Key Tweets from @MarkGraban – Week of November 23, 2015: Starbuck Drips, GE Dumps Annual Reviews, Bad Books
Here’s the latest installment of “Key Tweets,” a weekly post that summarizes some of my tweets (or retweets) from the week, including pictures and other fun stuff. Follow me @MarkGraban and join the fun and the conversation. See the previous installments of Key Tweets here.
My guest for episode #229 is John Dyer, president of his consulting firm, JD&A, Inc., and a contributor for IndustryWeek.com. John started his career at General Electric and later moved to Ingersoll-Rand, where he was VP of Operations for their Security and Safety sector.
To the left is a young baby me. I don’t think I was thinking about Dr. Deming as a baby, but thankfully my parents had a lot of intrinsic motivation to take care of me!
One of the many things I admire about W. Edwards Deming is how hard he worked into his 90s. He must have had “pride and joy” in his own work.
Following up my earlier post about the “Patriot Way…”
During her halftime extravaganza (video), Katy Perry had a silver strap around her wrist, attached to the microphone. It reminded me of the Nintendo Wii strap that helps prevent throwing the controller (Update: I’m not the only one to think this and it might literally be a Wii strap).
In the 60-second piece, GE highlights how their advisors helped a manufacturing company double efficiency by using Lean methods and by asking “the important question – why?” What happened? “Ideas for improvement started pouring out.”
It was an amazing first day of the Lean Startup conference yesterday in San Francisco. Videos will be available online soon, but for now I can share some notes I took during the main stage sessions in this Google Doc (or download as a PDF).
This blog also has summaries of many of the talks.
Some of the highlights:
- Toyota had two engineers (pictured at left) talk about their use of Lean Startup methods to help develop a new dashboard mobile entertainment system, including their admission that their team in Mountain View, CA had never talked to customers before.
- Brian Frezza of Emerald Therapeutics talked about using Lean Startup concepts to improve a biotech research process for new medications
- Robin Chase‘s story about the original “minimum viable product” for ZipCar (one car parked in front of her house with keys on her porch)
- How GE is embracing Lean Startup concepts in the design and manufacturing of new products
- Other examples from non-profit organizations and government initiatives
My wife is a leader in a business (not GE) that does aircraft engine “MRO” work – maintenance, repair, and overhaul. I’ve been able to visit her shop floor (her “gemba”) and we noticed similar parallels between their work (bring engines back to prime “health”) and what’s done in healthcare. This parallel was also explored in this recent article from GE Healthcare that was published by The Guardian in England: “What lessons can healthcare learn from industry?”
There are interesting and sometimes humorous parallels between engine MRO and human healthcare:
In the past few years, I’ve heard of the “Work-Out” process that has origins at GE. This consultant’s website gives a good overview and it squares up with what I’ve been reading in the book The GE Work-Out : How to Implement GE’s Revolutionary Method for Busting Bureaucracy & Attacking Organizational Problems.
I’ve never used this methodology, but I know of a few healthcare organizations that have used it. For example, a KaiNexus customer recently used this approach to get some great results (see below).
I’m curious to learn if my readers have experience with this process and thoughts or experiences to share as a comment.
One of the things I love about the NBC show “30 Rock” is the way is skewers GE culture (such as its past mocking of Six Sigma – see here, here, and here). In the parallel universe of 30 Rock, GE has been acquired by KableTown, a company that’s a parody of Comcast. In recent weeks, a subplot focuses on Alec Baldwin’s character Jack Donaghey bringing couch manufacturing back to the U.S. (as GE is doing)… although Donaghey takes a swipe at them (I think) for “creating and solving the world’s problems.”
In this week’s episode, Jack learns that the factory has produced 10,000 painfully defective couches. The prototype – turns out that was purchased from a West Elm store. The American engineer says “I’m not really a math guy” and that all they learned how to engineer in college was “designing roller coasters and Survivor challenges.”
Here’s a clip (probably only available in North America, not sure what the current Hulu restrictions are):
On Friday, there was yet another Wall Street Journal article about Lean (fixating as they always do on the “Just In Time” component). The article titled “For Lean Factories, No Buffer” yet again takes an outdated 1980s view that Lean is about low inventory.
On the flip side, I was more pleasantly surprised that Fox News Channel aired video during an afternoon newscast about Lean. Fox News seems to think they have discovered some wild, new trend – although I shouldn’t pick on them too much since they did a nice job with a news story in 2009 about Lean healthcare (view video excerpts here and here).
Absolutely hilarious… last Thursday’s “30 Rock” features Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) talking about how he’s a “Six Sigma Black Belt Ultra… with the groin branding to prove it.”
I’ll apologize if today’s post seems off-topic to my healthcare readers, but I have to share a link to a Sunday New York Times article about General Electric (“G.E. Goes With What It Knows: Making Stuff“).
After being seduced by the idea of making easy money through “financial engineering,” G.E. is relearning that there’s value in making stuff – a true “value added” activity that benefits society and our U.S. economy… increasingly building more of that stuff right here in the U.S. after chasing cheap labor around the world. This seems like good progress.
The full article requires a subscription, but John Toussaint and I were each quoted in this article from last Friday: “Toyota techniques drive profit, efficiency gains at Moffitt.”
As with many of these articles, the full story tells a picture of quality improvement and patient benefit, but the headline focuses just on cost and efficiency. I guess that’s natural for a business publication where readers might naturally zero in on words like profit, cost, and efficiency over quality.
In recent years, healthcare has been learning a lot of lessons from aviation — including checklists and “Crew Resource Management,” as written about in the excellent books The Checklist Manifesto and Why Hospitals Should Fly. Aviation has gotten much safer over the past few decades, due mainly to improvements in teamwork and human factors.
Two recent episodes, one from commercial aviation and one from a major Boston hospital, illustrate that neither industry has everything solved in terms of error proofing and designing systems that ensure quality.
Thanks to a former Toyota employee (and friend of mine) for sending this along.
Pretty glaring “defect” in this article about the demise (?) of the Six Sigma methodology:
Wow, this is pretty bad… allegedly about GE. Granted, any dysfunctional Lean company could end up with similar dynamics. So none of this is knock on Six Sigma… it’s about human nature and organizational dynamics.