Friday, April 03, 2009

Lean Synergy

Paul McCartney and John Lennon
Abbott and Costello
Ben and Jerry
Peanut Butter and Jelly
Kiichiro Toyoda and Taiichi Ohno

These are great examples of synergy. Each is extremely talented individually but put them together and WOW! It is a thing of beauty, pure magic. Just stand back and prepare ourselves to be amazed by the result.

Synergy is the interaction of two or more forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects, or simply put where 1 + 1 = 3.

In a true lean system, there are several synergies.

Just-in-Time and Autonomation
Continuous Improvement and Respect for People
Production Flow and Information Flow
Team Kaizen and Individual Kaizen

You may recognize the first two as the pillars to the Toyota Production System (TPS) and pillars to the Toyota way. Taiichi Ohno uses an analogy in explaining the relationship between the two pillars of the Toyota System in his book, Toyota Production System, “A championship team combines good teamwork with individual skill. Likewise, a production line where just-in-time and autonomation work together is stronger that other lines. It is in the synergy of these two factors.”

Each is worthy on its own however working together the resulting effect is far greater. Many companies make the mistake of concentrating on just one aspect of lean, or in using some of the tools, or narrowly focusing on only one of the pillars on their lean journey. Some improvements can be gained but this is not REAL lean and there is no WOW. Only by combining these components in a total business system is when lean synergy is realized.

It seems like just “yesterday”, we started traveling down “the long and winding road” of our lean journey. It is a constant struggle to become lean, nothing short of a true “revolution” is needed. We put in many “ a hard day’s night” to get where we are today. At first our associates told us to “let it be”, and there were many crisis moments of uncertainty when we need “Help!” from our lean sensei and would cry out “Hey Jude”. Our lean sensei would only respond by saying “Tell me what you see”.

With the power of synergy, one day it will all “come together”, but we know that we are “getting better” everyday. One day maybe waste will be “nowhere man” and we can shout “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da”. Just “imagine”.

1 comment:

mike said...

So, is everything lying around "helter-skelter" in your plant, or have you begun 5S?