By Jon Miller | Post Date: July 6, 2006 6:53 PM | Comments: 0
Every so often the NAVAIR AIRSpeed organization gives me a reason to sing their praises. I have a lot of respect for the kaizen activity that's going on there and how they communicate it. They really seem to be getting it right.
Today's lesson is in what the Japanese call yokoten which is literally "horizontal implementation" but is better termed "copying" or in the case of AIRSpeed, "replication" of kaizen results to other areas where they can be applied.
A July 6, 2006 article in the DC Military website today titled Replication: Spreading AIRSpeed Success outlines how. It all starts out with a blend of DMAIC and a 5-day kaizen workshop:
"Kaizen" is a method for accelerating the pace of process improvement. It's a rapid intense event where progress is made through all the AIRSpeed steps: define, measure, analyze, improve and control. This requires preparatory work be completed at the Define step and even sometimes the Measure step by a small team led by a team lead and a Black Belt. The rest of the steps - analyze-improve-control - are performed by a full kaizen team in just one to five days!
Then there are three criteria to successfully doing yokoten, the AIRSpeed article tells us:
1) The replication benefits are worth the replication cost
How do they select the kaizen ideas to copy? The original project should be:
- A clearly defined process change and prove to be effective
In other words, copy the kaizen idea when you have established the new Standard Work and it is stable. Based on the examples given, we can infer that it may also be easier to copy transactional kaizen ideas that are more portable, often virtual and require less reconfiguration of factory or office hardware.
Too many companies think too hard about how to "adapt" the TPS philosophy instead of just copying whatever they can. This is a way of making excuses rather than doing the hard work of changing. I am not saying that you can copy TPS exactly 100% successfully. I am saying grasshopper too often quarrels with sensei.
Consider martial arts. In martial arts, first you copy the master as closely as you can. You don't talk about how "you are different" or how "it doesn't apply to me" to your martial arts sensei. Only after you have mastered your kata (forms) can you break out of these forms and make variations that suit your body and mind better. Then you can develop your own style and go beyond your martial arts sensei.
How can we copy good kaizen ideas effectively? It starts with humility. Admit that your process might be just like someone else's process and not so unique that you can't copy someone else. Admit first that someone else might have already figured out the answer. Choose "I can be better" instead of "I can be right".
I hope AIRSpeed and all of the great men and women in the armed services doing kaizen will replicate their kaizen ideas all the way through the government to the heart of Wahington D.C. and the oval office. In the mean time, read about their approach to replication, and copy it.Comments are moderated to filter spam and inappropriate content. There may be a delay before your comment is published.