From the Archives of a Common Sensei volume 30: ENGINEERING CHANGE PROCEDURE FOR NON-INTERCHANGEABLE PARTS (Imported Purchased Parts)

This volume of From the Archives of a Common Sensei is a continuation of volumes 28 and 29 and discusses the Engineering Change Procedure for Non-Interchangeable Imported Parts. This volume discussion will close out our three-volume series (28, 29 and 30) on the topic of engineering change. As referenced in Blog volume 28, during the early days (1990’s) of Toyota Industrial Equipment (TIEM) in the US, we had to give consideration to many different processes as we developed the manufacturing operations. In my previous blog postings, I have tried to describe in (short form) how we went about many of these operational developments.

In this volume 30, I present the process for imported but non-interchangeable parts. As in volumes 28 and 29, the handwritten original examples are too big to display at the same time, so I split this engineering change process into three volumes to simplify the overall process of engineering change. Some of you might be more concerned with an engineering change procedure for domestic parts and some might be more concerned with imported parts. The three articles in Blogs 28, 29, and 30 are presented here to potentially give you ideas for your organization.

In the example supplied here (Vol. 30) for Imported Non-Interchangeable Purchased Parts, it is again noted that during those early days of the TIEM startup (1989+) the engineering was done by the TIEM parent company (TAL) and delivered to the TIEM operation (Domestic Company) in Columbus, Indiana. From that point, the process example tracks through the Parental Company actions, Domestic Company Engineering Section, Production Section, and the Material Control Section, and Accounting. The procedure includes steps for checking inventories, Kanban handling, change date determination from old parts to new parts, receiving of new parts, and how to manage the associated Kanban’s. As stated in previous blog volumes, in the mid-1990’s a substantial portion of product engineering was a joint effort by the local facility and the parent company in Japan. In previous blogs, I have also explained how we encouraged our customers, plant associates, and managers to work with Engineering to create improvements in quality, cost, convenience, service needs, etc. Again, this example, and the previous examples (Vol. 28 and 29), are intended only as examples from which you may be able to gain some ideas.

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In Volume 23 of From the Archives of a Common Sensei, we discussed “The Intention of Developing a Planning Process”. In this volume we will use archived documents from previous Toyota experience in the early 1990’s to convey how the management planning process was structured. Today this planning process is commonly referred to as Hoshin Kanri. Because of resistance to using Japanese terms at that point, it was simply referred to as The Management Planning Process or Focus Alignment. The resistance was not only from the Americans but also from the Japanese staff who were supporting the startup efforts. They were doing everything they could to avoid alienating people they needed to work with and, to create an environment (culture) of inclusiveness.

Please keep in mind that this is being shared, not with the intent to say that the process is the only way to proceed, but to provide you with an actual process of how it worked for us in those early Toyota efforts at TIEM. There is little doubt that the structured management planning process included in this article is adaptable and workable in your organization! As illustrated in the attached documents, the “Framework of the Company Plan” provides details regarding the basic frame, its’ content and basic responsibilities. The second slide attachment illustrates the development of the Company Plan. This attachment lays out the flow process of establishing the plan and associated responsible person. Also included in this attachment you will see the cascading of not only the establishment of the plan, but also the development of the plan and associated people (level) responsible. At the bottom of the second attached page, you can see an explanation of required documents. The third attached page gets more involved in the details of The Management Plan Diagnosis by the President. In this section we get involved with the frequency of plan diagnosis, responsibilities, and expected outcomes. We follow this on page five with a discussion of more detail including the Performing, Checking, and Action of the plan. The final two attached pages (5&6) display examples of how to track action associated with your Management Plan at every level. I particularly like the last page that demonstrates an example of “The reason why the Manager selects each subject” as conveyed using data graphics (charts).

 I just finished the book entitled Learning to LEAD, Leading to LEARNby Katie Anderson with Isao Yoshino. This book brings home the realities of how various Toyota businesses struggled in the early days in the United States with development and deployment of a formalized management process. In fact, I was amazed how parallel Yoshino-San’s experience was to my own experiences during the same time. The reason this is relevant is that he was trying to create a culture that included management planning and execution within NUMMI and the Toyota Marine Company, while I was doing the same thing at Toyota Industrial Equipment (TIEM). These concepts of organizational wide inclusiveness were not common to most organizations at that time. The other thing that caught my attention was that Yoshino-San was experiencing many of the same problems as he was coming at his efforts from a Japanese viewpoint, and I was coming at remarkably similar efforts from an American viewpoint. The similarities are EXTRAORDINARY! The differing factors may have included the highly selective hiring practices we used in the initial phases of the TIEM startup, including hiring associates who had little or no preconceived ideas of how a manufacturing facility operated. Another factor that may have contributed to a feeling of inclusiveness at TIEM could have included a sharing of leadership bonuses (small as they were) with all associates, or it may have been the inclusion of associate ideas as we all tried to improve our processes and the new engineering designs, or perhaps it was the use of “Skip Level Meetings” to shorten the communication of important dialogue. These actions were all elements that demonstrated open mindedness and inclusion!

The feeling of Inclusion is paramount as your Management Planning Process takes shape and rolls out.

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