An Ounce of Stability is Worth a Pound of Ideal

World class organizations value stability. Reliable equipment, reliable processes, and reliable people are the foundation that allows them to reach for the ideal. The Toyota Production System “House” visualizes the ideal state as the lowest cost, highest quality, and short lead-time, but at the foundation is stability.

Reliable Equipment, Processes, People, and Material

Reliability allows an organization to be predictable, reduces variation, and quickly make problems visual.

The purpose of Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) is to create reliable equipment. It starts by bringing the machine back to its original state through cleaning and inspecting. This original state allows for problems, like small leaks, to be visible quickly and repaired while still small.

The purpose of Process Management is to create reliable processes. It starts by defining the process in terms of critical variables like temperature, speed, or viscosity. Monitoring the defined variables closely allows small shifts to be visible and detected quickly and adjusted while still small.

Performance Management is designed to set clear expectations for tasks and attendance for people. Clearly defining the expectation, reviewing it and updating it as conditions change and finally meeting to discuss performance helps small problems become visible so they can be corrected while still small.

The purpose of incoming inspection and product control plans is to define the expectation for raw material. Clearly defining the expectation and reviewing it with the suppliers helps address problems quickly while they are small.

All of these improvement programs are based on the basic principle of setting an expectation and monitoring closely so problems are seen and fixed quickly. This ongoing process for equipment, processes, people, and material are critical to reaching for the ideal.

One-by-One – Defect Free – On Demand – Safely at the Lowest Cost
World class organizations are constantly in pursuit of delivering their products or services one-by-one – defect free – on demand – safely at the lowest cost. The journey never ends and is a daily process of continuous improvement.

Strategies like just-in-time, pull systems, and flow help deliver on-time. Strategies like Autonomation (automation with a human touch) and Jidoka help produce defect free products. And Standardized work helps eliminate waste that drives toward the lowest cost. All of these strategies strive for the ideal.

Help your organization seek an ounce of stability before they spend any time in a conference room talking about the ideal.

Learn more in Patrick’s book, “Facilitating Effective Change,” available online through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. He is also the founder of UTV Advisors, a business consulting firm based in Pittsburgh, PA.

Patrick Putorti

Patrick Putorti

Patrick Putorti

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