PDCA

Kata – Picking the Obstacle to Overcome

This particular video, Picking the Obstacle to Overcome was one of my favorite passages during this series. The 7-part video series with Brandon Brown on the Toyota Kata touched upon some of the finer points of the Toyota Kata versus staying at the 20,ooo foot level. Toyota Kata is documented in Mike Rother’s book Toyota Kata: Managing People for Improvement, Adaptiveness and Superior Results.

The series consist of these 7 videos:

  1. What is Toyota Kata
  2. Using Kata for Alignment
  3. Establishing Target Conditions
  4. Picking the Obstacle to Overcome
  5. Overcoming the Unmovable Obstacle
  6. The Coaching Kata
  7. Putting the Kata to Action

Brandon Brown delivers tangible and sustainable continuous improvement results as a Toyota Kata Coach and Lean Instructor/Facilitator as an Associate for the W3 Group. Since 2006, Brandon has been a Professor of Operations Management at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville teaching courses in the Industrial Engineering department such as Lean Production and Leadership Principles and Practices for the Master of Science in Operations Management degree program. Brandon is a Southeast Region Board Member for the of the Association for Manufacturing Excellence. He is also a Certified John Maxwell Coach, Teacher, and Speaker.

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Targeting what your Customer Values at each stage of the cycle will increase your ability to deliver quicker, more accurately and with better value than your competitor. It is a moving target and the principles of Lean and PDCA facilitates the journey to Customer Value.

Establishing the Target Condition

This 7-part video series with Brandon Brown on the Toyota Kata was a lot of fun for me. It allow me to discuss some of the finer points of the Toyota Kata versus staying at the 20,ooo foot level. This particular video, Establishing the Target Condition is an example of the depth that we explored in the remaining videos. This is based on Mike Rother’s work on the subject of Toyota Kata. Toyota Kata is documented in his book Toyota Kata: Managing People for Improvement, Adaptiveness and Superior Results.

The series will consist of these videos:

  1. What is Toyota Kata
  2. Using Kata for Alignment
  3. Establishing Target Conditions
  4. Picking the Obstacle to Overcome
  5. Overcoming the Unmovable Obstacle
  6. The Coaching Kata
  7. Putting the Kata to Action

Brandon Brown delivers tangible and sustainable continuous improvement results as a Toyota Kata Coach and Lean Instructor/Facilitator as an Associate for the W3 Group. Since 2006, Brandon has been a Professor of Operations Management at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville teaching courses in the Industrial Engineering department such as Lean Production and Leadership Principles and Practices for the Master of Science in Operations Management degree program. Brandon is a Southeast Region Board Member for the of the Association for Manufacturing Excellence. He is also a Certified John Maxwell Coach, Teacher, and Speaker.

Marketing with PDCA (More Info)

Targeting what your Customer Values at each stage of the cycle will increase your ability to deliver quicker, more accurately and with better value than your competitor. It is a moving target and the principles of Lean and PDCA facilitates the journey to Customer Value.

Using Kata for Alignment

This video is part of a 7-part series with Brandon Brown discussing the Toyota Kata. The series will consist of these videos:

  1. What is Toyota Kata
  2. Using Kata for Alignment
  3. Establishing Target Conditions
  4. Picking the Obstacle to Overcome
  5. Overcoming the Unmovable Obstacle
  6. The Coaching Kata
  7. Putting the Kata to Action

Brandon Brown delivers tangible and sustainable continuous improvement results as a Toyota Kata Coach and Lean Instructor/Facilitator as an Associate for the W3 Group. Since 2006, Brandon has been a Professor of Operations Management at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville teaching courses in the Industrial Engineering department such as Lean Production and Leadership Principles and Practices for the Master of Science in Operations Management degree program. Brandon is a Southeast Region Board Member for the of the Association for Manufacturing Excellence. He is also a Certified John Maxwell Coach, Teacher, and Speaker.

Marketing with PDCA (More Info)

Targeting what your Customer Values at each stage of the cycle will increase your ability to deliver quicker, more accurately and with better value than your competitor. It is a moving target and the principles of Lean and PDCA facilitates the journey to Customer Value.

Are You Successful at Implementing Lean?

Last week I started a 7-part video series with Brandon Brown a Toyota Kata Coach and Lean Instructor/Facilitator as an Associate for the W3 Group. The first part of the videos series started with What is Toyota Kata?. After the podcast, Brandon told me what he was told when he mentioned Toyota Kata at the Toyota Texas Manufacture Plant in San Antonio.

Brandon said,

Someone told me in a Toyota Texas Manufacture Plant in San Antonio, where they make the Tacoma and the Tundra both, we asked them about Toyota Kata and they said, “Well we’ve read the book, we understand what the thinking behind that is but this is just the air we breathe, It’s just our culture…” They don’t call it Kata; they have a daily routine of focusing on continuous improvement and striving toward a target condition. An interesting fact is Kanban, Jidoka, Poka Yoke, all of those tools were solutions Toyota came up with to solve a specific problem they were facing, and they sometimes question us as to why would you take a tool that address our problem and try to blindly apply it toward your problem? You need to come up with a solution that addresses your problem, and Kata does that. Kata gives us the method for being able to think scientifically and come up without one tool. If we need to bring in a Lean tool, we bring it in. We bring it in out of the toolbox. But we focus on being able to think scientifically and PDCA towards a solution and come up with new and innovative solutions.

I think that is an interesting reply. I have always thought that Lean or Kata was  not a magic potion or a prescription. Lean sets the ideal, however, you must understand your organization, the culture that exists and the culture that your customers expect and are willing to derive value from. You have to make the process your own. You have to rid yourself of Lean or other business processes. Successful companies that start down a Lean path are not Lean anymore, only the unsuccessful ones are. If you are successful at implementing Lean, it is simply not Lean. It becomes yours.

What are your thoughts? Is Lean a model that you should follow? Or is it something that you should adapt?

Marketing with PDCA (More Info): Targeting what your Customer Values at each stage of the cycle will increase your ability to deliver quicker, more accurately and with better value than your competitor. It is a moving target and the principles of Lean and PDCA facilitates the journey to Customer Value.

Using the Job Relations Program of TWI

The practical nature of the TWI program makes it the ideal vehicle to commence leader capability development. So much so, that Oscar practices the skills in his everyday working life. Oscar Roche is is the Director of Training Within Industry Institute in Australia. 

Related Podcast and Transcription: The People Side of TWI

An excerpt from the podcast:

Joe:   You have a tendency it seems that you really like the Job Relations part of it, what had made that different than all these other leadership books and how to lead and how to train? Is it because it’s so central to maybe middle management?

Oscar: I think there’s a couple of things. I think one thing is its simple. There’s not a 150 to 200-page book on it because it doesn’t need to be. You look at the four foundations and a lot of the training that we do, in a group of 10 which is the group size, generally there would be someone in there who reads the card and says, “Yes but I do this. This is common sense.” It might be common sense to 1 in 10, but it’s not common sense to 10 out of 10. So one thing is it’s very, very simple and straightforward, particularly the foundations. Two is; good leaders do that stuff anyway. Job Relations in my experience helps a good leader become even a better leader, and it helps an average leader become a good leader, and a poor leader become an average leader. There’s not a silver bullet, but I think its simplicity is probably one of the things it can offer.

Another bit of feedback we’ve had from an HR person is that there’s a tendency to look for complexity. So we’re having leadership issues, so we look for weak causes or six-month part-time course or something in how to build leadership and respect, but what we doesn’t do and it’s all good concept and great knowledge, but what the leader has difficulty is when I walk out of the training is, what can I actually do now? Whereas that pocket card gives them something that when they walk back into the workplace, they can actually do some specific things that will change that Job Relations line. So it’s very focused, it’s very simple, and it’s very direct and its four things are not complex, and I think that’s the value it adds.

Joe:  Is Job Relations something that you do just when there’s a problem or is it something that you really should review and use it every day in the way interact with the people you supervise and other leaders?

Oscar:   Well there’s two elements to Job Relations. One is the four foundations of good relations, and those four foundations are things that you can practice hour by hour, day by day that will reduce the chance of people problems. Then the other side of the pocket card is the four-step method for how to handle a people problem. One of the learnings I’ve had in the last probably 6 to 12 months is I’m pretty sure I used to say how to resolve a people problem, well you don’t always resolve them. There have been excellent cases with the companies I’ve worked with where they’ve applied the four-step method, and they haven’t actually solved the problem. The method is actually a means of handling the problem. And sometimes and it is PDCA; the four-step method for JR is PDCA. So what that implies is you may not always resolve the issue. You may have to go around two or three times, and that’s normal PDCA. So to answer your question Joe, there’s two sides of the card. One is the four things you should do on a daily basis to reduce the chance of people problems.

Joe:   Could you name them?

Oscar: The four foundations are, let each worker know how he or she is doing — that’s prime, and then each of them has sub-foundations. That’s the first foundation. The second foundation is to give credit when due. The third foundation is to tell people in advance about changes that will affect them. The last foundation is to make best use of each person’s ability.

Joe:   That’s being proactive in things you should be doing all the time.

Oscar: That’s exactly right. Every minute of the day thinking is one of these — many will get it, but that’s what I’ll try and do. Which one of these foundations need to be used — is there an issue now? I’m working with people now, which one of these foundations if they need to, I need to be practicing right now?

Joe:   And then when you do the reactive on how to handle a problem, the four steps there is get the facts, weigh and decide, take action, and then check the results. Those are good things, and I think the one intriguing thing that you really said about that is that handling a problem is at iterative as a hypothesis as PDCA is. It’s something that you may not get it right the first time.

Oscar: You may not, and one of the instances I’ve had recently was a supervisor followed it and didn’t get it right. Let me go back a little bit. The key thing you’ve missed there Joe is, you’ve obviously got a card in front of you, what does it say at the top of the card, just under how to handle a problem?

Joe:  Oh, get the objective.

Oscar:  Exactly and I look back on my time when I was a manufacturing manager and a production manager, and me of course had people problems, that’s the thing I never did. I never sat down and thought before I open my mouth, before I do anything here, what’s my objective? So actually, if you want to think of it as a five-step method because you must determine your objective and that must happen before you open your mouth; before you write anything down, you got to sit and think that through. It’s very challenging because when you do that, people think, “Ooh, hang on…” People find that difficult and the reason they find it difficult is because they’ve never done it before, and it’s critical to this.

What occurred in this particular case, it was that the supervisor determined their objective, followed the four-step method perfectly and didn’t achieve the objective. I said to the supervisor, “You haven’t failed. Please don’t think you failed. You have not failed. You’ve actually been very successful because you followed the method. What you have learned is that you now have to change your objective, which you did. So you change the objective and follow the method again.” I said, “Don’t think that’s failure. That is PDCA. That is exactly what this is about.” You’re not going to get it right the first time every time, but follow the method, and you’ll be consistent in the way you apply method, and not only you but your peers will as well and that’s the value in it. Then the worker sees consistency in the way that there being treated, and managed, and handled.

Related Podcast and Transcription: The People Side of TWI

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Can Training Within Industry be used for Introducing Lean?

The System Director of Performance Improvement at Baptist Memorial Healthcare in Memphis, Tennessee, Skip Steward, is my guest this week for the first of a two-part podcast. Skip has a variety of accomplishments, qualifications and certifications in the quality improvement field that includes being a Shingo Examiner for the Shingo Institute, Certified Quality Engineer (CQE), Certified Six Sigma Black Belt, Certified Lean Champion, Certified Quality Management Systems Auditor (Exemplar Global), and TWI Job Instruction Certified Trainer.

Skip made new discoveries about standard work when he transferred to the healthcare industry to introduce Lean practice into Baptist Memorial Health Care, a network of 14 hospitals in the Memphis and surrounding area. It was there he was introduced to TWI and he quickly realized the power of good training practice in the healthcare field.

Excerpt from tomorrow’s podcast:

Joe Dager: It seems like it’s a much better approach to the professionals to introduce Lean than some of the older Lean manufacturing terms of waste and flow, and those can be very usable things, I would think TWI would be a much easier approach and have you found that to be true or?

Skip Steward: Yes, I do. I have. I have found that people are especially once they see what it is, once they actually, even people that I have, we only have 10 participants but I do have as many observers as I want and I’ll have executives and even, physicians sitting at the back and observe and normally, actually they didn’t take ‘til Wednesday, normally by Monday or Tuesday they’re like “Oh my goodness, this makes all the sense in the world.”

If you think about it, let me give you a great little story. A lot of times we tend to think that discipline professionals like nurses and lobotomist and lab folks and even physicians that, well, they are professionals so it’s okay for everyone to do their own thing, but that’s really not the case. I know there’s one example where we broke a job down with blood cultures, actually polished it up. We practiced it on a nurse, and I can remember it like it was yesterday. The nurse said, “I’ve been a nurse for 25 years and until today I never knew that you were supposed to use the blue bottle first and then the purple bottle. I just always did what I was told to do.” Well, if all you ever do is what you’re told to do, that’s when people make mistakes, and that’s when errors occur. But, that’s not even the best part of that little story. I’ve told that story so many times in my travel in the last year and a half and I had so many nurses and physicians pull me aside and say “I’m not sure why you’re supposed to use the blue bottle first either.” I’ve even had physicians that don’t work for us when I told the story say to me “I didn’t think it really mattered.” When we don’t know the why behind things, that’s where errors and mistakes and defects and even defects that maybe doesn’t harm anyone but can create waste and cost more money to be spent than necessary.

We just had some really great success. One thing I do want to say though because like many systems, IO keep calling it a system because I think there are 3 pieces that make up a TWI, the how to instruct 4-step method, the breakdown, and the training timetable that most people overlook. But, that system what I like to tell people about is the TWI system is nothing more than a counter measure. Ultimately, everything’s a hypothesis to get us from a current condition to a target condition. TWI becomes a great counter measure to get you from a current condition to a target condition. I say it that way because, unfortunately, Joe, as you know, many times people look at things like TWI or something else as a magic wand, and there are no such things as magic wands. It’s a counter measure. If you’re not getting from where you are to where your current condition to a target condition, I always ask people to check their hypothesis and their first question would be is “Are we even doing the TWI the right way?” The second question would be based on an additional countermeasure that you haven’t considered. I just wanted to point that out because I see a lot of times that people they’re looking for a magic wand and magic wands just don’t exist.

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Can HR find a use for TWI’s Job Relations?

I have extended my interest more deeply into Training within Industry (TWI) which was presented in a very unique way in the book, The 7 Kata: Toyota Kata, TWI, and Lean Training. The book was published in 2012 and authored by Pat Boutier and Conrad Soltero. It received the Shingo Award for Research and Professional Publications from the Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence.

Pat is my podcast guest next week and I asked him one of favorite questions at the end of the podcast last week, “What would like to mention that I did not ask?”

An excerpt from the podcast: 

Pat:  I guess the only thing that I can add is that I have been trying to understand why companies don’t grab the Job Relations Kata out of TWI and run with it. That to me is a glaring issue in most companies today. Because if you know anybody that works anywhere, probably 50 to 60 to 80 percent of those 7 Katapeople are unhappy. They’re unhappy with someone in the management chain. Those things seem pervasive everywhere and they’re so easy to take care of if they were following Job Relations systematically within a company, and it seems very difficult to get companies to buy into this or managers to buy into this.

That’s one of the things that I’m looking at and trying to expand. I came across just recently that we hadn’t touched in the book was a lot of people in Human Resources are talking about they should become strategic partners with their management peers. I think the 7 Kata is one way they can do that. If they become knowledgeable on all this and start to coach their CEO, called the “C sweep of leaders”. I use that term to mean any size company, because a company that’s only a hundred people, might call himself a CEO, he/she might call themselves just the owner, it doesn’t matter. They need a coach; they need a mentor to help them. Not tell them what to do, but to help them understand their strategic directions and how are they respecting people. And more to it, how are their people respecting people. That’s what I think many leaders miss, is they think they’re respecting people but how it gets transmitted through the layers doesn’t always get done right. Obviously with all the literature that goes on about how many people are unhappy at work, there’s something there that needs to change. Job Relations could help it but don’t know yet how to grab the attention.

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