I continue sharing documents from the Don Ephlin library archive. What did Ford and the UAW learn when they visited Japan in 1981? Many of the things that made Japanese industry successful are the same things that make organizations successful with Lean today, including in healthcare.
Mark’s Note: Thanks to Paul, as one of our resident “Lean manufacturing bloggers” for reading and reviewing a book that I bought years ago, but never got around to.
By Paul Critchley:
I’m a car guy. Above all other mechanical devices that we engineers get to be involved with, I am fascinated most with these incredible machines. When you consider how automobile soperate nearly flawlessly even when enduring a spectrum of environmental extremes, it’s amazing to me how far the technology has come in under 100 years. As a boy, I can remember my friend’s parents’ cars breaking down semi-often (cars of the ’70s weren’t exactly renowned for reliability). Today, though, I can’t remember the last time I heard of a car breaking down or not starting that wasn’t due to an outside influence (i.e. getting flat or running out of gas).
I learned about this the other today via Twitter (hat tip to @agile_memes), but today is “World No Resources Day” (see hashtag #WorldNoResourcesDay). See the small website at http://worldnoresourcesday.com/ and their thoughts on “why should I join in?”
Continuing the “Throwback Thursday” theme for the 10th anniversary of my blog, today’s post looks back at and builds upon one of my favorites from 2007. The post is a “GM War Story” from 1995 when I was just starting my career:
I’ve really enjoyed reading the book The Essential Deming: Leadership Principles from the Father of Quality that was published last year. I think this link will work… you can view my my public Kindle notes and profile online.
If you haven’t read Dr. Deming’s work, my suggestions are to start with either Deming’s own Out of the Crisis. Or, I also recommend a book written about Dr. Deming and his philosophy, Dr. Deming: The American who Taught the Japanese About Quality.
Dr. Deming was incredibly influential on Toyota and other Japanese companies… and you can see the roots in what Deming said and taught about continuous improvement — as documented in The Essential Deming.
Yesterday, I was in Dearborn, Michigan for a meeting, in the shadow of the “Blue Oval” or Ford Motor Company world headquarters. Part of the day included a visit to a famed museum that I remember well from my childhood and school field trips – The Henry Ford. The timing didn’t work to take the Ford Rouge Plant tour, unfortunately (although I had a chance to visit there long ago).
Below is a picture I took of a 1909 Ford Model T. Notice the color — RED!
I’m in my home town of Livonia, Michigan this week, having arrived to the snow and cold yesterday, staying through Thursday. Boy, my blood has really “thinned out” from 15 years of mostly living in Texas or Arizona.
I made sure my rental car (a very mediocre Ford Fusion) has heated seats. I also made sure to rent an American car, this being Detroit and all, but then I wondered if the Fusion was built in Mexico (based on the VIN number, it was indeed built in Hermosillo, Mexico and not Flat Rock, MI. I should have rented a Kentucky-built Toyota Camry, but, like I said… I really wanted those heated seats. At least the car “seems” American, which is still important here.
So, anyway on to the Kaizen stories.
The Philadelphia Eagles are playing in an NFL playoff matchup tonight against the New Orleans Saints. I’d admired Eagles head coach Chip Kelly and his somewhat unlikely rise through the coaching ranks. He’s well known from his successful stint at the University of Oregon, but before that he was the offensive coordinator at New Hampshire, a school in the lower “FCS” tier that managed to upset my beloved Northwestern Wildcats in 2006 (please hold your jokes about NU being “lower tier”).
When the Eagles hired Kelly, many thought that he would directly transplant his wild, fast-paced offensive game to the NFL. That strategy has failed for other college coaches who made the leap to the NFL. That, with the poor track record of other college coaches in the NFL, the odds might have been against Kelly. But, he’s in the playoffs… and he’s sort of like a “Lean leader.”
This week, I was able to drop by the annual Lab Quality Confab event since it was being held in here in San Antonio. There were some things I heard during a few presentations about Lean or change management, such as “DMAIC is a Lean tool” and “People hate change… so you have to create consequences for them not changing.” Ugh. I tweeted some of my annoyance with those ridiculous statements.
But, I’ll focus on the positive here… an amazing panel discussion that included four very early innovators in the adoption and spread of Lean methods and, more importantly, Lean culture in hospital labs – starting about 10 years ago.
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.
Friday night’s PBS program the Nightly Business Report had a nice feature on the use of Lean at Good Samaritan Hospital in Downer’s Grove, Illinois. The video is embedded lower in this post, but you can read the transcript here: “Lean Clean Hospitals.” That’s a better headline than “Lean Mean Hospitals,” I suppose. It’s a very positive story and is some good exposure for Lean healthcare and Lean, in general.
As the story describes, the hospital is a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award winner and they have seen patient satisfaction and market share increase through their use of Lean methods and principles.
The story starts at 14:35 into the video and runs through 18:07.
I don’t often go back to write about GM, the first company I worked for out of college. Thanks to my dad who sent this article from the Detroit paper: “GM delays 2nd shift at Detroit-Hamtramck.” You might think, as a shareholder (directly or through the U.S. government’s holdings), that it’s bad news, that sales aren’t increasing.
The article tells the rest of the story — that GM still plans to produce more. Hopefully, this is because the vehicles will be sales to end customers (not “overproduction” that’s pushed on dealers). The good news, as a shareholder, is that GM is able to double production without adding the full second shift as originally planned. They followed the Lean mindset of “creativity before capital,” it seems. But this is bad for the Detroit area and the country because there are fewer jobs?
Her most recent video features video from her visit to Boeing and their 737 assembly factory. In the brief visit, we can see a few Lean practices in action, or at least alluded to.
In the news yesterday, a General Motors recall over what could be just one isolated steering wheel problem in an Ohio-built Chevrolet (don’t call it Chevy) Cruze.
Most news stories about the recall just mention that one steering wheel came off while an owner was driving down the road (yikes!)
The Wall Street Journal story has some interesting details that might raise some interesting questions about the assembly line production process.
As I went for a morning walk, I listened to my old favorite morning radio show from Detroit (Drew and Mike and WRIF radio) via an iPhone app… I heard their news reporter talk about the story and she added her commentary of “They need to find THE IDIOT who did that.”
It’s so tempting to blame an individual, whether it’s an assembly line defect or a medical error. But the world and organizations are far more complicated than that. We need to be “hard on the process, not on the people,” as former Toyota guy Pascal Dennis says.
From the WSJ article:
In documents filed wit
Episode #109 is a discussion with Jim Morgan, Director, Global Body Exterior and Stamping Business Unit Engineering, Ford Motor Company. We will be talking about Lean product development methods in this show. James will be a plenary speaker at the upcoming Lean Transformation Summit, presented by the Lean Enterprise Institute, in Dallas this March 9th and 10th. Hope to see you there!
Mark’s note: It’s great to welcome Andy Wagner back to the blog. Read his older posts here.
General Motors, Chrysler, and Toyota have been dominating the headlines in recent months with their financial and, now, quality troubles, while some surprising things have been happening to the Detroit Three’s perpetual number two player: Ford. The company posted profit in 2009 and expects to end 2010 with its second profit after three years of loss, despite an economy that’s still stuttering. Lincoln claimed the top spot on JD Power’s Dependability Survey, sharing it with Porsche. The 2010 Motor Trend Car of the Year was the Ford Fusion, a car quickly gaining on Accord and Camry in sales, boasting a hybrid version with best in class 41-mpg fuel economy. Now Ford shares are at a five year high on Wall Street.
At the heart of the turnaround: Toyota fan and Ford CEO Alan Mulally.
I had a huge thrill a few weeks back, seeing former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich give a talk at the Ontario Hospital Association annual event in Toronto. I had a chance to meet him briefly and had a quick exchange about lean in healthcare, something for which Newt has long been a loud proponent.
I don’t mean to kick Fritz Henderson while he’s down, after he resigned as CEO of Government Motors this week.
He resigned on Tuesday and I didn’t even learn about it until Thursday, as I was under a proverbial rock, busy teaching a workshop those two days. In my briefest of news scans, I guess he didn’t knock the White House party crashers off the top of the news, but that’s a different sad story.