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About Art Smalley
After a decade in Japan, Art returned to the United States and served as Director of Lean Manufacturing for Donnelly Corporation. Art subsequently joined the international management consulting firm of McKinsey & Company and was one of the firm's leading experts in the area of lean manufacturing for a period of four years. During this time he counseled numerous Fortune 500 clients on operational matters involving lean implementation and lead specific cost, quality, and delivery improvement projects.
In 2003 Art launched his own company Art of Lean, Inc. and now divides his time serving a diverse base of clients pursuing operational excellence. In addition Art serves as senior faculty member and periodic adviser to the Lean Enterprise Institute and its global affiliates delivering lectures to leading manufacturing executives around the world.
In his spare time Art enjoys time at home with his family, martial arts, photography, woodworking, and reading books.
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When faced with problems many business leaders and teams reach for familiar and standard problem-solving methods, often creating unnecessary struggle, frustration, delay, and ineffectiveness in solving the problem -- if it is ever solved at all! In other words, they keep reaching for the same old hammer as if every business problem were a nail.
In Four Types of Problems, continuous improvement expert and author Art Smalley shows you how to break the “hammer-and-nail” trap. He demonstrates that most business problems fall into four main categories:
“Organizations and individuals at all levels fall into the trap of having one primary or standard way of solving every problem,” writes Smalley, who learned problem solving from Tomoo Harada at Toyota’s historic Kamigo engine plant. Harada led the maintenance activities that created the stability needed for Taiichi Ohno’s innovations in the Toyota Production System.
Each type of problem category requires different thought processes, improvement methods, and management cadences. Each type has its own sub-system and surfacing mechanism, management cadence, timing, and difficulty level, he explained. One size does not fit all situations and just training people in tools or techniques only scratches the surface of problem solving.
In Four Types of Problems you’ll learn:
- 4 types of problem-solving approaches that are effective against virtually every business problem;
- How to advance from treating “abnormal conditions” to more robust problem-solving routines that develop people and create a more diverse continuous improvement culture;
- When and how to use each type with real-world examples;
- The strengths and limitation of each problem-solving type;
- The right sub-system for each type;
- The importance of timing and cadence for each routine;
- The 3 main kinds of countermeasures and when to use each;
- How to use the 4 Cs of Problem Solving for Type 1 or troubleshooting;
- The critical role of frontline supervisors in troubleshooting;
- 2 conditions calling for Type 2 -- gap from standard -- problem solving;
- 7 basic steps of Type 2 problem solving, including key points for each step;
- What sets Type 3 problem solving apart from Types 1 and 2;
- Why Type 3 thinking is possible for any activity – manufacturing, services, healthcare, logistics, government, etc.
Notably flexible and brief, the A3 report has proven to be a key tool In Toyota’s successful move toward organizational efficiency, effectiveness, and improvement, especially within its engineering and R&D organizations. The power of the A3 report, however, derives not from the report itself, but rather from the development of the culture and mindset required for the implementation of the A3 system.
In Understanding A3 Thinking, the authors first show that the A3 report is an effective tool when it is implemented in conjunction with a PDCA-based management philosophy. Toyota views A3 Reports as just one piece in their PDCA management approach. Second, the authors show that the process leading to the development and management of A3 reports is at least as important as the reports themselves, because of the deep learning and professional development that occurs in the process. And finally, the authors provide a number of examples as well as some very practical advice on how to write and review A3 reports.
Toyota Kaizen Methods: Six Steps to Improvement focuses on the skills and techniques practiced inside Toyota Motor Corporation during the past decades. This workbook focuses on the actual training course concepts and methods used by Toyota to develop employee skill level, a core element of Toyota’s success. It is not a book about holding Western-style five-day Kaizen events, which were in reality quite rare during the development of Toyota’s production system and are virtually nonexistent today inside Toyota. Written by two of Toyota’s most revered and experienced trainers, the book —
- Traces the origins of Kaizen since the inception of Toyota Motor Corporation
- Articulates the basic six-step Kaizen improvement skills pattern taught inside Toyota
- Helps practitioners of Kaizen improve their own skill level and confidence by simplifying concepts and removing any mystery in the process
- Provides homework assignments and a wealth of forms for analyzing work processes
If you take the time to study the concepts detailed here, you will be reviewing the same methods and techniques that were harnessed by generations of Toyota supervisors, managers, and engineers. These techniques are not the secret ingredient of Lean manufacturing; however, mastery of these timeless techniques will improve your ability to conduct improvement in almost any setting and generate improvement results for your organization.