Management Improvement Carnival #113

Shmula is honored to host this edition of the Management Improvement Carnival. You can read other editions of the Management Improvement Carnival here.

In what follows are a few top-notch management improvement articles from the last month.

  • Lean Advice from Sobek and Smalley (Brian Buck): “From our experience, improvement efforts in companies become ineffective when the emphasis becomes adhering to a standard tool and enforcing a certain way of doing things.  Inherently, the adherence is all well intended as a means of promoting standardization and ultimately improvement.  Unfortunately, the implementation of a certain tool or technique can become more important than improvement of the process or current situation.  In other words, the means trump the ends……place the emphasis on performing, improving, and learning rather than on conforming to templates, tools, and procedures.” – highly recommended book Understanding A3 Thinking page 133.”

I see the same thing in factories all the time. There is a problem. We sit at our computers and analyze process information, warranty data, etc when we should just go out and see the problem ourselves. I also see us use the latest greatest technology just because its the new gizmo, when there are many “old fashioned” techniques that are better, faster, and cheaper.

[Imagine you're a boss of a distribution center and] you say that this is the year of extraordinary attention to quality. Then at the end of the first month, I sit down with you and we go through your monthly calendar day-by-day and hour-by-hour. And we discover that with all the meetings that occur and all the surprises that come up in the course of that month you spent 6 hours directly on the quality issue. Well, guess what: quality is not your top priority. The calendar never, ever, ever lies. If you say something is a priority, then it must be quantitatively reflected in the calendar.

It’s easier to act your way into a new of thinking than to think your way into a new way of acting

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