Tag Archives: Critical Thinking

Where Lean Went Wrong – A Historical Perspective

Clueless ManagerThe Toyota Production System is widely considered to be the best production system for any larger company. Achieving similar performance is the vision (or dream?) of many companies. Pretty much all of lean manufacturing is the attempt to copy the approach of Toyota in the hope of a similar stellar performance. Yet most lean transformations fall way short of the goal. In this blog post I would like to give some insights, from a historical perspective, on why lean so often fails. Continue reading Where Lean Went Wrong – A Historical Perspective

Reddit: I am Chris Roser, a professor studying the past, present, and future of manufacturing, and just published my first book. AMA!

reddit-logo-notextOn September 27, I did my first Reddit: “I am a … ask me anything.” With almost four hundred comments, I consider it a quite successful AMA.

I am Chris Roser, a professor for production management; a lean expert; a Toyota, Bosch, and McKinsey alumnus; and I’m interested in the past, present, and future of manufacturing. I lived and worked for multiple years in the USA, in Japan, and in Europe. I run a blog, AllAboutLean.com, and just completed my first book, “Faster, Better, Cheaper” in the History of Manufacturing: From the Stone Age to Lean Manufacturing and Beyond. Continue reading Reddit: I am Chris Roser, a professor studying the past, present, and future of manufacturing, and just published my first book. AMA!

“Lean Standard” ISO 18404 – A Questionable Idea …

iso-18404-errorRecently I learned about a new ISO 18404 standard certifying lean and Six Sigma organizations. I think this is a highly questionable idea, with little benefit for the quality of lean manufacturing. This certification madness won’t make much  difference for the quality of lean but will mostly siphon off money to the International Organization for Standardization and connected bodies for certifications of little practical value. Let me show you the details … Continue reading “Lean Standard” ISO 18404 – A Questionable Idea …

Volkswagen Supplier Relations Failure

volkswagen-fightIn the last months, there has been an unprecedented power struggle between Volkswagen and its suppliers. Two of the suppliers stopped delivering, leading to a full stop of multiple production lines at six Volkswagen plants, including its main plant Wolfsburg. This whole mess comes on top of the separate problems Volkswagen has had with its Dieselgate. In this post I would like to look in more detail at what happened. Continue reading Volkswagen Supplier Relations Failure

The Curious Case of 100% Work Performance

Poker of acesEmployment is an exchange of work for money. In my last post I showed a few tricks on how operators keep management in the dark about the true workload. However, management is also not giving out all the details on their side either. Naturally, the true value of the work is difficult to asses. Even if companies could know exactly how much each employee contributes to the success, they probably would keep this information top secret.

More interesting, however, is the value of the target workload, where operators are able to work continuously at 130% capacity without problem. The following are my own thoughts, as I have never seen these conclusions anywhere else before.

Continue reading The Curious Case of 100% Work Performance

How Operators Hide the True Workload

Poker cards and chipsEmployment is an exchange of work for money. As with most negotiations, both sides would like to keep their cards hidden, so employers and employees use different tricks in an attempt to hide the true facts from the other.

This post looks at the tricks of employees, whereas the next post will look at those of employers. As employees have more control over the work than they do over the salary, this post shows how to keep management in the dark about the true workload. Continue reading How Operators Hide the True Workload

The Many Flavors of the PDCA

PDCA VariantsIn my last posts I explained the PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act), common mistakes, and its history. However, there is a whole fruit stand of additional versions with some modifications that have popped up: PDSA, SDCA, OODA, ODCA, DMAIC, LAMDA, FACTUAL, Kata, and 8D – and probably more that I do not know of. Let me explain a bit on the different offshoots and alternatives of the PDCA. Continue reading The Many Flavors of the PDCA