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Focus on “the logistics of problem solving.”

The SPED™(Solving Problems Every Day) method is about solving many small problems every day. Most problems can be simply analysed using 5 Whys. The outcome your staff need is to have common language about Concern, Containment, and Corrective Action (ref “Getting The Right Things Done” by Pascal Dennis).

Engage your staff by asking “What are your frustrations?” I learnt this from an innovation consultant, Roger La Salle. This simple question brings real problems to the forum, not just technical problems.

Provide a forum for your staff and a standardised leader support process. Have a daily workplace team meeting (10 minutes). Have standard work for managers to review each team every day in what Dnniher call a “gemba walk.” Have the Site Leadership Team connect every day.

Daily meeting for staff:

  • Visual simple indicators
  • Hand draw updates (not computer)
  • Follow Morale, Safety, Quality, Delivery, Cost, Problem PDCA agenda
  • Limit time to affordable length (eg 10 minutes)
  • Have defined roles in the meeting
  • Many other tips

Lean Manufacturing problem solving

Gemba Walk:

  • Display routine
  • Focus on positives
  • Act on problems
  • Standardise agenda
  • Fix routine of team sequence the walk takes
  • Flexible time of each meeting to allow problems to be addressed

Site Leadership Meetings

  • 10 minutes
  • standard agenda, defined roles.
  • discuss issues (do not repeat problem solving from work place)
  • communicate activities

Jeffrey Liker and David Meier a very good metaphor for solving problems. They show problems as rocks and shows many small rocks with a few medium rocks and two or three boulders.  The six sigma approach is to train high caliber problem solving people and focus on the big problems. A lean tools approach driven by lean “experts” generally focus on medium sized and a few big problems.  The true lean approach is to focus management on big and medium rocks and  everybody on many small rocks. The lean method achieves true cultural change and will get down to the level you need for true process stability and excellence.

By Anthony Clyne


Jeff Liker

David Meier

Roger La Salle

Getting The Right Things Done” by Pascal Dennis