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论老子

道,领导也。领导必需要不断呼唤,教导下属以及以身作则。下属的过和错皆因领导懒惰。

 
 
 

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Section 4: Lean production system is not TPS  

2012-06-24 11:59:58|  分类: Buffer Mentality |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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I encouraged, “John, you are the finest student that I ever had.”

“Come on, Eric. You must be kidding,” said John Zeneski.

“No, I am a serious person. I explain to you now why you need not fear any one of the lean masters. Not even the best lean master with more than 10 years of practical experience. You fear him not.”

“What makes you think so? I just completed my lean expert workshop and I am not even certified as a lean expert yet. The lean masters will make minced meat out of me,” said John.

I asked, “What is the difference between the Toyota Production System and the lean production system? Would it be as simple as just replace the word, ‘Toyota’ with the word, ‘lean’?”

John thought for several minutes. He replied, “When Professor Daniel T. Jones wrote the book, ‘Toyota Production System – The machine that changed the world’; he coined the phase, ‘lean production system’. To me, these two systems should be the same. Professor Jones must have studied the ins and outs of the Toyota Production System.

Perhaps, Professor Jones was afraid that the American readers do not like to learn about the Toyota Production System because it sounds so Japanese and a lot of pride can be lost.

Since the Americans had beaten the Japanese during the Second World War, they do not like to hear something akin to the Japanese are coming back to beat the American with a Toyota Production System, especially when the book champions the superiority of the Japanese and thus, allows them to conquer the world in the manufacturing arena.”

“You got a point,” I nodded my head, “But there are two major differences between these two systems. I shall point them out to you, one by one. First, you draw a triangle and write the phase, ‘lean production system’.      

 

Figure S4-1: Lean production system as a single field of study.



Section 4: Lean production system is not TPS - 浪里行舟 - 论老子
 
 

 

 

 

 


     Professor Daniel Jones was the person who first wrote about the lean production system. You may be able to find a hundred books written on lean production system. In the hundreds or thousands of lean expert and lean master workshops that had been conducted since Professor Jones coined the word, lean production system, the workshop syllabus does not include the teaching of industrial engineering.

The facilitators who conducted these workshops sometimes do briefly mention that the Toyota Production System involves quite a fair bit of industrial engineering stuff but the participants were asked to read it themselves. Industrial engineering won’t be taught in the workshop.

The Toyota Production System is much more complicated than what is taught in the lean production system workshops and in most books written on this subject. Industrial engineering is totally absent in lean production system but is a very important core element of the Toyota Production System.”

 

Figure S4-2: Lean production system is built on top of industrial engineering

Section 4: Lean production system is not TPS - 浪里行舟 - 论老子
 
 
“Oh! I see. There is an important difference between the two systems. But I am not good in industrial engineering. I had never studied industrial engineering,” said John.

“Do you think a combination of lean production system and industrial engineering will make the Toyota Production System stands tall towering over the rest of the similar production systems called by any other names?” I asked.

John tried to explain, “Industrial engineering when used well will bring in huge cost savings. Of course, Toyota Motors Corporation builds cheaper cars than any other competitor. This goes without saying.”

I further explained, “John, you have not understood the power of the Toyota Production System, yet. Let me show you the next Figure.

 

Figure S4-3: The Toyota Production system



Section 4: Lean production system is not TPS - 浪里行舟 - 论老子
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Right at the base is the Toyota’s Just-in-time philosophy. It says, ‘right part, right quantity and at the right time’. Do you know what this phase means?”

John thought for several minutes. He said, “For example, I want 2 units of a chassis model, A-001 at exactly 9:12am. The material handler delivered 2 units at 9:00am. I would still consider he had delivered the right part, at the right quantity and at the right time.

We can’t be so exacting right on the dot for the time factor. Am I right?”

“John, you are indeed a fast learner,” I elaborated further, “We can let loose the margin of error for the time factor. It could be 24 hours ahead and yet I can consider it just-in-time.

Of course, right part must also means exactly the correct part as called for in the order number. You are not going to argue about the exactness of the right part, right?

But for ‘right quantity’, I must insist the quantity deliver each time must be 2 pieces; not a unit more or less. What do you think of this condition?”

John thought for several minutes. He then shook his head and said, “Sorry, Eric. I don’t get you.”

I explained, “Most managers want to argue about the right quantity. Based on various reasons and depending on one’s comfort zone or preference, the quantity usually is a hard fought number before everyone agrees to it. Don’t you think so?”

John replied, “I fully agree with you, 100%.”

I explained, “When Professor Daniel Jones chose the word, ‘lean’ to form the phase, ‘lean production system’, he is trying to avoid this controversial issue or ‘argue until the cows come home’ and yet nobody would want to compromise on the definition of what is the ‘right quantity’ of buffer or WIP or inventory to hold.

He was darn smart to avoid this issue altogether with a single stroke of the pen when he coined the word, ‘lean’. However, he did not realize his ‘smartness’ destroyed the very basic philosophy of the Toyota Production system.”

“Hey! Wait a minute. Are you sure, you read Professor Jones right? He is the most respected guru and founder of the lean production system,” doubted John.

I explained, “From the late 1970’s to the late 1980’s the earlier batch of American professors who went to Toyota Motor Corporation to study the Toyota Production System had indeed accurately coined the word, ‘Just-in-time production system’ and the philosophy behind this system is ‘right part, at the right quantity and at the right time’.

Strictly from an academic point of view, Just-in-time production system is 100% accurate in describing the soul of the Toyota Production System and is exactly what makes the Toyota Production System ticks. However, the people who run the factory do not like[1] it. For this reason, the Just-in-time production system did not take off. It died about two decades ago.

Professor Daniel Jones knew that the Toyota Production System or the Just-in-time Production system is the most wonderful machine that can change the world. But the failure of the Just-in-time Production System taught him the key controversial point among the managers is the right quantity. For this reason, he coined the word, lean.

Lean to one person could be 100 pieces. Lean to another party can be 20 pieces. Lean to a third party could be 1,000 pieces. This completely opens up the flexibility of determining what ‘right quantity’ is or can be.

Professor Daniel T. Jones’ book sold extremely well. Many me-too copies sold extremely well, too. But the essence of the Toyota Production System was all lost. But the true philosophy that had benefitted Toyota Motor Corporation tremendously is now a well-kept open secret simple because the readers and lean experts/masters were effectively misled by Professor Daniel T. Jones.

They all thought that leaning the lean production system is essentially the same as the Toyota Production System. How wrong were they and to the perils of their companies.”

John exclaimed, “Amazing! Eric, you are really a wonderful guy. You understood the strengths and weaknesses between these two systems inside out.

In three simple Figures, you had pointed out to me what the whole world could not figure out why many companies that had implemented the lean production system could not produce spectacular results.

Lean production system as is taught al lean workshops and written in many books had been devoid of its philosophy and the fundamental industrial engineering know-how. The lean production system is critically flawed with both these wings clipped.

You made it clear to me, these two wings are: industrial engineering and the Just-in-time philosophy.”

“Precisely,” I said, “You may want to ask me why everyone in the world did not realized these two flaws and yet now, I could point them out in 3 simple Figures.”

“Yes! This is why you are world-apart from the rest of the so-called lean masters,” said John, “I remember you said you did not go to any of the lean expert or lean master workshop. What really that makes you so sure that you are 100% right on these two points.”

I smiled at John and explained, “I founded a new concept. It is called, ‘veil of misinformation’[2].”

“Hey! That is truly interesting,” exclaimed John, “What is it?”

“The veil of misinformation says, ‘Even without telling a single word of lie, you will be influenced to make a decision in favor of the person who tries to manipulate your decision-making process.’ It is very powerful,” I emphasized.

“I have never heard of that,” said John.

I elaborated, “Of course, you have not heard of it. You can read it in one of my books, entitled, ‘7 Deadly Management Behaviors: CEO Edition’. It is money-back guaranteed. I am sure you will love this book.”

“I’ll buy them. How much do they cost? It is worth US$100 a copy. This is well within my monthly budget for books and magazines.

After reading this book and if I find them very useful, I will buy a copy for all my staff.”

I ended up our discussion, “Thank you John for your support. This book entitled, “Buffer Mentality” consists of tales from the shop floor’ and ‘Information engineering’ were all written with full dedication to you and all Honeywell employees.”

John smiled and said, “Eric, the true master is not me. It is you: the grand master in the field of lean production system or to be more exactly, Toyota Production system.”



[1] The author attributed to likeability as the other key reasons why the Just-in-time production system failed to take off in the American companies. Read chapter 7 of the management book, “7 Deadly Management Behaviors – CEO Edition” by the same author.

[2] Please refer to chapter 1 of “7 Deadly Management Behaviors – CEO Edition” by the same author.

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