How To: Solving Problems Every Day

How To: Solving Problems Every Day

Article by Anthony Clyne

The TXM 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 spotlight.

Provide a platform for your staff and a standardised leader support process. Conduct a daily workplace team meeting (10 minutes). Have standard work for managers to review each team every day through a ‘Gemba Walk’ The site leadership team should meet and connect each day for maximum efficiency.

Staff Daily Meeting:

  • Simple Visual Indicators
  • Hand Draw Updates
  • Follow Morale, Safety, Quality, Delivery, Cost, Problem PDCA agenda
  • Limit Time (e.g. 10 minutes)
  • Have Defined Roles (facilitator, scribe, etc)

Lean Manufacturing problem solving

Gemba Walk:

  • Display Routine
  • Focus on Positives
  • Act on Problems
  • Standardise Agenda
  • Fix Routine of Team Sequence
  • Flexible Time of Each Meeting

Site Leadership Meeting:

  • 10 Minutes
  • Standard Agenda.
  • Discuss Issues (do not repeat problem solving from work place)
  • Communicate Activities


Jeffrey Liker and David Meier use 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.

Read more on what we have to say on Lean Problem Solving.

Robert Chittenden

Author: Robert Chittenden

Robert Chittenden is a Senior Lean Consultant at TXM Lean Solutions