In traditional Cultures only the "six sigma black belts" or "highly skilled" problem solvers are looking at the day to day issues team members may have. There are so many problems and yet not enough of the "specialized people" to go around; often we create a low morale in the workplace because team members have lost faith in management to make a difference in "their" work area.
In Toyota's culture we tend to think "Problem-Solving, Everybody-Everyday", meaning we empower our people to make a difference in their own work areas therefore in some ways they are contributing to their own job security. This is a powerful paradigm shift in how we do business in today's industry.
This can easily be applied by valuing and respecting people as the most important "asset" to the company. If we do not ask our people to think and respect that they are the "professional" on the job then we are missing out on the extraordinary "brainpower" they have to make a difference that could very well lead to improved company business indicators. This is a essential element of Toyota's culture and how they implement so many ideas that leads to improving the "cost" indicator for the company. It's not only a process the team member learns but really an "expectation" of their job to think about improvements and not become complacent in their actions.
The process used to strengthen our problem solving skills is called the 8 step Problem Solving process, some know it as TBP or Toyota Business Practices.
the 8 Steps consist of:
Step 1 - Clarifying the Problem
Step 2 - Breaking Down the Problem
Step 3- Setting a Target
Step 4 - Root Cause Analysis
STep 5 - Develop Countermeasures
Step 6 - Seeing Countermeasures Through
Step 7 - Monitor process and results
The 8 step Problem Solving is basically PDCA, then first 5 steps of the 8 Steps are planning, Step 6, 7 ,and 8 and the D, C and the A of the process. It's a very efficient and effective way to "think", again thinking is what we should value in people.
Stayed tuned to further posts regarding the 8 Steps.
Til next time