Today Would Have Been Taiichi Ohno’s 100th Birthday
Hat tip to John Shook and the Lean Enterprise Institute for pointing this out via his email newsletter — today would have been the 100th birthday of Taiichi Ohno, usually credited as one of the creators of the Toyota Production System, the basis for “Lean.”
See his profile on Wikipedia — Taiichi Ohno (February 29, 1912 – May 28, 1990)
Today is a good day to reflect on what we’ve learned from Ohno. I will go grab a book off the shelf and you can read some of Ohno for free via Google Books. You can also buy books by him or about him via Amazon.com (affiliate link). Please add your thoughts and reflections as a comment to this post. What did you learn from Ohno and how have you applied it? I’ll update the post with my thoughts.
I will ask Jon Miller, of Gemba Panta Rei and the Kaizen Institute if their founder Masaaki Imai has any reflections, as he learned from Ohno directly. I will also reach out to Norman Bodek to see if he has any comments since he published Ohno’s book Toyota Production System: Beyond Large-Scale Production. Update: I’m going to record a video podcast with Norman tomorrow and he will tell stories about Mr. Ohno.
I’m also trying to get comments from Sami Bahri, DDS (the “world’s first Lean dentist”) since he read Ohno’s work and applied it to his practice. Also reaching out to Eric Ries, who has found Ohno’s work influential in the Lean Startup methodology, as well.
Some Ohno quotes from this post’s comments:
Via Bill Waddell:
“All we are doing is looking at the time line, from the moment the customer gives us an order to the point when we collect the cash. And we are reducing the time line by reducing the non-value adding wastes.”
That same idea applies very well in healthcare — reducing the time from when a customer / patient requests an appointment / care / surgery to the point of delivering that care to the point of getting paid.
Another great Ohno-ism:
“Why not make the work easier and more interesting so that people do not have to sweat? The Toyota style is not to create results by working hard. It is a system that says there is no limit to people’s creativity. People don’t go to Toyota to ‘work’ they go there to ‘think'”
No one has more trouble than the person who claims to have no trouble.
That sounds like an early version of the oft-cited Toyota expression “No problems is a problem.”
“One thing you can’t recycle is wasted time .”
(Picture from www.gembapantarei.com)