Here is my first LeanBlog Podcast, featuring author and consultant Norman Bodek, President of PCS Press.
I have to give credit for the idea to Norman, as he approached me about doing a series of audio interviews as a follow up to and continuation of our Q&A that I posted here on the blog earlier this year. I'll take credit for turning it into a Podcast, something that I plan on making a regular feature, every month or so. There will be additional conversations with Norman and I also plan on interviewing other lean leaders and innovators.
Click to play:
LeanBlog Podcast #1 Show Notes and Timeline:
- Introduction to the Podcast (until 2:22)
- The difference between kaizen and kaizen events, early history of bringing the kaizen blitz (“kaikaku”) to America (starting at 3:18)
- Early development of employee suggestion systems (4:18)
- Difference between suggestion systems and “cost savings systems” (5:00)
- How Toyota started their suggestion system of “small, little ideas” (5:26)
- There is a point where the audio is poor, Norman says at 6:00, “…ideas per employee per year, one per month, one per month implemented idea per employee. So, that represented millions of ideas. In fact, I published a book once…”
- Norman mentions an early book, 40 Years, 20 Million Ideas: The Toyota Suggestion System, now out of print, but available used through amazon.com, albeit at a rare book price. Then, the audio improves again.
- How do you “manage 1800 ideas” per month? (6:40)
- Norman's experiences with Gulfstream and employee suggestions (8:30)
- How kaizen is not a bureaucratic system (10:40)
- What are the proper incentives for employee suggestions? (11:40)
- What are the two pillars of TPS? (13:05)
- How do you “keep score” with employee suggestions? (14:15)
- How do you balance between kaizen and standard work? (14:40)
- What is your role as a supervisor with employee suggestions? (15:40 and 22:30)
- How has Toyota changed their suggestion system over time? (16:50)
- Why giving $20 an idea was a problem (18:15)
- Proof that Toyota sometimes makes mistakes – but improves! (18:50)
- Focusing on “implementations” as opposed to “suggestions” (21:05)
- What happens when you criticize a suggestion? (23:00)
“Mark Graban interviewed me this past week for his first Podcast. We talk about my discovery of Quick and Easy Kaizen, how it was the heart of the Toyota system – getting all employees involved in continuous improvement. The puzzle to me is why every company doesn't add this most valuable process to their management lexicon. We say that “People are our most valuable asset.” but we do very little to develop that asset to its fullest.
China does represent short-term labor savings but in the long term we are giving away our companies to them. This week I was watching parts of the Tour de France bicycle race on television and saw one of the leaders on a Giant bike.
At one time over fifteen years ago, Schwinn was probably America's leading bicycle company. They went to Taiwan to manufacture their bikes to take advantage of the low labor cost. The company in Taiwan was Giant. Initially, Schwinn wanted to reduce their assembly costs but Giant convinced them to also save money on engineering and every other phase of manufacturing and design. After ten years or so when the initial contract was over, Giant told Schwinn, “We don't need you anymore. We know how to make great bikes, you taught us how.” All we have to do is learn how to market the bikes. “Shortly, thereafter Schwinn went bankrupt and sold their “name,” to another American company.
Unfortunately, we are great in short term thinking. Toyota recognizes the threat from China but they are building more and more automobiles in America. If they can do it why can't other American companies do it? To me, the only difference in Toyota and American manufacturers is that Toyota develops their people and the best way to develop people is from their own creative ideas.
Please do listen to the podcast…
And give me some feedback,
Here is an amazon.com link to Norman Bodek's Books.
My announcer is my old friend, Steve Sholtes, a musician from Michigan.