Tag Archives: lean management

How Toyota Turns Workers Into Problem Solvers

Topic: Management Improvement

How Toyota Turns Workers Into Problem Solvers, Sarah Jane Johnston interview of Steven Spear.

It is our conclusion that Toyota has developed a set of principles, Rules-in-Use we’ve called them, that allow organizations to engage in this (self-reflective) design, testing, and improvement so that (nearly) everyone can contribute at or near his or her potential, and when the parts come together the whole is much, much greater than the sum of the parts.

The main difficulty is not a knowledge gap, but a performance gap. Most of what Toyota does has been published in numerous books (The Toyota Way, The Machine That Changed the World…) and articles (see see Curious Cat links to books and articles on Toyota’s management ideas). Reading that information is wise, but that is the easy part. The difficult part is actually managing more effectively. Some of the concepts can be difficult to accept but they really are not too difficult to understand.
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Bezos on Lean Thinking

Topic: Management Improvement and Investing

10 Questions for Jeff Bezos, time.com via Lean Manufacturing Blog

Time: Here’s a question you probably hear all the time: read any good books lately?
Bezos: [Laughs.] I read a book recently about Toyota’s lean production methodology, which is very interesting

Jeff Bezos is the founder and CEO of Amazon.com. He really understand many quality management ideas: customer focus, long term thinking, process improvement, innovation. He also understands finance much better than most. I believe that knowledge is a large part of the reason he is not intimidated into going along with the short term thinking prevalent on Wall Street (as so many CEO’s are). His huge ownership interest in Amazon and his decision to raise large amounts of cash for Amazon (by issuing bonds) during the tech boom, don’t hurt either.

Amazon was one of the 10 companies selected in the 10 stocks for 10 years post. I created a Marketocracy portfolio to track that long term portfolio. The rules, at the time (for a Marketocracy portfolio), required more diversification so I added several stocks to the portfolio. I added positions in YHOO, MSFT, EMF, WMT, and BP. You can track the results of the Sleep Well portfolio.

You can also view results of another portfolio I have managed, through marketocracy, for several years: the Darvamore Fund. This fund is much more aggressive using the ideas of Darvas and Livermore as well as core positions that are selected for long term appreciation. Since the inception, in 2000, it has a annual rate of return 6.55% (655 basis points) higher than the S&P 500 index, as of today.