What a Plant Manager and Town Mayor Have In Common | Darrell Edwards | Industry Week

leadership-dictionary-page“If there is ever a time to discuss the similarities between plant leadership and politics, perhaps during an election year is as fitting a time as any.  Some time ago I was attending a class at Columbia University, and over a conversation at lunch with a professor, we discussed what a day in the life of a plant manager was like (I was a plant manager at the time).  After a bit of conversation about my typical day, the professor said, ‘It’s like you really are running for election as town mayor, aren’t you?'”

Sourced through from: Plant Manager/Town Mayor

Michel Baudin‘s comments:

In my presentation on the Lean Leadership Role of the Plant Manager at the Lean Leadership Summit last month, I used the ship captain as a metaphor, but the plant manager as town mayor is enlightening as well. The abstract of my talk was as follows:

The plant manager is like a ship captain, in daily contact with a team that may range from a handful to thousands of people, and accountable to an organization that is remote and has entrusted him or her with a valuable asset. The plant manager is the voice of top management to the plant and of the plant to top management, and represents the company to the local community. Of course, the plant manager must know how to pay bills on time and let maintenance use qualified technicians to fix forklifts, but there is more to the job, particularly about Lean leadership. The plant manager implements corporate policy but does not make it. If top management has adopted Lean, the plant managers can make it succeed or fail.

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Overlapping Shifts Versus Gaps Between Shifts

The following question arrived this morning about 3-shift operations in a factory: “Is it a good idea to have both the ‘leaving’ and the ‘upcoming team’ together having the shift handover and line meeting all at once?”

In principle, having a handover in person at each work station would be valuable, but is often impractical. If, for example, a shift is behind schedule, a gap between shifts gives it an opportunity to catch up but a shift overlap doesn’t. And when the shift is on schedule, the gap can be used for maintenance. There are also logistical issues with overlapping shifts: during the overlap, your facility must accommodate the populations of both shifts at the same time. This means an oversize parking lot, crowded hallways, and a crowded shop floor.

A shift overlap for line management, on the other hand, is easier to arrange, starting as the production supervisor level, even with a gap between shifts.

The Value Of Surveys: A Debate With Joseph Paris

Joseph Paris and I debated this issue in the Operational Excellence group on LinkedIn, where he started a discussion by posting the following:

“Riddle me this…

If the Japanese way of management and their engagement with employees is supposedly the best, yielding the best result, why is there such a lack of trust among employment across the spectrum; employers, bosses, teams/colleagues. From Bloomberg and EY.

Japanese Workers Really Distrust Their Employers preview image

Japanese Workers Really Distrust Their Employers

Lifetime employment sounds like a great thing, but not if you hate where you work. That seems to be the plight of Japanese “salarymen” and “office ladies.” Only 22 percent of Japanese workers have “a great deal of trust” in their employers, which is way below the average of eight countries surveyed, according to a new report by EY, the global accounting and consulting firm formerly known as Ernst & Young. And it’s not just the companies: Those employees are no more trusting of their bosses or colleagues, the study found.

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The 5-Day Kaizen | Bob Emiliani

Bob Emiliani

Bob Emiliani

“The classic 5-day kaizen was likely created in the late 1980s by Shingijutsu kaizen consultants from Japan as they established their practice in the United States and beyond. Traveling the long distance from Japan to the east coast of the U.S. meant that kaizen consultants should obviously spend more than a day or two at their client’s location before they then return home to Japan. It made sense to stay for a period of time in which many abnormalities could be corrected by facilitating several kaizen teams at one time. Five days seemed about right…”

Sourced from: BobEmiliani.com

Michel Baudin‘s comments:

So the Kaizen Event craze started when the convenience of a Japanese consulting firm met American managers’ quest for instant gratification…

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Hardship Accounting Of Jobs

France is implementing a new law requiring “hardship accounting,” for the purpose of giving special pension benefits to employees whose jobs impose physical, environmental and rhythm constraints beyond a given threshold in 10 categories. This is causing a dispute between employers, who balk at the detailed record keeping required, and the government, which insists that a duly voted law must be obeyed. What I find disturbing in this tug-of-war is that I hear no voice saying that the existence of hardship jobs is abnormal and that they should be eliminated. Giving special treatment to the holders of these jobs is better than nothing, but it is an immediate countermeasure, not a long-term solution.

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meeting-of-colonists-protesting-british-treatment-before-the-american-revolution

Google’s Rules For Effective Meetings | Eric Schmidt & Jonathan Rosenberg

In How Google Works, on pp. 163-165, executives Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg give rules for running meetings, that are worth pondering, because they clearly know the topic. They rules are for a software organization, but it doesn’t mean they are not relevant in Manufacturing.

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Lean 2.0: Faster, Better, Permanent | Jim Hudson | Lean Expert Academy

From leanexpertacademy.com Today, 10:16 AM

“The Lean that we all grew up with came to us completely wrong. Messengers Jones and Womack not only mislabeled it, but misinterpreted it too. In their roles as observer-reporters, they described what they saw through the old management paradigm and pretty much interpreted and documented everything from that perspective. They did that really well and Lean Thinking became the “go-to manual” as a result. But it wasn’t the right thing, so they pretty much missed the engine of Toyota’s management system. The result? 30+ years of misfires from nearly all corners of the earth, as leaders and consultants took what Jones and Womack observed and tried to implement it.”

Michel Baudin‘s comments:

I agree with your assessment, but I am not so sure about the remedy. About Womack and Jones, I would say that they authored one good book: “The Machine That Changed The World,” and leave it at that. To them, manufacturing was a spectator sport, and they shared the results of a worldwide benchmarking study of the auto industry.

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The Truth About Kanban | Bill Waddell

Bill Waddell, intellectual sparring partner for almost 20 years now, has put out this video revealing “The Truth About Kanban”:

Michel Baudin‘s comments:

This video is just Bill’s talking head against the background of a brick fireplace with a few books on top, notably “Toyota Kata.” It contains no moving pictures of Kanbans in action and all you learn from viewing is in Bill’s words, and I have a few quibbles with these words.

I usually get impatient with this kind of video, because voice is a slow medium, and you would get the same information five times faster reading the transcript. But I have never met Bill in the flesh, and I was curious to hear his voice. It’s a good radio voice, albeit curmudgeonly, reminiscent of a younger Tommy Lee Jones.

Now, about the content, Bill makes three main points:

  1. What you use for a pull signal doesn’t matter.
  2. You can use Kanbans with long lead time items.
  3. The Kanban system is a mechanism to drive improvement.

I agree with Point 3, but find Points 1 and 2 problematic.

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Project Manager Versus Chief Engineer: What’s The Difference?

Question put to Michael Ballé in his Gemba Coach column:

Management wants us to start lean in product development, but refuses to consider the difference in roles between our current project manager and a chief engineer – how important is that?

Project Manager and Chief Engineer are job titles covering different roles in different organizations. Before commenting on whether management in the questioner’s company should switch titles, we should know how they select their project managers, how much authority the project managers have, and what they are accountable for. Some companies do an outstanding job of product development under project managers; others don’t.

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The Tesla Way vs. The Toyota Way | M. Donovan & J. P. Womack | The Lean Post

Elon Musk Tesla

Given the ever-increasing barriers to entry in what Peter Drucker famously called the “industry of industries,” it’s a wonder that any automotive startups defy the long arc of consolidation by establishing themselves as viable competitors. And it’s even more notable when these newcomers present a model that just might challenge the incumbents to the core. Lean thinker Mark Donovan recently asked LEI founder Jim Womack whether the path taken by Tesla founder Elon Musk points to a new machine that can change the world. 

Sourced from The Lean Post

Michel Baudin‘s comments:

Are the barriers to entry into the auto industry “ever-increasing,” as asserted in the 2010 HBR article linked to above, or did this article get it wrong? Could it be that the barriers are actually falling, with advances in electronics and information technology leveling the field between incumbents and new entrants?

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