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TPS critic to SS. Do you agree ?

Six Sigma – iSixSigma Forums Old Forums General TPS critic to SS. Do you agree ?

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  • #38610

    Peppe
    Participant

    Hi All, following was read within a book about TPS.  Your opinion are welcome.
    Rgs, Peppe
    “Tools, techniques, and metrics aside, Toyota’s greatest emphasis is on thinking through problems and solutions. At Toyota, it is said that problem solving is 20% tools and 80% thinking. Unfortunately, I’ve learned from many Six Sigma programs that some companies get caught up in using all the great and new sophisticated analysis tools, where problem solving seems to be 80% tools and 20% thinking”

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    #115757

    Bob J
    Participant

    Peppe,
    I think it’s a pretty narrow view….  From my experience they’re talking apples and oranges…
    Most Kaizens etc I’ve been involved in are pretty low on tools and high on the intuitive analysis….  What looks like muda often is muda and so on…  Getting the right team to stop and think etc can generate some great breakthroughs…
    Six Sigma in my company is more focused on the stuff that doesn’t lend itself much to the intuitive side.  Many of the projects that I have been involved in are targeted at processes with factors that are anything but intuitive…  If we have one that looks intuitive it goes in the JDI bucket and doesn’t (usually) end up on the docket…
    This doesn’t mean that we don’t have “tool zombies” but that is something that is on the radar and (post certification) is not much of a problem…  Results (and successful projects) are the only thing that really matters and most of our BBs use only those tools necessary to successfully resolve the project opportunity…  
    My 2/c
    Best Regards,
    Bob J

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    #115758

    Tronan
    Member

    Perfect.
    Which book on the TPS was it?
    T.

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    #115761

    Peppe
    Participant

    Tronan, title and author :
    The Toyota Way—14 Management Principles from the World’s Greatest Manufacturer
    Jeffrey K. Liker
    McGraw-Hill
    Rgs, Peppe

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    #115764

    Peppe
    Participant

    Bob J,
    I understand everyone see what he want, but it wasn’t wrote about intuitive, but about thinking and you know the rigid SS process leave less flexibility about decision making. Isn’t my scope to discuss which is the best, it will be a silly question, but just to know if you agree on that sentence, without prejudice.
    Rgs, Peppe

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    #115765

    Bob J
    Participant

    Peppe,
    My mistake…  I thought you wanted logic and context…  Without that any answer is pretty much meaningless…
    Best Regards,
    Bob J
     

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    #115767

    Mikel
    Member

    Liker knows what he is talking about.

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    #115769

    Peppe
    Participant

    Bob,
    maybe my answer was unhappy …
    Of course I whish discuss about logic and context, on which is the approach that can give main contribution to problem solving. I was involved in two different time in a SS program and Lean program and actually I think, that Lean give more emphasis to people than SS. Further it seems to me that Lean require less training giving better results, so it is easier to apply to every organization. 
    Rgs, Peppe

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    #115772

    Dayton
    Member

    He does indeed, although I have some inherent concern with his description of applied nemawashi.  Slow consensus building followed by rapid execution sounds good, but I’m not certain of the universal applicability or opportunity – although I realize the counter point is “well do you want to plan quickly not build consensus and have to do it again losing trust and time” – but I don’t think that you really need that degree of approach polarization, plan effectively, provide opportunity and requirement for participatory input, make the best path choice possible providing appropriate transparency and clarity as you go and revisit both path and your successful travel at appropriate intervals – but then you TPS guys are a lot smarter than I am.
     Vinny

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    #115773

    Mikel
    Member

    The TPS guys aren’t smarter – just more disciplined.

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    #115775

    Dayton
    Member

    I seriously lack discipline, so you might have a point.
     Vinny

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    #115777

    Mikel
    Member

    Me too. Thats why they pay me to give advice instead of the actual doing. They double my pay every time I threaten to actually do anything.

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    #115781

    McD
    Participant

    A few years ago I would have said you are full of it.  But after some time on this forum, it is pretty clear that in many organizations, Six Sigma is somewhat “cookbook”.  You’re supposed to collect some data, do these calculations, and out pops the answer.
    I haven’t seen that happen very often.  Maybe because my background is mostly transactional, and maybe because my experienced is more skewed toward DFSS than DMAIC, I rarely see a mindless approach.
    Rather, I see Six Sigma as this structure, with a whole pile of tools sitting in the toolbox.  At the start of each phase, I look at the objectives for the phase and figure out how to progress toward that objective.  The tools are there to be used, and I have yet to encounter a project that needed all of them, but have also not encountered a project that wasn’t better off with some of them.
    Sometimes the data leads you down a different path, and the results of some analysis or another dictate different analyses than you originally anticipated at the beginning of the phase.
    All of this involves a great deal of analytical thinking.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a project come close to “80% tools”.
    It is terribly easy, however, for Black Belts to lean in that direction.  I think it is human nature to want to have the path laid out.  It’s a lot easier to be able to simply turn the crank and magically, an answer pops out.  It does take some guidance to keep Black Belts from falling into this mode.
    It’s probably also easier for consultants to teach this mode.  The idea of a magic process that I don’t have to work hard at is probably easier to sell than something that is hard work … even if that hard work can lead to wonderful results.
    But then, that’s just my babbling.
    –McD
     

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    #115791

    Gabriel
    Participant

    Peppe and Stan, please forgive my ignorance.
    Is this book an official description of the Toyota Production System? I mean, is it made inside or endorsed by Toyota, or at least recognized by Toyota as a good description of their system? Or is it just an “outsider’s” analysis and description of the TPS? (even when it can still be excelent)

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    #115792

    Mikel
    Member

     A group spent a long time inside Toyota to understand why Toyota got a better result than those who tried to follow what was written about TPS. They published an article in Harvard Business Review in October 1999 call DNA of TPS. It talks about the things that are so deeply ingrained in Toyota that the Toyota folks don’t even know to talk about them.
    The book and the article are good.

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    #115793

    Mikel
    Member

    Check your email.

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    #115804

    Mikel
    Member

    Gabriel,
    Please send me an email to [email protected]. I had my PC stolen and lost your current email address. I tried to send you something earlier to help answer your question.

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    #115813

    Peppe
    Participant

    Gabriel,
    as already explaned by Stan it was from a guy that working within Toyota and the book have been published with Toyota approval.
    Rgs, Peppe

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    #115824

    Tronan
    Member

    Thank you Peppe I shall buy it straight away.
    Best Regards,
    T.

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    #115844

    Bob J
    Participant

    Peppe,
    No problem….;-)
    Its all about what you need to accomplish and what the best tool is to accomplish it…  It’s all about how to most efficiently identify the areas of improvement, make the necessary changes, evaluate and then move on…  I agree that Lean requires less training and gives great results for process flow, capacity and throughput time issues….  The problem is that some problems don’t fit nicely into this box and need a little different approach…. 
    For example, one of my original certification projects was associated with a new product that was having horrible scrap and throughput issues…  With a series of kaizens we were able to take the average throughput time from 3.5 weeks to 2 weeks, effectively doubling the capacity of the line…  One of the biggest remaining parts of the process (time wise) was a temperature conditioning that was critical to our final yield…  Three DOEs enabled us to reduce this from 5 days to 3 hours with an associated yield improvement from 80 to 96%.  Couldn’t have done this without the right tool…. 
    I think arguing one tool set over another is like arguing whether the brain or the heart is more important to your body…  Both are necessary if you want to be truely effective…
    My 2/c
    Bob J
    It all depends on

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    #115848

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Peppe,
    I agree that SS does not necessarily drive as much of the soft stuff as maybe they should (depending on whose material you use). If you have a BB that has a track record they will already know how to get it done.
    I do have a problem with the comment about the level of training it takes to do Lean. If someones idea of a Lean “deployment” is Kaizen events then you are probably correct. If you intend to take a facility through the steps of Work Place Organization, Standardized Work, Continuous Improvement and JIT/Kanban you are looking at much more than a week long event or even a years worth of week long events. The people who really seem to understand this at an intuitive level have as much training and dedication as the best MBB you can find.
    Just my opinion.
    Regards

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    #115850

    Peppe
    Participant

    Bob,
    I agree on the fact that both give value add and in fact we are observing a moving of companies and consultants to Lean SS. This  means (I have never seen a Lean SS project) that putting in place, as for your example, the right effort from both, you can achieve the desired results, but generally is prefereble to start with Lean and using SS to “refine” the necessary points. Is my understanding correct ?
    Rgs, Peppe

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    #115854

    Peppe
    Participant

    Mike,
    of course, my “opinions” came from my experiences and then my view on the this matter is the result of my involvement in both Lean and SS projects. I understand that a lot of good or bad “feeling” is due to the skill of projects leaders and teachers, so reading that in the book, that was in line with my feeling, I preferred to ask in the forum. Feedback received is in line with my expectation. Thanks for that.
    Rgs, Peppe

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    #115856

    Bob J
    Participant

    Peppe,
    Agreed for throughput and flow opportunities…  I’ve had other projects that are pure SS…. 
    For example, we had a significant customer issue with one of our products…  This customer experienced a number of process trips that accounted for roughly $10M in lost production due to false positive inputs from this particular group of products…  The “defective” products came back and we were unable to duplicate the problem in our labs…    We did have several clues that we were able to build a hypothesis on…  The majority of the trips occured during the monsoon season so we suspected humidity was a factor…  This failure mode was unique to this site and the site was situated on the coast leading us to suspect salt was a factor…  In addition, the problem “went away” when it was returned to us, leading us to suspect the environment at site…
    The product has two barriers that are designed to prevent moisture from getting into electronics (our hypothesis).  These are potting and conformal coating on the board…  We devised a doe where we varied the potting and varied the conformal coating and put the products in a salt fog chamber.  The output characteristic was how long they survived before going belly up….
    The results showed that the problem was associated with an interaction between the conformal coating on the board and the potting..  The solution ended up being to remove the conformal coating…  We built test units and sent to site…  To make a long story short they worked great…  No trips…
    We ended up revising our product so the conformal coating was removed from the design…  Cost came down…  Our vendor was happy (conformal coating is so much fun..;-)…  Our customer was happy…
    Couldn’t have done it without the DOE….  The answer was not one that we would have reached in a million years by intuition… 
    Bob J

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    #115863

    Peppe
    Participant

    Bob,
    never raise in my mind to discuss about tools, they are powerful if used correctly. My main concern is how you can “think out of scheme” using SS that oblige you to follow systematic process, maybe too severe. I understand your example, we had similars in Brasil, and I know that if you have a specific issue to solve, maybe SS tools are better, but when you have to set up a project for process improvement, to me seems that Lean give you more flexibility to think and discover alternative solutions.
    Rgs, Peppe    

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    #115864

    Bob J
    Participant

    Peppe,
    I understand…  Each of the major projects here follow DMAIC (even the lean stuff)…  The difference (for us) in in the MAIC with the Define making sure that we are focused on the “big hitter” opportunities…  Some of these end up being a mix of tools (Lean/SS) and some end up being almost pure SS…  We’ve cross trained everyone so (though skills vary) each one has a reasonably complete tool set and a “who do you call?” list within the network if they need something a little more specialized…
    We don’t require specific tools to be used at each of the steps but rather use a logic that says (for example):
    Measure;  Does a measurement system exist that accurately measures the project opportunity ($, time, defects, etc) and has a baseline been established.
    In this example, we sometimes use an R&R and sometimes not…  Depends on the metric and what we know about the measurement system…
    Keep in mind that this is what we have done…  As we used to say down south, “There are many ways to skin that cat!”….;-)
    Hope this helps….
    Best Regards,
    Bob J

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    #115865

    Dog Sxxt
    Participant

    For me only, lean shall be used when solutions for a problem already in your mind, you just need go to gemba to sort it out with your common sense and some basic problem solving tools.  To see where is waste does no need rocket science knowledge.
    Six Sigma is more useful when the cause(s) of a problem is still unknown or its hypothesis has to be confirmed with a structured experiments.
    Of course, you can go for trial and error method if you have unlimited resources to consume and your company chooses to do so.

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    #115867

    Dog Sxxt
    Participant

    Toyota people may not be able to tell what is TPS to outsider because many Toyota ways may be another common sense for them.

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    #115868

    Dog Sxxt
    Participant

    Culture factor makes TPS hard to be copied 100% to other places.
    A joke from China Haier’s CEO, “if you ask line worker to polish machine 10 times. Japanese workers do it obediently and constantly without fail while Chinese workers obey the instruction at first, but reduce the number of polishing slowly to none after a while.”

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