Chapter 6 - Perpetual PDCA - Developing A3 Thinkers Notes

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MAN 3786
Oct 29, 2023
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Perpetual PDCA - Developing A3 Thinkers Mini-Shusa "Shusa" refers to the role of a product chief engineer within Toyota's managerial system. The shusa is responsible for setting the vision and ensuring the successful delivery of a product or project. They do not have direct control over the resources required for their projects but lead and coordinate all necessary processes and resources. The shusa in Toyota's product development environment solves complex organizational issues, sets and attains market share goals, etc. Implementing the A3 management process can transform a functional manager into a "mini-shusa." A mini-shusa must take ownership of their project and deliver value horizontally across functions by integrating different departments and processes that may typically operate in silos. Mike Masaki, former president of the Toyota Technical Center USA, emphasizes the importance of original thinking (omoi-ire) for an owner to truly advocate for their own ideas rather than just being a caretaker of others' ideas. Hansei - Putting the 'C' in PDCA Hansei is a Japanese term for self-reflection and continuous improvement. It involves looking back and thinking about how organizational or performance shortcomings can be improved. Formal hansei meetings are held at key milestones, such as the end of a project, to identify problems and develop countermeasures. The improvements identified during hansei meetings are communicated to the rest of the organization to prevent the recurrence of mistakes. Informal hansei can occur daily, allowing individuals to reflect on their own performance and identify areas for improvement. Hansei is an essential part of lean operational learning, along with kaizen (continuous improvement) and standardized work. Developing the capability to practice productive hansei is a key trait of lean organizations and contributes to enduring learning. Productive hansei enables companies to develop evolutionary learning capabilities, according to Toyota scholar Takahiro Fujimoto. Many firms have knowledge-sharing practices that make them learning organizations, but Toyota's combined practices make it an exemplar of evolutionary learning. Hansei corresponds to the check/study phase of PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act), a problem-solving cycle used in lean management. One common and useful hansei practice among American organizations is the After Action Review (AAR), which was initially developed by the U.S. military but is now widely adopted by businesses.
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