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Monday Morning Message on Lean – Operational Excellence – November 1, 2010

November 1, 2010


 “Know-how” alone isn’t enough! You need to “know-why.” – Shigeo Shingo

Tony Manos from 5S Supply and Robert Miller from Shingo PrizeI had the honor and privilege to introduce the final key note speaker, Robert Miller, at the First Annual Visual Workplace Summit in Salt Lake City last Thursday. Mr. Miller is the Executive Director of the Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence. Bob used this quote during his inspiring address to remind us that it is timeless principles that lead us to operational excellence and not just the tools.

The Shingo Prize started in 1988 to educate, assess and recognize organizations that were able to sustain operational excellence. The new version of the criteria has been revamped to help companies focus on guiding principles (or ‘concepts’ as Dr. Shigeo Shingo would call them) as a way to instill values, systems, tools, results that create a culture of success.

A couple of key points that I took away were that to achieve operational excellence we should look at principles first, systems second and then to the tools, but many times we start [Lean implementations] with the tools to help create a system that has no or little effect (or worse, a deleterious effect) on our values.

Another key point is the structure or amount of time different levels of an organization should spend focusing on principles, systems and tools. Top management should focus much of the energy on the organizational principles. Middle management would probably spend most of their effort on creating effective and efficient systems. The associates [value-adders] would then spend most of their strength with the tools. BY allow each level to focus on these areas will help build a strong culture of achievement.

I would like to personally thank Bob for taking time from his busy schedule to speak to the Summit attendees and I appreciate all the effort that went into creating this model of operational excellence. I encourage everyone to learn more about it, please go to http://www.shingoprize.org/.

Who knows, maybe you’ll even apply for the award one day.

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