Matt Hrivnak

Kaizen: There's always another future state

Archive for April, 2009...

Filed under Lean, Lean Quotes

Shingo’s Lean Banana Quote

By all accounts, the following quote came from Shigeo Shingo (of course, I wasn’t there to hear it said, but he gets the credit),  “When you buy bananas all you want is the fruit not the skin, but you have to pay for the skin also. It is a waste. And you the customer should not have to pay for the waste.”

Update to original post:  Officially reported by Norman Bodek as having been used by Dr. Shingo at an APICS conference in Las Vegas, as “When you buy bananas you only want to eat the inside but you also have to pay for the skin.  This skin is a waste.”  Special thanks to Norman, and to Paul Akers (who is probably the greatest proponent of lean in the past 10 years via his company FastCap, his travels and his online presence) for posting Norman’s writings.

The truth in this quote is rock solid, but one important fact that people often over look is the type of waste that the banana peel actually represents.  At one time or another, every lean practitioner/participant has been run through Ohno’s 7 wastes:

  1. Overproduction:  producing too much, contributing to the other 6 wastes
  2. Waiting:  people/processes waiting for supplies or go aheads to produce
  3. Conveyance:  unnecessary movement of parts/supplies
  4. Processing:  incorrect or unnecessary processing
  5. Inventory:  more on hand than is actually required
  6. Motion:  operators making unnecessary motions, looking for tools/supplies
  7. Correction:  inspection, rework, etc.

Now, you can find one of those categories in which to put the banana peel, but what type of waste is it?  What do I mean by that?  Well, is it Type I or Type II waste?

  • Type I Waste (Type I Muda):  anything that creates no value, but that is unavoidable due to current technologies, machine or resource limitations, etc.
  • Type II Waste (Type II Muda):  anything that creates no value and can be eliminated immediately.

The banana peel, while obviously being waste, is an unavoidable necessity to the development, harvesting, and delivery of the fruit to the customer.  I would prefer to buy the banana in its organic sleeve and pay a few extra cents instead of buying it peeled, rotten and mushy.

Perhaps the banana industry will find a way to genetically engineer a skinless banana that stays fresh as long as banana in the peel, but until then, I’ll take my banana with its Type I Muda attached!


Shingo’s Lean Banana Quote

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Comments (4) Posted by matt on Thursday, April 16th, 2009

Filed under Lean Book Reviews, productivity

I get a lot of questions about proper training and how to ensure that something will be taught, and learned, correctly. Training is so important when it comes to following a system and without it, you might as well have no system at all. The best book I’ve ever read for training is definitely Liker and Meier’s Toyota Talent: Developing Your People the Toyota Way They breakdown all of the necessary elements for great training while giving you some great insight into the Toyota way of talent development.

Of the more prominent topics is Toyota’s use of the Job Instruction (JI) method. This method is an easy four step process that can be applied to any process and in all circumstances. Below I’ve given a quick and dirty breakdown of the process:

1. Prepare the trainee(s) – Setup the trainee(s) for success, tell them the basics of the job, find out what they know about it already, and try to build their interest in the job.
2. Thoroughly present the job/operation – Talk about each major step of the process and why it is important while demonstrating each one (one at a time), listing all key elements and why each key element to that step is important. Clearly describe the needs for each step and respond to any questions from the trainees. If any portion is too much for a trainee to handle at one time, slow it down and allow them to master (fully understand) the current step before moving ahead.
3. Have the trainee perform the job/operation – Watch the trainee (or each trainee) perform the operation, have them correct any errors or issues they encounter. Have them perform it for you several more times, while they also explain all major steps and elements to you (the trainer). This gives them a sense of mastery and allows them to take the lead on understanding the needs for each step and why each one is important to perform correctly, every time.
4. Sustain the training through following up – Inform the trainee who they can ask for further help. Check on them frequently; assign them certain tasks or goals. Overtime, lesson the observations, while encouraging further understanding and development through a suggestion or question system. Leave yourself or another trainer available for help.

Those are the major points of the Job Instruction method and can be applied to all processes with very little effort. The more important aspects of job training need to be in place and prepared ahead of time, like a well standardized process and capable, knowledgeable trainers. Teach using the Job Instruction method and your associates will develop a much better sense of belonging and well being, while at the same time, ensuring you are getting top quality production.

Just remember – “If the student hasn’t learned, the teacher hasn’t taught.”

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Comments (0) Posted by matt on Thursday, April 9th, 2009