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Lean Manufacturing - APICS discussion

Kaikaku discussions

6th commandment

From: Norman Bodek
Sent: October 31, 2004

Dear Group,

The 6th Commandment of Kaikaku from Hirano is: "Don't spend money on Kaikaku."

I had been to Toyota many times bringing study groups to Japan. On one trip I went over to Taiichi Ohno and said, "I do appreciate the opportunity to visit Toyota with my groups but every time we come here we always see an old plant with old equipment. Could it be possible to visit one of your newer plants?" Ohno sort of scolded, looked strangely at me and said, "Bodek-san you do not understand the Toyota Production System, the newness of the factory machines has nothing to do with it." I learn the hard way.

Toyota is in Nagoya noted for being the "Scotland," of Japan. They do not spend money foolishly - unwisely. In fact, Toyota would make probably 90% of their own equipment. If necessary, they would buy rubber bands and even hairdryers from the supermarket to put on the production line.

I brought Dr. Shingo to many different American plants and on each visit instead of just learning from this great master the senior managers wanted to show Dr. Shingo how good they were. At McDonald Douglas and Dresser Industries managers there both insisted that Dr. Shingo look at their new machine centers showing off their million dollar equipment that was able to do quick change-overs. Dr. Shingo would just laugh and tell them how foolish they were to have spent so much money when for only a few dollars and a new understanding they could have accomplished that and much more.

In fact, at Dresser he helped them reduce a set-up on a punch press from two hours to 12 minutes. This came after his instructions and about two hours in time in the machine shop. They did it without spending any extra money.
As I would walk through Toyota and Toyota subcontractor plants I was always amazed at the lack of sophisticated equipment. While visiting American plants I would see the opposite: new NC Machines, and new machine centers with all kinds of bells and whistles. It might look good, cost a lot of money, but it wouldn't get you any closer to Just-In-Time.

Dr. Shingo and Ohno both wanted to see the engineers on the factory floor helping workers make improvements instead of sitting in the offices looking through catalogues for new equipment to buy.

So as Hirano challenges us. "Don't spend money on Kaikaku." First use your ingenuity and harness the talents of all of the workers who we know are filled with unlimited ideas for improvement - rarely ever tapped.

Good luck,

Norman Bodek

The first five commandments from earlier emails:
1. Throw out the traditional concept of manufacturing methods.
2. Think of how the new method will work; not how it won't.
3. Don't accept excuses. Totally deny the status quo.
4. Don't seek perfection. A 50% implementation rate is fine a long as it is done on the spot.
5. Correct mistakes the moment they are found.