Tuesday, February 20, 2018

79. Long term impacts of Lean - Resilience of the Toyota Way

Feb. 20, 2018
Great blog today, "The Toyota Way or Entropy?" by David McKenzie, an economist at the World Bank, on the World Bank Development Impact blog. McKenzie takes the most typical criticism of any training, which is that it won't stick, and tests it. Specifically, McKenzie and co-authors Nicholas Bloom, Benn Eifert, Aprajit Mahajan, and John Roberts test whether an intensive management intervention in Indian textile weaving plants can be shown to have staying power. The simplified, contrasting possible outcomes are the“Toyota way” , with systems in place for measuring and monitoring operations and a continuous cycle of improvement vs. the alternative of entropy, or a gradual decline back into disorder. "One estimate by prominent consulting firm Boston Consulting Group, is that two-thirds of transformation initiatives ultimately fail." Fortunately, McKenzie et. al. find different results.

The study results shared in their new paper are somewhere in between the two outcomes described above. There is some entropy, but some improvements are "sticky", and even 8 years later are still in practice. In short, there was more persistence in management practices than the researchers anticipated. We (at Artisan) were most interested to see which practices were the ones that had staying power. They relate very closely to improvements in quality and inventory levels:
  1. recording quality defects in a systematic manner (defect-wise); 
  2. having a system for monitoring and disposing old stock; and 
  3. carrying out preventative maintenance.
We're excited to see this list, as #1 and #3 have been key success areas in the Lean at Origin two-year pilot project carried out at washing stations in Rwanda and Burundi.
#1 - recording quality defects in a systematic manner: In a washing station in Rwanda, the first "big KAIZEN" a work team addressed was to devise a way to measure the defects coming out of the depulping machine. At the very least, monitoring the level of defects alerts the machinist as to when he needs to adjust the discs. In an advanced scenario, the level of defects after the depulper can be an indicator of the overall quality of the cherry the washing station is receiving. This has important implications for farmer education and washing station profits to the extent that revenue is dependent on quality.

#3 preventative maintenance: At a dry mill in Burundi, the operations manager recognized right away how impactful a program of regular maintenance could be for the depulping machines at the 30-some washing station delivering parchment to their mill. No doubt, he also recognized how the quality of the parchment from these 30 washing stations would be improved if machine down-time became less of an issue.

#1 - photos of recording quality defects in a systematic manner at KOPAKAMA:
Devising the "3 cup metric" for depulper defects.

Basin of A3 beans - machinist wants to know when the % of cut beans spikes.

Devising the "3 cup" metric for depulper defects.

Three samples taken each night - beginning, middle and end of shift.
#3: HOROMAMA dry mill plans to implement preventative maintenance at washing stations like Dusangirijambo and 29 others.

Giving Dusangirijambo a new digital scale.

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