Friday, August 28, 2009

Enhancing Standardized Work through understanding the Necessary Conditions in our work (JKK)

The Toyota Production System is based on 2 Pillars which are, Jidoka and Just in Time (JIT). Jidoka is "Building in Quality" at the process and JIT is building what is needed, when is needed in the amount needed. Toyota has always had the philosophy of stopping the line when defects are found, this can be done by anyone who sees a discrepancy with a known Standard (what should be happening within a process). The lines can also be stopped by Machines which are sometimes called "pokeyoke" (fail-safe devices), in order to ensure a defect is not passed on.
Now, more than ever, in this economy it is important to ensure we are looking at our work in the perspective of the customer. If you have a set standard or a known defect rate that is acceptable in "your" company; has that standard been set or determined in the "eye of the customer"? When you think about it, if you are the customer and you have a defect on your vehicle that rate becomes 100% for you. For the company it may be .001% which doesn't seem too big of a deal right? WRONG!! What if you were that person? How does that make you feel in regard to a high quality vehicle?
One way Toyota looks at this perspective is to ensure that Jidoka is within each process on the line, they do this by a process call JKK (Jikotei Kanketsu) literally meaning - Building in Quality with Ownership. What does "Ownership" mean to a person on a process? Ownership is defined in JKK as understand all the "necessary conditions" and "process criteria" so that ZERO defects are passed on. If team members understand these perspectives then they are more apt to understand when the process is NOT to standard and to be able to countermeasure the discrepancy through problem solving or PDCA thinking.
Necessary Conditions can be items like design, equipment parameters, engineering, and manufacturing. Having those aspects understood then Standards can be written and "skills" can be taught in order to ensure the process stops when necessary and defects are not passed on.

For example: If I worked at a Sub shop and my job was to make high quality sub sandwiches for customers based on their favorite selection, then as a sub creator, I must understand my standardized work, necessary conditions and process criteria in order to make the highest quality sub possible. The equipment must be working correctly in order to bake the bread at a certain temperature in a timely manner. (not to over or under cook). Properly labeling all the different kinds of breads to ensure visual controls. A team member must also understand the necessary condition for keeping the meats, cheeses and condiments at the right temperature. The should be laid out in order of need or frequent usage. I need to also understand how thick to slice the cheese, where to put the meat, how much meat is the standard per type of sandwich, how to spread the mayonnaise, and where to cut the sandwich etc. All these items are process criteria and necessary conditions to create a "made to order" sub sandwich which meets the customer needs.

The same criteria needs to be understood in your environment as well, whether your making sub sandwiches, cars, or computers, if there are processes, people, and equipment then standards can be set, along with necessary conditions and process criteria to ensure team member have a "self quality check" giving them the authority to stop the line. I called this "Enhanced Standardized Work" which means taking Standardized work to the next level, understand the key points and reasons to why it was set that way to begin with. Standards are the foundation of the Toyota Production System, understanding their importance and following them is one of the key's to success in implementing Lean. Until Next Time,

Tracey Richardson

Friday, August 14, 2009

Strategy Deployment - What does it mean for a company?

First off, I would like to apologize for my absence in July, I have been on the road doing great things with companies implementing Lean. I hope to be back on schedule with the blog posts this month and hereafter.
So what does the term Hoshin Kanri mean? Sound familiar to some of you? It is the Japanese term for "Strategy Deployment" or "Policy Management" within companies who have defined their "Line of Sight" or "True North". The words together can be defined as:
A system (or a way of thinking) which intends to create an organization capable of sustained high performace by its leadership and team members to produce continual and repeatable results. A company can achieve this by setting Mid-to-Long Term Management Plans (Annual Plans) that prioritize daily activitites and resources by department or group. The goal is to involve ALL members from the top down who will clarify these targets and value added activity from their own departments/positions. The Hoshin targets can be achieved by continuously turning over the PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) Management Cycle at the MACRO and MICRO levels; checks are performed and follow-ups made during these implementation cycle of the Hoshin. This allows the entire company/organization to have a "line of sight" or work in "one direction" with members at all levels taking initiative solving problems. Some refer to this term as "Catchball". Catchball is a term that describes value added ideas being "thrown back and forth" from management to the team members and team members to the management level which help reach the Hoshin targets.
It's important to remember that a company should first define their values, mission, or goals they want to achieve (which should take into consideration - their customer) in order to understand the strategies involved in developing the Annual Plan. The Hoshin will then be broken down into Divisions, Sections, and Individual Teams. These areas will then determine the value-added activities it takes to successfully meet the goals.
See the visual below of the Hoshin breakdown process between the different levels within a company.
Another key point to remember is that "Problem solving" and "Standardization" are a key components to a Company's ability to see deviation from existing Standards and "thinking" through those discrepancies using the PDCA management cycle in order to get to root cause. The Japanese call this "Kanri Cycle Turnover". Again the micro PDCA activities that solve value added problems towards the company Hoshin goals.
How does your company deploy its strategies for continuous improvement and customer satisfaction? Has your Company Culture evolved to this level or are you still "Managing by Objectives dictated from the top? Til next time,
Tracey Richardson