Wisdom From Taichi Ohno on His Birthday: Wanna Succeed at Lean Manufacturing? Destroy Preconceptions Daily

My youngest just commented on how tough it must be to have a February 29th birthday.  Indeed.  As Lean expert John Shook just reminded everyone, today would have been Taiichi Ohno's birthday. Another interesting fact?  The primary developer of the Toyota Production System was born in....China?

Shook's organization is releasing the Birth of Lean, a collection of conversations with those instrumental to the Lean Manufacturing/Toyota Production System way of thinking.  A chapter from the book, "What I Learned from Taichi Ohno" is available online at no cost. Catch it here. In Ohno's words: "We are doomed to failure without a daily destruction of our various preconceptions."

Shook asks, "How can we make that a daily practice? Always start by going to the work, learning to see the work, seeing it from the perspective of the worker, being willing - in fact seeking - to fail through experimentation, remaining open to changing one's opinion through discovery - and never accepting a better condition as the best condition. Embed challenge and dissatisfaction into every practice. The system is built on, is the embodiment of, learning oneself and facilitating learning in others based on respect.

Shook also recommends reading an article by GE CEO Immelt on U.S. manufacturing and Lean implementation at one facility.  For more, read on.

Here's a memorable quote and reminder for pharma executives : ..."You don't need to teach them anything. What you need to do there is help make the work easier for the operators. That's your job."

How many are doing that?  Recent headlines suggest they may be in the minority.