we often fail to explore whether changes in the numbers (which we call results) are representative of the “true results” of the system or if the data is misleading.
Data is meant to provide us insight into a more complex reality. We need to understand the limitations when we look at “results” and understand data isn’t really the results but a representation we hope is close to reality so we can successfully use the data to make decisions.
But we need to apply thought to how we use data. Lab results are not the same are what happens in the field. It is cheaper and faster to examine results in a lab. But relying on lab results involves risk. That doesn’t mean relying on lab results is bad, we have to balance the costs and benefits of getting more accurate data.
But relying on lab results and not understanding the risk is dangerous. This is the same idea of going to the gemba to get an accurate understanding instead of relying on your ability to imagine reality based upon some data and ideas of what it is probably like.
VW Beetle (in Bangkok, Thailand) has some sort of modification along the back bumper but I don’t know what it is meant to do. Any ideas? More of my photos from Bangkok.
Volkswagen AG lost almost a quarter of its market value after it admitted to cheating on U.S. air pollution tests for years
During normal driving, the cars with the software — known as a “defeat device” — would pollute 10 times to 40 times the legal limits, the EPA estimated. The discrepancy emerged after the International Council on Clean Transportation commissioned real-world emissions tests of diesel vehicles including a Jetta and Passat, then compared them to lab results.
Obviously VW was managing-to-test-result instead of real world value. It seems they were doing so intentionally to provide misleading data. Obviously one of the risks with lab test results (medical trials etc.) is that those with an interest in showing better results could manipulate the data and lab procedures (or systems) to have the data show their product in the most favorable light.
Jules Verne predicted cars would run on air. The Air Car is making that a reality. The car would be powered by compressed air. Certainly seem like an interesting idea. Air car ready for production:
Refueling is simple and will only take a few minutes. That is, if you live nearby a gas station with custom air compressor units. The cost of a fill up is approximately $2.00. If a driver doesn’t have access to a compressor station, they will be able to plug into the electrical grid and use the car’s built-in compressor to refill the tank in about 4 hours.
The car is said to have a driving range of 125 miles so by my calculation it would cost about 1.6 cents per mile. A car that gets 31 mpg would use 4 gallons to go 124 miles. At $3 a gallon for gas, the cost is $12 for fuel or about 9.7 cents per mile. I didn’t notice anything about maintenance costs. I don’t see any reason why the Air Car would cost more to maintain than a normal car. Five-seat concept car runs on air
An engineer has promised that within a year he will start selling a car that runs on compressed air, producing no emissions at all in town.
Tata is the only big firm he’ll license to sell the car – and they are limited to India. For the rest of the world he hopes to persuade hundreds of investors to set up their own factories, making the car from 80% locally-sourced materials.
“Imagine we will be able to save all those components traveling the world and all those transporters.” He wants each local factory to sell its own cars to cut out the middle man and he aims for 1% of global sales – about 680,000 per year. Terry Spall from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers says: “I really hope he succeeds. It is a really brave experiment in producing a sustainable car.”
Now does that sound like the Toyota Production System to you? It should. If I were an executive at Toyota I would sure examine this to see if it really is as promising as it looks. And if it is Toyota sure has plenty of cash and the management practice to make a very compelling case for allowing Toyota to produce this globally. The engineers desires closely match what Toyota has learned. Both seek to eliminate the waste of transportation (friction).
High-efficiency power supplies for home computers and servers [the broken link was removed] (pdf) by Urs Hoelzle and Bill Weihl – Google:
Most likely, the computer you’re using wastes 30-40% of the electrical power it consumes because it is using an inefficient power supply. It’s difficult to believe that something as basic as a power supply could be responsible for that amount of waste, but it’s true.
The opportunity for savings is immense — we estimate that if deployed in 100 million PCs running for an average of eight hours per day, this new standard would save 40 billion kilowatt-hours over three years, or more than $5 billion at California’s energy rates.
The net result of these changes is a dramatic improvement in efficiency (including the power supply and the regulators) to about 85%, at virtually no cost. In other words, you won’t have to pay more for a higher-efficiency PC, because the power supply is actually getting simpler, not more complicated. By spending another $20 or so extra, it is possible to use higher-quality components and achieve efficiencies well over 90%.
Google has adopted the technology for their servers. And they are working to have the technology adopted by manufacturers; so when we buy computers they will use this technology to reduce waste. This is good since not many of us cannot eliminate this muda ourselves (since we don’t build our own computers – as Google does). It is also an example of a company with a higher purpose that makes a good deal of money. Google definitely understands the concept of eliminating waste.
Each Brickman branch operates with a standard production model that the company developed in the late 1970s with consultant and renowned statistician W. Edwards Deming, who is best known for helping Japanese manufacturing recover from World War II and improving U.S. productivity during the war. Scott Brickman said the model emphasizes continuous improvements in communication with its nearly 10,000 commercial customers and education and cultivation of its employees to learn and advance within the company.
The article doesn’t talk much directly about the management practice at the company but might be of some interest.
Toyota Motor Corp has developed a derivative of the Cherry Sage shrub that is optimized for absorbing pollutants from the air.
It seems Toyota is dominating the management improvement news in the same way Google is dominating the rest of the business news. It seems like Toyota is mentioned positively nearly as much as other companies combined on the management blogs that I read most often. And I am contributing to that. I doubt I would bother to write about this if it were most other companies. But then other companies don’t have letter signed by the President like the one I quote below.