Browsing All posts tagged under »toyota production system«

Permutations

April 18, 2014

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For many years I worked for a manufacturer of pressure and temperature switches, a small company with a very big product selection. In our product catalog there were roughly three-dozen distinct product families with hundreds of standard products, each available with thousands of optional configurations. The average order quantity per line was two pieces. In […]

The Road To Lean

April 4, 2014

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An old TV series I watched recently reminded me of an experience I have had many times in my work. In this I Love Lucy episode, Lucy is ordered by Ricky to create a schedule to make her “more efficient.” A schedule board, posted in their home is a “best practice”, but without the best […]

Can’t See

February 13, 2014

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My friend and mentor, Gifford Brown, told me a remarkable story some time back about a visit to his plant in 1987 by Shigeo Shingo in which Shingo, with the help of set-up people, operators and a tool maker, demonstrated (in the space of a day) how machine set-ups could be reduced from four hours […]

Patience

January 16, 2014

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In 1966, a freshman at a college in Maine attended a speech given by Floyd McKissick, newly appointed head of the Congress of Racial Equality, better known as CORE.   In the packed auditorium there were no more than a half-dozen African Americans come to hear the “radical” new leader whose mission was to raise awareness […]

Half Full or Half Empty?

November 8, 2013

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I’ve always felt the need to accentuate the positive, something I think I picked up from my mother.  In tense situations she would always interject “Isn’t it a beautiful day,” a comment that usually generated laughter and reduced tensions.  While this seems like an admirable quality, I discovered one day that it should not be […]

Culture Schmulture

June 21, 2013

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Some time ago, while giving a presentation entitled Organizational Obstacles to Lean, I displayed a slide with the title “It’s Not about Culture”.  My point was that ‘culture’ is a bad analogy because it places the burden for change on the shoulders of employees rather than on management where it belongs. Later I drew criticism […]

Good Witch or Bad Witch?

June 5, 2013

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A recent comment from a business friend, call him Tom, who manages a small factory, reminded me of a scene from The Wizard of Oz.   “Our president is an accountant by training – but,” he added, “she’s a good accountant.” “So, what is a good accountant?” I asked. “Well, you know,” Tom said, “she thinks […]

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