Frank's blog

Response from Sensei-San

My last blog was about an exciting visit by a Lean Sensei with 40 years of experience. After reading the blog, Sensei-san responded with further insights, which I am sharing as a guest blog below in his own words. Enjoy!

- Frank, CEO -

Sensei quote

“Through the working for manufacturing in many countries, I met many troubles and learned very much. But I couldn't sometimes solve the problems by the text book. According to people to work, company culture, and country, approach to the problem should be changed.

When we have problem, factors of causes are classified into 5M1E. Causes related to Machine, Material, Method, Measurement, Environment are relatively easy to solve by engineer. But causes related to Man are complicated and difficult to solve.  Some problem was caused by associate, some was by engineer, some was by management. Even if manager explained it to associate and said let's take care of this kind of problem, the problem happened again.

In case of standard work, it is may be correct, but sometimes it's not enough for associate to understand deeply. Usually, standard work is planned by engineers, which design the process. They know well process, but they don't know human efficient action and human error. Experts have many kankotsu which make action efficient and avoid human error. Such knowhow also should be written in standard work.

Then, if associate can understand the standard work including important knowhow, I would like to say there are responsibility on both associate and management. I said contract between associate and management. Associate's responsibility is to work with keeping the standard work including important knowhow. Management's responsibility is to observe associate whether keeping standard work, or not. If not, he must confirm associate's understanding and discuss what 's wrong and improve the standard work. And he must teach until associate can do with keeping standard work. Then, a tense atmosphere is made between associate and management.

In case of 5 Why root cause analysis, it's important to continue why until reaching to real cause which shows a responsible person i.e.

  • Standard work is wrong.  (Management, Engineer)
  • Standard work is not enough  i.e. detail description to avoid problem isn’t described.  (Management)
  • Associate doesn't keep standard work.  (Associate)

If associate becomes expert through this activity, he will have strong ownership of his work and challenge more kaizen into the process.

These are based on my experiences. I am not sure these are suitable reference for you.”

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