Making value stream mapping a success: "Mind and Hand"

I see too often wasteful "lean" efforts focused on mapping value streams that would not be followed by actual implementation. They are used to decorate conference rooms, to fill Powerpoint presentations and to feature videos. 

It is absolutely necessary to know your current and target condition to define what actions we should take as part of the Plan-Do-Check-Act but with mapping we haven't accomplish anything yet. 

Last weekend, Dean Schmittlein "revealed" the secret of success of MIT as organization to create value: relentless application of its "mind and hand" principle which appears in MIT's logo. Here some data on MIT's "mind and hand" principle in action:
"Mens et Manus"
Companies found by living MIT alumni employ 3.3. million people and generate world revenues of  $2 trillion, "producing the equivalent of the 11th-largest economy in the world."
Thomas A. Edison who was well known for practicing the "mind and hand" principle once said "The salvation of America lies in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology". And, it is not by accident that James Womack and other scientists re-discovered "lean thinking" while working in MIT's International Motor Vehicle Program.

While "mind and hand" really is not a secret,  it is one of these key principles for success for any lean transformation. It is the same "learning by doing" principle used by Toyota and other lean organizations to describe the active approach to develop people. Even before Toyota, the Training Within Industry (TWI) program and definitely Deming's PDCA style for training programs used the same principle.

Next time that someone shows you a value stream map as the "mind and hand" question: "can we go and see what you are doing to reach your target condition?"

What can we learn from Medtronic Plant in Jacksonville, FL?

Not long ago I had the opportunity to visit the Medtronic plant in Jacksonville, FL and talked with their CI manager, Chad, and the operations manager, Emmanuel, to whom I thank for the opportunity. It was a refreshing experience on what Lean really is about. Here, key learning points that I would like to share with you:
  • Keep it simple, lean thinking and solutions strive for its simplicity; which is different from simplistic. An example is their policy deployment approach: one wall, key drivers cascading down to specific task and actions that anyone can see. A simple and elegant solution:

Policy Deployment - Medtronic

  • Make it visual, if we don't see what is wrong, little chance that we would deal with it. An example is their daily management board, take a look:

These are two of the key principles that we always need to remind ourselves and others.