Pick up any book about the virtues of the Toyota Production System (TPS) and it will talk about “going to the gemba,” or visiting the shop floor. This is probably the most powerful hidden attribute of TPS. When applied correctly, it forms the basis of standardized work for leaders and quickly allows them to compartmentalize the noise that can create “disturbances to flow.”
But in many plants, the daily production meeting is like a religious gathering. Managers and supervisors pray for no material shortages, quality impacts or labour problems. Then they seek forgiveness for not meeting goals established at the previous day’s meeting.
It can be the biggest waste of the day, especially since it removes leaders from the gemba, where they are needed the most.
Eliminate that waste by setting up report-out boards (whiteboards) in strategic locations throughout your plant. Follow the value stream, beginning with the final customer and work back to the receipt of raw materials. Reporting should cover the four areas that create disturbances to flow: health and safety, quality, production, and continuous improvement. Then the management team assembles daily to walk the standardized route to view the report-outs and deal with any issues that could create a disturbance to flow for the coming 24 hours.
The team should also review the results of the previous 24 hours to make certain plans and targets were met. If a member is not able to attend, an alternate who is empowered to make decisions should be there.
Here are examples of daily report-out questions:
Health and safety. Any incidents? Any concerns? All employees present? What will be the impact of absentees?
Production. Any production concerns? Do you have enough material? All equipment in good working order? Did you meet yesterday’s target? Will you meet today’s target? If not, what do we need to do?
Quality. Any quality alerts? Any quality concerns? How many quality spills yesterday, and their magnitude? Is there anything you need to help you do your job better today?
Continuous improvement. What is your five-minute 5S task for today? What can you do to find one second of savings in an operation today? What can we work on to better improve our workplace today?
The review of issues and results requires just three questions:
What worked well (WWW) … keep doing it!
What didn’t work well (WDWW) … stop doing it!