Toyota Targets 50% Reduction in Maintenance Waste

Inside the Toyota Maintenance Reduction 50 Percent by Paul V. Arnold (sadly the site broke the link, so I removed it):

First, it is Maintenance Reduction 50 Percent, not Cost Reduction 50 Percent or Employee Reduction 50 Percent.

“The goal is to reduce maintenance activities and the maintenance that you perform on a machine by 50 percent. That goal covers every machine and every activity,” says TMMK facilities control manager David Absher.

This is not about arbitrarily chopping budgets or personnel. It’s a game plan that balances today’s corporate wants and needs with long-term implications and vision.

I think this is another example of how potentially dangerous targets or goals can be used within a excellent management system effectively. Still such target can be dangerous, even in an excellent management system – so it is a tool to be used with great care (especially when the management system does not embody many principles of management improvement). Therefore care must be taken to assure the target doesn’t become the focus instead of the measure. If it is the focus success is defined by meeting that measure not by improving the system and having the chosen measure serve as an indicator the goal has been reached. This slight difference is critical as it avoids the problem of distorting the system or distorting the numbers. But it is not easy to judge (if the pressure is great is it easy to resort to distorting the system or numbers).

Taiichi Ohno, the company’s former executive vice president and the man credited with developing the Toyota Production System, once said: “Something is wrong if workers do not look around each day, find things that are tedious or boring, and then rewrite the procedures. Even last month’s manual should be out of date.”

Employees are encouraged, even expected, to shake things up and seek a better way. This system of all-hands continuous improvement is called kaizen. It is applicable for anything from bottlenecks to neck soreness to soaring energy costs and everything in between. Kaizen activities seek to identify and eliminate waste, while also striving to ensure quality and safety.

The article continues to make many excellent points, read it (sadly, the site broke the link, when will sites be managed by people that understand basic 10 year old principles of maintaining web resources 🙁 ).

Related: Targets Distorting the SystemDangers of Forgetting the Proxy Nature of DataEliminating slogans and ToyotaToyota Production System posts

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