Heard on the Gemba: We Are Great Problem Solvers, But…

Heard on the Gemba: We Are Great Problem Solvers, But…

Great info from the Jon Miller’s gemba panta rei blog

“We are great problem solvers, but the same problems keep coming back.”

When the countermeasures are off target, the problems reoccur. If problems reoccur for the same root cause, we have not in fact solved the problem. We have only temporarily contained it. Even if the same problem reoccurs due to a different root cause, it is possible that problem solving was done without a thorough enough root cause analysis step. Problem solving has not successfully happened until we can verify that the root causes have been identified and that the countermeasures applied to them are effective.

Read more: Lean Manufacturing Blog, Kaizen Articles and Advice | Gemba Panta Rei – 



Practical Pokayoke: Preventing Phone Charger Loss

This is awesome!

From Jon Miller at the Gemba Panta Rei blog (http://www.gembapantarei.com/)

 Practical Pokayoke: Preventing Phone Charger Loss

By Jon Miller | Post Date: October 19, 2010 8:58 PM | Comments: 5

This is an example of a great pokayoke (mistake proofing). My road warrior colleague Kent is prone to forget his phone charger, leaving them plugged in when he departs. The photo above shows the simple yet brilliant application of the mistake proofing principle known in Japanese and in lean circles as pokayoke. The key to effective and practical pokayokes is to make it physically impossible to perform a process incorrectly, forget a step or otherwise err. Following lean principles of “creativity over capital”, a low cost or no-cost method is preferred. In this example the car keys are physically linked to the cable of the charger, making it impossible to drive off to the airport without collecting the charter. That is of course, unless one has a pokayoke to prevent forgotten keys such as having an extra key in the wallet…

Read more: Lean Manufacturing Blog, Kaizen Articles and Advice | Gemba Panta Rei

Questions About A3 Problem Solving

By Jon Miller | Post Date: February 25, 2010 12:22 PM on Gemba Panta Rei

These days if you stand next to a Toyota building and listen closely you may hear the sound of many sheets of A3 sized paper being slowly turned into problem solving documents. There are a few big, complex problems that will surely result in improvements, great new processes, and learning for Toyota.

Closer to home, the letter A and the number three can be heard in conversations almost daily in the context of problem solving. It’s a handy shorthand that seems to have stuck. What we hear from time to time in person, on the phone or by e-mail are detailed questions on how A3 problem solving. Here are a few such questions about A3 problems solving we’ve answered for people:

How important is having the right paper size, template or format?

Not very. There is now A4 problem solving at Toyota and each A3/A4 problem solving document should be hand drawn to present the information effectively. Don’t use a single template or it will constrain your thinking.

What is the expectation for taking immediate action on an A3 report to correct a problem or improve an process?

Usually there has been a temporary countermeasure in place long before the A3 in finished, which is due within 24 hours for a quality spill issue. But not all long term countermeasures are implemented automatically.

How are A3 problem solving documents used to build a file for future reference?

They have a “Lessons Learned” database for problem response, engineering and design knowledge and so forth. Having the knowledge base is just half of it, having processes and checks to make sure it is actively used is the important part.

How long does Toyota keep their A3 reports?

Until the next major model change that the problems could be of reference, so max 5 to 6 years.

Is there a time when an A3 should not be used?

Don’t use an A3 if your machine is on fire. If your customer or regulatory agency demands a different reporting format, conform to it. The A3 is the summary of problem solving activity, not the start of it. Go to the actual place, talk to people, see the situation, gather information then work through the PDCA process by writing a good problem statement. If the A3 keeps you from going to gemba, don’t use it.

Questions like these above are evidence that we are asking “What is our process for solving problems and managing through A3 thinking?” We enjoy these questions since they tell us that people are making deeper use of the A3 problem solving process. At the surface level the use of A3 allows people to ask “Have we taken root cause countermeasures?” and “What were the results of countermeasures?” When the Check is done properly, A3s help us ask “What was the process that got us those results?”

http://www.gembapantarei.com/2010/02/questions_about_applied_a3_thinking.html @ Gemba Panta Rei