Spear’s Rules-in-Use – Rule-4 and Rule-5: Adaptation Through Learning

Spear’s Rules-in-Use – Rule-4 and Rule-5: Adaptation Through Learning

In my previous three posts, I covered Rule-in-Use 1, Rule-in-Use 2 and Rule-in-Use 3 as outlined in Steven Spear’s 1999 Ph.D. dissertation on the Toyota Production System. Rule 1: guides the design and performance of all individual activities. Rule 1 states: design and perform every activity so that it is structured and self-diagnostic. Rule 2: guides the design and operation of connections between activities. Rule 2 states: design and operate the connection between every person who or every machine that…

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Spear’s “Rules-in-Use” – Rule 3: Simplifying System Flow

Spear’s “Rules-in-Use” – Rule 3: Simplifying System Flow

In my previous two posts, I covered Rule-in-Use 1 and Rule-in-Use 2 as outlined in Steven Spear’s 1999 Ph.D. dissertation on the Toyota Production System. Rule 1: guides the design and performance of all individual activities. Rule 1 states: design and perform every activity so that it is structured and self-diagnostic. Rule 2: guides the design and operation of connections between activities. Rule 2 states: design and operate the connection between every person who or every machine that supplies a…

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Spear’s “Rules-in-Use” – Rule 2: Connecting the Dots

Spear’s “Rules-in-Use” – Rule 2: Connecting the Dots

In my last post, I covered Rule-in-Use 1 as outlined in Stephen Spear’s 1999 Ph.D. dissertation on the Toyota Production System. Rule 1: guides the design and performance of all individual activities. Rule 1 states: design and perform every activity so that it is structured and self-diagnostic. Now let’s move on to his second rule. Rule 2: guides the design and operation of connections between activities. Rule 2 states: design and operate the connection between every person who or every…

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Spear’s “Rules-in-Use” – Rule 1: Managing the Diversity Resulting from Complexity

Spear’s “Rules-in-Use” – Rule 1: Managing the Diversity Resulting from Complexity

In the previous post, I introduced Stephen Spear’s 1999 Ph.D. dissertation on the Toyota Production System. In that paper, Spear outlined 5 “Rules-in-Use” which he saw as the fundamental principles driving the inner workings of the production system that Toyota developed over many decades. These are not written down anywhere within Toyota but were developed over those decades through a rigorous devotion to mastering the art of learning and teaching others how to learn. Sounds a little spooky at first…

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Simplifying the Complex: That’s the Secret to Real Lean – Part 5: Spear’s “Rules-In-Use”

Simplifying the Complex: That’s the Secret to Real Lean – Part 5: Spear’s “Rules-In-Use”

“Some people love to make things complicated. The key is to make things simple.” Taiichi Ohno (As recounted by Michikazu Tanaka in The Birth of Lean)   In the previous post, I contrasted Toyota’s Kanban system of managing production operations with that of the Western attempt to do the same thing with MRP (Material Requirements Planning) software. Both represented significant divergencies from the traditional methods of managing complex production systems of that time. In my analysis, I tried to compare…

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Simplifying the Complex: That’s the Secret to Real Lean – Part 4: Kanban versus MRP

Simplifying the Complex: That’s the Secret to Real Lean – Part 4: Kanban versus MRP

“Some people love to make things complicated. The key is to make things simple.” Taiichi Ohno (As recounted by Michikazu Tanaka in The Birth of Lean)   In the previous three posts (see Table of Contents), I highlighted Toyota’s Taiichi Ohno’s fascination with bringing simplicity into their production system. But Ohno fully realized that bringing simplicity into an already complex system required a lot of hard work. I emphasized the word “lot” on purpose. It is not easy to make…

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Simplifying the Complex: That’s the Secret to Real Lean – Part 3: What Rickards Said

Simplifying the Complex: That’s the Secret to Real Lean – Part 3: What Rickards Said

“Some people love to make things complicated. The key is to make things simple.” Taiichi Ohno (As recounted by Michikazu Tanaka in The Birth of Lean)   In the last post, I began to outline some of the intricacies of “complexity theory” and tried to illustrate how that theory may apply to the “production systems” that we all interact with on a day to day basis. Remember that a “production system” is a system that creates value for someone (hopefully…

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Simplifying the Complex: That’s the Secret to Real Lean – Part 2: What Tainter Said

Simplifying the Complex: That’s the Secret to Real Lean – Part 2: What Tainter Said

“Some people love to make things complicated. The key is to make things simple.” Taiichi Ohno (As recounted by Michikazu Tanaka in The Birth of Lean)   In my last post, I introduced the concept that the underlying philosophy behind the success of TPS is its ability to simplify complex adaptive systems. But, it is important to have a basic understanding of the foundations and characteristics of complex adaptive systems before we can take a step back and see how…

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Simplifying the Complex: That’s the Secret to Real Lean – Part 1: What Ohno Said

Simplifying the Complex: That’s the Secret to Real Lean – Part 1: What Ohno Said

“Some people love to make things complicated. The key is to make things simple.” Taiichi Ohno (As recounted by Michikazu Tanaka in The Birth of Lean)   When you come right down to the core of it, I think the above quote by Ohno takes us directly to the heart and soul of TPS and the often-disputed philosophy it represents. If we want to really understand “Why” Lean works (the subtitle of this blog), then we need to understand “simple”….

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How Do We Measure a Lean Production System? – How Do We Know if Our System is Lean?

How Do We Measure a Lean Production System? – How Do We Know if Our System is Lean?

In my previous post, I discussed the importance of knowing “what we should do” versus only doing “what we can do”. But now I would like to delve into the next big question. How do we verify that we are doing the things we should do? How do we know if we are making actual progress in our Lean transformation efforts? How do we know if the things we are doing are actually turning into “Lean” improvements and are not…

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