How to do Hansei

Re-post from Jon Miller‘s blog, “gemba panta rei

How to do Hansei By Jon Miller | Post Date: May 4, 2012 12:05 AM | Comments: 0 hansei is reflection.JPG

I am wrapping up a fairly intensive period of reflection. This week was the first board meeting since the merger of Gemba Research and Kaizen Institute nearly 18 months ago. It has been a time of challenge, opportunity and personal growth, requiring much hansei. This was about half of our work this week, the other half looking ahead. As a result, the following are a few realizations on how to do hansei. Don’t batch hansei. Reflection, learning and behavior correction is easier and better in small doses. The practices of hoshin kanri as well as the daily management / leader standard work build in regular reviews for the purpose of learning and course correction. Don’t wait 12-18 months for a review, no matter how major the project or how busy you may be. Reflect as a team. It’s not easy to hold up the mirror steadily and gaze honestly at yourself. It is better to give and take feedback from multiple outside perspectives. While it’s not impossible to do hansei on one’s own, it’s immeasurably better to do so as a team. Do hansei whenever you have an expectation. An expectation is a desire to see a particular output as a result of a process. We need to compare target (expectation) versus actual when doing hansei. Also, whenever we expected to see a result cannot, we also need to do hansei, and take action to correct the situation. The reflection on the hansei process reminded me of a bit of eastern wisdom that goes “Know yourself, know what is good, know when to stop”. This is amazing advice in almost any situation. Applied to hansei, Know yourself. This is the gist of hansei, an honest reflection on the self as an individual or the team as a unit. Know what is good. Have a target to compare against and reflect upon. Hansei is less an exchange of opinions about a situation and more an honest look at the facts. Know when to stop. The purpose of hansei is not to beat ourselves into a pulp or to express every dissatisfaction and every missed expectation. We must know when we have done sufficient reflection to identify a few actionable lessons. Stop while you are ahead and end reflection on a positive note if all possible. There is a fundamental cultural difference between cultures, regions and within organization when it comes to facing up to faults and failures, accepting responsibility, and learning. The capacity to reflect may be what separate homo sapiens from animals, successful organizations from those less so. Kaizen, the PDCA cyclehansei and the scientific method are all instances of the same principle. In general the more time we spend on Check and Act, the more effective our Plans and Doings will be. This is the spirit of hansei.

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?” @ Gemba Panta Rei

Kaizen Principle: Bias for Action

from Mark Hamel’s Gemba Tales blog:

Several days ago, during a health care value stream analysis, I was impressed with the team’s bias for action. Now we know that value stream mapping is typically a “paper” activity, but it was refreshing to see that one of the future state’s kaizen bursts, identified as a “just-do-it,” couldn’t wait. The team completed the just-do-it right before the wrap-up presentation. Outstanding!

Kaizen is founded on certain principles, one of which is a bias for action. This bias for action is largely a behavioral thing, but it can be facilitated by effective coaching, formal training, and the application of lean management systems and related visual controls that should absolutely scream for action.

  1. Think PDCA and SDCA, the basic scientific methods.
  2. Go to the gemba; observe and document reality.
  3. Ask “why?” five times to identify root causes.
  4. Be dissatisfied with the status quo.
  5. Kaizen what matters.
  6. Have a bias for action.
  7. Frequent, small incremental improvements drive big, sustainable improvements.
  8. Be like MacGyver; use creativity before capital.
  9. Kaizen is everyone’s job.
  10. No transformation without transformation leadership.

Plus – Do everything with humility and respect for the individual.

The combined dissatisfaction with the status quo (eyes for waste  “see” the current state and the ideal state) and the existence of explicit performance gaps that are targeted for closure (kaizen what matters) should be unbearable enough to drive action. And, our action should be focused on appropriately and economically (Macgyver was a creative cheapskate) addressing the root causes (5 why’s and PDCA thinking) and then sustaining the performance (SDCA).

So, I’ll leave you with another bias for action story, surprisingly also within a value stream analysis backdrop. Tony, the plant manager, was participating in a combined value stream analysis/plant lay-out/3P activity for a brand new line. As we developed pro forma standard work and were doing table top and plant floor simulations applying, among other things continuous flow, he had a eureka moment. Actually, I noticed that he was becoming quite agitated and then…he disappeared. Over an hour later, Tony returned. He informed the team that he couldn’t stand it when he realized that the same principles needed to be applied to existing lines. So, right away, he made sure that the other lines (granted, without standard work at the time) stop their evil batch and queue ways and go to single piece flow. By the next day, the old lines had demonstrated an 18% productivity improvement. Now, that’s bias for action!

By the way, there’s a good chance that Gemba Tales is looking like an HTML file – no pics, no nice looking template. That’s because my web host, Network Solutions has continued to have problems. They keep promising to fix it, but I’m feeling more and more that their last name should not be “Solutions.” Thanks for your patience

from Mark Hamel’s Gemba Tales blog: