Category Archives: Management Articles

Management Articles, Posts…

Reddit is a web site that ranks web pages by user votes. If you login and vote yourself they will develop a pattern of what you like and can show you a list of the pages you are likely to enjoy. I believe this is done by matching your likes and dislikes with others. When showing you a list of recommended links it gives some importance to up votes by anyone and more priority to up votes by those that have shown a tendency to like what you do.

I have recently setup a management sub-reddit (a distinct topic-focused-area on the management improvement topics covered in this blog). If you sign up you can not only vote on the links displayed but add new links (that then will be voted on by others). I think Reddit does a very good job of using social aspects of the internet to provide recommendations that are worthwhile (I have used the site for years). The success of this management subreddit depends on reaching a critical mass of users. So I encourage you to give it a try and vote on links you enjoy and add new articles, web sites, blog posts… The benefit of this subreddit will grow as we grow the number of participants.

I have also recently added a page to johnhunter.com with links to my online presence on various sites (such as: StumbleUpon, Kiva, LinkedIn…).

Related: Dell, Reddit and Customer FocusCurious Cat Management Improvement SearchCurious Cat Management Improvement Library

Lean Management in Policing

photo of Jacksonville Sheriff Office Lean Team

Justice served up Jacksonville–style is all lean by Joe Jancsurak:

The Jacksonville Sheriff Office’s (JSO) Crime Reducing Initiatives Management and Enforcement Strategies (CRIMES) measures, tracks and analyzes crime-fighting statistics, such as the number of arrests and value of stolen and recovered property. Such findings are instrumental in determining the overall effectiveness of the JSO and where improvements need to be made.

Investigations stress uniformity. Lean “changed how we approach investigations,” says Sheriff Rutherford. “We found that three officers investigating three different burglaries might ask three different sets of questions. So we developed a standard form showing the questions that should be asked to ensure consistency.”

Hiring of school crossing guards made more expedient. “This one’s amazing,” Sheriff Rutherford chuckles. “It was taking us 68 days to hire someone from our eligibility list because we were sending candidates all over for different parts of the interview process. Now it takes us just three days to make a decision because we’re practicing ‘one-stop hiring.'”

This reminds me of the first efforts I know of for such efforts in policing (from the 1980s): Quality Improvement and Government: Ten Hard Lessons From the Madison Experience by David C. Couper, Chief of Police, City of Madison, Wisconsin.

Via: Upcoming Podcast: Lean Law Enforcement

Related: Failure to Address Systemic SWAT Raid FailuresLA Jail Saves Time Processing CrimeThe Public Sector and DemingCurious Cat Management Improvement Search Engine

India Lean Management

India’s Economic Times has an interview with James Womack, Now is the time for lean management, with an interesting quote:

When I last visited India in 2002, I looked carefully at several operations of the TVS group in the Chennai area. I found that they were the best examples of lean manufacturing I had ever seen outside of Toyota City. In my mind these facilities completely eliminated any questions as to whether “lean” would work in India. However, I have not visited India in six years and I have no data on the performance of Indian firms on average, so I can’t say what the trend is or how many success stories I might find if I had the time to visit at length. How-ever, I have high expectations for the potential of Indian firms to embrace the full range of lean principles and methods.

I have discussed TVS several times in the past; TVS has won several Deming Prizes.

Related: TVS Group Director on India – Manufacturing, Economy…Deming Prize 2007Indian Deming Prize Winner ExpandingToyota Chairman Comments on India and ThailandCurious Cat Lean Manufacturing

Drucker’s Ideas at Toyota

The Drucker difference and Toyota’s success [the broken link was removed] by Ira A. Jackson, dean of the Peter F. Drucker Graduate School of Management, the business school of the Claremont Colleges.

Because of this core belief in the power of people, Toyota invests in people. And at the same time, the company has come to realize that when people grapple with opposing views

Embrace contradictions as a way of life. Sticking to old practices can lead to rigidity. Be fluid.

Develop routines to resolve contradictions. As the authors note, “Unless companies teach employees how to deal with problems rigorously and systematically, they won’t be able to harness the power of contradictions.” Toyota has a number of tools including the well-known ask-why-five-times practice and the Plan-Do-Check-Act model.

Encourage employees to voice their opinions even if they are contrary. The people in top management must be open to hearing critical comments from employees and listening to opposing views if they want to engender new ideas and new ways of doing things.

Related: Drucker Opinion Essays from the WSJDeming and ToyotaManagement Pioneer Peter DruckerThe Contradictions That Drive Toyota’s SuccessExtreme Toyota: Radical Contradictions That Drive Success at the World’s Best Manufacturer

Fairness Matters

Sense of Fairness Affects Outlook, Decisions

Burnout has been long associated with being overworked and underpaid, but psychologists Christina Maslach and Michael Leiter found that these were not the crucial factors. The single biggest difference between employees who suffered burnout and those who did not was the whether they thought that they were being treated unfairly or fairly.

Their research on fairness dovetails with work by other researchers showing that humans care a great deal about how they are being treated relative to others. In many ways, fairness seems to matter more than absolute measures of how well they are faring — people seem willing to endure tough times if they have the sense the burden is being shared equally, but they quickly become resentful if they feel they are being singled out for poor treatment.

If the sum is $100, for example, the first person might offer to give away $25 and keep $75 for himself. If the second person agrees, the money is divided accordingly. But if the second person rejects the deal, neither one gets anything.

If people cared only about absolute rewards, then Person B ought to accept whatever Person A offers, because getting even $1 is better than nothing. But experiments show that many people will reject the deal if they feel the first person is dividing the money unfairly.

Related: Obscene CEO PayRespect for People and Understanding PsychologyWhy Pay Taxes or be HonestThe Illusion of UnderstandingThe Psychology of Too Much Choice

Outsourcing To America

Outsourcing To America

Toyota (TM) began operating in North America in the mid-1980s. It currently operates seven automotive plants there, four of which are in the U.S. A fifth plant is under production in Mississippi. Toyota employs 40,000 manufacturing employees in North America.

In addition to the manufacture of cars and trucks, Toyota runs four unit factories in the U.S., where they produce such parts as engines, transmissions and wheels. Toyota also has a wholly owned subsidiary, Bodine Aluminum, an aluminum casting company, which operates three factories in Tennessee and Missouri.

BMW began operations in the U.S. in 1994, when it opened a plant in Spartanburg, S.C. “Some natural hedging was always a part of the long-term strategy, but also we have a corporate strategy of having production follow the market,” says Robert Hitt, BMW’s manager of public affairs. “Our original plan was to have about 2,000 workers here by the year 2000. We are now at 5,400 people here on the site.”

Besides the actual manufacturing of their cars and trucks, Toyota and BMW are using domestic suppliers to provide parts and services for their operations. BMW has over 200 suppliers in North America, 52 of which are located in South Carolina, and 41 of these are new companies started for the purpose of supplying the plant. In South Carolina alone, suppliers of BMW’s Spartanburg plant employ over 14,000 people.

Toyota uses roughly 500 major suppliers in North America. “We’ve always had the philosophy that we should build vehicles where they are sold, so it makes sense to have suppliers close to your manufacturing operations,” says Mike Goss, external affairs manager for Toyota’s engineering and manufacturing division in North America.

Foreign production in the U.S., however, is not limited to the automotive industry…. In fact, almost 1 million Americans get their paychecks from Mexican companies, says Ton Heijmen, senior adviser for outsourcing and offshoring for the Conference Board.

Related: Top 10 Manufacturing Countries 2006Moving Jobs to Silicon Valley from IndiaGlobal Manufacturing Jobs DataToyota in the United States of America EconomyChina Outsourcing Manufacturing to USA

Toyota Execution Not Close to Being Copied

The Open Secret of Success

Toyota’s innovations, by contrast, have [focused] on process rather than on product, on the factory floor rather than on the showroom. That has made those innovations hard to see. But it hasn’t made them any less powerful.

At the core of the company’s success is the Toyota Production System, which took shape in the years after the Second World War, when Japan was literally rebuilding itself, and capital and equipment were hard to come by. A Toyota engineer named Taiichi Ohno turned necessity into virtue, coming up with a system to get as much as possible out of every part, every machine, and every worker. The principles were simple, even obvious – do away with waste, have parts arrive precisely when workers need them, fix problems as soon as they arise. And they weren’t even entirely new – Ohno himself cited Henry Ford and American supermarkets as inspirations. But what Toyota has done, better than any other manufacturing company, is turn principle into practice. In some cases, it has done so with inventions, like the andon cord, which any worker can pull to stop the assembly line if he notices a problem, or kanban, a card system that allows workers to signal when new parts are needed.

Very true, except one thing. Toyota’s innovation is not limited to process and execution. Toyota’s long term vision results in very dramatic innovation (that granted is not getting the press today – check back in 20 years, I think you will be reading about it then). For some examples see: Toyota’s Partner Robot, Toyota as Homebuilder, Toyota Engineers a New Plant: the Living Kind and The Birth of Prius.

A company truly driven by a focus on continual improvement, respect for all employees and reasonable executive compensation might be a company serious about adopting Deming and Toyota management principles. It is hard for me to imagine such a situation that doesn’t truly seek, as the primary aim of the organization, to benefit many stakeholders (workers, owners, suppliers, customers…) not just executives (or just executives, board and owners…).

Related: Toyota Management Develops the New CamryBetter and DifferentDeming and ToyotaToyota Keeps ImprovingMore Positive Press for Toyota ManagementGood Execution is Important

Toyota Canada CIO on Genchi Genbutsu and Kaizen

What’s driving Toyota Canada’s success? – CIO reveals all

for Hao Tien, chief information officer (CIO) at Toyota Canada Inc. those two Japanese phrases – Genchi Genbutsu (go and see) and Kaizen (continuous improvement) really capture it all.

the innovation wasn’t in the technology, but in the way the various partners were brought together to agree upon processes, which were then consistently executed. CustomerOne is only project of its kind in the Toyota empire.

A computer system links activities across multiple customer touch points, and analyzes data from the more than 13,000 daily service visits to Toyota dealers across the country. The system flags major repeat problems and Toyota Motor Corp. head office in Japan is informed so engineers can be assigned to make repairs to designs or manufacturing, if necessary.

“For instance if a call comes into us at Toyota Canada, the dealer knows about it. So if they go back to the dealer for services, everyone offers the same resolution of the problem.” In the four years since its launch CustomerOne was has been a runaway success. Tien cites some of the more tangible benefits this initiative has brought about. They include:

* Cutting down the customer problem resolution from weeks to an average of three days through this initiative alone;
* Early detection of customer dissatisfaction in services
* Reducing detection of product defects (from months to days).

The Toyota Canada CIO talks about the tremendous business benefits from this seamless freeflow of information. “When a defect is detected at the dealership, the next day it would up to our engineering department.” The speed at which information traverses is of immense value – especially when new vehicles are launched. Tien cited an example.

“We recently launched a new Toyota Corolla [model]. If there were a problem with a door knob of the vehicle, the plant would know about it and a fix would be put in place.”

An article well worth reading. Related: Toyota IT OverviewLessons from Toyota’s IT StrategyGood Customer Service Example at ToyotaSoftware Supporting Processes Not the Other Way Around

Toyota Presses On

At Toyota, a Global Giant Reaches for Agility

With plants in 27 countries, more new factories under construction and workers speaking languages that include Russian and Turkish, Toyota’s top executives are trying a difficult balancing act – replicating the company’s success and operating principles in other countries while ceding more control to these new outposts at the same time.

Next year, it expects to sell more than 10.4 million cars worldwide, double what it sold in 2000.

At Motomachi, more than 3,000 tasks on the assembly line have been translated into video manuals that are displayed on laptop computers above 30 simulated workstations, situated where their functions would be carried out inside the factory.

The videos show everything from the correct way to hold a screw to the best way to hold an air gun so that a worker’s hand will not tire in a few hours. This month, workers from Toyota’s plant in Thailand took part in training required for jobs in their plant’s paint shop. Listening as an interpreter translated from Japanese into Thai, the workers were shown how to bend their knees and spray a water gun across a clear panel of Plexiglas.

Yet another article on the management of Toyota. And here is another: Toyota heir slowly following in family footsteps. And another: Toyota explores more efficient methods to build cars.

Related: 12 Stocks for 10 Years Feb 2008 UpdateNo Excessive Senior Executive Pay at ToyotaNew Articles on Toyota ManagementToyota’s Effort to Stay ToyotaMore Positive Press for Toyota ManagementToyota in the US Economy

Toyota’s Effort to Stay Toyota

Toyota’s All-Out Drive To Stay Toyota

“We are making every effort not to lose our DNA,” says Shigeru Hayakawa, president of Toyota Motor North America.

Just in case St. Angelo forgets any of his Toyota training, he has someone watching his back. His retired predecessor, Gary Convis, still gets paid to advise him. That’s an idea Toyota imported from Japan, where the company asks retiring engineers to stick around to mentor young employees. The ranks of these old-timers are growing rapidly as the company tries to safeguard its culture. Last year, Toyota rehired 650 of the 1,200 skilled workers eligible for retirement in Japan, and will soon have 3,000 of these folks on its payroll.

Related: lean manufacturing portalToyota management postsToyota IT OverviewNew Toyota CEO’s Views