Tag Archives: continuous improvement. The Toyota Way

Principle 7: Use visual control so no problems are hidden

I have visited many premises where cleanliness was taken really seriously. After each shift, workplaces were clean out, broomed and tools left in their asigned places.  Procedures were set  for maitaining a minimum level of order in a smaller number of factories, but were even less the number of companies where management got involved in these disciplines. It is only by encouraging labour and with a ‘do as you say’ attitudes that waste created around product flow can be reduced.  And it is then when we obtain visual control over a wider range of processes being able to identify problems.

Visual control is not only important in a manufacturing environment, where circuit boards or cranksafts are to be produced. But also in project management. Keeping information simple, available to all the involved parts and up to date is something necessary for process improvement in any service company.  A good way to start with is by collecting the most important documents around the project. Let’s use just a ring folder and paper sheets

Gantt charts and Critical Path Method analysis give an apropiate overview of the project timelines with just a glance.  A list of specifications, and deliverables can be drafted. Budgets, tool and equipment purchases can be listed by hand. When tasks are identified, listed and distributed they can be followed with a log book.  When we list tasks and procedures, internal and external cutomers are appear. It is easy to keep track of the project by reading  and updating hand written annotations. Of course delays and set backs will appear, and those must be added in the form of notes. All the generated documentation can be kept in the folder with a4 sheet written just in one side, so no problem is hidden. Probably as the project problems will appear for meeting deadlines, key suppliers, investments, and modifications in the project specifications but is not until we list them and are able to review that we can outline them. At the end of the project, the team can spend a sesion going through the whole project and helping with stablishing solutions to avoid the sam set backs once again. Therefore, continuous improvement starts to be a fact, and not a theory.

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Posted by on April 27, 2009 in Uncategorized


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