Volume 1 / Issue 5 / May 23, 2016
“The only source of knowledge is experience” Albert Einstein
Many succumb to the non-thinking sound bite. During this period – while your editor and his family are trekking to their new home in Penticton, BC – we will continue to draw timeless nuggets from the archives as we ‘look back to earlier issues to… better see ahead’. The following article by Australia’s Gary Kerr, was drawn from his LLEAN Newsletter which was reprinted in the 2006 July 24th, HPM Weekly Update. The response was excellent.
Each year, for 14 years in a row now, Gary organizes some of the best manufacturers in Australia to join him in exchange visits with some 10 Canadian manufacturers. And if that were not enough, they attend the AME International Lean Conference which is in Dallas this year. They are serious about manufacturing improvement and their valuable exchanges with every host company over the years has been a solid win-win for both. They believe, as ATJ does, that the world is the true classroom and the best learning comes from the experience exchange with others and the free and open interactions that follow. They are excited about the trip and anxious to add the insights from two more plant tour sites in the Southwestern Ontario area that would accelerate innovation and understanding of how to apply different winning processes. So, if you have a plant you are proud of – and would value a 2-3 hr. exchange with our Aussie visitors during October 17th-20th – send Gary an email!
In the next issue, June 9th, we will discuss possible trends upon reviewing 25 years of manufacturing improvement attempts.
Building an Ant Colony
How is it, that ants are so successful? Is it their tremendous strength, natural instinct, superior survivability, or is there another answer? The reason is probably pretty obvious. The collaboration and cooperation of the many insignificant parts working as a single unity with every coordinated action of every individual working for the success and proliferation of the colony. What would your organization look like if it behaved like an ant colony?
If you work for Toyota, you probably already know the answer to this question. Many companies fail to gain any traction with change because they are unable to create an alignment of vision, strategy, belief, and activity at all levels within the organization. People throughout the organization unwittingly work against the interest of the colony because of a range of different pressures, systems and policies. Bad systems beat good people every day and the best companies have the best systems and this helps to grow the best people.
If we are to prosper we must coordinate the hearts, minds and actions of all our people.
I offer this simple model for creating organizational alignment. The Japanese call this way of managing and coordinating, “Hoshin Kanri”.
Lewis Caroll wrote “if you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there”.
We need to ensure that everyone in the organization knows where we are going and knows the road we are on together. It starts with sewing together our vision for excellence.