Friday, February 10, 2017

66. Leat at Origin Training in Kayanza, Burundi

Jan. 31 - Feb. 3, 2017
COCOCA is an umbrella organization of about 32 cooperatives in Burundi. Dusangirijambo is one of the most innovative and energetic among the group. The Dusangirijambo president is Rémége NZOBIRINDA.

They are a warm and friendly people, welcoming me on the day I arrived with an awesome performance by a drum & dance group! Some of the drummer/dancers were boys, maybe 12 years old. Very talented! And most of them, I was told, are coffee farmers.
Dusangirijambo organized a fantastic drum & dance performance for my welcome!

I enjoyed my week with this cooperative so much. The first day we scoped out how I would teach in their "reception building", the concrete block pavilion where farmers bring their cherry in bags to have them weighed, and then the bags are emptied into big, waiting concrete tanks. Fortunately, I had been warned there would be no electricity at this location, so I was not expecting to be able to use a powerpoint projector. I had printed key slides onto flipchart size paper and John (my husband) had rigged up a special hanger for the flipcharts that only required one, or if possible, two nails to hang!
One-room school house.

Leadership Training: The first two days were with the leadership of Dusangirijambo. The leadership training went well. We covered the concepts of Lean, like "Lean is not Mean", "flow" and the all-important, "9 wastes." The group enjoyed the practice exercises like "6S scoring" and an airplane production simulation.
Leadership Training, Jan. 31 & Feb. 1

Supervisor Training: The second two days were with the supervisor level and more of the workers. I gave a brief introduction to the key concepts, like the 9 wastes, and then we jumped into preparing to implement their first KAIZEN. Most of the second day was spent in their teams, working on the following three projects:
Team 1. Increase space on drying tables for coffee by 10%
Team 2. Increase skill of management of the drying tables (this area has the most employees)
Team 3. Double the space where the dry coffee is stored (warehouse).
Supervisor Training, Feb. 2 & 3

Results of KAIZEN events
The results of these "first time" KAIZEN projects were modest. Despite my over-emphasis and constant reminders that KAIZEN is about action, not talk, it is not easy to break through the cultural barriers of "who does which work." And, unfortunately, we really did not have much time. They had about 2 hours instead of a full day to work on implementation.

For example, team 1, tasked with increasing capacity of the tables, recommended a place where 70 more tables should be built. All around us on this day there were teams of builders re-building the current drying tables and these workers had been hired to do that job. So it just felt too strange to my Lean class members to start doing the same job these others were being paid to do, right along side them.

But, in this case, there was also a break-through moment. A senior leader said, "what if we just make sure we remove the coffee from the tables at exactly the right time?" It was brilliant! Everyone agreed and suddenly everyone was understanding what we meant about improving the "flow" of material. It was agreed that the cooperative would save about 700,000 BUF (the cost of 70 tables, about $440) if the improved timing worked as well as they hoped.

Team 2 did an excellent job discussing the metrics that a manager of the drying table staff could implement to monitor and control capacity and quality.

Team 3 made a checklist for the area (a big improvement) and included concepts of safety (one of the 9 wastes) and straightening (one of the 6S areas). Overall, though they were  too much "thinking in the box," though, proposing to raise the roof of the warehouse 8 meters to make more space at a cost of 10 million BUF (~ $7,000). When I reminded them, "there's no budget", then a breakthrough idea came! "Maybe we could have the trucks come to pick up the coffee more frequently. We own the trucks, so it is not very expensive." It was a "eureka!" moment.

Most of them understood how important this lean concept was, of keeping the flow going, eliminating the "waste" of stoppage and waiting. But to drive it home I said, "how many would like to have 10 million BUF more in the cooperative budget when it comes time to pay bonuses at the end of the season?" Everyone raised their hand with enthusiasm! I believe we then had 100% comprehension of why the cooperative should implement Lean.

KAIZEN Team 1 - Increase space on drying tables by 10%.

KAIZEN Team 2 - Increase skills of management of drying tables area.

KAIZEN Team 3: Double the space where the coffee will be stored.

Ruth and Jean Bosco NKURIKIYE (translator) co-teaching
Class in session.

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