Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The Lean Gelateria | Part 3 | The Foundation of Lean

The Gelato Culture
Do you know?  Carpigiani Gelato University is dedicated to the development of the gelato culture throughout the world.  According to the faculty here, Gelato is a natural food with important nutritional value. In fact, the ingredients of gelato are the same as those you probably use almost every day: milk, eggs, cream, cocoa, fruit and basic building blocks like proteins, sugar, fat, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. It is interesting to highlight that gelato does have important nutritional value. It's nice to know that there is a food out there that is so delicious and yet good for you!

How about Vanilla?
I am sure you have tried vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce. This is not what I am talking about.  Have you ever tried vanilla gelato? Sometimes, it is prepared with a fresh twist of lemon!  Try! It is simple and delicious!   Yes, simply delicious!
The Foundation – Eh? Secret Anagram!
Is it true that Kanban boards, lean tools and waste reduction are the foundation blocks of lean?  The answer, as you may guess is ‘no’. 

If the answer is no, what is the foundation of lean or lean thinking?   “The foundation of lean is not tools or waste reduction”, says Craig Larman and he adds, “The more one learns about lean, the more one appreciates that the foundation is manager-teachers who live and teach it and have long hands-on experience.”

Let me explain.  In Toyota, most new employees underwent several months of learning to understand and internalize the foundations of lean thinking.  They learned how to identify waste.

Managers practiced ‘Go See’, which means going to their teams and seeing how things happen with their own eyes rather than believing or learning the truth from reports or dashboards!   The Japanese term for this simple practice is ‘genchi genbutsu’.    It means ‘Go See’ or solve problems at the source by observing and verifying data.   When you do this you will have more than superficial understanding of project status.

Toyota managers appreciated the importance of ‘gemba’ - the real place or the place where value is created.  It is the front-line where hands-on value workers are!

Unless you see what is happening at the workplace or unless you sit with hands-on engineers and understand how they create, maintain and test software you can’t come up with useful kaizen or improvement. This is more than MBWA or ‘Management by Walking Around’. When you do MBWA, you may or may not observe details. You talk to team members and build rapport. You ask some questions, not necessarily powerful questions or deep questions all the time. And you move on. Are you happy with the effect of your MBWA practice? Have you come up with any suggestions or ideas to your team members on continuous improvement?  Learn more about ‘Go See’ or genchi genbutsu and put it into practice!

Once, the president of Toyota said to the management team, “I want you actively to train your team members on how to think for themselves.”    This reflects the culture of the management.   Toyota managers were educated in lean thinking, continuous improvement, root cause analysis, statistics, systems thinking, etc. They were educated about how to coach their teams.  ‘Good Thinking, Good Products!’, is the internal motto here. The culture of mentoring helped in ensuring good thinking.  Managers were hands-on experts in their domain.  Team members learned from their managers.   Managers were not directors; they were teachers of lean thinking. They worked along with their teams. They did not join meetings over phone!

The foundation of lean is manager-teachers who live and teach it and have long hands-on experience. It is not cutting cost or implementing new tools or reducing waste.

Eh? Secret Anagram!
Anagram is a word or phrase or name formed by rearranging the letters of another. For example, the anagram of ‘forty five’ is ‘over fifty’.

What is the foundation of lean? It is the anagram of ‘Eh Secret Anagram’. Find it!

I am sure you got it!    I have put it bold already!

Let me ask you
Have you experienced any of the concepts discussed in this post?

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