Managing problems is an important part of manufacturing because it allows companies to identify and address issues that can impact product quality, production efficiency, and overall profitability. However, it is not to be confused with actual improvement. While taking care of the problem (hopefully) makes the problem go away, actual kaizen requires that the problem should not come back.
Stories and details on the many people contribution to lean manufacturing and modern manufacturing in general.
On the Team Structure at Toyota
Toyota is (among other things) famous for its team structure on the front line. They have a quite low ratio of team members to supervisors, and I believe that is part of their success. Whereas many Western companies overstuff their hierarchy, at Toyota supervisors actually have the time to help their people and to also improve the operations. Let me dig deeper into that. This blog post was inspired by the new book by Baudin and Netland, Introduction to Manufacturing.
Adding Another Axis to the Qualification Matrix—Products
In my last two posts I talked about the qualification matrix, where you match the skills of your people to the skills needed for your business. This can be expanded with another axis, as for example the skills needed for certain products. This connects your people to your products through skills. It is also more useful for products where a single person assembles an entire product.
How to Use a Qualification Matrix
In my last post, I described how to build a qualification matrix (also skill matrix, competence matrix, or Q-Matrix). In this post I will go into more detail on how to use a qualification matrix. By itself, the qualification matrix is a pretty simple but useful tool. This post will help you to get the most out of it.
How to Establish a Qualification Matrix
The qualification matrix (also skill matrix, competence matrix, or Q-matrix, one of the few examples where Q does not stand for Quality) is a simple tool to keep track of the qualifications of your employees. It keeps track of who can do what and how well. As a tool, it is not overly complicated but rather simple. Yet, there are still some things to consider for a qualification matrix. Let’s have a look at this basic but very useful tool.
Akio Toyoda Steps Down as Toyota CEO
Somewhat surprising to industry insiders, the CEO of Toyota Motor, Akio Toyoda, announced on January 26 his resignation, and he will step down as CEO on April 1, 2023, to become the chairman of the board. Hence, I will have a look at his impact on Toyota. However, just to be warned, if you expect glowing praise, you should look elsewhere. I believe he changed Toyota, a company I love, in a worrisome way. I am definitely not a fan of his work. Granted, being a CEO is not easy, and he did have to lead Toyota through a couple of crises (Recall,s Corona, etc.). Compared to other CEO’s, he is probably somewhere around average. But I believe he had a negative influence on the Toyota corporate culture.
Toyota’s Master Craftsmen: Takumi
You may have heard of Takumi at Toyota. Takumi in general are highly skilled artisans that excel in their craft. Despite Toyota mass-producing cars using lots of machines, they also employ hundreds of Takumi. This blog post takes a deeper look at what a Takumi is, and why they are so important for Toyota and other Japanese companies.
This is NOT Lean: Lean Staffing
In this post I would like to talk about another term that claims to be lean: lean staffing. It is NOT lean! It is an abomination. It is pretty much the opposite of what, in my opinion, lean stands for. It is a complete lack of respect for humanity. Let me explain you what it is, why it is terrible, and how to prevent this. Note that this post may include a rant here and there.