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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From the Archives of a Common Sensei Volume 20: THE KANBAN CALCULATION

If your organization is beginning the “LEAN Journey” or if you are having difficulty executing your Kanban ordering, perhaps this blog volume 20 will help you. These formulas for “standard/ordering” and “inter-process” Kanban were derived from work we did at Toyota Industrial Equipment (TIEM) during the early days of the 1990’s, but may also be relevant in your organization. As you might suspect, the standard Kanban calculation formula is generally meant for external ordering, and the inter-process Kanban calculation is generally used only when material is transferred (moved) internally. When reviewing these formulas to be used as guides, I have presented the suggested formulas and considerations. These formulas have been used in a variety of JIT and Kanban driven environments since I left Toyota (TIEM) and have helped create enormous value in the form of: shorter order lead times, shorter processing time, less inventory expense, less handling, less space, better quality, lower engineering costs, less overall waste, lower financial costs, etc. for those who choose to take deployment seriously. The use of Kanban must be executed with high discipline! Anything less is likely to result in errors and shortages of supply. The implementation of Kanban alone in an organization is not likely to produce the intended benefits mentioned above! This is where the culture of many organizations MUST be tackled at the same time (as discussed in our previous blogs). Every associate must understand the seriousness of their actions and the consequences of not performing their role in the overall process.

True value creation requires that every associate understand their role in executing to plan AND perform that role as intended!

Max Allway

As has been stated in other articles/blogs, this example of methods used or previously used at a Toyota operation are only meant as examples for consideration in your organization.  Hopefully you will benefit from this and previous “ideas” we have included in our blog postings.

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