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Piyush 2010-05-27


We recently conducted a Gemba Waste Workshop at a multinational corporation for middle and senior managers. Identifying waste in the Gemba has been the most powerful ways of making continous improvement. Methods like OhnoCircle and Waste Walks are quite popular. At At DKSA we have been adopting a proven methodology practiced by Mr.Somaiya for many years and has proven to be the most effective was of building a stronger Lean culture.

Doing physical work on value adding operations by senior and middle managers for one shift per week or at least 2-3 hours per weak, with “an eye for seeking waste” has no paralell. As consultants, this hasto be demonstrated by examples and despite not having any knowledge or training of the operation. I had to try it out and show that waste can be identified. The fact that we may do a miserable job initially had to be swallowed. However, I had an opportunity to try out a simple operation in the one section and it took me merely 10 minutes to understand the operation and few more minutes to learn how to do the activity myself. Having given it a try, I could see obvious waste of a simple operation being done repeatedly in a manual manner took nearly 15-20 minutes, when an easy tool could could do it in seconds. The solution was known, resources available within the same office, but there was no initiative. This waste, if eliminated could save nearly 200 man days a year!!!

Similarly, about 10 managers did the same activity in the Gemba Waste Workshop. Those who did physical work on operation saw greater opportunities than others who only observed. Some even implemented solutions on the spot! In any case, 45 minutes of physical work and observations generated at least 25 opportunities for improvement!Just imagine what you can acheive in one year if this is practised consistently.

As consultants, we can lead by example and by doing so, we can enable senior managers and middle managers also Lead their team by example. Practising Dignity of Labour and Servant Leadership is the best way to build a Lean culture at all levels !!
Ketan B C – Senior Consultant, DKSA

Posted by DK Somaiya & Associates at 10:55 PM 0 comments
Labels: Dignity of Labour, Ohno Circle, Servant Leadership, Waste Walk
Thursday, December 24, 2009

Can Lean solve problems?

Lean has been a challenge to implement and sustain. Are Lean tools useful to solve chronic operational problems? The answer is Yes and No.
Yes, because Lean without tools is like an orchestra without music instruments. At the same time, having all the instruments with musicians with excellent skills, are of no use unless they “orchestrate” the rhythm with complete involvement, team work and show their capabilities together as a team, with a good senior leader.

No, because short term fixes of Lean tools deployed sporadically will be short lived and problems will soon play catch-up!
We have been getting many requests these days for assignments, thinking we can help them solve short term quality problems or do a plant layout, etc. from many large corporations. Yes. These initiatives are part of the lean journey. But, these quick-fix approaches will only be short lived and it is like listening to each individual musical instruments separately and expecting it to give you the pleasure of an orchestra. Moreover, some companies look to us as service providers to do layout design or to measure and improve process quality, etc. And also look at an economical solution. Honestly, this has never worked and never will and getting someone from outside to solve problems that originate from inside, is against the law of nature. We can only work hands-on with the company’s team, give them a hand holding to teach them how to fish rather than catching fish! Flouting the laws of nature, means flouting yourself and your organisations existence. On the other hands, Lean has become so inevitable that you either execute with Lean or be executed! No matter what industry, what business and what part of the world you are in. These are bitter but universal truths.

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