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Lean, Process Improvement

A half-adopted process is as bad, if not worse, than none at all

I was interested to read that Toyota supports non-profit organisations through its Toyota Production System Support Center (TSSC), a non-profit within the auto company. Toyota shares its Toyota Production System (TPS) methods with all kinds of organisations — including donating their expertise to other non-profits.

I read about their approach in this Harvard Blog which is actually titled “making process planning cool again”. I’m not sure process planning ever was cool apart from with a relatively small bunch of process geeks!  Anyway, that’s not the key point of me writing this.

My blog post title refers to the fact that TSSC is very choosy about the organisations it works with. If the management team at the non-profit aren’t committed to adopting TPS fully.  Secondly, TCCS invests for the long-term; their aim in providing support is to enable a culture change where Lean Thinking and Continuous Improvement are the norm.

All too often, outside Japan, when organisations “adopt Lean”, their real intention is to reduce costs and that inevitably means headcount reductions.  TCCS insists its partners don’t lay anyone off.  That gives a very clear message to the workforce that management want to hear about waste and opportunities for improvement and people need not fear for their jobs.

As always, successful, long-term continuous improvement is down to management commitment.

Read the Harvard article here.

You might also be interested in my article on why Kaizen Blitz is doomed to fail.

There are lots more process articles on my “Sharing” page.



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