Kaikaku - 9th commandment

From: Norman Bodek

I am now working on Hiroyuki Hirano's new book, trying to get it out as soon as possible.  I have published hundreds of books in the past, many great ones by Dr. Shingo, Ohno, Akao, and other masters.  I am sure that this book will rank with those other master works as it covers in such detail the real power and essence of Lean, 5S, TPM, etc.  Hopefully, it will become a bible for you, for managers, especially leaders of Lean, to fully understand and appreciate these marvelous tools and to know exactly how to apply them.

I also read recently an excellent article by  Bob Emiliani and David Stec on the two pillars of Lean: continuous improvement using the Lean tools and "Respect for Humanity."   I hope the readers of these emails will understand that both pillars must be applied.  You know or are learning the Lean tools; you should not neglect the latter pillar, opening all workers to their infinite creative capacity.  Respect and pride comes to people when they are valued for their "brains," for their problem solving abilities not only their "brawn," their willingness to work hard.

The 9th commandment of Kaikaku from Hiroyuki Hirano is: "Ten person's ideas are better than one person's knowledge."

This is a "key" to the success of Lean and to fully understand the power that comes from Lean activities - "people working in teams focusing on   continuous improvement."  In the past, it was always up to the leader to decide, to direct, to inspire others to work.  It follows a certain misguided philosophy that since "I am the leader, the boss, I have been successful in the past and I make more money then you, then you should always take my advice and guidance."

This might have been somewhat true in the past, but it surely will not last in this highly competitive world with new products offered almost every day into the marketplace and with International competition coming from India, China and elsewhere.  It is an age when we must harness everyone's creative talents.

The Japanese understood this many years ago when they started Quality Circle activities, something I highly recommend for every company to do.  Quality Circles did two things: it gave the worker very powerful quality tools to learn and apply and asked people in small group activities to participate in solving problems that affected their own work area.  It recognized that these workers understood their jobs and that they did have the intelligence and the ability to solve quality problems.  Prior to this the quality manager keep and solely applied the quality tools: pareto diagram, check sheet, control charts, brainstorming, scatter diagram, etc.  No matter how good the quality managers were they were never able to solve all of the quality problems.

Recently, I took a six minute video of a process with around a dozen workers working on the line.   Each day managers and engineers individually walk out onto the factory floor as if with "binders on" and are unable to see the process as it actually is.  It is natural like a "fish not seeing that it is in water."  If you want real improvement power you take that video into a meeting room and ask a team of people to look, identify the wastes and come up with recommendations to eliminate that waste.  I have done this around six times in the past month.  It is a very powerful exercise.  At first, most people are reluctant to say anything but once someone, "brakes the ice," and speaks and an immediate interaction takes place and dozens of new ideas come out to identify the wastes and then fresh ideas are offered to eliminate the wastes.

When many people come up with ideas then many people become empowered to "do something about it."  When one person comes up with and idea and asks others to "do something," the others might do it but they do not really have "ownership of the that idea."  They have to "do it," for they are paid to work but when they can participate their ideas, they now have "ownership," of the ideas and their hearts will follow.