Some months ago, Tracey Kimball, our conference producer asked me to do the conference overview to kick off this event. And so I reluctantly agreed… and here we are. So in trying to think about the best way to prepare you for the next day and a half of presentations and learning, I put together some information I’m calling the genetics of lean product development.
I’ve always thought that knowledge is incomplete without a deep understanding of the historical perspective. In other words, you can’t really follow a recipe without understanding all of the ingredients. You see while the lean methods in manufacturing that you see in today’s factories have a direct lineage to Toyota and and Henry Ford among others, when we get to the other end of the lean tunnel, which is the product development, R&D and engineering offices, it gets a lot harder to say who the lean daddy is. Just like as happens in biological species, lean principles started with a straightforward geneaology but over time this diverged and multiplied and recombined from a great variety of sources especially when it moved off of the shop floor and into product development. But this happens everywhere and with everything really…and I first have to share with you some examples about how over time, the true origins of things quite often gets obscured and forgotten.
One thing that is consistent in history is that people get taken for granted. A lot of times people just don’t get the credit that they deserve. You’d have to be a real geek to know who all three of these people are. Some of you may know one or two of these, most of you none. I know that we are a very learned group here. We probably have a few million dollars worth of higher education represented in this room. But don’t be ashamed if these people are strangers to you. Let’s take a look…
Alfred Russel Wallace was a British explorer, geographer, biologist, antropologist…and a contemporary of a man named Charles Darwin. They wrote to each other shared ideas and resources, I thinkthey even exchanged livestock at one point, and one day Darwin was reading some material that Wallace had sent him and was shocked to see that it was fundamentally the exact same concepts that he himself was documenting for a piece known as Origin of Species, something known as natural selection. What’s the real difference between Darwin and Wallace? Well the main difference is that today, nobody is demanding that we don’t teach Alfred Russel Wallace’s theories in our middle schools.
Next we have Gottfried Liebniz was a philosopher and mathematician (like so many other nobemen of his time) around the turn of the 18 th century – a contemporary of Sir Isaac Newton. He just so happened to have published the first papers describing some revolutionary and groundbreaking mathematical processes, the foundations of Calculus. But nobody knows about him. He never had a failed PDA named after him by a fruit-based computer company.
Ok, I promise this is the last one. Humphrey Davey, a British chemist and inventor created an electric lightbulb, I think it was called the Davey lamp, only 70 years before Thomas Alva Edison – no disrespect here intended to Edison, Davey’s bulb only lasted a few minutes and required an impractically large power source. But again, Edison gets the lion’s share of the credit. In his case, it is perhaps more deserved. Newton himself is famously quoted as saying “If I have seen further it is because I have stood on the shoulders of Giants.” I like to believe that it was people like Gottfried Leibniz that inspired this infamous sentiment.
Ok, well, that’s all very good and nice, but so what about lean mfg and lean product dev? It’s a similar situation. When most people hear the word lean, they immediately think of TPS, the Toyota Production System. Toyota Toyota Toyota. GOLDRATT REFLECTION If you were to go to Japan and ask people at Toyota where lean manufacturing comes from, they would of course talk about Taiichi Ohno and Shigeo Shingo, but they might also mention the many people and teachers that came before and the many western influences that essentially led them to TPS. Many years ago at a conference on Theory of Constraints, I asked Dr. Eli Goldratt about the relationship between TOC and Lean Manufacturing. He quickly stated, “You mean the work of my good friend Taiichi Ohno and his Toyota Production System. It is sheer brilliance of course.” And then of course, he had to mark his territory and said “Lean techniques are brilliant for showing you where to apply the Theory Of Constraints.”
So I was doing some research and I came across this timeline from the Strategos website. You can see that Ohno and Shingo don’t really appear until more than halfway down this chart. The roots of what we today call the body of ideas known as “Lean” on this chart begin in the 19 th Century….but I bet that we could go even further back to Ben Franklin, Leonardo Da Vinci, Archimedes and find artifacts of lean thinking….heck, I think I even read somewhere that the Egyptians had a primitive kanban system during Pyramid construction.
So out of this timeline, here are a few of the more recent things that might be asked to take a “lean” paternity test. Eli Whitney and his eureka moment with interchangeable parts. Fred Taylor the father of “Scientific Management” and one of the first to create the concept of standardized work. Frank Gilbreth, cheaper by the dozen fame, and his early attempts to do value stream mapping And of course, Henry Ford. So when you think of lean in manufacturing, you can’t just stop at Toyota, you have to give notice to Toyota’s influences as well.
So what do we give credit to Toyota for? Well they did what the Japanese and most Asians are stereotypically known to be good at, improving things…making them better… they do it with products, they do it with processes. They studied people like Taylor and Ford quite extensively and post WWII they were like sponges when people like Deming taught them concepts like statistical process control, and the rest is history. Two things I think are sometimes overlooked, and these are things western companies have a hard time copying… They actively involve all workers in Kaizen activity, exercises of continuous improvement. They call it Gemba Gembutsu or “go and see” meaning you when problems occurred, you went directly to the source, You walke down to the shop floor, to find the solution. Workers who perform the work should be an invaluable resource for improving that same work. Now contrast this with America during the same time pre and post labor unionization, and this was something very different and a cultural difference that I think American companies struggle with emulating. The closest thing in American management is what we call this MBWA, which as the legend goes is an acronym a Hewlett-Packard executive coined for his technique if Management by walking around… And using their lean methods to create efficient variety – the ability to make variations of products quicker and with minimal waste, which I believe contributed greatly to consumer choice and spurring market demand that really helped jumpstart the global economy way back when.
So here’s Toyota, very quietly gaining on their US-based and other competitors, plugging along making slow and deliberate improvements to their entire system and before you knew it, they were stealing market share and basically pulling the rug out from under Detroit. And doing it to them in their own backyard…that smarts… So a lot of American companies were too arrogant to admit their weaknesses and basically chalked it up to fads or luck. But some people knew better. Some very smart people said, Hey, if this continues, we’re all out of a job, so we better go find out what’s going on over there.
The smartest of these people was a team from MIT’s International Motor Vehicle Program – Jim Womack, Daniel T. Jones and Dan Roos. Womack is of course the best known of these three, a century from now Jones and Roos will likely be the Russel Wallaces to Womack’s Darwin. The first book, Machine, hit the automotive world like an earthquake. And between the time that was published and 6 years later when Lean Thinking hit the shelves, Womack and Jones found many companies outside Japan that were taking lean and running with it…some of them automotive suppliers, but more than a few from unrelated industries, like the Wiremold company or Steelcase. Lean was starting to spread and spread quickly. Art Byrne, the CEO of Wiremold, one of the lean companies featured in Lean Thinking, was always being asked why he was giving away the secret to his success in manufacturing. And Art would say “I don’t care if they know how we do it. I don’t think THEY can copy it. It’s hard to do. Most likely they’ll give up. It’s not magic. So if they learn from me and have the determination to do it themselves then they’ve earned it.”
This is Jim Womack and I think this picture accurately shows how the industry looked at him in 1994 – wearing the robes of a prophet and appearing like some Benedictine Friar of the Shop Floor. At MRT, we used to do a conference series called the “Mfg Leadership Summit” and we’d gather about 150 executives at Harvard Univesity’s JFK School of Gov’t and we’d talk about all the top issues that they were having. Well, one year, we started working with Jim Womack, who had published The Machine the Changed the World just a few years before and Lean Mfg was starting to gain a lot of traction at American and European companies. Well, it was not long before the Manufacturing Leadership Summit was renamed the Lean Manufacturing Summit and Dr. Womack successfully supplanted the previous chairman, MIT’s Don Clausing. It was almost Machiavellian, to be honest, I had a front row seat to all of this. BULLSHIT BINGO
In this era, the book Lean Thinking was something that had a very powerful impact on those who read it. When executives read this book, many would have the greatest AHAs of their careers, and a lot of them would report having the same exact symptoms of Lean Thinking. What were these symptoms?: Well, once the book made its impression on you, and you were awoken to the concept of the shameful waste that had been hidden from you, right under your nose for years and years, you started to see waste everywhere. Once you knew what waste was, that the japanese called it “muda” and the difference between type 1 and 2 muda, you saw it everywhere. You’d go to the grocery store and think about how they replenished their stock and how they could improve checkout line service. You’d become obsessed with time and efficiency and how long it took you to fill your gas tank, and how many steps it took you to make breakfast. It was like a uniquely demented mental illness and you can only imagine what it was like for these executive’s spouses. But it was more or less a healthy obsession, it rightly made people question conventional wisdom, slay sacred cows. It made you learn some Japanese. All good stuff. The point is, Lean made an impact, because it made sense…and it continues to do so as it spreads outside of manufacturing. So the late 1990s and early 21 st Century are really good for Lean manufacturing companies. It’s hard to find a company today that isn’t applying TPS or wants to in their factories, whether they call it lean or something else. So all these companies are making lots of money because of it. So…of course, these same executives get greedy. They’re smart. They know that the engine that makes money and drives growth in their company isn’t the shop floor, it’s engineering, it’s R&D, it’s product development. So why not apply lean to that and then we’re really going to see some results. Of course, we all know it’s never that simple…Manufacturing and product development are very different animals…
There’s been a lot of coverage about the differences between lean in mfg and lean in engineering/r&d, so I won’t dwell on this. We’ll just point out the obvious. Shop floor analog…product development digital. Shop floor Linear…Product dev. multi dimensional. Shop floor is like newtonian physics, hard laws, visible, observable phenomena…Product development more like quantum mechanics…variable, unpredictable, quirky, infinitesimal and invisible…in comparison to manufacturing. One is a robot, quite literally, and one is a human being.
Bookology is one of those newfangled vocabulary words, like another word I recently heard about, “chillax”. Anyway, ‘bookology’ is the study of a subject by examining the books that are written about it. So when I took a close look at all the lean books (and there are probably more than even these out there, but these are the major ones and then some), the first thing I did was notice that I could put immediately sort them into a few categories. Over here we have what I’m calling “orthodox” lean, meaning these books do not stray far from what could be considered “TPS Doctrine” – they stay very closely to the specific tools and methods used at Toyota and by companies that are trying to emulate Toyota. These are the books by Womack, Jones, Mike Kennedy, Allen Ward, Jeff Liker and some others… Next we have what I call “Reformed” lean, and these talk about concepts that are inherently lean, but display no loyalty or adherence to Toyota’s exact methods or dogma. When Dr. Eli Goldratt, who wrote The Goal in 1984, read Lean Thinking, he must have had the same feeling that Charles Darwin had when reading Alfred Russel Wallace’s thesis on population growth and species mutation. The Goal and Lean Thinking tell almost the exact same story (in very different ways, of course), but Dr. Goldratt’s book predated Womack and Jones by 12 years. And last I have a section for leftovers, things that didn’t fit neatly into the other two categories, so I call this “hybridized” lean, meaning the ideas in most of these books do borrow a lot from TPS but also try to retrofit them into their own systems or merged with others. But they don’t quite capture the true spirit of lean while adding its own unique value, that was the criteria I used to put something in the higher, ‘reformed’ category. I’ll discuss more of these books in a moment..
With that I thank you…
Gregg tong geneticsofleanpd
The Genetics of Lean Product Development Gregg Tong Vice President Management Roundtable92 Crescent Street | Waltham, MA 02453 USA | Tel: 781-891-8080 | Fax: 781-398-1889 www.ManagementRoundtable.com
genetics (jə-nětĭks)The study of the principles of heredity and the variation of inherited traits among related organisms. Slide 2
Do you know these names? Who are…?: • Alfred Russel Wallace • Humphrey Davey • Gottfried Liebniz ? Slide 3
Alfred Russel Wallace• 19th century British naturalist, explorer, geographer, anthropologist, and biologist.• Independently developed a thesis known as “Natural Selection”• Shared resources, ideas and correspondence with a colleague named Charles Darwin• Is relatively unknown Slide 4
Gottfried Liebniz• 17-18th Century philosopher and mathematician• Independently discovered Calculus at the same time as Sir Isaac Newton – and published his findings first• Had no “apple” legend to sustain his legacy Slide 5
Humphrey Davey• British chemist and inventor• Invented an electric lightbulb seventy years prior to Thomas Edison * But Edison did make it practical for use by the consumer• Another giant with sore shoulders… Slide 6
What about Lean Manufacturing andProduct Development?• More than just Toyota, Ohno and Womack …much, much more…. Slide 7
Lean Concepts B.T. (BeforeToyota) The Legendary “Masters” of Production• Eli Whitney, known for the cotton gin, less known for perfecting the concept of “interchangeable parts” (1799 – fulfilled contract for mfg 10K muskets at $13.40/ea)• Frederick Taylor, late 1890s – father of “Scientific Management” focused on industrial efficiency and standardized work.• Frank Gilbreth, 19-20th Century building contractor, invented “process charts”, an early stab at defining non-value added work and value streams, espoused the concepts of continuous improvement• Henry Ford – no explanation necessary – widely considered the first to use Just-in-Time and other Lean Methods. See: http://www.strategosinc.com/just_in_time.htm Slide 9
Enter the Toyota Dragon• 1949-1975: Toyota’s Taiichi Ohno and Shigeo Shingo borrowed from Ford’s methods, and pumped it up with the statistical process control methods learned from W. Edwards Deming and several others...• SOME OVERLOOKED MAJOR CONTRIBUTIONS: – Using the labor force for more than just labor – tapped into the collective mindset of the Gemba and developed the Kaizen approach – a huge differentiation from Ford and American labor practices at the time (MBWA before H-P) – Addressing efficient product variety – building more customer choice and value than Ford’s single model mindset Slide 10
The Big Lean Bang• As Toyota began to dominate automotive quality (and their US competitors dropped ball after ball), the descendants of Ford, Taylor and Deming took notice• Many went to Japan to learn how the students surpassed their master… Slide 11
The Big Lean Bang < 1990 • After years of research, some humble academics made observations that both embarrassed and 1996 > inspired American manufacturers… Slide 12
The Lean Eureka Moment• You read Lean Thinking• You see waste everywhere• You become obsessed with time and efficiency• You question all conventional wisdom• You learn some Japanese words… Slide 14
Manufacturing vs. ProductDevelopment:Key Differences in Lean ApplicationsProduction Shop Floor Engineering/R&D Office• Analog • Digital• Macro Context • Micro Context• Finite • Infinite interdependencies interdependencies • Non-linear requirements• Linear requirements and processes and processes • Multi Clock• Single Clock (Takt • Complex synchronization Time) • More like Quantum• Simplified mechanics Synchronization• Like Newtonian physics Slide 15
So how was Lean PD born?• It took a village…• A lot of Lean PD is Old TQM• More than just playing “match the muda” Slide 16
There’s more than one Lean PD?• The Toyota Product Development System (TPDS)• “Agile” processes that fit Lean Criteria• The lean “entourage” (i.e. lean six sigma, etc.), separate systems now linked to lean or miscellaneous tools On Google, “Lean Product Development” returns 29,200 search results Slide 17
Early Lean PD Concepts (before lean wassexy)What’s old is new again…• Fred Brooks (1975) wrote The Mythical Man Month early insights into the science of project delays in software engineering• HBS’s Steven Wheelright and Kim Clark – (1992) wrote Revolutionizing Product Development, focused on the product strategies behind rapid development processes• Chris Meyer (1993), wrote Fast Cycle Time, on designing and implementing cross-functional teams• Stefan Thomke, (1995) wrote MIT thesis on the Economics of Experimentation in the Design of New Products and Processes AND AN ENDLESS SUPPLY OF ADDITIONAL ACADEMIC AND INDUSTRY WORK Slide 18
Lean “Bookology” “Orthodox” Lean “Reformed” Lean Theory of Constraints Agile Product Dev Agile Software Dev “Hybridized” Lean Slide 19
Lean “Bookology” “Orthodox” Lean TPS & TPDS – The Toyota Ways •If you want to be “like Mike” •Value stream mapping/analysis •Set based design / engineering •Chief Engineer hierarchy •Deep customer understanding •A3 •5S •Muda, Gemba Gembutsu, Kaizen and Kaikaku the list goes on… Slide 20
Lean “Bookology” Womack and Jones’s attempt to apply lean outside the shop floor • Focused on the customer perspective • Lean services and the process of product and service consumption • Healthcare, transportation, consumer, all types of services • Inventory, supply chains, delivery • Addresses a critical flaw in lean: demand flow creation Slide 21
Lean “Bookology” Lean Product development as “Reformed” Lean derived from TPS as well as: • Theory of Constraints andTheory of Constraints Agile Product Dev Agile Software Dev Critical Chain Project Management • Agile Software Development – Small Batch Sizes – Frequent Feedback Loops – Value, Flow, Pull • Agile Product Development – Process economics and time to market – Cycle Time Reduction – Constraints Management – Cost of delay – Queuing theory – Information Management – Value, Flow, Pull Slide 22
Lean “Bookology” “Hybridized” LeanApplied lean, thingsrelabeled lean, thingsmerged with lean.• Variable quality in this category Forgotten Stepchildren?• Design for Remember part count Manufacture and reduction, target costing, Assembly (DFM/A) poka yoke, supplier integration and concurrent• Multi-Project engineering? Management Expect these old standby• Lean Six Sigma “lean” tools to get greater focus in the current economic environment… Slide 23
Hallmarks of “True” Lean PD• Has a lean spirit and heart (Value, Flow, Pull, Perfection)• Non-superficial perspective on “waste”• Grounded in economics and uncommon sense – clearly outlines decision tradeoffs• Is indiscriminate and without prejudice• Achieves a measurable result… Slide 24
Lean PD: The Next Frontiers?• Enlarging the Gemba• Lean customer research and requirements definition• Lean Innovation• Lean Marketing• Lean Joe Green• Merging and Acquiring Lean Companies Slide 25
Thank you.And now for your regularly scheduled programming… Slide 26