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Friday, May 29, 2015

Lean Quote: Metrics Matter!

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"What gets measured gets done.— Mason Haire

There are number of variation of this quote attributable to several notable authors.  It is often recalled in some discussion of performance metrics or motivation.

Metrics matter! What gets measured gets changed and what gets rewarded gets done. If you don't measure it, you can't change it and if you don't reward change it will not happen.

Choosing the right metrics is critical to success. It is not enough to simply create a numeric measure. The measure should accurately reflect the process. We use metrics to base decisions on and to focus our actions. It is not only important to measure the right indicators, it is important to measure them well.

Although there may never be a single perfect measure, it is certainly possible to create a measure or even multiple measures which reflect the performance of your system. If the metrics are chosen carefully, then, in the process of achieving their metrics, managers and employees will make the right decisions and take the right actions that enable the organization to maximize its performance.

Metrics create an environment of accountability throughout the organization.  An organization that closely tracks performance metrics creates a culture where goal achievement is the norm and where there is no room for mediocrity.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Lean Roundup #72 - May, 2015

A selection of highlighted blog posts from Lean bloggers from the month of May, 2015.  You can also view the previous monthly Lean Roundups here.

A Deliberate & Calculated System of Improvement – Gregg Stocker lists a series of questions that comprise a system of improvement that makes the long-term objectives truly achievable.

Lean’s Kiss Of Death – Bob Emiliani explains why confirmation bias is Lean’s kiss of death.

Three Tips for More Effective Hansei (Reflection) – Jon Miller offers three concrete tips for more effective hansei.

What Your Mom Can Teach You About Effective Supply Chain  - Alexa Cheater shares five reasons why you should be asking your mom for more than just relationship advice.

Skip the “Lean Intro” Training – Jamie Flinchbaugh says the training strategy means just as much as the training execution.

Are There Any Hospitals That Should NOT Try Lean or Kaizen? – Mark Graban says there are organizations where Lean will probably not work.

Top Leaders Must Go to the Gemba to Develop Leadership in their Middle-Managers – Jeffery Liker explains the difference in getting buy-in from Middle Managers and Top Executives for Lean.

The Days of Show & Tell Are Over – Marci Reynolds shares some reasons why holding meetings with the purpose of sharing information is so important.

Beyond A3s: Options for Shopfloor and Management Communication – Michael Baudin questions whether the objectives pursued with a paper format may not be easier to achieve with more recent technology.

Using Dashboards to Develop Leaders – Gregg Stocker says dashboards are a perfect place to demonstrate to leaders how to fulfill the responsibilities of developing others, creating alignment, and driving improvement.

The Importance of Working with Suppliers Over the Long Term – John Hunter says the organization is a system that includes the suppliers and customers and you need to manage and continually improve that entire system.

Is Your Lean Journey Being Embraced With “Open Arms?” Are you Practicing Lean “Faithfully?” – Mark Graban discusses Lean in comparison to the band Journey’s songs.

Removing Confirmation Bias Against Lean – Bob Emiliani explains how to remove confirmation bias against Lean.

Target, Actual, Please Explain – Pascal Dennis explains the importance of the team leader to explain ahead or behind during management Gemba walk.

To Bring on Board: Go to the Gemba to Engage, Frame and Give the Right Incentives! – Michael Balle says there are no magic bullets in terms of getting people on board but there are 3 tools you can use to get them to understand.

10 Key Lean Mindsets for Factories, Hospitals, Startups, and More – Mark Graban defines 10 Lean mindsets that matter in respect for people.

What’s Your Dispassion? – Jon Miller explains what we should be dispassionate about, when pursuing a lean management system.

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Monday, May 25, 2015

Remember Them This Memorial Day

Technically the calendar says summer doesn't start until June, but Memorial Day weekend is an unofficial start to a summer of barbecues, parades, and all-around fun. But let's not forget what the holiday is really all about: a patriotic tribute to our fallen, the men and women who gave their lives so we might be free.

As opposed to Veterans Day, which honors living veterans, Memorial Day is a time to remember those who have died while in military service. The holiday originally started as Decoration Day, where the graves of soldiers were decorated with flowers and flags. At the first ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, 5,000 people participated in decorating the graves of fallen soldiers from the Civil War. It wasn’t until after World War I, when the holiday changed from recognizing Civil War soldiers to honoring all dead military. In 1971, Congress declared the last Monday in May Memorial Day, a national holiday.

Memorial Day is a day of reflection and remembrance. It is a day to remember all of our Fallen Heroes from all of the wars. It is a day to think about the families that will forever grieve for their lost loved one. It is a day to be thankful to those who have served and made the ultimate sacrifice. They fought and died to win the freedom and democracy that we Americans cherish so dearly. They also fought and died to bring that same freedom and democracy to the people of other countries as well.

In the words of Thomas Sherlock, Arlington National Cemetery Historian, “the most important thing parents can tell their children is that we, as Americans, are able to enjoy the freedoms we do because there have been men and women willing to sacrifice their lives so that we can be free.  We should all stop and remember this on Memorial Day.”

 The true meaning is to remember and honor veterans of all wars and peacetime service who paid the ultimate price to keep America free. They will long be remembered in our hearts.

“The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender, or submission.” John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Take a moment this Memorial Day to remember all those men and women who have so bravely and honorably served this country. The courage and sacrifice of all who died in military service will not be forgotten.

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Friday, May 22, 2015

Lean Quote: Taking Action Means Getting Things Done

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"A good plan violently executed right now is far better than a perfect plan executed next week.— General George Patton

Often managers spot a chance to do something valuable for their company, but for some reason, they cannot get started. Even if they begin the project, they give up when they see the first big hurdle. The inability to take purposeful action seems to be pervasive across companies. Managers tend to ignore or postpone dealing with crucial issues which require reflection, systematic planning, creative thinking, and above all, time.

If you do nothing, nothing changes. Things at rest have a tendency to remain at rest. Be aware of items that stall your action. It's better to have a 50-percent improvement right away than it is to take no action and hope for a 100-percent improvement sometime in the future.

The only cure for inactivity is action. That’s why the first step in creating a successful culture of execution is creating a bias toward action. People who make things happen need to be praised and rewarded. People who don’t should be coached to change, or weeded out. Failure cannot be unduly punished. Unless people feel free to make mistakes, they will not feel free to take bold actions.

For leaders, action is one of the most important traits they can embody.  Taking action means getting things done.  It means seizing the initiative.  It conveys momentum, and energy, and creating something new, something that didn’t exist before.  And this excites followers and others who understand that going towards something is always better than sitting around staring at the wall.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

6th Anniversary of A Lean Journey Blog

Today marks the 6th anniversary of A Lean Journey Blog and as tradition here each year I take the opportunity to reflect. The act of "self-reflection" is called Hansei is Japanese. It is the practice of continuous improvement that consists of looking back and thinking about how a process can be improved.

I’d like to think that I turned my naive endeavor to share learning along my own journey into a successful contribution in the Lean community. As I have said before this labor of love has been a tremendous learning process both from the great fans and other colleagues online that I exchange with and from the process of distilling my own learning with you.

I love statistics, so with this milestone, here are some numbers from the blog:

Total Posts: 1215

Most read post:  DOWNTIME and the Eight Wastes with over 21,000 views

followed by The Six-Step Problem-Solving Process (with over 20,000 views)

Least read post: You Won’t Get Lean, Until You Get Visual

Number of countries/territories who have visited this blog:  216

Top 3 Countries with the most views:
United Kingdom

Total views:  Over 737,000 and climbing

Unique visits: Over 550,000

Total comments:  Over 1,500

Total Facebook Fans: Over 1,355

Total Twiter Followers: Over 2,700

LinkedIn Members: Over 1,100

Top 5 posts this past year:
The Six-Step Problem-Solving Process 
What Lean is Not - 10 Things That Are Not Lean
5 Tips for Implementing 5S
Carrots and Sticks Don’t Motivate in a Thinking Environment
Walt Disney, The Lean Thinker

I would like to thank all the visitors and contributors to A Lean Journey Blog this past year.  It has been a successful Journey this past year. Please, share your feedback so that A Lean Journey can be even more successful next year.

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Monday, May 18, 2015

Guest Post: GM Ignition Switch Recall vs. Sunroof Recall: An ISO 9001 Case Study

Today I am pleased to be able share a guest post sponsored by one of our sponsors 9001 Academy. This post compares two product recalls in terms of a quality management system.

Product recalls are something we have become used to in our society. As I argued in my article Does a QMS ensure 100% quality?, product recalls do not mean that there is a complete failure of the quality management system. In fact, the existence of requirements for a process to deal with non-conforming products is evidence that the ISO 9001 standard expects that an organization will need to deal with products that do not meet requirements; however, this process can either work well or be flawed. This article looks at two recent examples of the non-conforming product process as it deals with product recalls in the automotive industry.

What is needed in a non-conforming product process?

First, lets look quickly at the requirements for a non-conforming material process, in particular, the requirements of what needs to be done to deal with a non-conformance when one is identified. In Section 8.3, the ISO 9001 standard requires that the organization take action to deal with an identified non-conforming product in one of four ways:

1.    Take actions to eliminate the non-conformance
2.    Authorize use with acceptance from the customer when needed (intended for non-conformances that do not hinder the operation of the product or service)
3.    Take action to preclude original use (scrap or use as “seconds” where this is acceptable)
4.    Take action to eliminate the effects of the non-conformity when it is detected after delivery, or when use of the product has started

It is requirement 4 that could trigger a product recall if a repair needed to be made to the delivered product. The next two examples demonstrate where this failed to happen quickly enough, and when it has happened in a timely manner.

For more information on the process for non-conforming material, see this blog post on Five Steps for ISO 9001 Nonconforming Products and this blog post on Understanding dispositions for ISO 9001 nonconforming product.

GM ignition switch defects: When the process failed

In February 2014, General Motors (GM) instituted a recall of 2.6 million vehicles worldwide for a problem with defective ignition switches. The defect with this product is that the ignition switch can slip out of the “on” position while driving, which can lead to the car stalling and the air bags turning off. As of October 2014, this has caused 27 deaths and many more injuries, leading to compensation claims against the company along with the expense of the recall itself.

News reports state that GM has acknowledged that it knew about the faulty ignition switches in several of its small cars for over a decade before the recall was initiated. It is clear that in this case, the decision on taking action on non-conformities that were already delivered was not timely.

GM sunroof recall: When the process works

Just over a year later, in March 2015, GM issued a recall for Chevrolet Malibu models due to overly sensitive controls. This followed a recall of Cadillac ATS models in February 2014 for the same issue. The controls in question would cause the sunroof to close with only a slight touch of the controls. According to the company, it does not take much force on the controls for the power sunroof button to make the sunroof close, which could pose a safety hazard such as fingers being caught in the closing unit.

In this case, there are currently no known injuries from the defect, nor has GM received any customer complaints, but still the recall was issued to address the problem. Clearly, the process to address non-conforming products has addressed delivered product as it is intended to do.

Make sure you address all non-conforming products or services

The key point is that a process for non-conforming products needs to address all products or services when your company identifies a problem. Sometimes it is easy to forget that products or services that are already delivered need to be included when you are making your decisions on how to address a problem. In many cases, there may be no action needed for a product or service already delivered, but the decision on these products and services that are already in the hands of your customers needs to be made and properly recorded. You owe it to your customers to consider them in your dispositions, and customer satisfaction is a key reason to have a quality management system in place.

About the Author:
Mark Hammar is a Product Assurance Manager and freelance author. Positions include working in all aspects of Product Assurance, including Supplier Quality Engineer, Quality Engineer, Product Assurance Program Manager, and Quality System Auditor. He is certified with the American Society of Quality as a Certified Manager of Quality and Organizational Excellence. His goal is to work more in Quality Management including supervision and people management.

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Friday, May 15, 2015

Lean Quote: Power of Many

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"Many hands make light work.— John Heywood

A common saying we have all heard about teamwork that means the more people that do a job, the easier the job for each person.  This is true in Lean.

Continuous improvement is about small changes on a daily basis to make your job easier.  Small step-by-step improvements are more effective over time than occasional kaizen bursts, and have a significantly greater impact on the organization culture - creating an environment of involvement and improvement.

Lean is meant to involve the whole company. It is not intended to be put into action in only one area. It is a management philosophy which should include every part of your organization. This helps promote the concept that everyone in the company is part of the team. True Lean manufacturing needs the involvement of everyone coming into contact with the company’s product and its customer.

Improvement should be ongoing and employees should be a critical part of that process so there is not fear of change but a willingness to embrace it because it’s a part of the everyday process in the organization. As employees begin to demonstrate a willingness to assimilate change into their daily routine, they develop a commitment to the change, a willingness to stick to the plan of action.  The change actually becomes integrated into the work environment, and employees begin to feel a sense of satisfaction in accomplishment.  They readily see the payoffs associated with the change.  They enjoy, and may even take credit for, their participation in the process.  Employees can view their efforts to bring about change with personal respect and pride. The change becomes a part of their routine, and any lingering concerns vanish.

In Lean we strive for a culture in which everyone in the company makes small improvements to their work environment everyday.  Many organizations start with large activities with titles like Kaizen or improvement events.  This is necessary in the beginning to create the conditions for change.  You need to teach people how and why to improve.  The Kaizened area then serves as a powerful example for the rest of the organization to learn from.  But as we strive for "True North" we want to create an environment where continuous improvement occurs regularly as part of the work.

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