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Kaizen and workers.

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  • #44520

    Josh
    Participant

    I work for a Japanese company promotes Kaizen.  I have been working on reducing cycletimes on several machines in the dept. I work in. We have made major improvements in the cycle times. Example: We were running 5 boxes per hour on some machines. By reducing the cycle time and Kaizens, we can now run 8 boxes per hour with the same amount of effort that before took to run 5 boxes. The problem that I am having is getting the workers frame of mind to run 8 boxes per hour. They have been use to running 5 for so long it seems hard to get them to run anymore? Some have told me “I don’t care how fast you get it running, I am not running anymore than I use to”. It is important to reduce cost at my company to stay competitive. By increasing output on the machines, and having less labor cost per piece is important.
    Question: How can I get the workers to get more “Gung Ho” and run more pieces without pissing them off ?

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    #142790

    Howard Miller
    Participant

    Hi Josh,
    This is where the fun really starts… I have had countless similar issues on previous Kaizen events. One Piece flow is always the fun one to get across to the ingrained workforce.
    There are three things you want to always ensure when you are dealing with people and changing their working practices, firstly (and always first) tell them Why there is a need for change, without that there is no drive for change. Next is the What you are going to change, and then How you are going to do it.
    The easiest forums for change that I have experienced is one where a production line is under threat of extinction, and something has to be done, otherwise sayonara product line and the people who work on it (a very big ‘Why’). This motivates people beyond belief (that is if you catch it before they all switch off and drift into depression as they have given up!!). Spend some time with the people, go through the rationale for setting your project live? What are the consequences if the output is not improved? what is your competition?
    Then go into what and how, in as much detail and ensure that you have done your homework on the current state.
    Remember, people live in their own paradigm of how their world is supposed to be, you will not change their belief’s without a damned good reason!
    Good luck
    H.

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    #142814

    Josh
    Participant

    Howard,
    Thanks for the response. You have some very good ideas on how to get people to change their ways. I will give it a try this week. They cycle time improvements and production improvements are all on my shoulders. If it all goes to hell and doesn’t work, I will be sure and hear about it. I have gotten the machines running better through Kaizen projects, cycle time improvements and maintenance issues. The machines will run 1/4 more production, with less strain on the associates. If I can only get the workers to change their frame of mind and get more encouraged about the project, I think it will be a big success.
    Thanks for your input.

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    #142816

    Hans
    Participant

    Have you ever thought about a 3 – 4 hour overview training prior to the engagement with shop floor people including a simulation game that would allow them to discover the principles of lean without “telling them?”. Just curious how you rolled out this initiative in the first place.

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    #142818

    Josh
    Participant

    Hans,
    The job I have at my company is to reduce cycle time, reduce scrap, present cost reductions ideas, and present kaizen ideas. For the past 3 months I have been working on reducing cycle times on our machines and improving production. I don’t think a simulation game would help.  Thanks

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    #142820

    Dooley
    Participant

    Josh,
      There are two important responsibilities here.  The first, (yours) is to understand which of the 3 main levels of resistance you are receiving and apply the correct counter measure.  The second is for the sponsor or champion to be involved and explain to the folks why the change is important, clarify the goals, and remove road blocks that may arise.  Use a tops down bottoms up approach.
    Dooley
     

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    #142822

    Hans
    Participant

    I absolutely agree. But what did you do in the first place to get them involved? How did you get into your current conundrum? Six Sigma is also about lessons learned on how to engage the first-line employees, not only after the fact. No need to respond as I only spend my time coaching and mentoring those novices to Six Sigma who have a desire to learn from their mistakes and engage in self-reflection. Not those who have the attitude that “The job I have at my company is to reduce cycle time, reduce scrap, present cost reductions ideas, and present kaizen ideas”. Keep on presenting!!! But please, don’t call that Six Sigma!  

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    #142842

    Tronan
    Member

    Josh,
    No worries, and good luck!
    Reading some of the other postings on here, there were talks about simulation tools, and that sparked a memory… When making changes to people’s working processes or procedures, it is always good to keep quoting that you are working to help make them work smarter not harder! It is a simple statement but generally helps as it is endorsing the fact that you are not simply cracking the whip harder to get the results, and making their working day more of a chore.
    Metaphors…. You know what? we really need to improve the bottleneck in this process… we are going to do it by….. (blank faces start to look at you) then you say: ‘it is kinda like the motorway, the reason we have traffic jams is because we have a three lane road going into a two lane road! What we need to do is make that road bigger by doing this improvement and hey presto we can get to our destination!’ People really respond to Metaphors, it is kind of like a Monty Python light beam from the sky and you can almost hear the choir in the background as the penny drops.
    On the Simulation front, I had a lady who had been running a production line for something like 30 years, she was very effective at running the line in her methodology, however she got the monthly numbers in what seemed the last three days of the month. She was dead set against going to One Piece Flow to level the output, so I ran a simple simulation. I picked two people randomly (literally the next two people that walked past… the planner and an operator) Ran a simulation with small parts being put in a tube, one person in batch, the other OPF. The trial ran for 30 seconds, the whole conversation took 20 minutes, the change went in for the rest of time.
    One of the issues that can be faced is that of the leadership in the areas where you are making your improvements (all too often you have management and not leadership…). By running the simulation tool with team leaders and supervisors, you will get natural improvements without you working so hard… The best simulation tools are reality itself. However I have to confess that I have bought a simulation package which I intend to use on all personnel team leader and above. This will start mid October.
    I wish you luck in your endeavour, you have some very interesting times ahead of you!
    H.

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    #142878

    Josh
    Participant

    H.
    You have some really good Ideas.  I love the idea of using methaphors. Let me know how using the simulation package goes on your team leaders. I really enjoyed reading your post. Thanks,

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    #142879

    Josh
    Participant

    Hans,
    Isn’t a conundrum a type of wine? I love people who have to use big words, the type that keep a thesaurus on their desk.  Anyway, I did get everyone involved thru a workshop on all the improvements made on their lines. Everyone had input with ideas and everyone was hands on with doing kaizens. I didn’t just come in and say your going to do this and that’s that. Everyone had equal input and implemented their ideas on how to improve the line, work smarter and be more efficient. All I wanted to know in my post was to ask some more experienced people, who have been in my shoes at one point or another, how they got their employees to change their attitudes accepting new changes in their workplace. I know people get set in their ways and a new change is hard to accept, even if it is better and more efficient.

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    #142880

    Hans
    Participant

    It looks like you did your basics, so your question is fair.
    In regards to the usage of the word “conundrum”: after you have lived, worked and studied in five different countries with four different languages for extended periods of times, let’s see how well you will be doing in keeping score of words and the intricate differences between types of social interaction and communication :-))). So, I guess “difficulties” would be the better word in this context, this country and this forum. I’ll keep that in mind for the future. (How lucky to be born an American and be born with the gift of the “lingua franca” in this newly globalized world. However, funny to think that I could pull this off without the quintessential thesaurus:-).
    Anyway, good response, and it looks like you are getting out of this discussion thread what you are looking for. Good luck with changing your workers’ attitudes. That’s probably the biggest of all challenges. Regards

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    #142882

    Anonymous
    Guest

    Josh,
    What Japanese company do you work for? I’ve not heard Kaizen used in this context within a Japanese company before. Kaizen in this context is an ‘Amercian’ invention sometimes using a Japanese gurus name.
    In most Japanese companies Kai-Zen means ‘making each step right’ and refers to the Toyota Production System practice of step-by-step confirmation (process self-assurance) and one-by-one confirmation.
    Regards,
    Andy

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    #142884

    Howard Miller
    Participant

    Hi Josh,
    Hi Josh, if you would like to know more, drop me a line at:
    [email protected]
    Sorry about the mix up with the names, I forgot to correct the name on the PC I am on…. Tronan was me.
    H.

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    #143244

    Haresh Patel
    Participant

    Hi Josh,
    If this is your first Kaizen event, it takes some tome to accept change. First event is always critical, and paves path for others. I find from my experience that after the success of event, have appreciation lunch etc for people involved. Let them feel that it was their ideas. If it becomes employee driven then management driven, you will see more acceptance.
    Good luck

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    #143270

    Sinnicks
    Participant

    Josh,
    I haven’t went through all the replies, so forgive me if I repeat anything. I was wondering how the guys (gals) on the floor were involved in your Kaizen Event. As a Organizational Development guy, I would say that thier involvement could increase buy-in. If this was done at a manager level, and the workers are just expected to comply with the outcomes, then resistance should be expected.
    Getting everyone involved in the process is usually reduces the barriers to implementing anything new in the workplace.
    Mark
     
     

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    #143299

    Jonathon Andell
    Participant

    You’ve gotten a lot of good replies. I skimmed fast, so I may have missed this one:Are people afraid of losing their jobs? It’s hard to get somebody motivated to cut their own throat. If that’s a serious threat, it will have to be dealt with.One option is to promise not to fire anybody, but to reduce staff through attrition or incentives. Another is to take business away from competitors, and let the same work force produce more revenue and profit.

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