I’m back from two weeks of vacation and I’m going to ease back into social media and the blog, which includes a free webinar tomorrow (see below). I hope you had a great two weeks.
During my vacation, I had a pretty effective “digital detox” where I stayed off of social media and didn’t even take a laptop with me. I had my iPhone (for using maps and checking email twice a day) and an iPad (for reading books, web surfing to help with the vacation details, and a few short email replies). Not having a great international data plan sure forces a bit of discipline about not always looking at one’s phone. Limiting yourself to use on wi-fi, for the most part (with the exception of Google Maps on the go), really helps.
Starting at about 7:54 into the video, Steve Jobs talks about continuous improvement. Here is a little more background about the video, shot in 1990, when Jobs was 35 years old and CEO of NeXT Computer.
I admit I was surprised by what I heard Jobs say. I have this mental image of him as a top-down, leader-as-expert genius who had little regard for front-line employees… but what he says in the video is golden.
Hi, this is Dr. Les Muda, the world’s first (and only) Lean healthcare comedian, taking over Mark’s blog today for a guest post about a new product I am very excited about – the Apple iPhone 5S.
First off, I haven’t been doing too much stand up comedy recently, as you might remember from my video. I have been writing new jokes, but I have mainly been working very hard on our “Lean gene therapy” project at the Hartford Medical School. We’ve identified a number of genes, such as the genes that lead us to batch up work, to hoard supplies, and to blame others. We’re going to replace those genes with “Lean thinking genes,” which we think will be a very exciting therapeutic breakthrough (pending FDA approval… I’ve probably already said too much).
Now, back to the ultimate Lean phone that I’m dying to get…
I’d read before that Apple’s supplier (Foxconn) was having trouble assembling iPhone 5s to Apple’s standards… but this article contains some shocking stats: “Apple Returns Millions of Defective iPhone 5 Smartphones.”
Millions… 5 to 8 million defective phones returned. Foxconn has only been able to achieve an 80% quality rating… suggesting 2 in 10 have some sort of problem. What were Apple’s expectations? Shockingly low.
As I started writing about yesterday in Part 1, I recently viewed a lost video of Steve Jobs being interviewed in 1995. See this CBS News story about the video or you can rent the video via (what else) Apple iTunes (as well as Amazon and YouTube, all costing $3.99).
I’ll share a few other quotes and ideas that were interesting to me, as a “Lean thinker.”
Recently, I stumbled across something that’s been out for about a year, a lost video of Steve Jobs being interviewed in 1995. See this CBS News story about the video or you can rent the video via (what else) Apple iTunes (as well as Amazon and YouTube, all costing $3.99). While I love my Macs and my iPhone, I’ve never been one to really worship Steve Jobs, the leader. But, I thought this video was really interesting and worth the four bucks — even though it’s just Steve Jobs, sitting still in a chair, and talking (answering questions) for over an hour.
I’ll share some thoughts here from a Lean perspective.
I’m not sure Google has much of a market for a $299 media player (with the AppleTV and Roku players being under $100), but it’s noteworthy that the new Google Nexus Q is made in the USA (see picture at left of the bottom of the device, click for a larger view).
See this CNET article: Google shows Apple: We made ours in the U.S.A.: Google is making stuff in the U.S. Will Apple follow suit? Also see this TechCrunch article on this topic.
Here are links to some more articles I’ve read recently that might be of interest on a number of Lean related topics:Twin boys die after morphine overdose (understaffing, poor training, & other system issues) Two years on, gov’t says it’s Leaner
There has been a lot of buzz over last Sunday’s New York Times article “How the U.S. Lost Out on iPhone Work.” It’s good to see issues of manufacturing competitiveness talked about in the media and among my Facebook friends who usually aren’t talking about factories. So why aren’t iPhones assembled here in the U.S.? Apple used to build Macs in California. I used to work for Dell when they built PCs in Texas. Now, Apple products are made by Foxconn in China and the Dell factory in Texas is now closed. My iMac, my Kindle Fire, and my iPhone – all made in China – in some conditions we would never tolerate here.
As I blogged about recently, Steve Jobs blamed the lack of U.S. production on a lack of skilled technical workers and supervisors and he said to President Obama, “those jobs aren’t coming back.” I questioned whether that is true, considering the U.S. has lost millions of manufacturing jobs due to the China trade deficit and there have got to be plenty of experienced people looking for work.
The NY Times article points out that producing in China isn’t just about low wages. It seems to me that it’s about the unfair advantages of a country where workers aren’t free. I’m all for companies making profits, but I wish those profits didn’t have to be made on the back of people suffering under the tyranny of a repressive, totalitarian, “Communist” government.
This week, I’ve been reading and listening to a lot of articles about working conditions at the Foxconn facilities in China. These stories are primarily focused on Apple, but nearly any computer, gadget, or mobile device is made there, ranging from iPhones to Android tablets to my Kindle Fire.
I have a longer blog post teed up that I might post tomorrow – a combination of some analysis with a bit of emotion, which I’m trying to temper.
The items that I’ve read (and you might want to read or listen too) include:
As I wrote about after his death, I am appreciative of the products and services that Steve Jobs brought to the world. That said, some of his behavior, as reported in the biography written by Walter Isaacson (the simply titled “Steve Jobs“) is less than admirable. Some felt the need to dance on his grave, but maybe enough time has passed where we can take a balanced view of his leadership approach, particularly in the manufacturing realm. Jobs isn’t really associated with the production of computers and devices – he’s known as a design guy and a software guy.
My deepest sympathies to his family and those who knew him. Steve Jobs is certainly an American original and he’s the Thomas Edison and Henry Ford of our times, combined. Jobs’ products make my life easier, more fun, more productive, and more enjoyable every single waking hour of every day. Starting in 3rd grade, my school had Apple II+ computers and then the Apple IIe and I used these computers a lot (for games and LOGO and BASIC programming). I’m typing this on a MacBook Air, the best computer I’ve ever owned. He’s had a huge impact in my life. I like the suggestion that the photo below, from a 19-year old in Hong Kong, be the new Apple company logo. Rest in Peace.
It’s nowhere near as important as yesterday’s topic of employee and patient safety, but my last two days of using the new Mac OS X 10.7 “Lion” operating system made me think of some classic change management challenges that might be of interest to Windows and Linux users even.
If you’ve ever used a computer mouse with a scroll wheel, you know that the standard has been to pull the wheel back toward you to scroll down on a page. If you have used Lion or read reviews about it, you know that Apple has reversed that to a new default they call “natural scrolling,” which feels anything BUT natural, at first.
As I’ve been working on my upcoming second book, Healthcare Kaizen: Engaging Front-Line Staff in Sustainable Improvements, I’ve had “kaizen” (or continuous improvement) on the brain even more than usual.
One distinction between kaizen ideas and a traditional “suggestion system” is that, with kaizen, you maintain control of your own idea to see it through (with the help of your supervisor and others). You’re not telling others what they should do, you’re saying what you want to do (I appreciate Norman Bodek for making this distinction very clear over the past few years).
So how did I apply kaizen to my own desk and writing setup?
Today, I’m happy to bring you an interview, conducted via Skype Chat, with Baka Eipuriru, inventor of a new iPad app called “A3 Sensei.” It is a new app (a pair of apps, actually) that you can use to create and share A3s, a core Lean and TPS problem solving and planning methodology that has been increasingly popular the last few years.
Baka came up on my radar a few weeks back with a mysterious Twitter account (@A3app) and an enigmatic “coming soon” page that featured a snail (a “go slow” theme, I suppose).
Baka and I started corresponding and he eventually agreed to allow me to share a sneak preview of his app here on LeanBlog.org. The app is innovative in its use of the iPad (or iPads, actually) and its “virtual sensei” technology. I’m still frankly skeptical, as I’ve only seen screenshots that the app is not yet through the iTunes app approval process. But here is the interview, edited for length and clarity (Post title edited to add “April Fool on 4/2/11):
Those of you who know my background know that I spent the first 10 years of my career working in various manufacturing sectors (including GM, Dell, and Honeywell). I moved into healthcare in 2005, part of the wave of people who are transferring the Lean methodology of management and quality improvement into an industry that needs it greatly, given the patient safety problems, rising costs, and oft-disengaged workforce.
I generally hear my fair share of what I call “factory bashing,” primarily from professionals who have only seen a factory on TV. When people say, “we don’t want this hospital to be some sort of factory,” I am sympathetic that they picture something like the bleak factory that Family Guy’s Peter Griffin works in…
The other day, I had a DirecTV service tech coming to the house to make a repair (their customer service has been FAR better than my recent experiences with Verizon, I’m happy to say).
I received a “robo-call” the day before, confirming my appointment. All systems are a go, but I think I discovered a chance to error proof their process a bit…