Learn by REFLECTING on experience...
yours and others.
There’s gold for you in John Dewey’s contention that, “we do not learn from experience… we learn from reflecting on experience.” Today, ATJ glances back to a message Kevin Meyer contributed over a decade ago to the HPM Consortium Newsletter as he prepared for the 2006 AME International Lean Manufacturing Conference in Dallas. Ten years later, the 2016 AME International Lean Conference for practitioners is also in Dallas on October 24-28!
In 2006, Kevin was the architect and founder of "superfactory.com" the largest Lean Manufacturing Web Portal. His ingenuity provided practitioners with a unique and desperately needed resource for practical learning to operationalize everything lean. Since building this resource, he has not stood still. He is now a principle in the GEMBA Academy and still provides us with know-how resources via high quality videos. Kevin is not only a good friend with 30 years of executive leadership in companies of all sizes, he is also the author of a new and deeply thoughtful book that your editor is currently enjoying The Simple Leader : Personal and Professional Leadership at the Nexus of Lean and Zen. We now zoom back a decade to see what we can glean!
HPM Consortium Newsletter January 2nd, 2006: It’s exciting to learn what other minds see when they peer at the future. In this case, we can learn much from the design of manufacturing conferences, simply because it is imperative that organizers know two years in advance just what will be “hot” and what will not. Kevin is putting together the AME Website for the huge Dallas Lean Conference coming this October. Here are the observations of a man who single-handedly built today’s largest manufacturing portal from his early foxhole at Abbot Labs to a site with more than 60,000 subscribers. This is the first week of January 2006 – yet seeing a glimpse of what the planners of this conference see in the world may well provide some uneasiness for manufacturers everywhere. Our thanks to our good friend Kevin Meyer.
The Six Revolutions
“I believe there are two must-attend International Conferences each year, and especially in 2006: the annual Association for Manufacturing Excellence Conference (Dallas, 16-20 October 2006) and the Lean Accounting Summit (Orlando, 21-22 September 2006). I've been involved with AME for many years, and our own Bill Waddell is a key player behind the Lean Accounting Summit. This year Superfactory provided the design and execution for the new AME 2006 Conference website, which launched two weeks ago at www.ame.org
AME, and the AME conferences, are run by volunteers and practitioners for practitioners... direct presentations by consultants are not allowed. The 2005 AME Boston conference sold out, and pre-registrations for the 2006 conference have more than doubled the previous record... which is an indication that manufacturers are rapidly realizing that the competitive landscape has changed, and they must improve to succeed.
Interestingly enough, over the last few years an increasing percentage of the conference has dealt with the application of manufacturing excellence methods, especially lean, to enterprise and non-manufacturing organizations. "Lean healthcare" has been particularly well-represented recently, and will be again in 2006 with increasing interest being shown by the military and service sector organizations.
The theme of the 2006 AME conference is "Thriving in Change", which pretty much describes the world we're in right now. The ideas behind this year's conference are built around The Six Revolutions, which is based on the Seven Revolutions and Seven Futures described by the Global Strategy Institute of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, which we blogged about several months ago. These revolutions are not just forces... they are fundamental upheavals in our socioeconomic structure that will radically change how we do business.
The Six Revolutions:
This is the perspective-changing Revolution that awakens the custodians of our quality of life to the reality of the all-pervasive global marketplace and of the strategic need to serve it with all our being. Globalization, for many, has become real as they appreciate that their competitors are only one mouse-click away from them on their customer’s computer. This realization of the intensity of global competitiveness makes vivid the reality that suppliers can no longer give a customer even one bad day. Such realities cause our workforces to 'Think Globally, but Act Locally.'
Time is the currency of the 21st Century. Quick access to knowledge held by others has high competitive value. The power of human collaboration has roots in the reality that “no one is as smart as all of us” – and in the global world, to tap such resources requires an understanding that a culture of trust and respect must be its starting point. Century competitiveness demands both internal collaboration among all employees, and, external collaboration with all elements of the extended enterprise to accelerate designs and throughput to customers. The laser alignment of all internal and extended collaboration drives waste from our enterprises to put us in the fighting trim needed to win in the global marketplace.
This Revolution is a prime key to achieving the huge multipliers of the quantities - and of the velocity of throughput – to global customers. Such multipliers, with such velocity, enable our ability to achieve global competitiveness with low wage countries. Formidable are the competitors who develop the culture of innovation that inspires the openness, involvement, achievement, and deployment of streams of new products and services. Success demands finding the means of harvesting and deploying every single idea from a vision-driven, collaborative workforce. The power of consortia brings the safe opportunity to test, strengthen and tune the innovation needed to enhance and sustain one’s competitiveness.
Perhaps this is the most potent Revolution of them all, as it is people who make processes and technology productive. The successful winning paradigms cannot be sustainable without the growth of a culture with a clear focus that unites people in an environment of trust and respect, and makes accuracy and sustainment possible in an infrastructure where it is people that make processes and technology productive.
This powerful enabling Revolution is the winning catalytic force that enables the velocity of communication and throughput to drive competitive leadership. Information is muda if not used – and information’s value is geometrically proportional to its velocity as it unites people instantly around the world.
This Revolution, based on no-compromise-standardization, is directed at the generation of sustainable processes, products, and quality. More importantly, once in place, such standardization provides the critical platform needed to harness the full power of Continuous Improvement – the most competitive weapon an organization can have. Building a culture of flexible standardization (which only changes when a better way is found) is the antidote for companies whose processes seem to melt away and whose hard-fought innovation just never reaches its potential. Perpetuation includes Life-Cycle thinking, and, the pursuit of perfection in a more predictable environment that is increasingly changed by design.
It becomes very obvious how lean manufacturing can mesh with every one of these concepts. The impact of globalization on supply chains and targeted customers; collaboration to drive waste out of extended processes; innovation to increase throughput velocity; humanization to take advantage of human potential and synergy; and perpetuation to drive standard processes and sustained improvement.
Thanks again, Kevin, for the thoughts you shared with us a decade ago. It makes one think there are STILL lessons we can extract despite the differences in our current environments. At the end of the day, fabricating a personal KATA routine by applying lessons from the experiences of others can still be valuable!
Here are some value-extracting mindsets to make into a routine or habit: 1) Block all thoughts that suggest that because it occurred in the past it can’t be much use to you today. 2) Have no tolerance for sad “Not-Invented-Here” thinking. Think about 1) Why was this done? 2) What went into this? 3) How does it work? 4) How can I exploit it? 5) How can I make it better? 6) How might a competitor use this against me? The trick is to energize your mental curiosity and intensity. Finally, establish a comfortable routine you like and will actually do. The more you do it the more value you will extract. Pick a KATA routine that fits you. There are no silver bullets. It starts with you.
"Everything comes to him
who hustles while he waits."
"A mistake may turn out to be the one thing
necessary to a worthwhile achievement."