In this post, I’ll describe the elements of the sytem we are developing at my current company. Our company develops gas risers, valves, fittings and meter-sets for utilities across the United States. At the time I started with them, they already had many years of success with talented Industrial Engineers and Lean practitioners reducing waste in many key areas of the businesses.
The downside is the improvements were all done by a few key people and were not sustained at the operational level when the project teams moved on to the next challenge. They were all project based and did not have the effect on the overall culture that was desired by top management. Finally, there was no communication and leveraging of experience between the facilities.
So, we implemented a corporate wide business system based on the Toyota Production System as well as Six Sigma techniques. To allocate scarce resources we adopted a strategic planning process called Hoshin Kanri to prioritize and align our initiatives with our mid-term corporate goals. We also leveraged the documentation and auditing infrastructure of our ISO-9001 certified quality management sytem to standarize the new techniques as they were successfully proven and adopted.
As the architect of the program, I looked for a succinct way of tying all these programs together and summarizing the pillars of the system. The approved elements are:
- The Continuous Improvement of Standard Work
- The Development of People
- The Voice of the Customer
Each of those elements will be discussed in upcoming posts.