Jan 11 2012
IndustryWeek : Manufacturing and Trust: A Prescription for What Ails Our Industry
Via Scoop.it – lean manufacturing
I also wrote on the subject in Chapter 19 of Lean Logistics. Adversarial relationships between suppliers and customers are stable because each side perceives a collaborative attitude with the other as unilateral disarmament: any information they share can be used against them in a future negotiation. And there is no shortage of examples of such fears being justified. So how do you defuse this situation? Rob Olney’s article points the way, but some of his recommendations assume trust is already there. How do you get them to that point? “Distrust fuels the need for extra time, inventory, paperwork and more, ultimately building more cost and inefficiency into the supply chain.”
January 11, 2012 @ 8:27 am
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January 11, 2012 @ 11:52 am
Personal communication to Rob Olney:
I just read your article in Industry Week on that subject. I also wrote on the subject in Chapter 19 of Lean Logistics. My view is that adversarial relationships between suppliers and customers are stable because each side perceives a collaborative attitude with the other as unilateral disarmament: any information they share can be used against them in a future negotiation. And there is no shortage of examples of such fears being justified.
So how do you defuse this situation? I think your article points the way, but some of your recommendations assume trust is already there as in “Partners openly share plans…”
How do you get them to that point?
I look forward to exchanges with you on that subject.
January 11, 2012 @ 11:53 am
Hi Michel –
Thank you for your interest in my article. With my viewpoint being trust
has three components – sincerity, competence and reliability (time), we
start there. First we assess if the other person is sincere. We do that by
checking their reputation inside the company and outside the company. Then
we assess their competence – can they do what they say they can do. If
there is enough in those 2 areas, we put in the time to recurrently
demonstrate the sincerity and competence and build trust over time. The
more we trust each other, the more we can offer each other. As a supplier,
we offer more valuable solutions and as a customer, we share more
information about our situation (like plans).
I think of building trust, like building a muscle. You and your partners
need to work it to get stronger. If I only have a little time, I look for
dozens of opportunities to make little promises and complete them on time
(and vice versa). Similarly if there is a weakening of trust (sincerity,
competence or reliability), the muscle strength needs to be exercised more
frequently to rebuild it. Just like strong muscles only stay strong when
they are well maintained, so too with trust.
I hope that helps clarify my approach.
All the best,
January 11, 2012 @ 11:56 am
I see your process with individuals, but what about organizations? Sincere, competent and reliable people can build trust in each other, but how do you keep it going through management changes on either side? A new manager comes in, with little use for the predecessor’s work, particularly what he or she dismisses as “warm fuzzies.” I think this is when trust is most easily broken.
January 11, 2012 @ 11:57 am
Hi Michel –
In my view, trust is ALWAYS between individuals. When a new manager comes
in, I assume I need to start from scratch and build trust all over again.
It seems like every time I skip this step, I get burned. If there is a
strong history, it might take less time, but I always plan for the time and
effort to build trust. If these are big organizations, then I invent an
on-going process to continually work on building trust so that new hires
can participate sooner and more frequently in building trust (sincerity,
competence, and reliability). I don’t know your industries, but these
processes look like weekly project updates or daily status meetings or
hourly phone updates. Any place in time where participants of both
companies can show each other that they are keeping all the small promises
(competence) and the managers are speaking publicly about need to keep
promises (sincerity) in short time intervals (reliability) helps build
trust with the individuals at both companies.