Archive for Quality
“Until these guys actually did it hands-on, it just didn’t register with them.” – Scott Sedam
Scott Sedam is President of TrueNorth Development and Todd Hallett, AIA, President of TK Design & Associates, Inc. are my guest this week on the Business901 podcast. These guys are at the forefront of Lean in the Homebuilding sector. Even more amazing is these guys talk the language of industry. They understand Lean but apply Lean by teaching it through doing. Great lesson for all of us to reflect on.
I will take exception with one thing Scott said below. His overall message is spot on. I stop short about agreeing about the belts and the specialist and believe it refers more to Six Sigma than it does Lean. This is an excerpt from the podcast, so it was said in a slightly different context. During the interview, I did not want to stop the flow of the conversation, so I let it pass without challenging.
However, the reason I use this excerpt is to serve another purpose. With the rapid initiation of certification and the adoption of coach’s (which will probably lead to certification), I see a similar path that may be developing for Lean soon. Thoughts about certification:
- It makes it an easier job for HR by specifying “credentials.”
- People that pay for training (Bronze, Silver, Gold) receive a ROI.
- Lean coaches can also receive recognition and differentiation.
- Organizations can promote and offer certification (I wonder who certified them).
I can argue probably both ways about certification. My point is more directed at the thinking that we will achieve better outcomes as a result of certification. For example, with all the efforts to create belts, has Six Sigma create the results we wanted?
Our business models are changing to a more iterative process and our organizational structure needs to adapt accordingly. Providing additional hierarchy is not the answer. Can we certify and still drive continuous improvement to the lowest level? Or through certification do we create the quality departments of the past? I don’t have an answer, or making judgment. I am just voicing a concern.
An excerpt from the podcast:
Joe: I think it’s very interesting your approach at applying Lean, because it’s not about, “Here are these Lean tools. We need to apply 5S. We need to have a Kaizen.” You seem to take it into the specific homebuilding sector and apply Lean and apply it in their language.
Scott: This has been a pet peeve of mine. You get the Lean Sensei, and there are a lot of great ones out there, but they’re incredibly expensive. They’ll come in. It’s kind of a badge of honor for these guys to tell one of their clients, “Well, if…”
I actually heard one of them say once to a president of a company, “If you expect results any sooner than a year, then you aren’t serious.” I’m going like, “Go try to sell that to a home builder, especially in the housing recession.” The idea that we’ve got to put everybody through the training, three days of training, then we’re going to have 20 green belts that take 15, 20 days of training, then we’ve got to have five black belts to take all the certification.
That’s great that you can have a lot of it. But there’s an interesting thing, a negative that can happen in a lot of these companies. Then the Lean work – it was very similar to the quality movement in the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s — becomes the responsibility and the ownership is in all these specialists.
Where I saw a long time ago, and I go back before I got to Pulte Homes, I was at U.S. Steel way back in production, and then Motorola and where we did precursors to what it is we call Lean now. Then did the consulting work with a lot of great companies like Caterpillar and John Deere and Cummins Engine are examples.
At Pulte, applying this in home building, what I saw was that there was actually as many negatives in terms of having a specialist focus on this within your company as there were positives. When you make it the responsibility of everyone as part of what they do, then its part of their job. It could be harder for them to focus and concentrate on all the parameters and negatives of that, but on the whole, we think you come out ahead.
You’ve got to be a pretty big organization in my mind to justify having a full time staff on this. As you look at most of the builders in America, after you get past the top 25 or so, it’s rare that any of them has more than a couple hundred employees, and probably still the 80/20 rule, 80 percent of the homes are being built by 20 percent of the companies that will probably have…well, it’ll actually be a little higher percentage than that.
The point is companies with 100, 115 people or less are probably building the percentage of homes in America still. It’s different than being a Ford or Chrysler or somewhere like that.
Our idea is to get these people to understand how to do this themselves as part of their job and see it as, “This is a way to make my job easier and get what I want to get done,” not as, “I’ve got to use this special tool here or there, and I’ve got to make sure I call it the right thing in order to get this done.”
We’re not averse at all to using things like 5S or a Gemba Walk or something like that, but we don’t stress it at all. Even in our orientation sessions when we do our Leans, I used to try to teach the seven wastes, and I quit doing that, because I realized it was pretty well going in one ear and out the other.
Until these guys actually did it hands-on, it just didn’t register with them. But after they do a hands-on then they get really interested in learning. We think the building industry is just getting to where there might be some appetite for the more formal official training in Lean, and we’re ready to do that. But that’s just coming along as it’s coming out of the recession here.
Read Scott Sedam and Todd Hallett Weekly Lean Blogs on LEAN TUESDAY at HousingZone.com or follow the following links directly:
Below is a presentation that I will be giving this week to the Plantmix Asphalt Industry of Kentucky. It will be during the winter training school and focus on Building a Quality Program through your Actions. This an hour long presentation and I noticed a few parts that the subject matter may seem to jump off course but it actually flows pretty well for me. What are your thoughts? Any improvement ideas?
Many people shy away from quality or continuous improvement programs since they are unable to see the direct benefits of it. Steven C. Wilson a leading Lean Six Sigma Trainer in the State of Iowa outlined a unique training program at the Southwest Iowa Manufacturers Alliance for Quality program. He introduced his latest adult learning training methods and how the training is adapted to a particular organization. In particular, he addressed how organizations can make a stronger connection between training and implementation.
Steve commented on the training, “Too often, training programs are not utilized when employees get back to work. Based on my twenty years of assisting organizations and individuals improve quality through training, I have identified several components that will encourage employees and their organizations to change and use these new skills. Under the title of iQuality Academy, I have moved our training programs from tactical learning and acquiring new skills to providing the path from training to improved business performance.”
I think this is a unique approach and a great way to use the advantages of virtual learning. If you can’t tell by listening, Steve does voice over work and works with authors, trainers and studio producers, to make their presentations more effective and entertaining. He is also the host of Quality Conversation, Quality Conversations, an internet based radio program dedicated to the discussion of “all things quality”. Currently the program is heard in over 35 countries.
I was fortunate to have Steve participate in a podcast if you would like to take a deeper dive on the subject. The podcast centers around being a successful trainer and consultant. Download Podcast: Click and choose options: Iowa Quality Training or go to the Business901 iTunes Store
If you are from Iowa, Steve hosted a program about Funding Quality Training. Bernie Duis, Director of Economic Development at Iowa Western Community College (www.iwcc.edu), joined Steve for a discussion about Iowa’s quality training funding programs, administered by the state’s 15 community colleges.
Disclaimer: I work with Steve but felt this was an excellent presentation to share. I thought he did a masterful job of presenting and it was a good example of how voice over work might improve your presentations.
Lean Six Sigma for Government
Balancing Internal and External Lean Six Sigma Consulting Roles
Steve’s website: Wilson Consulting and Training Services,
Steve is the epitome of today’s successful consultant. He acts as a in-house consultant for a major healthcare facility in the Cedar Rapids, Iowa area, instructs at many of the Iowa Community Colleges, conducts Green Belt and Black Belt training for industry and hosts the Blog Talk Radio Show, Quality Conversations.
This is a transcription of the Business901 Podcast, Leading the Way in Iowa Quality Training with Steve.
About: Steven C. Wilson founded Wilson Consulting and Training Services,Inc (WCTS, Inc) as a process improvement consulting firm. He has dedicated himself to this cause by training over 600 Six Sigma practitioners in over 70 companies in the state of Iowa. His training focuses on quality to include Lean, Theory of Constraints, Supply chain, Problem Solving and Six Sigma Green Belt and Black Belt training. Recently, he has developed new approaches to a blended learning platform and is piloting them in his Leadership and Data-Driven Problem Solving Courses. In the podcast with Steve, I came away with a feeling that he looks at his practice more from a training perspective than consulting.
Steve’s website: Wilson Consulting and Training Services,
Marketing your Black Belt
Sustaining Lean using Continuous Improvement: The Toyota Way
Continuously improving thru PDCA