Here is one of four unwritten TPS’s rules on how people are doing their work, how people work together/connect, how services flow, and how to improve.
What does it mean?
People learn the rules on the floor (the gemba) by questioning. Some of the questions to facilitate learnings are described in the article:
· How do you do this work ?
· How do you know that you are doing this work correctly?
· How do you know the outcome is free of defects?
· What do you do if you have a problem?
So the “teacher” doesn’t show how to do the work (instruction) but asks how and probably why. As mentioned by the authors, the rules are taught in a Socratic way leading to an implicit knowledge.
The authors in this article explains when organizations are managed according the four rules, individuals are repeatedly conducting experiments and testing it allowing the organization to improve.
Rule 1 : “All work shall be highly specified as to content, sequence, timing, and outcome.
Thanks to specification in terms of sequence of steps, timing, outcome and content, people are able to address any deviations. This rule is a necessary step for people to know implicitly how to do their work.
Thought : “Today in Services, we see many people learning by doing or with the available colleague. If the work is not delivered as requested, is it really a people problem ?”
Rule 2 : Every customer-supplier connection must be direct, and there must be an unambiguous yes-or-no way to send requests and receive responses.
The path of communication must be described, shared, known and applied. Each collaborator so knows implicitly how to connect with each other.
Thought “Today in Services, we see many companies building this on CRM pay to coordinate responses to customer, perhaps it’s due to ambiguous connections …”
Rule 3 : The pathway for every product and service must be simple and direct.
Services don’t flow to the next available person—but to a “specific” person
Thought “The easiest way to deliver services is to design processes where capable people are able to reply first time right and in one stop to what matters to customers”
Rule 4 : Any improvement must be made in accordance with the scientific method, under the guidance of a teacher, at the lowest level in the organization.
Frontline workers make improvements to their own jobs and their supervisors provide direction and assistance. The purpose of the supervisor is to act on the process to continuously improve the performance of the process.
As you can read in this article, Toyota belief that people are the most significant asset and that investment in their knowledge and skills are the necessary step to stay competitive and survive.
The impact of those rules on the System is important – “By making people capable of and responsible for doing and improving their own work, by standardizing connections between individual customers and suppliers, and by pushing the resolution of connection and flow problems to the lowest possible level, the rules create an organisation with a nested modular structure”.
Source : http://clinicalmicrosystem.org/toolkits/getting_started/decoding_dna.pdf
To learn more about the Steven Spear http://www.stevenjspear.com/7701.html and a recommend reading “Chasing the rabbit”