In industry, I often find the view that machines must run. The reasons given for this are that the machines were expensive investments, labor cost will accumulate, and the customer is waiting for products, hence the line must run. There is definitely some truth in this. However, the conclusion that the line must not stop is completely wrong. On the contrary, for the line (or the process in general) to run well, you MUST stop the line in certain circumstances. In this and the next post I would like to look in more detail at when you, rather than pressing forward with production (or rather, your operators), should stop the line. Let me explain.
This post of my series on Practical Problem Solving (PPS) looks at what to do after you have done the “Do” part of PDCA. Yes, that’s right, after implementing the solutions you are not done yet. You need to monitor the outcome to see whether it has actually achieved the target you set much earlier. Here, the next steps can go into two directions. This would be the “Check” of PDCA. If you have not yet achieved the target… well… then you are not yet done and need to keep on working on the problem. If you have achieved the target, congratulations! Now share the wisdom with others. This is the “Act” of PDCA. Let me explain in more detail.
In this post of my series on the Toyota Practical Problem Solving (PPS), we finally get to the part many were excitedly waiting for—the development of countermeasures and their implementation. Some people like this part of actually doing the improvement (and hence finally the “Do” part of PDCA) so much that they skip the “Plan” part almost entirely. Don’t do that! Properly prepare and analyze before implementing a countermeasure. Without the plan, the countermeasure may be flawed.
In the previous posts on this series of the Toyota Practical Problem Solving (PPS) I went into detail on how to understand the problem by clarifying the problem and breaking it down to get the prioritized problem. In this post I will look at target setting and root-cause analysis. Setting the target and doing the root-cause analysis is still the “Plan” part of PDCA. Only in my next post with the development of countermeasures do we get to the next step of “Do.”
In my last post I introduced the Toyota Practical Problem Solving approach (PPS) and gave an overview how it is rooted in PDCA and often used in the form of an A3. Now let’s dig deeper and go into the details of the individual steps. The first is to clarify the problem. The second is to break down and stratify the problem—to try to understand the problem better by looking at it from different angles, preferably using data. In my next post I will talk about target setting.
Lean is a lot of problem solving. Toyota excels at such problem solving, and they have developed their practical problem solving (PPS) approach. For many it is surprising how much time Toyota spends on defining and understanding the problem, whereas (many in) the rest of the world immediately jump to a (possibly inferior) solution. Let me go through the process step by step.
Overburden (muri) is one of the three evils of manufacturing, along with unevenness (mura) and waste (muda). Out of the three, overburden is probably the least understood. Hence, in this post I will look deeper at overburden, including plenty of examples as well as the effects of overburden on your people.
In my series of posts on the Toyota KPI dashboard I went into detail about the different sections and KPIs. These dashboards work well fro Toyota. However, this does not mean that they automatically work well for you too. Chances are, you are not making cars. Even if you are, your relevant KPI information may be different from Toyota’s. Let’s have a look…