Keys to Success

Toyoda Motor Corporation sold its first car, the A1, in 1936, and almost immediately changed its name to Toyota. The reason for the switch was simple — Toyota can be written in Japanese with just eight strokes of a pen, with eight being a lucky number, while Toyoda takes 12. The key to success is sometimes just one person with a vision and a little energy.

With The LeanMan Lean Principles Factory Simulation Kits© you can create adult learner oriented lean manufacturing instructional materials that come alive—that enable learners to do far more than just read or listen.

They will become part of the demonstrations, try out lean procedures, experience the hands-on simulations, get feedback and help, be able to question the lean idea or concept and get meaningful answers, and more.

What you bring to the experience as the Facilitator is of the utmost importance. You know your Lean Principles subject matter, of course, and you should have a clear sense of exactly what you want to teach. It will help if you have some basic familiarity with the shop operation and your student’s work environment. Most important, you have to understand how adult learners learn.

Adult learning isn't a simple act. It involves a complex, interrelated series of cognitive processes, including attention, perception, and memory. Based on cognitive psychology—the science of how people process information—the principles of instructional design can help you create and present Lean Mfg training materials that are consistent with the way people learn.

The LeanMan Lean Principles Factory Simulation Kits will provide you with an interactive hands-on tool to help introduce you and your team to these learning principles, and suggest (with facilitator talking points and lean flow examples) how you can combine effective instructional design with the power of simulation to create Lean Principles teaching and training materials that work, on the job and in the classroom. And most important, adults establish long term learning when associated with a high state of emotion or exhilaration - i.e. FUN! - so take advantage of the LeanMan 5S and ToyodaWay game CDs to break up the training events and inject some riotous excitement for your students - and they do get loud!

And one more thing - every answer to their questions can be related back to one of the five principles of lean.

The Five Principles of Lean*

  1. Specify Value of the Product
  2. Identify the Value Stream for Each Product
  3. Enable the Products to Flow Without Interruptions
  4. Allow the Customer to Pull Value From the Stream
  5. Continuously Improve … Pursue Perfection

* from Lean Thinking by James Womack

Why Our Kits are Different

We have all struggled to learn the concepts of continuous improvement and lean flow by reading published materials, attending seminars, and sitting through training demonstrations suggested in books.

The concept is to simulate a product flow by having each participant:

  • Perform some repetitive task
  • Measure the results
  • Adjust the variables to focus on the value-added steps
  • Measure again.

These exercises mainly consist of using simple materials such as paper, pen and ink, and color markers to simulate a production process. The result is more like a kindergarten class than a serious attempt to teach hard working team members the theory of lean. Imagine what must be going through their minds the first time the Continuous Improvement trainer asks these grown adults to make smiley faces out of paper plates, color markers, glue sticks and cotton balls!

There are many paper games that attempt to teach the concepts of lean. Here’s a simple example using paper and pen:

  • The first person tears three paper sheets into three strips and passes the stack of nine to the next player, and then repeats with another stack.
  • The second player signs all nine strips, and passes the batch to the third player, and repeats
  • The third player signs all nine and passes them on. You add as many players as you want.
  • The last player acts as a finished goods inspector and warehouse person.
  • A timekeeper keeps score and tallies the metrics at the end of a set period.
  • Repeat again, this time passing three pieces at a time, and measure the results.
  • Do it once more with 1 piece flow and see how fast the customer gets the first delivery.

The problem with this simple approach is the inherent variability of each player and the fatigue factor. People get tired of signing their name over and over. What starts out looking like script quickly turns to a scrawled line, or less. The eventual metrics of the game become lost, the boredom factor is high, and the people want to get back to the shop to do something useful.

The LeanMan Factory Simulation Kit was designed to provide a training tool that is fun for participants, simple to use and reuse for the trainer, easy to transport to the training site, and provides repeatable touch time for meaningful metrics.