Matt Hrivnak

Kaizen: There's always another future state

Archive for the 'Lean Book Reviews' Category...

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

Filed under Kaizen, Lean, Lean Book Reviews

‘Lean Lexicon, a graphical glossary for Lean Thinkers’

Compiled by the Lean Enterprise Institute

While this is not your traditional style of book, the ‘Lean Lexicon‘ contains so much great material that I just had to post it in a book review.  This book is just what it says it is, ‘a glossary for Lean Thinkers.’  Whether you are new to Lean Manufacturing or consider yourself an expert, this would should be in your Lean library.  The book is sorted in alphabetical order, and setup so that related topics point to one another, which makes for easy connections between lean tools and applications.  Also, another beLean Lexiconnefit is the inclusion of historical figures such as the Kiichiro Toyoda, Sakichi Toyoda, Shigeo Shingo, and Taiichi Ohno.  It lists everything you could ever want to know about Lean (at least from a basic definition basis), including some lesser known topics like A-B Control, Chaku-Chaku, Demand Amplification, Kaikaku, and Capital Linearity.  These are the types of topics that hold Lean together and are known to Lean experts, but often overlooked by rookie Lean implementors who stick to the mainstream tools like 5S and SMED.

 Overall, there is very little that this book could be accoused of lacking, and I can’t think of anything off the top of my head.  Add this book to your Lean library and pick up a copy for your coworkers or employees so that you, and they, can reference topics in the midst of a Lean transformation!

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Comments (0) Posted by matt on Monday, April 14th, 2008

Filed under Lean Book Reviews

‘The Toyota Way’ 

By Jeffrey K. Liker

I’ve read and reviewed literally dozens of Lean and Six Sigma books, and ‘The Toyota Way (14 Management Principles From the World’s Greatest Manufacturer)’ is one of the great ones.  The Toyota WayIt is a swift and meaningful read with pages and pages of detailed, historical data explaining thoroughly the essence behind Toyota and the Toyota Production System.  If there is one caveat, I would have to say it’s the fact that the book’s practical applications are a little lacking.  I say that because it is such a complete retelling of Toyota’s dominance that in the end, it leaves the reader thinking, “Okay, that’s great, but how exactly do I accomplish that at my company?”  The step by step, visually demonstrated process that is typical of a Lean book is the big piece that most readers will wish was thereThe Toyota Way Fieldbook.  Liker did help remedy this in a few ways by introducing The Toyota Way Fieldbook (co-written with David Meier) which offers practical and applicable solutions for implementing much of Toyota’s systems.

The great things about The Toyota Way are all of the aspects that you wouldn’t necessarily find in any other Lean book.  Among these are intricate parts of Toyota’s system including tidbits like the difference between a Toyota manager and the average, classically trained U.S. manager, or the fact that The Toyota Way is more of a ‘condition’ or ‘state of mind’ than just a cut and paste production system.  Great quotes abound, as each chapter starts with a few words from a notable Lean implementer.

I recommend this book wholeheartedly and if you ever attempt to put your head around the Toyota Production System and Lean – this is the book to start with.  Not only do you learn the basic structure and methodologies, you get the raw, harsh reality of the path that the Toyota Production System took from its inception until the present.

Buy this book.  You will learn a lot while being able to appreciate the rich history.

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Comments (0) Posted by matt on Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008