Get Free Access to Mark Warren's translation of the original Japanese TPS manual here https://duxacademy.duxinaroe.com/courses/tps-handbook-1973
The Dux Introduction (Extract)
... I firmly believe the failure to embed a culture that continuously improves is a 'human factors' issue, more than it is an issue related to the technical understanding of tools and techniques.
We've done a good job of understanding the technicalities ... applying tools and improving performance ... but more often than not, companies do not become 'Lean', that is, they do not manage to replicate the performance standards which have been reported by Toyota and other Japanese companies for the last 40+ years... there is something else going on.
Following >25 years of direct involvement in WCM & Lean initiatives around Europe, I believe the failure to replicate the system in the West comes down to just a few things...
Consciously Create Culture
This is the output from the assessment tool we've developed. It links to our 'Culture' model, which features our BTFA cycle... (Seen below being used in a Government presentation to civil engineering contractors in Holland )
The graph quickly identifies significant issues which undermine overall performance and profit. Low scores reflect multiple issues generally discussed in terms of engagement, ownership, motivation etc., typically addressed through HR initiatives. Big gaps reflect communication issues, emotional mis-alignment, dis-harmony and a lack of shared vision, purpose and values which touch every part of the organisation from sales & finance to production and everything in between.
On the graph above, it's easy to see the Exec team believe they are a great company in respect to their direction and purpose (End Game), with matching scores for their view of empowerment and teamwork in the organisation.
Fascinating to see then, that against 'Team' in particular, the workforce see this as the lowest score in the organisation, second only to skills and the support they receive to improve. With such different opinions, it was obvious the two different groups were pulling in VERY different directions!
ROOT CAUSE ANALYSIS AND PROBLEM SOLVING
About 11 or 12 years ago, I wrote a paper ... and gave it the above title. Philip Holt recently used the same phrase 'Emperors new clothes' in a reply to a post on LinkedIn and it reminded me that my journey which created Duxinaroe really stated with that paper. It was also published on the PEX website in 2009.
I decided to dust it off and have a look at what I was saying back then. I have to admit my writing style wasn't the best, but looking past the syntax issues, I am pleased to say I've remained broadly consistent in my views.
So, always looking to share my thoughts, on the off-chance they help others, I thought i'd copy and paste a few extracts here ... (I may make a few improvements to wording)
See what you think - this is the first.
The Brain and Change
In March 2009 Elizabeth Gould gave a talk entitled ‘How does Experience Influence the Brain? This was at the same time she was presented with the Ben Franklin Award at the RSA. In this talk Gould explained her focus on ‘Neurogenesis’ (The birth of new neuronal cells in the brain). Interestingly for the world of organisational change, she also touched on the related rate of change in an adult mammalian brain.
Originally investigating the effect of hormones on cell survival, an experiment, which saw the removal of the adrenal glands in rodents, resulted in massive cell death in certain brain regions, but confusingly, no net decrease in brain mass.
To explain the anomaly in her own experiment Gould and her colleagues went on a search of old studies and soon found papers from the 1960’s (this was before the internet) from various authors.
In his book ‘Key Strategies for Plant Improvement’ Shigeo Shingo writes;
“When a method is familiar, we move naturally, without having to think what task should be done next or how each task should be done. Consequently, the job can be carried out without burdening the brain.
That means there is no psychological burden involved, and a worker can hum as he works.
Workers end up believing that familiar operations are easiest and therefore the best way of doing things. But is this in fact so? Lilian Gilbreth devised some “Table-Top Improvement Experiments” that help clarify this point. (Shingo 1987. P. 149 – emphasis mine).
In a letter to Alan G. and Margaret M. Robinson, cited in their co-authored paper “On the tabletop experiments of Japan”, (School of management, University of Massachusetts 1994) following an enquiry as to further details surrounding Lilian Gilbreths influence, Shigeo Shingo replied with a full set of ‘TableTop’ experiments and the following note; “As to a source reference for them, I am unable to help you, to my regret, since I do not have any written memo about them in either English or Japanese. I learned them from Mr. Horigome, my most respected teacher in industrial engineering, very long ago, probably around 1937. As far as I know, he learned them from his teacher Mr. Tsunoda, who worked at the Yokosuka Naval Arsenal and attended a lecture given by Lilian Gilbreth in the Taisho Era [1912-1926] (Shingo, S. Personal communication).
Following further research in Japan, A.G. and M.M. Robinson were able to identify six experiments, devised by Frank and Lilian Gilbreth, originally introduced to Japan via some class notes of a Japanese student of Frank Gilbreth in 1923.
For the purpose of this essay, it can be noted that Shingo alludes to the successful adoption of the lessons delivered by these experiments as a ‘psychological’ and ‘brain burden’ issue.
It can also be noted that the Tabletop experiments seem to have had a profound influence over the entire approach to management across Japan, and subsequently, the rest of the world. Lilian Gilbreth was the author of The Psychology of Management: The Function of the Mind in Determining, Teaching, and Installing Methods of Least Waste (1914).
This publication investigates the psychological aspects of scientific management, incorporating concepts of human relations and worker individuality into management principles. It is noteworthy, that in 1968, Lilian Gilbreth was awarded, in the name of the emperor of Japan, the "Third Class of the Order of the Precious Crown'' for "Outstanding contribution to the guidance and diffusion of scientific management and industrial development".