Lean Manufacturing

Free Scholarship at the Lean Six Sigma Academy

By Jon Miller Published on January 28th, 2007

My friend Ron Pereira started a blog two weeks ago called Lean Six Sigma Academy. The articles so far have been an interesting mix of topics such as Process Mapping – Lean or Six Sigma Tool?, CAVE People, Lean or Six Sigma?, Six Sigma and JIT, The Heated Law of Dispersions, The Forgotten Ms, and The Evolution of Dance (?). Take advantage of your free scholarship at the Lean Six Sigma Academy and enjoy Ron’s insights.
Yesterday the Lean Six Sigma Academy pointed out this very good 4-minute Youtube video on the the Toyota factory in Cambridge, Ontario.
On the question of whether doing so much kaizen does or does not put the workers’ jobs at risk, Jeff Leclair, Manager of Training & Development says:
“We don’t lay people off. There hasn’t been a layoff worldwide since 1950.”
What is the Toyota culture? One of the senior managers interviews says:
“We set up a standard. Then we work hard to reach the standard. Then we raise the bar. That is our culture.”
One question that was not asked is “How far does Toyota’s kaizen culture extend beyond the factory floor?” At minute 1:59 in the Youtube video there is a very quick glimpse of an open office at Toyota. The 5S is not so good, and that could be on indication of how far Toyota has taken their kaizen culture.
Back in the 1980s Taiichi Ohno was critical of the lack of effective rationalization efforts or kaizen at Toyota’s administrative areas, in chapter 26 titled There Are No Supervisors at the Administrative Gemba in Taiichi Ohno’s Workplace Management.
A couple of corrections to the announcer’s commentary, just so false information doesn’t perpetrate “Toyota builds cars the same way Dell builds computers.” It’s the other way around, actually. And “built in quality” is jidoka (not jikoda) but close enough.
Nice find, and keep up the good work Ron!

  1. Jeannie Gilchrist

    February 11, 2007 - 12:41 pm

    Looking for information about free scholarship.

  2. Jon Miller

    February 11, 2007 - 8:30 pm

    He Jeannie,
    The free scholarship refers to the information that Ron is providing through his blog. It’s the Six Sigma body of knowledge in 300 words a day.

  3. Diane Kaine

    April 3, 2007 - 8:16 am

    I am currently looking for individuals with Six Sigma certification and lean manufacturing expertise for opportunities throughout the US. I thought some of your readers on this site might be able to point me in the right direction? I would be glad to provide additional information on these opportunities. I can be reached at [email protected]

  4. tetsujin

    May 3, 2009 - 7:41 pm

    I’m glad you gave the correct word “Jidoka” because I got stuck on “Jikoda” and couldn’t figure out how such a word could be of Japanese origin. However, one note about “Jidoka”…this actually means “to automate” or “automation”. “Ji = self” “do = movement”, so “jido” means “automatic”, for instance “jido-doah” is “automatic door”… “ka = take the form of” so add this together to mean “take the form of automatic” or “automation”.
    I am assuming that the English “built in quality” as the meaning for “Jidoka” (whoever originally translated this) comes from the concept that human error will be avoided, meaning better quality, through automation. Any insight on this?

  5. Jon Miller

    May 3, 2009 - 7:46 pm

    Hi Tetsujin,
    The idea of built in quality comes from the phrase “koutei de hinshitsu wo tsukurikomu” which is “build quality in at the process” as opposed to inspecting it in.
    The jidoka aspect is to allow workers as well as machines to detect errors in process and stop or call for help.
    Jido does mean “automatic” but also “autonomous” when the “do” part is written with the Chinese character for “work” instead of “move”. Sometimes jidoka is called “autonomation”.

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