I spent last week teaching three sessions of Job Instruction. One session at the end of night shift starting at 5am, the second session catching the start of day shift at 7am, then the third session for swing shift at 1:30.
What is cool, though, is there is a senior member of the site leadership team in every session. They are not just observing, they are active participants.
Next week those leaders, with input from the team members in the class, are going to caucus and discuss the ramifications and how to deploy this method across their operations.
This is critically important because just teaching a few dozen people a skill and expecting them to each apply it independently doesn’t work. The company has to also develop the ecosystem that it can flourish in.
But this has been the pattern from this company from the beginning.
The Operations Manager has been leading the operations kaizen teams, working hard along side the team members to develop disciplined, effective pull systems. This is a high-variety product mix, with lots of different routings, so there were some real challenges to overcome. I was really impressed with their application of what would normally be very advanced thinking.
Results? Over the last six months, their metrics have taken a clear turn upward. You can see the inflection point on the graphs. Their company sister operation is starting to take notice. Good things all around.
A plant manager once shared a conversation he had with his CEO. The teaching is important, but what makes it work is willingness to be taught.
When we talk about management involvement, this is the crux. This team has been curious, willing to try and explore things – in front of their team members – and willing to keep at it until they figure out how to make it work.
That’s what it takes.