Steve was honored to be a guest speaker recently on the Dublin Lean Network webinar series hosted by Steve Halpin.
Chairman of the Dublin Lean Network, Steve Halpin welcomed Steven and started by saying he highly recommends Steven’s book “The High Velocity Edge” in terms of the practical application of Lean in the workplace. He added that Steven’s approach to Lean is the difference between companies that play at this and companies that really take it seriously.
Press play to view the webinar recording or read on for a short summary.
Toyota Management System
Steven began his presentation by saying that he was inspired by Toyota and the observations made about Toyota back in the 1970s and 1980s. He said that he thought Toyota really created a management system that has a very broad application.
This management systems created the conditions in which people can give much fuller expression to their individual creativity. Furthermore, that individual creativity is much better integrated towards a common purpose than any other management system.
So, in the late 70s, early 80s, Toyota started to say that they’re just getting way more yield out of their people and their equipment and their materials than anybody else. But this really became like an idea.
In the late 80s, there was a fellow graduate student at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) named John Kraft. He wrote a paper called “Triumph of the Lean Production System”. And in it, he shows how of all the assembly plants in the world, where every day they double their productivity and their agility is doubled. Their defect rates are one 1000 to one 2000s.
Then a few years later, another researcher named Durward Sobek, Jeffrey Liker and the late Peter Ward wrote an article called “The Second Toyota Paradox” and they showed that with half the engineers and half the calendar time, Toyota was able to deliver far better product into the marketplace than anybody else in the world. It wasn’t even close. And it turned out this combination of being far more productive, having far more productive design processes coupled with better manufacturing processes allowed Toyota to take the Camry model and make it the leading car in North America.
Now again, Steven added that you may think this is just about lean manufacturing or cars. But what has become evident over the years is that you see these differences in productivity, quality, safety, and reliability. Everywhere you see these differences in planes, trains, automobiles, tech, biotech, pharma, health care, education, social services, military, and heavy tech.
Another point Steven made is that when we think about of designing a product, or designing a delivery system, the earlier in creating a business model the better. But what becomes obvious is that certain organisations achieve levels of performance, not only way higher, but way sooner than anybody else.
Steven emphasized that the starting point for these successful companies is the people. So taking this a step further, then managers need to ask the question: “what do I need to do as a manager to create the conditions in which people can be creative?”
Steven then recommended another book by Taiichi Ohno, called “Toyota Production System: Beyond Large-Scale Production”. In this book, Ohno says that having a really deep understanding about how to engineer these human systems, so that they create the conditions of great expression for individual creativity.
From Steven’s many years working with Toyota, they think their crown jewel is their management system. And in order to advance one’s career in Toyota, no matter how much you know about engineering or marketing, your career development is learning the management system.
In fact, the people were the system, the human system, engineering experts. Steven said that we see this phenomenon of exceptional performance everywhere because those select organisations have figured out how to create much more intellectually productive conditions than anybody else.
|Steven Spear DBA MS MS|
Principal, See to Solve LLC
Senior Lecturer, MIT Sloan School of Management
Senior Fellow, Institute for Healthcare Improvement
Author, The High Velocity Edge
| Click here for sample chapters from |
The High Velocity Edge
• leadership and crisis recovery (chapters 9 and 10)
• accelerating development of break through technologies (chapter 5)