Guest Blogger: James Pierce – Partner, Luna Tractor
Taiichi Ohno was reputed to take new graduates at Toyota to the factory floor and draw a circle on the ground. The graduate would then be told to stand there and observe; if upon his return they had not seen enough then he would tell them to observe for longer. While it might feel like something out of a Karate Kid movie Taiichi Ohno was really teaching a simple lesson. The only way to really understand a problem is to go to where it happens and see it.
Admiral Rickover (father of the nuclear submarine) understood this only too well and long before the Toyota Production Systems day he would force ships’ captains into boiler suits to crawl the bilge of their ships with him looking for problems on ships in for repair and refitting.
“What it takes to do a job will not be learned from management courses. It is principally a matter of experience, the proper attitude, and common sense – none of which can be taught in a classroom… Human experience shows that people, not organisations or management systems, get things done.” – Rickover
Genchi Genbutsu – Go and See.
How then do we do this when more than 90% of the folks at a conference like Agile Australia 2013 are creating virtual things – intellectual property, software, design or products – not something you can drop on your foot?
One of Luna Tractor’s most interesting projects over the last year has been working with Baum Cycles. Their bikes are widely regarded as the Ferraris of the bike world, ridden by world champions who pay their own money and line up like everyone else. In a small, sometimes hot, often cold and dirty factory on the North Shore of Geelong, they have been steadily shifting the operation of the entire business to an Agile and Lean process.
With a blue collar workforce, most factory language unprintable and the background noise a constant mixture of Triple M and machinery; some different approaches are required. Come and hear real world lessons about Lean flow, physical stock management; Agile sales and customer service along with who ended up with the broken ribs.
Partner – Luna Tractor