From the Archives of a Common Sensei Volume 22: CONCEPT OF COMPONENT SEQUENCING PARTS STAGING FOR ASSEMBLY


As an illustration of an assembly parts staging methodology, the attached drawing (rough as it is) was one that we used during the start of Toyota’s US Lift Truck manufacturing operation in the early 90’s.

The basic philosophy was to:
1) Establish a method to receive and distribute material in the most cost efficient, timely, and orderly manner
2) Provide a base method/procedure on which improvement will take place

For further explanation, below are the different “Part Types” used to identify how various parts were to be used.  Keep in mind that at the start of the US lift truck operation, several key parts were sourced through the parent company (TAL) in Japan while efforts were started to shift most of the component sourcing to the US.

Japan Supplied Parts:

Kanban – small, inexpensive parts ordered by Kanban

Set Parts – large, more expensive parts designated for specific order (i.e., engine, mast, muffler, drive axle, etc.)

Replacement – replacements for damaged parts

Local Parts:

Supplied in the US (tires, batteries, counterweights)

Keep in mind that this example is from the very initial practices used during start-up of the production efforts.  I have displayed it in this blog as an example of how beginnings take place.  By referring to “From the Archives of a Common Sensei Volume 21” you will learn about the sequencing of product production.  In this volume, we discuss how materials can be staged and prepared for sequentially ordering for sub-assemblies and the main assembly line.  For clarification, the US Toyota Lift Truck assembly process has made multiple upgrades and has built on the original “basic philosophy” multiple times during the last 31 years.  Today it is an example of a highly sophisticated, efficient, and effective processing organization built on multiple improvements using the Toyota Production System principles and behaviors.  This operation has expanded multiple times and today is the leading producer of lift trucks.  Click on the URL to get a better understanding as to how far the Toyota Lift Truck operation has matured over the last 30 years. https://youtu.be/P-bDlYWuptM

By looking back over our previous volumes of From the Archives of a Common Sensei where we try to demonstrate the intricate path of acceptance and use of Toyota methods in the US, it is astounding how much progress has been made and the kaizen principle of continuous improvement continues the path toward uncompromised excellence.  It has been a long and meaningful journey for many of us who have had similar experiences!  Toyota is perhaps the leader in the advancement of TPS and Lean, but there are other organizations where advances have also been made as well.  It’s my experience of working with approximately 300 organizations over my career, the ones that succeed in TPS (Lean) advances require continuity of management that is willing to get involved and lead by the same principles espoused by Toyota.

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Rapid Crisis Intervention/Facilitation Method


Organizations around the globe face critical instances that need a clear and consistent approach to resolving issues in a way that not only fixes a problem in the short term but also helps to ensure that the issue does not happen again.  Too many times organizations make knee jerk reactions to stop the bleeding and resolve immediate problems however, there is  no true resolution to make sure that the problem does not occur again.  Often times, these organizations face a make or break situation in terms of public perception as well as operational capabilities standpoints.  These situations demand rapid and corrective actions in mid-stream, without the luxury of re-starting operations from square one.  In most situations, there is time to right the ship and provide the necessary practical and technical leadership that is required to fix the current problems and to communicate a concrete plan and corrective solution to the organizations stakeholders.

Based on Crisis Intervention experience for organizations across the globe,  the following approach to standing up a Crisis Intervention Management (CIM) PMO has been established.  The goal of the CIM PMO is to coordinate, facilitate, and be a management tool for allowing organizational leads to direct and integrate resources allowing them to navigate the correct path within a defined period of time.

The Crisis Intervention Management (CIM) PMO is a well-defined and replicable methodology that is used to assist organizations in tracking, managing, coordinating, and communicating the successful remediation of the issues with systems that are in a rapid remediation mode.

Crisis Intevention Model

The Crisis Intervention Model above does not in itself contain the final solution to the specific problems that plague organizations/programs in crisis.  That is the function of the leadership, program, and technical resources that are tasked for this purpose.  Rather, the CIM is a defined methodology to help ensure that a rapid but replicable intervention process is followed and that the issues are identified and the solutions are implemented in a timely manner by the individuals with the required expertise.

From Kick-Off to Execution, the CIM Model envisions a six week project followed by the Delivery of the Solution.  The Kick-Off is used to establish the ground rules for interaction and to allow everyone to understand the role of the CIM PMO and how all of the stakeholders will work within this structure.  The Gap Analysis is done in a two day workshop format that will allow the Organization to identify their vision of the problem and their requirements, the current staff/vendors to present the current problems and the proposed solutions, and selected Industry thought leaders to evaluate the issues and identify gaps and propose innovative solutions.  The Solutions Definition workshop is an addition two day workshop that will include some of the key personnel from the previous meetings and builds upon the Gap Analysis by including additional Subject Matter Experts that may be necessary to build a solution.  The outcome of this meeting will be the roadmap by which the solution will be executed.  Project Planning is the concrete schedule of implementation events that will be conducted as a means to deliver a fully functional Solution.  Execution is the work that will be done by the incumbent team, coordinated by the CIM PMO, with oversight from the organizational Lead.  Finally, Solution Delivery is the rollout of the new fixes in a seamless and effective way so that stakeholders have fully functioning and user friendly solution to the problem.

During a period of crisis, organizations a facing a very difficult time and that there are many ideas and proposals being provided to fix the problems facing the organization.  CIM is not a  solution, it is an organized and efficient way to screen solutions and implement them in a clear and well-structured process.  Even in the toughest of environments, properly trained and experienced Crisis Intervention Subject Matter Experts are able to drive even the most difficult of organizations to the execution phase within six weeks.  A standard timeline is included below.

Outcomes of a Structured Crisis Intervention Management Methodology include,  stand up the CIM PMO, facilitation of a Kick-Off meeting, Gap Analysis, and Solutions Definition, as well as providing the organization with a detailed Project Plan,
Daily Updates, Weekly Status Reports, Strategic Talking Points, and a final debrief.  Additionally, it is necessary for the CIM PMO to work with the Organization leads to drive the successful implementation of the Solution Delivery team, providing the necessary personnel and bandwidth to provide the oversight necessary to resolve a very serious issue at a very delicate time.