- Arbitrary vs. Rational
- Reaction vs. analysis
- Blanket vs. focused
- One shot vs. sustainable
- Limited vs. infinite
- Quick vs. slow
Teaching, training and coaching are overlapping activities. Usually, not much harm is done by using these terms interchangeably, and the distinction made in a number of publications is without much of a difference. You use a personal trainer to sculpt your abs and a voice coach to hone your public speaking. Perhaps these expressions roll of the tongue better than "personal coach" and "voice trainer," but these alternatives would be equally descriptive.
The "Plan for Every Food" in my household involves different policies for buying coffee beans and fresh raspberries. These simple examples show that thinking in terms of Economic Order Quantity (EOQ) isn't always wrong, and Just-In-Time (JIT) isn't always right. You need to set appropriate policies for screws, steel bars, engines, microchips, and all other items you may need, and review these policies periodically as circumstances change.
"More robots means lower unemployment and better trade performance. [...] The United States does not lose jobs because there is not enough work to be done but rather because U.S. industry is not competitive with foreign producers. More robots will help fix this."
It doesn't mean robots are bad, only that they are not a panacea. Toyota's Global Body Line is designed to use welding robots where they are justified, and manual welding where not, using the same fixtures.
In an auto parts plant in Japan, I remember seeing a machining cell with old machines served by robots. A few yards away were new, automated lines that didn't use robots.
It looked very much as if the old cell with new robots was the result of incremental automation, and that the lessons learned had been applied in the design of the new lines.
Robots are tools. If you know how to use them, they will help you; if you don't, buying more is just a waste of money.
"In the first six to 12 months, get the turkeys out. Don’t drag your feet."
The problem with this approach is that, at the outset of Lean transformation, management doesn't know what it's doing. It's not the managers' fault, but the skills of leading a Lean transformation in this particular organization have to be learned along the way.
More often than not, the author's version of "addressing the issue early" means firing loyal employees for disagreeing with something you later realize was wrong. And the message it sends is not one of commitment but of a mixture of brutality, incompetence and disrespect.
"A 'how to' outline for executives trying to do an effective Gemba Walk"
No disagreement with what Michael Bremer is saying, but I would emphasize observation skills more.
One exercise Kei Abe came up with is the bug hunt. You take a team of managers to the floor and give each one 20 red tags. They they have 20 minutes to attach the tags to such "bugs" as frayed cables, devices held with duct tape, puddles of lubricant, misplaced items, etc. They usually have no trouble using all 20 tags.
I also ask people to be like the Count in Sesame Street and count people walking, machines not working, etc. These activities have a data collection and validation value in their own right, but they also focus the eyes of participants and make them notice details they would otherwise miss.
Organizations that produce documents -- whether they are publications for sale, standard tests for schools, legal templates, or work instructions for production -- face challenges that differ from manufacturing, because data and materials don't flow the same way. The production of a document by a team is a process of collaborative editing, not a fixed sequence of standardized operations.
With electronic documents, you need a revision management system to prevent inconsistent updates, you need to cap the number of documents in process to control lead time, and you may need to improve the work flow or increase the team size if saturated.
Tools like 5S are irrelevant in this context, because the work takes place inside a computer network, not in the physical office, and setting up an effective network -- with the right software properly configured -- requires information systems professionals at the state of the art. What looks like rework in this context is a collaborative editing process that must be managed, not eliminated.
Frederick Taylor is an easy target. In a tweet last November Michael Ballé, as "@Thegembacoach" attributed to "taylorism" practices that I have never seen advocated in Taylor's writings. Enough of Taylor's own work is questionable that we don't need to pile on other people's bad ideas. Along with the chaff , however, there is wheat, and we have more to learn from the enduring part of Taylor's legacy than from what has been discredited.