YKK Stories

2019-03-11 Issue 90 – Fundamental Behavior 10 – Be process driven

March 11, 2019
Author: YKK
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I would like to start off this week’s Fundamental Behavior, “Be Process Driven,” with a few profound thoughts:

  • The workplace is a teacher. You can find answers only in the workplace.
  • Waste is hidden. Do not hide it. Make problems visible.

These two statements came from Taiichi Ohno’s “Ten Precepts” to think and act to win. Mr. Ohno was considered the father of the Toyota Manufacturing System, what today we call Lean Manufacturing. His objectives as an industrial engineer were to uncover what he defined as the “Seven Deadly Wastes” that exist in every manufacturing and administrative process, which he defined as:

  1. Delay, waiting, time spent in a queue with no value being added
  2. Producing more than you need
  3. Over-processing or undertaking non-value added activity
  4. Transportation
  5. Unnecessary movement or motion
  6. Inventory
  7. Defects in the product

Now that we know the mission parameters, how do we achieve the objective of “defining and removing waste?” First, we need a systems approach that becomes the DNA for managing operational value streams. Second, we must train employees to apply techniques in the Lean Manufacturing system. Finally, we must build a structure that drives quick deployment of these techniques when waste is defined.

Not all processes are important, but the ones that have the following characteristics should be the initial focal points.

  1. Processes that are executed often.
  2. Bottleneck processes which establish our lead time capability.
  3. Processes that directly impact our costs.
  4. Processes that directly influence our customers’ satisfaction or experience.
  5. Processes that underlie our ability to grow our business.

Sustaining & Improving the Process

How do we develop the actual picture of a process? First, start with a walk through the Gemba, a Japanese word meaning “the real place!” The purpose is to observe, understand, and ultimately improve processes. It is helpful to prepare many questions about how, when and why things are done. You should be clear that you aren’t looking for “assumed, I think, or it’s possible” answers; what you need far more are answers that are honest and mirror what is actually being done. If work isn’t being done according to the standard, you want it uncovered. Follow these steps:

  1. Decide which value stream you want to review.
  2. Write out the process steps.
  3. Determine the flow of information.
  4. Gather the critical data on the process
  5. Identify the non-value factors ( Seven Wastes Mr. Ohno Defined)
  6. Make needed changes and monitor expected results.

The above process mapping technique and improvement activities were deployed by the Residential Business Improvement Project Team at YKK AP. Productivity improved by 122% and on time delivery control improved by 253%.

In today’s competitive environment, we are challenged to do more with fewer resources. This tool provides ways to help organizations identify and reduce waste in their processes and procedures and ultimately enhance the value of the organization. Keep repeating the above process, on a regular basis, and involve employees so they become the owners in driving the continued improvement culture.

Good luck.

Greg Hultquist
Vice President of Manufacturing
YKK AP America Inc.