Taiichi Ohno

How Can They Not Change?

By Jon Miller Published on January 16th, 2007

I would like to say thank you to everyone who has been placing advance orders for Taiichi Ohno’s Workplace Management, coming out in March 2007.
Here is a sneak preview from the book, a short passage from Chapter 37: Follow the Decisions that Were Made, which I translated today:
“There is something called Standard Work, but standards should be changing constantly. Instead, if you think of the standard as the best you can do, it’s all over. The standard is only a baseline for doing further kaizen. It is kai-aku if things get worse than now, and it is kaizen if things get better than now. Standards are set arbitrarily by humans, so how can they not change?”
I found it quite delightful. I hope you enjoy it.

  1. Barry

    January 17, 2007 - 4:07 am

    When I read this in my book, it really made me think. I believe that this addresses one of the major failings of QS-9000. The QS Consultants use to tell us to “Say what you do and then do what you Say”. When many of the Auto Suppliers were working to be Certified, many Work Standards were developed.
    The real problem was that these Standards tended to remain stagnant. Oh, sure they could change when there was a Quality Issue at the customer, but it seems that the drive and the mentality of constantly changing the standard for improvement was not really there.
    Those QS-9000 work standards were many times used to make the workers follow a procedure. Discipline might be administered if the worker didn’t follow the procedure.
    I suspect that one of the reasons that QS9000 didn’t yield the improvements that the Big Three desired was due to this lack of engagement by the workforce.
    I think it’s really hard to get your workforce to embrace improvement, when you are operating in a compliance to the standard environment. I have seen several companies where it literally takes the many signatures including the presidents to change a simple work standard.
    What Toyota and Onosan came up with seems to create a standard without destroying the motivation of the employee.
    I think this is still a failing of the recent ISO/TS 16949 Quality systems as well. Without the acceptance by Management that standards are never perfect, change for the better by an involved workforce may not occur.
    Coincidentally, K. Ishikawa had a similar viewpoint. He said Standards whether Technical, Product, or Work can never be perfect.

Have something to say?

Leave your comment and let's talk!

Start your Lean & Six Sigma training today.