Teams are “Us” – Part 5: More Nitty-Gritty

Teams are “Us” – Part 5: More Nitty-Gritty

“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 post, I outlined the various Team structures that I have worked with over the years. I went into some detail as to the differences between Cross-Functional Teams and Natural Work Groups. I also stressed that just forming a Team is not sufficient in of…

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Teams are “Us” – Part 4: The Nitty-Gritty

Teams are “Us” – Part 4: The Nitty-Gritty

“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 previous posts in my Teams are “Us” series, I discussed some of my early experiences in discovering and forming teams and I tried to layout a philosophy of why you need to differentiate between individual and team efforts in an organization. I also stressed the…

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Teams are “Us” – Part 3: What’s in a Team?

Teams are “Us” – Part 3: What’s in a Team?

“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) I never hired consultants during my journey to learn the basics of JIT/TPS/Lean. I didn’t need to. In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s there was a small, but very active community of JIT/TPS learners scattered around the east coast of the U.S. We found each other…

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Teams are “Us” – Part 2: What’s a Team To Do?

Teams are “Us” – Part 2: What’s a Team To Do?

“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) I formed my first JIT/TPS/Lean team a little over a quarter-century ago. Time really does fly – unfortunately. Since that time, I have formed/created/sponsored well over a hundred such teams, probably closer to two hundred. I don’t know for sure since I did not keep a list….

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Teams are “Us” – Part 1: What’s a Team?

Teams are “Us” – Part 1: What’s a Team?

“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) I guess you can say that truth and wisdom have been with us for a very long time. The problem is — we seem to have very short memories. The other problem is that we often, conveniently, divide the “people” up into “us” and “them”. I can’t…

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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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