Sunday, December 16, 2018

LEAN & the 4th Industrial Revolution Part 2: Nemawashi

Make sure everyone knows the plan!
In Part 1 of this series, we talked about the 4IR & the Toyota Production System concept of jidoka, which, when you boil it down, means "respect for humanity". As this 4IR marches forward, with potential exponential leaps in productivity through technology (robots, cobots, artificial intelligence, the "internet of things"), we need to be mindful of the fact that we have an opportunity to exponentially improve human quality of life. People will be doing more people work, machines will be doing more machine work!


Part 2 is a quick discussion of the concept of "nemawashi". If jidoka is the "why", then neamwashi is the beginning of the "how". 



Nemawashi is a Japanese term that means an informal process of quietly laying the foundation for some proposed change or project by talking to all of the people concerned, gathering support and feedback. It is considered an important element in any major change and before any formal steps are taken, and successful nemawashi enables changes to be carried out with the consent of all. Another way to think about it is "laying the groundwork". 

More simply, I define nemawashi as "proceed slowly, consider many options, gain agreement, implement rapidly, with emphasis on the gain agreement part. The opposite of nemawashi is what Mike Rother, in his book Toyota Kata, Managing People for improvement, Adaptiveness and Superior Results, calls implementation mode. Implementation mode can also be thought of as jumping to solutions. For those of you who use A3 teams as your process for continuous improvement, most of the time spent is in truly understanding the problem at hand by collecting good data to help us get to root cause. As an A3 team works through the scientific method, dig deeply into define, measure and analyze. If this is done well, the improve and control is easy! 

Work to engage every single brain cell in your business. Don't rely on a handful of brains. Work hard to make sure people understand the why and give them a glimpse of the future, and make sure they take the journey with you. In considering technology to improve productivity for a given process, Principle 8 of TPS tells us to introduce it through "direct experimentation with the involvement of a broad cross section of people."

The more people engaged, the better the result! 

In Part 3, we will consider 4IR and Policy Deployment. 





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