Continuing my summary of Yoshihito Wakamatsu’s book The Toyota Mindset, today we discuss Taiichi Ohno’s view on Automation and Fixing Problems Immediately.
To read my reviews of Wakamatsu’s book on Taiichi Ohno, please visit the links below.
- Taiichi Ohno on Standard Work
- Taiichi Ohno on Genchi Genbutsu
- Do Not Act Spoiled
- Learn from Previous Masters
- Wastes Hide, Disclose All Mistakes
- Truth and Understanding
- Innovation and Craftiness
- Teach Others to Think
- Intelligent Automation
- Taiichi Ohno on Leadership
According to Wakamatsu, Taiichi Ohno used to say:
Distinguish tasks that can be done only by humans from those that can be done by machines. Do not use humans only as guards for machines, instead assign them to the tasks that can only be performed by humans (p. 62)
Fix The Problem Immediately
From Wakamatsu’s experience, most managers point out problems to workers and leave it to them until the problem is solved. But, this approach doesn’t motivate workers to fix the problem right away. Taiichi Ohno took a different view by making sure his workers always:
- Fixed the problem immediately after it is identified
- Confirmed the results with their own eyes
For Taiichi Ohno, conducting continuous improvement on site and yielding an improvement the same day the problem was identified was expected. To illustrate this point, Wakamatsu shares this personal story between him and Taiichi Ohno:
I visited a Toyota factory a few weeks ago. I saw a number of auto body frames hanging over the conveyor belts. I asked the department directory to reduce that and he seemed to understand my instruction. I called on him after a couple of hours to see if he was successful in reducing them or not. He told me that he would deal with it over the weekend. So, I told him,
“I understand. How about I climb up there with a hammer and destroy every frame right now?”
The director panicked and started working on it right away.
In the next post, I’ll highlight how Taiichi Ohno explained the Toyota Production System as a foundation of a building – “it remains unseen, but the building collapses without it.”