Author Archives

Book Review – Zero Quality Control – Shigeo Shingo

Shigeo Shingo is an icon with the early development of SMED (Single Minute Exchange of Die) and Poke-yoke (mistake-proofing), and a key developer of the Toyota Production System. Shingo urged his audiences to call themselves Improvement Engineers and, called himself Dr. Improvements. He used to say, “My medicine works but only if the patient takes it.”

This book by Shingo refers to three critical and interrelated aspects of quality control.

Zero QC is the ideal production system – one that does not manufacture any defects. To achieve this, two things are necessary:

  • Poke-yoke (mistake proofing) looks at the defect and stops the production, and gives immediate feedback to help find the root cause of the defect.
  • Source Inspection looks at errors before they become defects.

Using Poke-yoke devices and Source Inspection systems can virtually eliminate the need for statistical quality control. A word of caution though; although this looks simplistic, you will need to read the book slowly to allow the logical thinking of Shingo’s ideas to deeply penetrate.

The book provides a detailed explanation of Shingo’s “three critical aspects of quality control” and it also presents many actual examples that show a wide range of applications.

I consider this book a “Must Read” if you are going to have true success with Lean Manufacturing.

Zero Quality Control – Source Inspection and the Poka-yoke System
Shigeo Shingo
Productivity Press ISBN 0-915299-070
Original Japanese version 1985 (Furyo = 0 e no chosen)
English translation 1986 by Productivity Press

Other books by Shigeo Shingo that are well worth having in your library include “A Revolution in Manufacturing: The SMED System” and “Non-Stock Production: The Shingo System for Continuous Improvement.”

Peter Gardner is a Senior Consultant with Shinka Management focusing on business profit improvement utilizing lean manufacturing practices. Peter has been involved in leading lean manufacturing programs for the past three decades. In his previous role as Global Manufacturing Engineering Director at TI Automotive, Peter had responsibility for manufacturing operations at 80 factories.

Shinka Management provides lean consulting, kaizen training and lean study missions to Japan which include Toyota assembly plant tours and visits to several plants in the Toyota supply chain to learn about the application of TPS, SMED, Poka-yoke and other key concepts.

Book Review – 20 Keys to Workplace Improvement – Iwao Kobayashi

Attempting to improve competitiveness as you become aware of problems will end in haphazard improvements and lack of unity. Improvement must occur across the whole business and close the gaps between the current situation and the business objectives. This book introduces a method for making significant improvement across your entire manufacturing business. A structure as laid out in “20 Keys” can provide the platform for activities that add flexibility and adaptability.

On an initial read, this book may appear to be a very simplistic guide about how to be successful in your factory/business. You may even be tempted to say “We are already very advanced with most of that.” However, the content of the book is deep and thorough, and I strongly believe there are few businesses that can claim they are very advanced in all the areas down the excellence path prescribed by Iwao Kobayashi.

The “20 Keys” shows the relationship between all the keys which lead to better quality, lower cost and faster manufacturing time. The four principle keys are:

  • Key 1. Cleaning and Organizing
  • Key 2. Rationalizing the System/Management of Objectives
  • Key 3. Small Group Activities
  • Key 20. Leading Technology/Site Technology

I suggest one way to use 20Keys to Workplace Improvement is to treat it as the basis of a thorough audit guide for your manufacturing business. Each of the 20 Keys has 5 levels and each of these levels can be taken just-as-written or modified to best suit your own business. I would be cautious with any modifications and losing the intent of the Key.

This book “20 Keys” is nearly 30 years old now and it is still very relevant today. I recommend this book as a valuable addition to your library.

20 Keys to Workplace Improvement
Iwao Kobayashi
Productivity Press ISBN 0-915299-61-5
Original Japanese version 1988
English translation 1990 by Productivity Press

Peter Gardner is a Senior Lean Consultant with Shinka Management focusing on business profit improvement utilizing lean manufacturing practices. Peter has been involved in leading lean manufacturing programs for the past three decades. In his previous role as Global Manufacturing Engineering Director at TI Automotive, Peter had responsibility for manufacturing operations at 80 factories.

Shinka Management provides lean consulting, lean training and Japan study tours including Toyota factory visits and tours to several plants in the Toyota supply chain to learn about the application of TPS.

Book Review – Toyota Production System – Taiichi Ohno

If you only ever read one book on the Toyota Production System or Lean Manufacturing then this book by Taiichi Ohno is the one.

There are hundreds of books and articles written about TPS / Lean Manufacturing but none provide the foundations that this book by Taiichi Ohno does. There were cultural developments about performance improvement occurring within Toyota from the 1930s in Japan, however Taiichi Ohno is credited with the true hands-on work at the “coal face”, on the factory floor, to develop the foundations of TPS and drive the benefits in a most uncompromising way. The fundamental message was simple; “look for and eliminate waste.”

Chapter 1 introduces the need for focusing on waste. Much of this is still applicable today. Also, the basis for the Toyota Production System is clarified; that is the absolute elimination of waste and the two pillars to support this are “just-in-time” and “autonomation” or automation with a human touch.

Chapter 2 looks at the evolution of TPS, in particular, problem solving by asking WHY five times – or 5 Why Analysis. The concepts of Standard Work, Teamwork, Kanban, Flow and Leveling are introduced.

Chapter 3 extends the above concepts in more depth.

Chapter 4 talks about the background to the development of TPS and provides a clearer view of how the elimination of waste became entrenched in Toyota from very early in Toyota’s life through to today.

Chapter 5 discusses the differences between the Ford system (mass production from early in the 20th century) and the Toyota Production System and highlights where the respective upsides and downsides may apply.

Chapter 6 covers the use of TPS in a low growth environment and making use of available resources.

This book is not a text book on how to do or implement TPS. This book is about the philosophy that underpins TPS and Lean. It will help you set your baseline on where to start when considering if the concepts developed for TPS are likely to be suitable for your business. Highly recommended!

Toyota Production System – Beyond Large-Scale Production
Taiichi Ohno
Productivity Press ISBN 0-915299-14-3
Original Japanese version 1978
English translation 1988 by Productivity Press

Other books by Taiichi Ohno include “Taiichi Ohno’s Workplace Management” and “Just-in-Time for Today and Tomorrow.”

Peter Gardner is a Senior Lean Consultant with Shinka Management focusing on business profit improvement utilizing lean manufacturing practices. Peter has been involved in leading lean manufacturing programs for the past three decades. In his previous role as Global Manufacturing Engineering Director at TI Automotive, Peter had responsibility for manufacturing operations at 80 factories.

Shinka Management provides lean consulting, lean training and Japan study mission week-long training courses which include Toyota factory tours and visits to several plants in the Toyota supply chain to learn about the application of TPS.