Interview with Keith Ingels on Developing Your People and Making Lean /TPS Your Own

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My guest for Episode #484 of the Lean Blog Interviews Podcast is Keith Ingels, who previously joined us in Episode 390. He's the RLM Manager of Solutions & Support Centers — RLM being the Raymond Lean Management system.

He was also a guest with me for Episode 62 of “My Favorite Mistake.” His story and insights were also featured in Chapter 8 of my book, The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation.

In today's episode, we discuss how the Raymond Corporation makes Lean / TPS their own management system, even while being under the Toyota corporate umbrella. RLM focuses on developing people and that starts with leaders. Why does a culture of continuous improvement start with small steps and not requiring ROI calculations for every improvement? We discuss how kaizen participation rates are a leading indicator of employee morale and how absenteeism and turnover are lagging indicators. We talk about that and more…

“Critique the process, not the people.”

Questions, Notes, and Highlights:

  • Tell us about Raymond Corporation and its place within Toyota Industries
  • The fit of products with Toyota branded forklifts?
  • Back in 2020 your title was TPS Manager — has some of the language evolved?
  • Minor differences? More English words, advising customers to do that and to own their own system
  • TPS House – foundations
  • Flow AND quality 
  • Helping people unlearn??
  • “It's about developing your people” —
  • If you can see a problem, you can solve a problem
  • “Critique the process, not the people”
  • Assumptions vs. real knowledge
  • “What are you hoping to achieve?” vs. “what problem are you trying to solve?”
  • Coat hooks – not requiring ROI? – starting with small steps
  • “You can't put a meter on morale”
  • Utilizing fresh eyes and new employees for Kaizen
  • “problem seeing eyes”
  • Making it safe — problem speaking mouths?
  • How to help people feel safe to speak up?
  • Tell us about your “Microburst teaching” approach… 
  • “You have to reinvent that safe environment every day” (psych safety)
  • How do leaders cultivate the conditions for people to learn from mistakes? Same habits for building trust and kaizen? Anything different?

The podcast is sponsored by Stiles Associates, now in its 30th year of business. They are the go-to Lean recruiting firm serving the manufacturing, private equity, and healthcare industries. Learn more.

This podcast was also brought to you by Arena, a PTC Business. Arena is the proven market leader in Cloud Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) with over 1,400 customers worldwide. Visit the link arenasolutions.com/lean to learn more about how Arena can help speed product releases with one connected system.

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Automated Transcript (Not Guaranteed to be Defect Free)

Announcer (2s):
Welcome to the Lean Blog Podcast. visit our website at www.Leanblog.org. Now, here's your host, Mark Graban.

Mark Graban (13s):
Hi, it's Mark Graban. This is episode 484 of the podcast. It's September 6th, 2023. Join me today is a returning guest. He's Keith Ingels from the Raymond Corporation, which is part of Toyota Industries. So you'll learn more about him in a minute. We have a great conversation about their adaptation of the Toyota Production System to their business. In Raymond. We talk about the foundations of the TPS house, we talk about developing your people and all sorts of other great topics related to continuous improvement and Lean today. So for more information, look in the show notes, or you can go to Leanblog.Org/484.

Mark Graban (1m 1s):
Well, hi everybody. Welcome back to Lean Blog interviews. I'm Mark Graban. Joining us today is a returning guest. He is Keith Ingels. He is from the Raymond Corporation. Keith was our guest back in episode 390, October, 2020. He is currently the RLM manager of Solutions and Support Centers, RLM being the Raymond Lean Management System. So we're gonna be able to talk about that and all sorts of things here today. So Keith, welcome, back to the podcast. How are you? Thanks,

Keith Ingels (1m 31s):
Mark. Great to see you. Appreciate you having me back today.

Mark Graban (1m 34s):
Today. Yeah. It's great to have you back. And this is my mistake. Keith was also a guest in the My Favorite Mistake podcast. I will make sure to put a link to that in the show notes, unless you Well, I'll, I'll still do that. I'm not gonna put you on the spot to try to remember the episode number Keith, but

Keith Ingels (1m 52s):
I don't remember the episode number. It was a great fun, it was good learning for me. I make a lot of Mistakes. They're great learning.

Mark Graban (1m 58s):
Well, we all well good. And that's the thing, right? Learning from those mistakes. And I think we'll have a chance to explore that a little bit more today as we did in that episode. And, you know, thank you again for, you know, sharing some of your stories and, and reflections on, you know, kind of working on, on the culture. Sorry to be self-promotional on the book, The Mistakes That Make Us, but I did incorporate some of your lessons learned in the chapter eight of the book. So thank you. Yes, thank you again for that.

Keith Ingels (2m 26s):
Oh, thank you. It's great pleasure. Yeah.

Mark Graban (2m 29s):
So for those who did not hear episode 390 in, in this series, Keith, maybe first off, If, you can tell us a little bit about the Raymond Corporation and its place within Toyota Industries.

Keith Ingels (2m 41s):
Sure, mark. We're a Raymond Corporation is a wholly owned subsidiary of Toyota now. We just celebrated our 100th year as a, as an organization last year in 2022. So the organization's been around for a long time. We, we focus on material handling and logistics solutions, a whole array of, of solutions we're probably best known for making forklift and, and material handling equipment. We do systems and all sorts of other things. We've been a wholly owned division of Toyota since 2000. And we are, have learned from Toyota and, and grown under their guidance. I actually came from the Toyota side over to the Raymond side just over 10 years ago.

Keith Ingels (3m 24s):
So it's, it's great. It's a great, great fun to work in this industry and logistics. There's always new, new challenges and new new things coming at you.

Mark Graban (3m 33s):
Yeah. And so that, that probably creates, I mean, all sorts of opportunities to use Lean TPS or RLM. Yes. As you're, as you're calling it, as, as we're gonna, you know, dive deeper into here today. How, how are the, the Raymond products, how do they fit in with, you know, people have probably seen Toyota branded forklifts

Keith Ingels (3m 55s):
Yes.

Mark Graban (3m 55s):
In, in different facilities. How, how does the Raymond product line, you know, kind of fit in compared to Toyota forklifts?

Keith Ingels (4m 1s):
Well, that's a great question, mark. We actually, the, the companies manufacture separately. So under the Toyota brand, we, we manufacture the, what we call the internal combustion. And under the Toyota brand, the electric sit down equipment. So at Raymond we focus in narrow aisle or very narrow aisle equipment. So the standup that's, so you can get a, a more narrow aisle for, for put away. And also the sit down and walkie the walkie equipment, the small hand pallet jacks, et cetera. So, we, we manufacture different things. We make the electric standups for Toyota. Toyota makes the electric sit down for Raymond. So it's a, it's very close, close coordinated effort.

Mark Graban (4m 46s):
Okay. Well thanks, thanks for telling us about that. Let, let, let's talk about your role and maybe it's just some of the, the terminology Yes. That has evolved. You know, back in 2020 when you were a guest, I was going back to the show notes. Your title was TPS manager of, you know, Toyota Production System within Raymond Corporation. So tell, tell, well, tell tell us about your dog too. Hi,

Keith Ingels (5m 13s):
I have a dog. I have dogs. Two rescues,

Mark Graban (5m 15s):
Two rescues. Oh, that's great. What, what kind of dogs are they? I see a photo.

Keith Ingels (5m 19s):
They're mixed breeds. They're a larger size, but yeah, both rescues, they might bark occasionally. My apologies. That's,

Mark Graban (5m 26s):
That's what dogs do. It's quite All. right. So get to learn a little bit about your dogs, but back to, to your role, you know, tell us about the role and, and about some of the terminology involved in it.

Keith Ingels (5m 37s):
Sure. So, so I started on the Toyota side. So I, I learned from, from, you know, kind of the source of Toyota. So I'm, I'm very comfortable, for example, in the Toyota Japanese terminology. And that's what I kind of grew up with in continuous improvement. But coming over the Raymond side, we, we had to be very diligent about training, continuous improvement for, for, for two reasons. One, we, we had a, a history of innovation, but continuous improvement gave us a more structured approach. But the other piece we learned from Toyota production system is that it's very important to, to own your own journey in continuous improvement. And, and you've, you've talked about this in several of your bogs mark, but we all own our own journey.

Keith Ingels (6m 18s):
And so So, we changed to reference our journey to Raymond Lee management. Well, why it's Toyota Production System. It is, but it's ours. It's, it's Raymond's adaptation. It's Raymond's learning. So there's some, you'll see some differences in how we apply and understand it. All the structure mechanics are the same. But for example, we use more English words than the Japanese. I, I still like the Japanese, but I don't want students to get hung up on trying to pronounce Japanese terminology versus what's the concept that we're trying to convey. and we also, as we go out into customer sites, we, we advise our customers the same thing. That you need to own this, it's yours. So call, call it whatever fits for you, but you own it.

Keith Ingels (7m 2s):
So it's helped us take it forward to a different level.

Mark Graban (7m 5s):
Yeah. There, yeah, there, there's, I mean, endless debate or discussion, I think within the quote unquote Lean community around the use of Japanese words. Sometimes, you know, does the Japanese word prompt someone to ask, well, hey, what, what, what's kaizen? That's right. You know, new word. Maybe some new thinking. If they've had previous bad experiences with a suggestion box. If we just refer to suggestion system, people might pre-judge and say like, oh yeah, we tried that and it didn't work, but Kaizen, well hmm. That's, that's different. But there, there, there are times I think when people sometimes overdo it in a way that puts up barriers.

Mark Graban (7m 47s):
So I, I appreciate, appreciate that point, or, you know, you using the English words, but certainly, you know, when you talk about a structured approach to continuous improvement, whether we call it that or kaizen, like what, what, what can tell us more about that structure and maybe how it's different than, let's say the old suggestion box approach. Like what, how, how much structure or how would you describe that

Keith Ingels (8m 10s):
Structure? Well, it's, it's, we create the path and we, we always refer back to the, the Toyota way and the, the TPS house, which is the foundational elements, which is, you know, five Ss. You're gonna see the development of standards kaizen in there. and we, we keep kaizen, that's the Japanese term. We, we don't have a, we haven't found a good equivalent of So. we use it routinely. So in the, in the basic structure, we talk about workplace set. So can we visually confirm that we have all the tool supplies and training we need in the workplace? And, and often we don't find out, or often it's tribal knowledge that we've conveyed it by person to person. From there, we go into the two pillars, traditionally referred to as just in time or judoka.

Keith Ingels (8m 53s):
and we will talk about them as flow and quality often, or delivering customer experience of on-time defect free, what whatever lands for our audience. And then, then of course, the roof of the, the TPS house is that, those are the results. So, we talk about that, that, that the roof protects a house and results protects an organization. But we also caution in our coaching, they're results. You can't drive results. You drive inputs, you drive workplace readiness, you drive foundational. So am I ready to do work? You drive, am I, am I fixing my flow and making sure there's no constraints to my flow? And you certainly drive, do I have the right quality that my customer needs? Did I deliver what they expected in a way that they could use and, and gain the value add?

Keith Ingels (9m 36s):
They're looking for So, we, we do that to our solutions and support center network. There's about 6,000 person distribution network in North America. We're primarily responsible to So. we see that often we'll go into a different areas on their journey, their own journeys. And the, the other coaching we give to them, mark in the structure is like whatever, wherever you are on that path, that journey path, we want you to focus on the step in front of you. The next step in front of you. You may be just beginning or you may be very advanced, and, but it doesn't matter where you are on that path. Focus on the next step in the path. And the people get excited and they wanna, they wanna jump to an end goal and that's great.

Keith Ingels (10m 16s):
We're excited. We wanna jump to an end too. But, but two problems with that. One, you, you can't make those leaps. And the other piece we find is now you, you, you spend all this effort trying to get some version of perfect or great and not, not starting, you know, the better that you already have, if what you have is better, that's kaizen roll, roll it out and try it and then keep working on it.

Mark Graban (10m 39s):
Yeah. Keep working on it. And I'm, I'm, I'm sure you know, as you're working with different organizations, you're, you're trying to provide that encouragement. Any know, there's, there's a couple things that you touched on there, Keith, that I think some organizations miss a little bit when it comes to TPS or Lean. Like, you know, for one, back to those two pillars of, you know, flow in quality or we could describe it as just in time and, you know, built in quality or, or, or judoka back to the Japanese word there. You know, there, there are some who I think, you know, kind of even teach or portray that, you know, Lean iss all about flow. Like well they, they go hand in hand as, as you're describing, right?

Mark Graban (11m 20s):
Better quality improves flow, better flow improves quality. Yes. So there, there's, there's the challenge, lemme think of, I, I got up on a soapbox for a minute. Let, lemme turn it into a question. Like, I mean, I mean it's, it's tough sometimes to help people maybe unlearn some things. So they've gotten anchored. If somebody taught them that's, well, you know, Lean is all about speed and six Sigma is for quality. And I'm not knocking Six Sigma, but I'm saying well Lean is, Lean is both. I mean, I don't, that's how, that's right. I was fortunate to be taught that. Yes. I was curious, If you kind of elaborate on, you know, kind of the difficult situation or how to navigate if you're having to help somebody maybe unlearn something or learn when they think they've already learned it, you know?

Mark Graban (12m 8s):
That's

Keith Ingels (12m 8s):
Right. Well you're, you're bringing up a great point Mark, and I'm gonna, I'm gonna take that in a little bit different direction. 'cause 'cause what you asked really resonated with me getting people to unlearn. One of the first things we teach about our discipline of, of continuous improvement or, or Lean, is it's really for us from, from Toyota's perspective and the way Raymond's adopted it, it's about developing your people. It's about developing people to, to see and understand the workplace. And then to, to your point, we want 'em to come in with problem, problem seeing eyes first and then move to problem solving. And, and we find one of the challenges is not so much the problem solving. We a lot of times we put a lot of effort in solving, but solving's usually not difficult.

Keith Ingels (12m 51s):
If, you can see If, you can see the problem. Like, you know, it's not uncommon for us to walk in workplace that they're not, they can't tell if they have all their supplies or tools at they're ready. Like, okay then how, how do you start working now? Now because of our discipline, we're like, that's immediately bothering us, but it may not bother the people in the workplace because that's just how we do it. And so to your, to your point, we have to kind of teach them to look at their workplace as with, as fresh of eyes as possible and use us as coaches. We're, we're never the expert of the work being done. The expert of the work being done is whoever does the work. So the value add we bring is we are gonna ask really great questions 'cause we're from the outside and we're gonna look at that workplace differently and we're gonna challenge them through questions.

Keith Ingels (13m 35s):
Now, do you know you have your supplies? Oh yes. Well, how, how can you tell, can you show me? And then the, wherever they start to falter is where we begin to coach. And then hopefully we can move them into the, the, the cyclical process of improving flow and improving quality. That's where we wanna get 'em to. But if the workplace is, if the workplace is not ready or not well set, they'll struggle getting to those flow and quality issues. And then to your point, those two need to, they need to work hand in glove. If If, you have fast flow, but what you're delivering doesn't meet the customer's needs, it, you, you, you're gonna lose, you're gonna lose customer experience. And that's what we focus on.

Keith Ingels (14m 16s):
Yeah. If what you're delivering is great quality and meets your customer needs, but it's not in the volume the customer needs, then they ha then they're forced to look for other vendors or other options. Right? And so those, those are both bad scenarios for the healthy organization. So So, we try to teach people, we, we all contribute to that and we don't always see that we're all links in that, that grander chain of, of supply chain. So Yeah,

Mark Graban (14m 39s):
Well there's those chains, there's interconnected points that I think you're, you know, you're, you're bringing up here of, you know, flow and quality are intertwined. We can't say it's just about flow. It's both and yes, there's, there's customer focus, if not customer obsession or whatever word you might use, you know, in, in this approach. But it's not just customers like to, I I hear you talking about developing people and supporting people Yes. Like meeting, meeting the team members' needs so they can meet the customer's needs. Like to me that's also very intertwined. Yes. And I appreciate that you're bringing up those connections.

Keith Ingels (15m 18s):
Yes. Well, we find a lot of it is really important to start with leadership and the best leaders in this, this discipline we have found they're highly focused on process improvements. And there's a, to throw the Japanese out a concept called tataki die, which is critique process, not people. Hmm. And we'll bring that in in different ways. But the best leaders we've seen in this discipline, certainly that I have seen are leaders that focus and talk about the importance of process. What in our process didn't tell us we had the parts in time for the assembly, or didn't tell us that we were going to fall short on this production target, which affected other areas, affected our, our distribution of the day.

Keith Ingels (15m 59s):
So. we, we really wanted to, to get focused on process. And that also creates the culture of being safe to create those kaizen ideas and those kaizen discussions.

Mark Graban (16m 12s):
Yes. Yeah. So I, and I wanted to touch on that, making it safe that that ended up being a perfect segue to what I wanted to delve into next. But first off, so you, I I, I feel like I've, I've heard a lot of these Japanese terms, but you threw a new one out there to me about critique process, not people. Could you repeat that?

Keith Ingels (16m 32s):
It'ss? Takaki D.

Mark Graban (16m 34s):
Takaki D. Okay. Okay, cool. Well, I've learned a new one. I'm not, I'm knocking you for using the Japanese terms.

Keith Ingels (16m 43s):
No, no. Well, we still like, oh,

Mark Graban (16m 45s):
I've heard them all at this point. No, I,

Keith Ingels (16m 47s):
That's right. That's where I'm rooted. So that's where I will tend to go back to. But you know, I try not to get 'em hung up on pronunciation. Yeah, yeah. The concepts are are wonderful though,

Mark Graban (16m 55s):
So. Yeah. Well, and then, you know, to hear that translation of it, critique process, not people, I think, like what I've heard in English, which I think is keeping to the spirit of it, is like, you know, variations of a phrase. Like, be hard on the process, not on the people.

Keith Ingels (17m 14s):
That's right.

Mark Graban (17m 16s):
Different way of saying yes.

Keith Ingels (17m 17s):
A different way of saying it. Absolutely. Yeah.

Mark Graban (17m 20s):
But I, I think critique, I like that word though, because like, like being hard on the process, I don't know, like there's, there's, there's a certain tone to that where, you know, critique is maybe a little less loaded. Like critique is certainly something that would lead to improvement. If you, If you critique and find an opportunity for improvement. You may critique the process and find that it's sufficient.

Keith Ingels (17m 45s):
That's

Mark Graban (17m 46s):
Right.

Keith Ingels (17m 46s):
That's right.

Mark Graban (17m 47s):
Still with opportunities for improvement. But that's different than being hard on the process. Yes,

Keith Ingels (17m 54s):
Yes. Well, and and we don't wanna be hard, that hard often translates to people or where we walk into challenging cultures, you know, we work with our own solutions and support centers network. We also work with customers. And one of the first things what we will try to identify is how's the culture of, of the learning are, are they, is it a culture of blame of a term I use occasionally is blamestorming instead of brainstorming. That's not good. Right. You know, looking for, for people to blame really is because what we find is people really wanna contribute and con contribute their best value add. They may not know what that is. And, and even at, at customer sites, we'll run into similar things that we struggle with in our own network, you know, where, where we assume we know value add, and that's, that starts us down the wrong path.

Keith Ingels (18m 41s):
We may not know truly what our value add is for not necessarily the end customer, but maybe the next customer in the process.

Mark Graban (18m 48s):
Yeah. Well, and assumptions, I mean that, that's a cause of many Mistakes of confusing an assumption with actual true facts or knowledge. We assume we know what the customer wants. This happens in Healthcare, people say, oh, we, we know what the patients want. I'm like, well, we might be making an assumption. That's right. And you can go and test and either validate or realize we need to replace that assumption.

Keith Ingels (19m 22s):
That's right.

Mark Graban (19m 23s):
Facts. Right.

Keith Ingels (19m 24s):
That's right.

Mark Graban (19m 25s):
But not blame someone for their assumption. We can critique the assumption. How's that?

Keith Ingels (19m 30s):
I like that critique and move forward in healthy ways. Yeah. Yes.

Mark Graban (19m 36s):
Because you know, I don't know if, if it was part of, you know, some of your upbringing through this or continued coaching, like I think of, and and I I tend to hear a question like this from the former Toyota people that I've learned from or worked with, you know, kind of critiquing of like how, you know, If, you state something that sounds like a fact. Well how, how do you know that? Like, I think, you know, it's a healthy way of challenging. Is that really fact? Or is it an assumption?

Keith Ingels (20m 5s):
That's right. That's right. Well, when we go to customer sites, we'll talk to the customer first. We, we, we, we go through the workplace or we, we go to gemba. So I'm still using the Japanese terms. I just can't quit. Yeah, that's fine. But we'll go to the workplace, we'll go to Gemba and we'll do walkthroughs and we'll start to, when we're called in to help. Like one, one customer we went to was Longfield Gardens, and Longfield was a great, they called us in to support and it was a highly seasonal business. So. we were walking through and we're asking 'em what they wanted to achieve. And they had a lot of seasonal employment. And So, we talked to 'em about, well, If, you have a lot of seasonal employment.

Keith Ingels (20m 48s):
It's a very cyclical business, right? They have very high, high peaks and low valleys. And even though some of the people were cyclical in, in coming in and out, they, they have, might have the same seasonal workers. Most, a lot of them are not So. we said, well, how are you conveying the culture and how are you conveying the expectation? And they didn't have a lot of visuals, they hadn't really considered a lot of visuals. And their, their group decided that, that they liked what we were saying, they liked some of the direction they were taking and ended up taking courses from us and, and embraced it for themselves. We talk about ownership, they owned it for themselves and began their own development process and they changed their communication, their visuals a lot. So their culture strengthened as a result of this.

Keith Ingels (21m 29s):
And it became process focused and it really became a healthier environment because they found having really informal conversations with people allowed Kaizen to kind of come out and through, through simple calm discussion like, Hey, what can we do to make things better? One of my favorite kaizens there, after we'd worked with them, I had to be over a year. I went back in to do a, a site check and were walking through and they're really Peter Long about the VP of op reparations to show me these coat hooks on the wall. He was telling me, he said, I'm really proud of that one. I said, really? I said, yeah. He said, yeah, it was a kaizen.

Keith Ingels (22m 9s):
He said, we didn't realize until we started having conversation with our people that they didn't have a place, a good place to put their coats when they're coming out and working in the area and putting the, they put bulb packages together like If. you go into a site and see a big square with the seasonal bulbs. That's what they built. Yeah. He said they didn't have a good place to put their coats. And he said, when we started listening to people in such a basic level and really doing, he said, that doesn't necessarily do anything direct for the business But. he said, it made our people more engaged. And from there they got a lot of conversation, a lot of ideas, ideas. So that's the kind of environment we wanna see and we wanna foster that, where that leadership environment is supportive of the people. To your, to your point earlier, that's not beating up the people, but actually Right.

Keith Ingels (22m 50s):
Getting from them. They, they know the things they'd like to change. They know what are the barriers to their work. We just have to have these conversations and make it safe for them to have these conversations to share with us.

Mark Graban (23m 1s):
Yeah. Yeah. And, and you know, I think cultural elements like that are very transferable across different types of businesses, different industries. I I love the, the, the, the question that you asked there as a starting point, what are you hoping to achieve? Yes. And, and hopefully the answer to that is not we want to implement all the Lean tools.

Keith Ingels (23m 28s):
Yeah. Well, sometimes we don't get an answer that we can work with.

Mark Graban (23m 32s):
So you can coach, right. That's the art of coaching of, you know, asking or delving deeper of like, okay, well why

Keith Ingels (23m 40s):
Do you want,

Mark Graban (23m 41s):
Why do you think you need to implement all these Lean tools? Like starting with, you know, what are you hoping to achieve is a really a, I think a helpfully broad and, and positive framing. I love that question. You know, I think back to, you know, a, a very well-known former Toyota person, John Shook, you know, and he's with the Lean Enterprise Institute, you know, shares, you know, remember, you know, a video of, you know, their Lean transformation approach or what, you know, he, he, he would, he framed it in terms of what problem are you trying to solve?

Keith Ingels (24m 17s):
That's right. Right.

Mark Graban (24m 18s):
Similar, similar question, but I mean, you know, I think it's an interesting thing to think about. I don't think there's right or wrong there of framing it in terms of problem solving versus aspirational. That's right. May maybe some of that goes hand in hand.

Keith Ingels (24m 32s):
I, I think you, I think you're very much onto a key point mark. In fact, we try to, we, we have a sales development training program we call dart. And in our instruction, one of the things we coach and teach our, our salespeople is, you know, for us, for us, you know, one of our biggest things is we build material handling equipment. So for example, a customer comes to us and say, Hey, I'd, I'd love to buy 10 reach trucks, salespeople. You know, the first reaction, and I come from this background too, oh, we get real excited. We wanna give 'em a quote for 10 reach trucks. Yeah. But here's what I can tell you about that customer, our, our equipment, as much as we love it because it's how we make our living is incidental to the customer's business.

Keith Ingels (25m 14s):
It's incidental, which means, what I can tell you is they don't want 10 reach trucks. Yeah. They wanna move more of their product and they believe that 10 reach trucks will help them. Sure. So that's a great opportunity to start a dialogue for, so what are you trying to achieve? So If you say something like, well, we're trying to get, we can put out say 200 units an hour and we need to put out 300 units an hour. We need to be their material handling support experts. 'cause that's what we do. So, we may not wanna sell them 10 re trucks. We may say, well we need a, a rack and conveyance system, or you need a different pick method. You might need order pickers something different. We're not sure.

Keith Ingels (25m 54s):
But if we focus on that objective now we can work on the solution versus, you know, it's easy for a sales rep, especially who's commission driven, right? Say, oh man, I got an opportunity for a quote. Yeah. But that's, did we explore what the customer needs and maybe the customer didn't ask us the right, the right question. So, we still have to go back and, and support that customer to understand what's, what's the driving force? We've opened a dialogue, that's great, but what's the dialogue about what's the value add conversation we're trying to reach? And, and it it requires us that we slow down. But when we do that now we're, we're getting the opportunity to partner with the customer and really help them solve a problem. And that's what we wanna do because we are best served when we, we support our customers over long term, not, not one or two quick sales.

Keith Ingels (26m 39s):
That just really is not what we're in business about. We wanna partner with them to help them distribute, be a healthy organization, which keeps us healthy.

Mark Graban (26m 46s):
Sure. Yeah. I mean there's this chain, it seems of of value add. So the value Raymond is providing, you can think of, you know, the value added work within Raymond produces the material handling equipment. But from your customer standpoint, their customers are not willing to pay more for them to have more material handling equipment like the, you have employees at, at Raymond corporation doing value added work. And then that product is supporting your customers. That's

Keith Ingels (27m 16s):
Right.

Mark Graban (27m 16s):
Providing value, which is garden center. I imagine there's a lot of plants. And when you say garden, was it a garden center

Keith Ingels (27m 25s):
Long? Yeah. Longfield Garden, they do, they do bulbs, they assemble the bulb like If. you go into a retail store and you'll see like a seasonal big square pallet of bulb displays and you say, oh, it's time to plant these bulbs. And you buy the old box and little kit bag off, they assemble those and put 'em together. So they do all kinds of different things. Very seasonal work. We get to work with a lot of different customers, which I think is a lot of fun. Longfield was fun for me because they were a great example. They embraced it for themselves. Like they, they took the things we taught them and they, they put their own spin on it and they started developing their own standards, their own visuals. So it was a lot of fun working with that group had, and it had a nice family, kind of a family work feel to it.

Keith Ingels (28m 7s):
You know, we like to see that because it is where we work, is our work family. Yeah. You know, so we're gonna spend a lot of hours together. So it should be, it should be a collaborative, I believe collaborative and a positive environment. We, we have really meaningful exchanges. Yeah. And that's what we're looking, that's what we try to create in our organization. and we try to help customers create that. And nowadays we're get, we have a lot of customer requests and so they're looking for, we gotta control cost. 'cause you know, inflation things are spiraling up. Right. And the other thing we get a lot is we're trying to control our labor resources. 'cause nobody seems to have enough labor resource these days. So we're trying to look for these efficiencies and help customers explore these value adds differently.

Mark Graban (28m 46s):
Yeah. And you know, back to some of those core business issues around affordability and affordability, employee retention, you know, in a, in a tight job market. Yeah. I think that comes back to some of these ideas that are very transferable. Yes. Let's say, you know, thinking of in a very seasonal business like plants or farming or even let's say an emergency department in a hospital, you can't force fit certain Lean or TPSS tools. I don't think you can come in and say, oh, you know, level load you're growing throughout the year level load the customer. Like some of these, no, no. Okay. That's just not the circumstances to this business.

Mark Graban (29m 29s):
But the culture, you know, piece, you know, I I I love that you, you point out the idea of, you know, Kaizen is a way of engaging people. The code hooks classic kaizen thinking of, you know, helping people solve problems that matter to them. Some of those will then also, you know, have a very direct impact on, on the customer and, and, and the company. But you know, I think some companies, organizations out there get a little off track, I think when they are really just forcing or they're, they're only allowing people to do improvements with a large R o I.

Keith Ingels (30m 4s):
That's right. That's

Mark Graban (30m 6s):
Right. And, and you know, when I've had a chance to visit Toyota plants in Japan, I remember asking one of the tour guides, you know, she was talking about kaizen a lot. Well do, do you and the guides get to participate in Kaizen? And she, and she said yes. And the example that she was able to point to was not a coat hook, but hooks on the railing at different points for them to stop and hang their bag that they were carrying instead of having to put it on the floor.

Keith Ingels (30m 32s):
Oh, that's excellent.

Mark Graban (30m 34s):
There's no r o i to be calculated, but Yeah, I mean, you say it's excellent 'cause it, it, it engages people and it, it gets them participating and then you may find improvements with a large R o I or a huge customer impact. Right. Tell tell me more about your reaction to that of like, oh, you know, that's fantastic.

Keith Ingels (30m 51s):
Well, So, we start with those small steps, but the small steps, to your point. Exactly Mark or what lead to the bigger opportunities and, and the small steps If, you think of, you know, we want an avalanche of success. Well that avalanche is made up literally of snowflakes. And so those small steps become how we win people over and, and showing that we care. You know, we talk about morale as, as a metric. It's you, you can't put a meter on morale. You can't just, you know, have an analog say, yeah, morale is good or bad, but we can get a feel for it. And So we coach that. It's important to try to feel for it. And you mentioned turnover and absent absenteeism, you mentioned turnover earlier. That is one of the metrics we try to get a hold of.

Keith Ingels (31m 32s):
And that is a hard me a hard metric we can measure. Do we have turnover? Do we have absentee issues? 'cause 'cause they root cause back to, to morale. Yeah. If you're listening to people in small things like, Hey, I need a place to put my backpack when I get to work, then all of a sudden they start thinking, Hey, you might actually take my suggestion of how to do the work better. Right. You see, there's a, we we have to build trust and there's not inherently a trust between maybe, you know, managers and associates. You have to work to build that because managers are, they have objectives. So they're trying to drive objectives. And sometimes in driving those objectives, well, we'll see. Well, and I've made these wrong decisions too. You get a new associate, what do you do? You want 'em out working?

Keith Ingels (32m 13s):
Well, did we spend time training and developing, no, no, no. Get 'em to work well, but If you don't train and develop. It's a bad experience for them. And now maybe you have absentee issues 'cause they, they're not comfortable or confident on the job. Versus are we listening to them? Are we listening to their needs? Or we're fulfilling something simple as where to put a code or where to put a bag. And, and then are we fulfilling something as, Hey, do you know how to do this work confidently? And do you understand the, the area and the work area and the safety needs of the area and the, the p p e the personal protective equipment you need? Do you really understand? are you confident in this environment? Yeah. And so when you do that, people start to create suggestions. I've seen the most amazing inventiveness from, from associates.

Keith Ingels (32m 54s):
They have really creative ideas. There's a wealth of, of untapped potential with our people that we wanna try to reach into and start those dialogues with. So those small things like those hooks, they're, they, they open up the dialogue for the big things like, Hey, did we think about how we solve our customer's problems differently? Yeah,

Mark Graban (33m 14s):
Yeah. Yeah. And, and, and that's a, a cultural piece that translates, you know, I'm wearing polo shirt from, you know, Connexus, a software company, a technology company. And they aspire and, and work really hard at having a culture of continuous improvement. And one thing Connexus does is, you know, bringing in a new employee and there's a onboarding process, there's standardized work If you will, that's been developed over time. But they, they set an expectation and there's this opportunity to the new employee, we want you to help us find improvements to the onboarding process. And, and, and kind of establishing that right from that, that that expectation slash opportunity.

Mark Graban (33m 55s):
It's not a demand, but opening, I think starting that conversation on day one is a really, a really helpful thing to do. And I, I know healthcare organizations that, you know, have done the same thing of saying, Hey, you have fresh eyes. That's, that's

Keith Ingels (34m 8s):
Right. A huge

Mark Graban (34m 9s):
Advantage.

Keith Ingels (34m 11s):
Yes. Well that's, and that's exactly, that's a, that's a good indicator of what, what we would call a mature Lean organization because they have the culture piece to recognize, hey, that new person, the value add they bring is they don't have the baggage of tribal knowledge yet. Which, which we, we want some tribal knowledge, of course to build good habits, but they're gonna ask the best questions. They're like, well, why do we do that? Or Why did you not do that? And, and it's a great kaizen opportunity. And after we, after a few months, they'll be indoctrinated into that's how we do it. And that the fresh eyes go away. So that's, yeah, that's a great resource to take advantage of.

Mark Graban (34m 47s):
We can critique the way we've always done it.

Keith Ingels (34m 50s):
That's right.

Mark Graban (34m 52s):
It's probably not all bad, but certainly help critique it. And new opportunities for improvement. So you talked about measures or, you know, indicators of morale, turnover and absenteeism or probably to some form lagging measures. Do, do you try to measure, you know, kaizen participation? Is that more of a leading indicator of, of morale

Keith Ingels (35m 16s):
That Yes. You you hit the nail on the head. That's one of our, our key leading indicators. It's hard to get morale leading indicators. You, you know, engagement and energy, you can get a feel for them. But the outcome is, is what you said. Exactly. Mark, when we see people offering suggestions, offering kaizens, offering the dialogue of, Hey, it would help me if, or Hey, did you think about then that's an indicator of, of good morale and good morale. We, you know, paychecks, paychecks get us to work If, you don't pay us. We're we, we don't, we're not gonna come to work. So I get that, but they're not motivation. You know, what motivates us is how we engage and talk to our, our associates.

Keith Ingels (35m 59s):
I was on a project recently at, at one of our facilities and I had a, I'd come up with an abscess tooth. So I'm on the road and I'm, you know, making, you know, so I'm gonna basically have to suffer through it for the, for the week and in the morning, you know, I was trying to tell leadership. 'cause I would go through and I'd talk to the associates and I'd say, good morning. And I, and I was really not feeling well. I said, do, do you, do you, you know, I'm not feeling well. I said, yeah, we, we hear you have an obsessed tooth. I said, okay. So why am I going around smiling and shaking hands, greeting everyone and, and, and is that, is that important? I said, well, they didn't, they didn't believe it really was. I said, no, it's incredibly important. As leaders, we set the tone for the workday and So. we talk to people and engage 'em. We, you know, show 'em, say hello, show some appreciation that they're for them as a person.

Keith Ingels (36m 44s):
Because like I said, it's, it's, it's a, it's our workplace. It's kind of a work family to some degree because we, we, we should feel appreciated and we should feel like we contribute. 'cause we all have that opportunity. But as leaders, we have to reinforce that every day by our, our actions. And if we don't reinforce it, we may be sending the message that it's not okay. Or, you know, certainly if I had walk around going, oh, you know, I'm all grumbly. Maybe nobody knows I have an abscess. Yeah. What they assume is something really bad must be happening. Oh, they're, you know, next thing you hear, I think we're gonna have layoffs, bad rooms. Then the mill goes assumption, the assumptions come in. Like you wanna, you wanna control that.

Keith Ingels (37m 24s):
Right. But by engaging people and by getting that conversation going, and you'll see it in the kaizen activity, or even we do, we encourage huddles, daily huddles, just the quick, the quick morning gathering of, you know, you huddle up, here's our plan for the day. If there's participation in that, another indicator we'll watch if there's participation or questions. That's a good morale indicator. Yeah. If people are like, you know, just kind of standing around, kind of waiting for it to be over. That's a bad morale indicator. That's a little more, it's not as analog. Like we got kaizen and we didn't, but it's a good start of, for a leading indicator, you know, it's your participation energy. Good.

Mark Graban (38m 3s):
Yeah. I, and I I'm sure you chose the word participation as opposed to attendance because we've seen, you know, I unfortunately, you know, the, a lot of it's a body language indicator that's right. Of like, are people are their arms crossed, kind of staring at their shoes. That's right. That's not a good sign. That's right. And I'm not blaming those people. That's an opportunity for leaders to engage or to build trust as, as, as, as you brought up earlier.

Keith Ingels (38m 31s):
Yes, that's right. Well, it's, if leaders are paying attention to that, they want wanna get a ahead of those signs and, and try to understand why people are disengaged. You know, and sometimes we'll push, I've had leaders push like goals as, as a direction, well goals are results. Like if If, you have a, a target of, you know, logistic output or deliveries or production, whatever that is. If If you drive that, that's a result. We, we as associates, we can't really affect that. We can affect how we set our work. We can affect how we respond to when things go wrong. We can, those are things we can affect. We can affect our readiness, our training. We can't necessarily affect did we hit that objective or not.

Keith Ingels (39m 14s):
If the work is set up easily, we can probably hit that objective. If we have struggles or challenges through the day, maybe we can't now do we have a method to address those challenges. And so if people are, you know, if people are doing that, you know, kind of in my experience, we've, we've taught 'em that to some degree. We've taught 'em that like to disengage or just show up or just, I've gotta sit through this, this huddle meeting and now I just, I just wanna get back to work. Right. That's, that's not what we're looking for. Because now we're missing that opportunity for them to contribute in ways of what do you see that's new. And I love the, the organizations you mentioned that, that, that take that fresh set of eyes to the new associates because now we're engaging 'em right off the bat and they're gonna, now it's like, wow, I, I got this new job and they wanted my opinion.

Keith Ingels (39m 56s):
Yeah. Right. Well that's fantastic. You know, you know, you're now you're part, you're contributing, you feel to be part of the process and you're contributor. Yeah.

Mark Graban (40m 6s):
So one other question I wanted to ask. When it comes to, to kaizen and measures, like do you at, at Raymond or do you encourage people to track even, let's say just a count of how many kaizen improvements are being implemented or any results kind of connected

Keith Ingels (40m 23s):
To it? Yes. When we, we have a great, we'll get a great level of excitement for kaizen counts and inputs. And sometimes we'll actually slow that down a little bit because the trick with Kaizen is not just getting the suggestion, but it's having a process to review it and execute it. Right. Because people give input and, and nobody does anything with it. Then you, you've just put an expiration date on that input. Right. You know, at some point they're, they're, it's gonna trail off into, into nothingness. So in a mature organization, we have, and some of our, our groups actually have apps they can put in, you know, it's super easy to put in a kaizen suggestion. They put in, they'll track the count, we'll sign, we'll see the execution percentage.

Keith Ingels (41m 8s):
We'll see. Right. We'll sign ROIs. That's, but that's a mature organization to start out with. Kind. You mentioned the suggestion box. It's, it's okay to start with something informal and unstructured. You know, when, when we're in new areas, we, I always say painters tape a marker. Do something that's easy to change. Because as you vet out the process, you're gonna find better ways to do it. You're gonna find kaizen. So, so don't make it too, too difficult to change and too fixed at first because you're learning. Yeah. So with Kaizen process, just, just get, we, we actually start with tablets and have people write on a tablet and here's your idea. And as we start to execute, we'll line 'em out and put a date.

Keith Ingels (41m 52s):
And, and we, and that's, well that sounds really basic and simple. Yeah. But basic and simple is where we start. That's the crawl before we walk, walk before we run kind of approach. Right. So, so to start in, in, in new areas, we'll just put a tab and say, Hey, we'd like your suggestions here. And when they see us start to, to execute, now's when we're, we're changing the, the mind process of the associate. Now we're saying, oh, you want me to come and offer suggestions? Yeah. It's part of your job.

Mark Graban (42m 16s):
Yeah.

Keith Ingels (42m 17s):
So we're encouraging, enabling that.

Mark Graban (42m 20s):
Yeah. So I, I'd like to come back and talk more about making it safe for people to participate in Kaizen Building Trust. You know, earlier you talked about the need, it's really important problem solving eyes, you know, to be able to see a problem, to solve a problem. But in between might be the times, you know, in some workplaces where people see the problem, they have problems seeing eyes, but they don't feel safe to have a a, a problem speaking mouth If. you. You'll That's right. That's right. What, what, what are some tips or practices, you know, within Raymond or that you share with the organizations you work with to, to try to, you know, not mandate safety, but to really help people feel safe to speak up?

Keith Ingels (43m 10s):
Well, let, lemme give you a scenario where maybe safety's challenged unintentionally. So If, you have a really strong, say, a subject matter expert leader. So some leaders are subject matter experts in the area. They're leading some, some, not so much. They're just really strong leaders. But If, you have a good, strong subject matter expert sometimes that can get in the way of alternate suggestions or suggestions that take us a little different path. 'cause No, no, no. We, we, I know I we I've done it this way for and so they'll start to shut down. Yeah. So, so one of the tricks and tips that I'll share, mark, to answer your question is we encourage cross-functional visits and coaching for the development of leaders to go to other areas and get ideas to take back to their own area.

Keith Ingels (43m 55s):
But it's another source of creating fresh eyes within your organization. Remember we talked about the new associate has fresh eyes, but somebody that's not familiar with a functional area that comes from a different functional area, they come into an area and they have fresh eyes and they, and they might see this, say in a daily huddle and leaders, they'll inadvertently shut people down. It's like, well, no, no, we've tried that. Or they start to, they start to reign on the suggestion before we've really even tried or vet it out. Right? So when you bring in a different functional leader, maybe a peer in a different function, they can pull 'em aside. Now there's this coaching learning opportunity. Hey, did help me understand this? Or did you think about and, and bring that in. So it's kind of reinforcing that environment of safety.

Keith Ingels (44m 37s):
You have to reinvent that safe environment every day. Like, like I said, you walk and create that positive energy every day. As leaders, we have the opportunity to re it doesn't, it's not sustainable unless we do it each day, every day. You expect me to come in and, and create a safe environment. Yeah. Every day expect me to come in and engage my people. Yeah. It doesn't mean you can't miss a day here and there, but for the most part, that needs to be your leader standard work. Right. That you come in and it becomes part of your, did I make it safe? Did I get suggestions? Did I ask for help from a peer? Did I offer help to another area where maybe I learn and bring something back to my area? This So we have this cross pollination opportunity within our organizations to draw on fresh eyes.

Keith Ingels (45m 22s):
So, so there's value add opportunity around us, but we, we just have to step back and look at organization differently and you're gonna see resources differently.

Mark Graban (45m 30s):
Yeah. Yeah. And I, I agree with you. It takes that ongoing effort, right? It's not like, you know, a one time, well, well we gave a speech at the all hands meeting and we told them everybody should speak up with their ideas. That's right. Okay, well then what's the follow up? And, and I, I sometimes organizations kind of get caught in a trap where they will describe maybe the, the outcome they're seeing. So, well our employees aren't engaged. Like, yes. What, what what are sort of then kind begs the question of, well what are you doing to actively engage them? Well, we told them last year.

Mark Graban (46m 10s):
That's right. That's right. That they should speak up. It's like you, I appreciate what you're saying, Keith about every, you know, if not every day, like on a very ongoing,

Keith Ingels (46m 18s):
Routinely yeah.

Mark Graban (46m 19s):
Routine basis. And you, and people might not believe, you know, like, well they said our ideas matter, but I don't know if I believe them. I don't know if I trust 'em. And then if they don't follow up, people might say like, oh, well they just said it, they didn't really mean it. But, you know, I was gonna ask you Keith, you know, what kind of tips or, or stories you might share about, you know, leaders not just saying the quote unquote right things. We want your ideas, we want you to speak up, we wanna improve everything versus their actions. Like, let's say the way they react to an idea. Like tho those seem like key moments of, of not just the words, but I mean their action, their reaction might be words, but really making those words ring true.

Keith Ingels (47m 7s):
Well, as usual, mark your insight and experience show through with your questions because there's an opportunity for leaders to, we, they're, we're trying to create a sustainable culture. And so one of the ways we look for leaders to do that is, is they'll say, well you, we have an expectation of some, you know, one kaizen a a month or one kaizen, we whatever. You can do that. And that's not a bad thing, but we're looking for that organic piece. And to reinforce that, we'll look for how do we celebrate victories of kaizen ideas. Yeah. Did we recognize them? And it can be as simple as, you know, we do that we encourage those daily huddle meetings for what's our plan for today?

Keith Ingels (47m 48s):
Hey, yesterday, you know, we, we had a kaizen suggestion from, you know, moving tools around and, and, and it was well received and the associates really pleased and we're, we're gonna talk about other people to see if they'd like something similar. You know, just doing something like that to build on it, to share it a more, a seasoned organization. We have company newsletters that go out across our network. So things like that are very important. You may not have that, but then that doesn't mean you can't celebrate the milestones and you're not celebrating that we've arrived at an end. 'cause it's a journey that, you know, continuous improvement, You don't stop. But you, you certainly wanna find milestones to celebrate, Hey, we had a kaizen or, or we just had our 10th kaizen of this, this group this week or this month.

Keith Ingels (48m 31s):
You know, did we, did we celebrate those ideas? Did we encourage that through how we responded to it? To your point. Exactly. Yeah. It's that opportunity for leaders to really encourage through celebration and, and reinforcing that environment that it's not only is it safe, but we're helping better serve our customers. 'cause that's what it's ultimately about, right? It's about developing our people to give the best possible customer experience.

Mark Graban (48m 57s):
Yeah. Yeah. Again, we're joined by Keith Ingels from the Raymond Corporation. One other thing I wanted to ask you about Keith before we wrap up. Yes. When it comes to continuous improvement and trying to improve everything you do, you know, it it, it, it seems like, you know, Raymond Corporation and the work you're doing in your role, you embraced that in a lot of ways. And you had mentioned, when we talked before, it sounded like some improvement, if not innovation to some of the, the teaching that you do about TPS or RLM. Yes. Tell us about some of those changes and, and, and how you approach that.

Keith Ingels (49m 34s):
Well, well we learned from Mistakes. That's why I I love your, your other podcast, mark, you know, learning from Mistakes. I wish I had learned to embrace my Mistakes more fully earlier in my career. 'cause I made a lot. I don't know that I always took advantage to learn from them all, but

Mark Graban (49m 49s):
Yeah, me too.

Keith Ingels (49m 49s):
Yeah. One of the ones we, we had fallen into habit, we think of ourselves or we had thought of ourselves as a training group, not necessarily a coaching group. And so when you think of yourself as a training group, you, you do a lot of training, you do a lot of formal content. And even within our own environment, we have an adult learning model, which has really helped guide us or help give us pause. And the adult learning model says, how do adults learn? It says, well, about 10% is formal learning. That would be classroom, about 20% is social learning. So that's like you and I talking now or having a meeting or conference where you're interacting with people, you're networking. That made sense. So then there's 70%, well what's the 70%?

Keith Ingels (50m 32s):
What's actually getting your hands on it? And, and doing it. And So, we, we started using this phrase, we don't wanna learn to ride a bicycle through a PowerPoint.

Mark Graban (50m 41s):
Right?

Keith Ingels (50m 42s):
And, and it kind of dawned on us that we were, you know, we were spending like all this effort in formal instruction and we were probably spending an equal amount, let's say maybe a little more in application. So a formal instruction is 10% and we have an equal amount in application. Well that's okay. Now we're up to 20%. Now we do a little bit of social. Now maybe we're hitting 25% and we're like out of a hundred percent. That's not a good percentage. So,

Mark Graban (51m 7s):
Right.

Keith Ingels (51m 9s):
It caused us to rethink how we approach application. And what we started doing was we call 'em microburst, giving smaller coaching lessons, still formal, still some formal instruction, maybe even a handout. Or we'll do posters so that the associates don't have to memorize what we've told 'em, but do a small segment of training and then do coaching for application. Get their hands on it, get 'em to try it, and experiment and apply it for themselves so that they get that, that comfort and that confidence. We did, we do pretty good job with training skills for work, but maybe we weren't doing so good in the skills for continuous improvement. We're, we're setting these expectations, but we're not really necessarily building the experience.

Keith Ingels (51m 52s):
You know, when we, when we teach safety on the move, for example, that's our program for operator safety for forklifts. You teach it before somebody gets on a forklift. And one of the things as an instructor for that, I would tell people, look, we've, we've taught you the safe elements. We've taught you how to get on, so you know the risks of this machine, but you're not yet an experienced operator. So go practice at a slow speed and become experienced. and we even have mentor programs to build up that confidence. I'm like, we weren't doing that in continuous improvement. So we've given them this academics and maybe we did a little coaching but, but really we need 'em to get confidence through experience. And so we've, we've, we've really shifted our focus from that. We've learned to shift the application and we're seeing a lot quicker.

Keith Ingels (52m 38s):
Associates are quicker to embrace the discipline and the methods as a result. So we're seeing a lot of, of improved results. So we're, we're learning, we're improving our improvement process.

Mark Graban (52m 48s):
Well, good. That's exactly what you would hope to see and, and, and hear about. Yeah. I mean, when you think about learning and doing, like, I'm having kind of a flashback to oh goodness. I mean 25 years ago, this is even going back to like frameworks in TQM or Total Quality Management. That's right. What was being taught at MIT at the time and, and, and they would always emphasize of like, you know, learn, do, learn, do. Just kind of an ongoing back and forth. and we in a lot of training methodologies or approaches this idea if, if If you learn something and you don't use it, you're probably gonna forget it.

Mark Graban (53m 35s):
You'll probably lose it.

Keith Ingels (53m 36s):
That's right.

Mark Graban (53m 37s):
It rhymes. Use it or lose it.

Keith Ingels (53m 39s):
That's right. Well, and that doesn't serve our sustainability goal, right. So, we wanna keep this going.

Mark Graban (53m 48s):
Right. We don't, we don't want rework of going back and retraining. That's right. 'cause we trained too soon or too much. Yeah. So maybe one other question before we wrap up. Keith, you know, back to this idea of learning from Mistakes, you know, as you shared about previously I did look up, it was episode 62 of the My Favorite Mistake podcast. So I hope people will check that out. You know, you talk about this on an individual level and I appreciate that. I'm on that same journey of trying to be better personally about learning from Mistakes. I wish I had, you know, better understood a lot of this sooner as well. But when you think of, you know, organizations and leadership, you know, when you think about cultivating, an environment where people can learn from Mistakes and the organization can learn from Mistakes, are, are those the same habits or the you same leader standard work as would build trust and participation and continuous improvement?

Mark Graban (54m 46s):
Or, or are there other, any, anything else that a leader should do to really try to help cultivate that?

Keith Ingels (54m 53s):
Well, that's a great question Mark, because the, certainly the habits are the same. But the, the reality, and that's, that's why we have a plan do check adjust cycle or PDCA, you know, we, we have a plan and there's what we actually get and they, they don't ever tend to match. So, so building that safe culture to your question is really about how do we respond when things don't line up? Did we, did we take the time to learn? That's a first really great question, right? We can learn from, from you and apply is did we take the time to learn from, from what the difference was because there's a gap, there's what we expected and here's what we got. There's a gap. That's the learning opportunity.

Mark Graban (55m 31s):
Yes.

Keith Ingels (55m 32s):
If we, if we embrace that learning opportunity, now we're taking advantage of it. If we just look at the, well, we didn't get what we wanted and we walk away from it, we've walked away from also the learning. You know? Yeah, sure. We found something that didn't work, but we learned that there's something that didn't work. You know, that's like the, the Thomas Edison example. Like how many times did he try to find a filament for a light bulb before he found tungsten? It was a lot. So, so those failures are a great way to build upon our knowledge base. And some of the things do work, or they do work to a degree, and we keep moving in that direction. It's, it's not realistic in my experience to expect that every associate kaizen is, is vetted out already for, for application.

Keith Ingels (56m 17s):
But certainly there's things we take away from and we can try and we can learn to make it better. And the, those small steps you talked about, what we're going for today is really a little better than what we did yesterday. Yeah. It's not this, we're gonna build up till we get a hundred kaizens and then roll out this whole new process. That's not typically how we do. Now, sometimes we might need to do that, but typically we're gonna roll out a little bit of improvement each day a little bit better each day. It's, it might be how we visualize our, our supplies. It might be how we track our training. It might be how we track our kaizen process, right. We might move from that, that right written tablet to, to an electronic version.

Keith Ingels (56m 59s):
Right now we have a file on a screen or something, so each day we get a little better and that has to be, that has to work hand in glove with some things just aren't gonna work, but did we learn from them? So just, yeah. It's, it's, yeah. Lots of opportunities to learn.

Mark Graban (57m 14s):
Yes. And I love the way you stated that and in the context of PDCA or PDSA, how do we respond when things don't line up looking at the gap and it, it's not this binary succeed or fail, like the gap, the difference could be huge or it could be just small, like Yeah, A lot of times people, yeah, there, there, the world's not so black and white that way. Especially when it comes to, to improvement. We, we could have gotten good results, but not as good as we expected. So, we can learn or, you know, we got good results and now let's keep moving forward. Well, we'll we'll keep the continuous and continuous improvement.

Keith Ingels (57m 55s):
That's right. That's right. Well said.

Mark Graban (57m 57s):
Yeah. Well, thank you Keith, it was a real pleasure to have you back on the podcast again. Keith, Ingels from the Raymond Corporation. Well, I'll, I'll put links in the show notes. There's a lot of good information on the Raymond Corporation website about RLM and, and transferable. Yes. If you're calling it Lean or TPS or if you're following Keith's advice, you're, you're, you're calling it your company's…

Keith Ingels (58m 24s):
Make it yours. That's right.

Mark Graban (58m 27s):
Make its, but there's a lot to learn. And, and thank you Keith for the opportunity to learn and notes and, and have a great conversation here today. Really, really enjoyed it. Really

Keith Ingels (58m 36s):
Appreciate it. Thank you, Margaret. It was great to work with you again. Really enjoy your shows and really enjoy getting the opportunity to talk to you today.

Mark Graban (58m 43s):
Yeah, thanks. Thanks for being here. Thanks for sharing. Well, thanks again to Keith Ingels for coming back on the podcast. I hope we'll do it again someday. For more information about Keith and the Raymond Lean Management system, look for links in the show notes, or you can go to Leanblog.org/484

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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.

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