This post could be a sequel of “Yeah, problem solving” in which I used Peter Senge’s quote: “Today’s problems come from yesterday’s solutions”. Quite often people we consultants meet are puzzled by a problem they can’t understand: a reliable process or machine suddenly seems out of control, steady performance dropped unexpectedly and with no apparent … Continue reading Problem solving: what was the last change?
Most people love to solve problems and feel the satisfaction of getting rid of some nasty tricky problem. It’s an outdated but still lasting belief that management is about problem solving. Problem solving turned in some cases into the managers’ and engineers’ holly mission and in some minds, the more problems the manager/engineer solves, the … Continue reading Yeah, problem solving
A3 problem solving or A3 thinking is a structured problem solving approach based on a rigorous Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle. A3 thinking and A3 reports were popularized by Toyota and are considered Lean tools. The term “A3″ in this tool’s name is linked to the original paper size used for the report, which was the largest … Continue reading A3 problem solving
In problem solving or continuous improvement workshops a problem is usually defined as a gap between the actual situation and the desired situation, and thus a problem causes an unsatisfactory situation or an UnDesirable Effect (UDE). This definition, while true, is somewhat too vague to be useful when working on solving problems and continuous improvement. … Continue reading Redefining “problem” (with Goal in mind)
Bill Dettmer, my friend and mentor often cited on this blog, wrote his 9th book “The Logical Thinking Process – An Executive Summary” that is now in the final stages of the publishing process. This book will be much smaller in size and number of pages than the famous “The Logical Thinking Process: A Systems … Continue reading The Logical Thinking Process – An Executive Summary (Book)
Since the publishing of early books on Theory of Constraints, the world grew more complex and the system’s constraint got more and more elusive. Globalization and extended supply chains give a constraint opportunity to settle literally anywhere in the world and extend its nature. It can be a physical transformation process in a supplier’s facility, … Continue reading How to identify the constraint of a system? Part 4
Is Lean dead? is the provocative title of a podcast hosted by Mark Graban with guest Karen Martin. The question, the podcast description says, is “easy to discuss, but hard to answer”. The reason Karen proposed to discuss this question is because of hearing and reading about “what’s next”, “is it time for something new?” … Continue reading Is Lean dead?
When implementing some solutions, like in continuous improvement, project managers better take care about the frustrations related to the S curve. The “S curve” is the shape of the performance curve over time. It describes a latency (t1) before the performance p1 takes off after the improvements have been implemented, then a more or less … Continue reading Continuous Improvement: Prevent frustrations related to the S curve
I started my career in the heyday of Total Quality Management (TQM) in France, beginning of the 1980’s and witnessed over the following years how the TQM trainings and deployments built a quality-aware culture in the companies and spread to everyday’s life. Over time though, other “Japanese Methods” became fashionable and the hype was on … Continue reading Could Six Sigma have more harmed than helped?
Yes, Lean initiatives can be started bottom-up, but I doubt they’ll get very far and last for long. Here is why. Bottom-up Lean initiatives, e.i. improvements, are opportunities for improvement found by shopfloor people, line leaders or shop management. “Improvement” is most often understood in a broad meaning and bring up suggestions ranging from make … Continue reading The fallacy of bottom-up Lean initiatives – Part 1