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Author: Bill Gilbert

Want Respect for People? Grow the “Us” – Part 3

Want Respect for People? Grow the “Us” – Part 3

In Part 2, I introduced the 1977 paper “Toyota Production System and Kanban System Materialization of Just-in-time and Respect-for-human System” written by the Production Control Group of the Toyota Motor Company. I also began a discussion as to why Toyota put as much emphasis on “Respect-for-human-system” as they did on the breakthrough concepts of “Kanban” and “Just-in-time”. My conclusion is that without this “respect for human” sub-system (and, yes, this is a system, not just some “feel-good” plugin), “Kanban” and…

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Want Respect for People? Grow the “Us” – Part 2

Want Respect for People? Grow the “Us” – Part 2

In Part 1, I described my own personal discovery of the “us” versus “them” dichotomy that was very prevalent in the Western business community until fairly recent times. I also quoted excerpts of a 1979 speech by the then President of Panasonic that more or less (I go for “more”) threw this dichotomy into the faces of visiting Western businessmen. There was at that time a very robust difference between the Japanese and Western business cultures with respect to the…

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Want Respect for People? Grow the “Us” – Part 1

Want Respect for People? Grow the “Us” – Part 1

In a previous post, “Who Does the Thinking Around Here Anyway?”, I spent time describing what is meant by the term “production system” as in the Toyota Production System. A “production system” is a system for the “creation of value” – of value to another human being. And a “system” is composed of “interacting or interdependent component parts”. Not independent component parts, but “interacting or interdependent component parts”. If one thing changes, many things may, and probably will, change. The…

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Just-In-Time and Jidoka: It’s About “Time” Too

Just-In-Time and Jidoka: It’s About “Time” Too

I’m not sure exactly when the metamorphosis happened, but I indelibly remember when I started reading that JIT (Just-in-time) was an inventory management system. To make matters worse, Production Planning and Purchasing managers were saving their companies very large bucks by moving their inventories to the books of their suppliers. Wasn’t this great! Instant cash! And some managers were really brilliant in that their future inventories were now in a supplier owned warehouse just across the street from them. This…

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Time: The Lost Factor of Production

Time: The Lost Factor of Production

In my last post I discussed the critical role that “time” plays in forming the underlying basis and foundation of the Lean philosophy. The effectiveness of process flows can be best measured by time. Flow itself is a time based metric. And all process waste is, first and foremost, a waste of time. Thus “time” is a (if not the) crucial factor in making TPS/Lean work. But how do you make time visible? If improvements are based on improving process…

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The Lean Philosophy: It’s About “Time”

The Lean Philosophy: It’s About “Time”

Let’s revisit two age-old adages: “Time is money” “Take the time to do it right” Put these two together and you get to the age-old manufacturing belief that the higher the quality, the higher the cost. You must do things faster to reduce cost, but the faster you do it the higher the chance that a mistake will be made. The slower you do it the less chance of a mistake, but the cost will increase. And this was accepted…

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Do We Need to Re-Think How We Think?

Do We Need to Re-Think How We Think?

In my previous post, I covered the “what” that underlies a “production system” (“production” is not “manufacturing”, but “manufacturing” can be “production”) and emphasized that it is the people and their thinking, the “who”, that makes the system function. Now the challenge is to uncover “how” that thinking, and “what” kind of thinking, can make the production system not just function, but function well. And a well-functioning production system is one that provides value to the customer. The system and…

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Who Does the Thinking Around Here Anyway?

Who Does the Thinking Around Here Anyway?

Up to this point in my blog, I have tried to build a basic foundation for understanding “where” Lean comes from, “what” Lean is, “how” Lean works, and hopefully begin to generate some understanding of “why” Lean works. If we don’t have a very good grasp of all of these concepts, we will have a very hard time tackling the next, and probably most important, key component of a successful Lean transformation. And that key component is: “who” makes Lean…

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ROI versus the P&L: The Difference between Efficiency and Effectiveness

ROI versus the P&L: The Difference between Efficiency and Effectiveness

In my previous post, I concentrated on the river body of our Lean River System (the balance sheet) to illustrate that there are costs there that play a very significant role in the performance of any enterprise. That inventory and Working Capital are listed on the financial statement as “assets” tends to divert attention from the fact that these entities represent real costs to the business – sunk costs. When Ohno talked about “cutting costs”, he was referring to both…

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The Lean River System – Part 4: ROI and the River

The Lean River System – Part 4: ROI and the River

Now back to the river system analogy. If you haven’t yet done so, I recommend you at least read The Lean River System – Part 3 before proceeding further. But it would be best if you read Part 1 and Part 2 also. Here is ROI (Return on Investment) again: ROI = Earnings/Total Investment = (Sales – Cost of Sales)/(Working Capital + Permanent Investment) The numerator of ROI (earnings) represents the net input and output of the river system. Earnings…

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