Continuing my review of Wakamatsu’s book on Taiichi Ohno, today we’ll explore his views on Urgency and how to prevent acting spoiled or how to prevent spoiling your workers. In other words, how to instill a continuous improvement mindset in your workforce.
To read my reviews of Wakamatsu’s book on Taiichi Ohno, please visit the links below.
- Taiichi Ohno on Standard Work
- Taiichi Ohno on Genchi Genbutsu
- Do Not Act Spoiled
- Learn from Previous Masters
- Wastes Hide, Disclose All Mistakes
- Truth and Understanding
- Innovation and Craftiness
- Teach Others to Think
- Intelligent Automation
- Taiichi Ohno on Leadership
Taiichi Ohno is known to have said the following:
You have such a spoiled way of thinking. Execute your duties with a sense of urgency.
In context, he would say the above to companies that had too much work in process. Why? In his mind, Ohno believed that having too much work-in-process makes defects and delays tolerable, and creates an organization accustomed to delays, defects, and problems on the line. In his words,
Zero work-in-progress items is the ideal. We must acknowledge the true purpose of reducing them, though. We are not competing for who has the least number of work-in-progress items. If we have too much of it, we will fail to identify problems, that’s why we must strive to reduce it.
Reduction of work-in-progress items causes the production line to stop. This does not mean that the reduction was teh cause, it means that there was a serious problem with the shop floor to begin with and that the problem has been hidden due to the abundant amount of work-in-progress items. If we start seeing a problem as a result of reducing such items we must fix it immediately by continuous improvement. Repeating such an effort will enable us to reduce it to zero.
So, in Ohno’s mind, work in process “hides” problems and is an enabler of continued mediocrity. His goal in reducing WIP was to expose the problems and shine a light on them, which fosters a continuous improvement culture.
His approach to expose problems and to help workers visualize the problems was simple:
- Limit work in progress
- Limit the number of workers
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