Toyota sales halted on material quality issue

http://money.cnn.com/2014/01/31/news/companies/toyota-seat-heaters/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

Even the best companies have major quality challenges... what do you think about Toyota's response?

Hoshin Kanri in the lean business

I've recently been helping an Aerospace site build the Hoshin Kanri tool into their business strategy. When we first started I hadn't used Hoshin Kanri a lot so I decided to do some reading. My co-workers had recommended a couple books but I found these really useful (both available from Amazon)

The Hoshin Kanri Memory Jogger by Joseph Colletti - It has memory jogger in the title but this book provides quite a good overview of Hoshin Kanri. Well-illustrated.
Hoshin Kanri for the Lean Enterprise by Thomas Jackson - Shingo Prize winner and very specific focus on Lean Enterprise.

After doing some reading, I felt more comfortable with the deployment. First step was training the site steering committee and this was done over the course of a 4 hour session.  Next we sat down and tried to determine our site vision. To do that we had to be introspective on where we stood in terms of a long term lean strategy. After assessing our current state we came up with a single statement that now stands as the vision for our business. This wasn't a 'lean' vision either - this was our company's vision. Hoshin Kanri isn't just about lean - it should be a continuous improvement planning tool ingrained in all aspects of the business. 

After establishing our vision, we built a list of long term goals for our business. These were 5-year targets for the site with a focus on safety, quality, delivery and cost. We limited ourselves to six targets to avoid over complicating our first X-Matrix. 

The long term goals led to a list of annual objectives. We focused on making the annual objectives SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound). For the annual objectives, we limited ourselves to ten and these came straight from the long term goals. Example: Reduce inventory from 10m to 8.8m by Dec 2014. 

From the annual objectives we brainstormed a list of macro projects that would help us get to the desired targets. These projects formed the basis of our site CI plan. Our plan is track these projects monthly measuring ourselves against our key business metrics and then to adjust based on our progress (PDCA!). 

So far, the Hoshin Kanri process has been helpful in keeping the teams focus on the CI Plan. Seeing the linkage of projects to the measures and the annual/long term objectives lets the leadership team see the bigger picture.

We're in the infant stages of Hoshin planning and we still need to work on linking the divisional plan with the site plan and then down to the functional plans but that's part of the journey. 

What are your experiences with Hoshin? Have you found it to be a useful structure?

My New Year's Resolution

With my new job I didn't get to spend as much time as I would have liked on my blog. My resolution for 2014 is definitely to write more, read more, listen to more webcasts and attend a few seminars. The learning never ends with lean!