“If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail” – Abraham Maslow
Not all problems are nails. Not all solutions should be hammers. To avoid using a proverbial hammer to make changes, we have an array of options. Here are a select handful of tools, methods, and techniques we apply when working with your business.
5s is a tool developed by Taiichi Ohno and Toyota. It has served as a central piece of the Toyota Production System for decades. The original terms have been translated to English as; Sort, Straighten, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain. Depending on the situation, Safety, Security, or Satisfaction may be incorporated as well.
Another tool courtesy of Taiichi Ohno, father of the Toyota Production System, is to ask why 5 times to get to the root of a problem. Why was a customer unhappy? The product failed. Why did the product fail? There was an issue in manufacturing. Why was there an issue in manufacturing… you get the point.
Value Stream Mapping
Every product or service has a value stream. A set of tasks, work, or steps taken to get a customer what they want to purchase. Mapping out the value stream sheds light on where the wasted effort is, where there is unnecessary burden, and points us in the right direction for developing a new process.
Design thinking is a methodology to make sure what you’re designing, be it a logo, a process, a guest experience, etc. is designed with the customer in mind first. Empathizing with your customers will help point you in the right direction to create the best thing possible.
One of the most significant sources of waste is employee intellect that doesn’t get utilized. Your team is your best source of information and best source of ideas. Don’t forget to include them in decisions that impact their work.
Project Management is a whole toolkit in itself. Walking the line between art and science, project management is all about coordinating effort between disparate teams. Some tools used are scrum boards, Gantt charts, and burn down charts. All to keep everyone on track for their deliverables.
Worker safety is paramount to running a business. Your employees are the biggest asset you have. A significant amount of effort should go into keeping workers safe in daily work, as well as in transitions to new operating rules.
The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a leading tool for customer feedback and growth projections. By implementing a simple way of measuring customer experience on a scale from 1-10, you’ll be able to understand what your customers truly value.
The people hired, the people fired, and the way they all work together can make or break a company. Teams don’t need to be conflict free to be good teams. In fact, the best teams know how to use conflict to learn and grow. Making sure everyone is aligned on goals is a driver of progress.
Born from the relationship between statistics and quality, six sigma is its own set of tools. By carefully defining what quality means, one can determine where defects originate and plan a path towards improvement.
Yes, queuing theory is a real life thing. By taking a birds eye view of how jobs are serviced, one can identify bottle necks, understand flow, and allocate resources appropriately.
Originally known at the Toyota Production System, Lean Thinking has built on decades of work done by Toyota. By focusing on eliminating waste, we can begin to smooth out how work is getting accomplished.
Observe, Plan, Do, Check, Adjust. The Deming method for implementing a change. Observe the current condition, define the problem. Plan the solution, the team, the responsibilities. Do the work. Check to make sure it all went according to plan. Adjust what needs to be adjusted.
Six Thinking Hats
Brainstorming as particular characters. By assuming a particular point of view (hat), a group of people can rapidly iterate through ideas by intentionally assigning different perspectives.
Identifying source of quality defects by means of deep questioning.
These are the real tools of titans