very similar. The differences from DMAIC to PDCA to Casual Loops are not all that different. The difference is the path we take to get there and the people we align ourselves with to accomplish it. It is a shame we spend so much time bashing the other methods. Lean happens to be a popular business model at this time. For Systems Thinkers to say that it is a tool box, it appears to me that they are internalized in their own thinking. They even cited ASQ as adding Systems Thinking to the Lean body of knowledge. What they failed to realize, it was being added to the Lean body of knowledge, not the other way around.
I left thinking that Systems Thinking may be a dead language. It is seldom spoken in business and only a few study it. It may be the basis and important part of how we must view things, but it has been swallowed up in the dialect of other methodologies. It reminds me of the Latin language. Latin is an important part of most Mediterranean languages, but it is not spoken. Its usefulness has passed.
I hope that the foundational roots of Lean, which I believe to be PDCA/Kaizen, remains strong and does not fall the way of Systems Thinking or swallowed up by one of the subsets. Lean is a sound business model with a toolbox that includes much more than a hammer. Using the Jobs to be Done metaphor what we are looking for is a driven nail, the outcome. Lean gives us that flexibility to choose how to drive the nail.
P.S. We all know the concept known as the law of the instrument or Maslow’s hammer; “If the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail”.
Preston W. Blevins career spans over forty-five years with two related careers. The first as a manufacturing operations and supply-chain practitioner, and the second in the ERP/supply-chain software industry. During his second career, he has specialized in helping companies understand, acquire, implement, and maintain world-class business practices and systems using advanced information technology. Responsibilities during this second career have included general management, program/project management, marketing, sales, consulting, and education and training.
Preston Blevins discusses his new book: Food Safety Regulatory Compliance: Catalyst for a Lean and Sustainable Food Supply Chain (Resource Management)
Related Podcast: Lean as a Gateway to Food Safety Compliance
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