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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What We Should Do! — Not What We Can Do!

What We Should Do! — Not What We Can Do!

The title of this post originated with Mr. Hajime Ohba, former President of TSSC (Toyota Supplier Support Center), in his introduction to Toyota’s “True North” concept. I covered this in my discussion of what’s a “Team” to do to be successful in their Lean/TPS journey. To see why I chose this title – keep reading. In my last post, I first reviewed the history and importance of “lead time reduction” in the evolution of the basic framework and philosophy of…

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Lead Time Reduction – The Missing Magic Elixir for Today’s Lean?

Lead Time Reduction – The Missing Magic Elixir for Today’s Lean?

What! – you may be thinking. You are going to talk about “lead time” again? Haven’t you stressed that enough already? Yes!  – and – No! – in that order. Just out of curiosity I did a word count of “lead time” for all of my posts thus far. I get 106. That’s about 4 mentions per post. Is that a lot? Not in my opinion. Not if you remember my fundamental principle: Thus the underlying principle behind TPS/Lean is…

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Teams are “Us” – Part 7: OK, Now What?

Teams are “Us” – Part 7: OK, Now What?

“If you want one year of prosperity grow grain.  If you want ten years of prosperity grow trees.  If you want one hundred years of prosperity grow your people” — Confucius (~ 500 BC) In the last few posts of this Teams are “Us” series I have emphasized the structure and internals (the Nitty-Gritty) of “Cross Functional/Breakthrough Teams” more so than the “Natural Work Group”. This should not be taken as elevating these types of Teams to a higher level of…

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Teams are “Us” – Part 6: To Blitz, or Not to Blitz – That is the Question

Teams are “Us” – Part 6: To Blitz, or Not to Blitz – That is the Question

“If you want one year of prosperity grow grain.  If you want ten years of prosperity grow trees.  If you want one hundred years of prosperity grow your people” — Confucius (~ 500 BC) In my last two posts, I introduced “Cross-Functional/Breakthrough Teams” and “Task Teams”. These Teams are formed to tackle relatively complex goals and are usually cross-functional in composition. These Teams meet on a frequent basis (usually of their own choosing) and have target end-dates from a week to…

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