Toyota's 8 Step Practical Problem Solving Methodology Overview

Uploaded by gembaacademy on 25.09.2010

Hi there, my name is Ron Pereira and I'd like to officially welcome you to this first overview
module of the Gemba Academy Practical Problem solving course. By the end of this module
you'll know what a problem is as well as why companies such as Toyota use a form of practical
problem solving to this very day in order to improve their way of working. Next, you'll
also be introduced to other problem solving approaches such as the six sigma DMAIC methodology.
And, finally, by the end of this module you'll know what the 8 steps to Practical Problem
Solving are as we prepare to take a deep dive into each step throughout the rest of this
course. OK, well let's get started by first answering a fundamental question - what is
a problem? Well, first of all, a problem can be defined as any deviation from the standard.
Now, it can also be defined as a gap between actual and desired conditions. And finally,
a problem can be defined as an unfilled customer need. Now, taking it a bit further, we're
often able to classify problems into one of three types. The first is when the standard
is not achieved. In other words, if our target is 100% on time delivery and we experience
a month of 82% on time delivery our actual performance doesn't meet the standard. The
second type of problem occurs when the standard is achieved but a higher standard is now required.
Well, staying with the on time delivery example… if we're currently performing at 100% on time
delivery at a quoted lead-time of 2 weeks, our customers may very well ask us to reduce
our lead-time to 1 week while still maintaining 100% on time delivery. And finally, the third
type of problem occurs when our performance to the standard varies, meaning it's not consistently
achieved. Now, this is actually a form of mura, or unevenness, which we first learned
about in the Transforming your Value Streams course. Alright, well, now that we've been
introduced to what a problem is… let's now turn our attention to why Practical Problem
Solving is such a powerful approach to tackling issues burdening you and your organization.
First of all, Practical Problem Solving enables organizations to have a common understanding
and definition of what "a problem" actually is which in turn creates a fast and urgent
initial response. Next, a standard problem solving approach removes time lost in debate
and discussion. In other words, organizations are able to focus their valuable time and
energy on things that actually matter, such as solving problems. Finally, thorough planning,
root cause analysis, and the implementation of mistake proofing ensures problems don't
reoccur since there's nothing more disheartening then to see a problem reappear a few months
after it was thought to be solved. Now then, throughout this problem solving course we'll
be referring to the PDCA cycle, which stands for plan, do, check, and act. And in particular,
we'll be spending a lot of time on the first step which is plan since the failure to plan
properly, as shown on the top side of this diagram, almost always results in longer times
to resolve the problem. In other words, this organization rushed through the planning phase
only to pay for this hastiness in the check and act phases. On the other hand, when an
organization takes the time to do slow thorough planning, as prescribed in the Practical Problem
Solving approach, they're far more likely to solve their problems faster and far more
efficiently as we see here. Alright, so those are just some of the reasons why Practical
Problem Solving is so powerful… now I'd like to turn our focus towards a few of the
other problem solving approaches used by companies before we take a deeper dive into the 8 step
Practical Problem Solving roadmap. First of all, depending on the problem at hand… many
companies utilize one of the simplest problem solving methodologies available today known
as just do it! In other words, for small problems that may not require much time or resources
it's sometimes possible to quickly fix them and move on. Now, these might be likened to
so called low hanging fruit initiatives. Next, Ford Motor Company adopted a problem solving
process known as the 8 Disciplines which takes 8 Disciplines and uses them to tackle engineering
problems. Now, some actually confuse 8D with the 8 steps of Practical Problem Solving…
and while they do share some similarities they are different. Another extremely powerful
problem solving approach finds its roots in the six sigma methodology. Specifically, six
sigma practitioners around the world have used the DMAIC, or define, measure, analyze,
improve, and control process to attack problems associated with variation and defects for
many years. As an aside, Gemba Academy plans to offer six sigma training in 2010. Now,
to be sure, there are other problem solving methods used today but these are some of the
most popular. OK, well to wrap up this overview module I'd like to officially introduce you
to the 8 step practical problem solving process. Now, throughout the rest of this course - where
we'll follow an actual case study - we'll be taking a deep dive into each step. But
for now, we just want you to become familiar with their names. Now, I'd also like to point
out that these 8 steps are based closely on what Toyota calls the Toyota Business Practice
- which is essentially a detailed explanation of how the PDCA cycle works. Alright, so let's
get started. Now, the first step in the process has us clarifying the problem. In other words,
we must clearly describe the current situation, while going to see with our own eyes in order
to get the facts. Now, we also want to answer questions such as whether we've contained
the problem in order to protect the customer even if this means implementing a temporary
solution. The second step of the process has us breaking the big vague problem down into
smaller, more specific problems. Again we want to go see the actual problem process
or situation with our own eyes. Now, during this step we'll also take time to study the
various inputs and outputs of the process helping us to properly scope and prioritize
our efforts. Next, once we've scoped the problem it's time to set a target that we will achieve…
which is step 3. This is an important step as it forces us to make a commitment. Now,
this target should definitely be a challenge, but also something that helps limit the scope.
In other words, it becomes a "must do" target. Finally, it's important to remember that this
target should take us one step towards the ideal meaning it doesn't have to be a gargantuan
leap towards perfection… instead we'll focus on taking one solid step at a time. Next,
step 4 has us analyzing the root cause. Once again, to do this we must practice genchi
genbutsu without prejudice, which means we must go and see the problems for ourselves
instead of relying on what a report says. Now, during this step we'll work to find points
of cause which is the starting point of root cause analysis. Now, as it turns out there
are often multiple points of cause so we must drill down using things like the 5 why. And
for the record, 5 is not a magic number, it's just a typical minimum suggested to get to
the root cause. Now then, a proper root cause analysis will point to the action needed - namely
the removal of the root cause. To do this you and your team will need to make a plan
that includes who, what, and when enabling you to pursue multiple countermeasures which
is step 5 of the practical problem solving process. Step 6 has us seeing the countermeasures
through as we implement our countermeasures quickly as a team. To accomplish this it's
important to seek the help and most importantly the ideas of many people. You'll also want
to communicate the status regularly while turning the PDCA cycle again and again. And
perhaps the best advice we can offer with this step is to never give up! You'll no doubt
hit obstacles and challenges… but your willingness to persevere and battle through these situations
may very well mean the difference between success and failure. Now step 7 is often called
the follow up phase as we evaluate both the results and the process. Now, during this
step you'll want to ask the questions, "Was this an effective countermeasure or just luck?"
Since, if you look closely at this picture of the famous square peg in the round hole
example… sometimes even great ideas such as ensuring only round pegs get inserted have
room for improvement since a person with a square peg and a hammer just might find ways
around this error proof device. Finally, step 8 of the practical problem solving method
challenges us to standardize success using something the Japanese call yokoten, which
loosely translated, means to copy and expand good kaizen ideas to other areas while also
identifying unresolved issues. And in addition to building on successes we must also face
and learn from unresolved issues. In fact, we should never shy away from these challenges
as failure to address them could lead to problems reappearing in the near future. Finally, during
this 8th and final step we must set the next targets for improvement since the phrase - no
problem is a problem - is so very true. And that covers the overview of the 8 steps to
practical problem solving. Obviously we've only offered a brief overview of these 8 steps
in this overview module… but rest assured, throughout the rest of this course we'll take
you on a thorough journey through each and every step as we work through a case study
example of a company solving a particular problem using this powerful 8 step roadmap.
So we'll see you soon throughout the rest of this course.