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Yes–Butters and Why-Notters

I ran across an interesting post at Management Quotes.  Apparently it has been around for a number of years and unfortunately the source is not known.

Yes-butters don’t just kill ideas.

They kill companies, even entire industries.

The yes-butters have all the answers.

Yes but we’re different.

Yes but we can’t afford it.

Yes but our business doesn’t need it.

Yes but we couldn’t sell it to our workforce.

Yes but my boss might not like it.

Yes but we can’t explain it to our shareholders.

Yes but let’s wait and see-and drink some tea.

All the answers.

All the wrong answers.

Why-Notters move companies.

The next time you are in a meeting, look around and identify the yes-butters, the not-knowers and the why notters.

God bless the Why-Notters.

They dare to dream .

And to act.

By acting, they achieve what others see as unachievable.

Why not Indeed?

So find and support Why-Notters before the Yes-butters yes but you right out of business


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The Eight-Stage Process of Creating Major Change


 • Examining the market and competitive realities

• Identifying and discussing crises, potential crises or major opportunities


 • Putting together a group with enough power to lead the change

• Getting the group to work together as a team


 • Creating a vision to help direct the change effort

• Developing strategies for achieving that vision


 • Using every vehicle possible to constantly communicate the new vision and strategies

• Having the guiding coalition role model the behaviour expected of employees


 • Getting rid of obstacles

• Changing systems or structures that undermine the change vision

• Encouraging risk-taking and non-traditional ideas, activities and actions


 • Planning for visible improvements in performance, or “wins”

• Creating those wins

• Visibly recognizing and rewarding people who made wins possible


 • Using increased credibility to change all systems, structures and policies that don’t fit together and don’t fit the transformation vision 

• Hiring, promoting and developing people who can implement the change vision

• Reinvigorating the process with new projects, themes and change agents


 • Creating better performance through customer- and productivity-oriented behavior  more      and better leadership and more effective management

• Articulating the connections between new behaviours and organizational success

• Developing means to ensure leadership development and succession


Source: Leading change, by J P Kotter, 1996, Boston: Harvard Business School Press

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What’s hiding under our waters?

My day job involves much draining of water to expose what lies below or by cleaning and sweeping and organizing things. No, I am not a water disaster recovery specialist or a house-keeper. I am a teacher of the Toyota Production System. There are few metaphors more potent in the lean lexicon than the classic “rocks and water” illustrated below.


Excess inventory generally means an organization is struggling to turn over inventory and make sales. It also leads to significant costs, lengthened lead times & inventory management requirements that have disadvantages of its own.  

Inventory is a symptom of managing production and logistics by “push” which means making or moving goods and services without a clear signal from the customer or downstream process. Therefore lowering metaphorical water (inventory) helps the organizations to make the problems visible and allows addressing the problems which in turn helps the organization to design a streamlined & responsive production and logistics system that is based on a pull.

This same metaphor or the rocks & water applies at many other levels and in different situations. Kaizen/Lean tools & techniques such as 5s, tpm, tqm, standard work, etc are like rock above sea (visible) or we say attempts by organization to implement Kaizen/Lean practices. While what is not visible is the rock beneath the water or we say those invisible behaviours, attitudes, strategies, assumptions, etc. Kaizen/Lean implementation fails when organizations fail to look under the water   and address these invisible issues.


 Remember Kaizen/Lean tools & techniques are the principles, and philosophies put into visible & concrete practices. The way we cannot separate the visible & invisible rock in the sea, similarly organizations cannot separate visible & invisible tools, behaviours, culture, etc as they are part of one rock (organization) only. Despite of this there has been a trend to de-emphasize the importance of Kaizen/lean processes, tools and methods, techniques in favor of the softer side of the mindsets and behaviors.

Kaizen/Lean tools not only helps to improve performance but also helps to make behaviours visible by making the hidden rocks visible or lowering down the level of water. One piece FLOW (Material & Information) forces us to expose, contain and solve our problems rapidly and this requires not just Kaizen/lean tools but a lean organization structure that drives such behaviors. And once the flow is taken care of it automatically helps to improve the cash flow.

So we encourage such unity of Kaizen/Lean tools and techniques with the mindsets, assumptions, behaviour and go on with such examples.


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Kaizen for Environment – An Introduction

The advent of industrial revolution has had a very profound effect on human society and mankind has benefitted greatly as a result. Advances in manufacturing technology meant that the luxuries that a very few could afford in the past are now ubiquitous (automobile, electric bulb etc.). Development in the field of transportation – starting with the steam engine and later automobiles and aircraft – mean that vast distances can now be traversed in a matter of mere hours. Improvements in the medical field have helped prolong human lifespan (Life expectancy of an average American is now 30 years more than it was a century ago).

The process of industrialization began in the UK in late 18th century and gathered pace throughout the 19th century. The US and rest of Europe industrialized rapidly in the 19th century. But the rate of global industrialization intensified post second world-war, in the second half of 20th century with countries like China, India and Brazil (and many others) following suit. While this has brought undoubted economic growth and advancement, the costs of development are sometimes overlooked. The process of industrialization has depended largely on burning fossil fuels and our societies have become increasingly energy hungry. The rate of greenhouse gas emissions as a result of burning these fossil fuels has increased almost exponentially over the past half a century. The corresponding increase in global temperature over the same period is not a mere coincidence (see chart). Scientists believe that increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere directly contribute to global warming. In addition, industrial and automotive emissions have made most large cities across the world almost uninhabitable. Deforestation is occurring at an unprecedented rate in order to fulfill our insatiable appetite for raw materials and arable land. Clean drinking water is becoming scarcer across the world. Landfills full of non-biodegradable material are now pervasive. Unfortunately, the pace of this energy-hungry and resource-wasteful “growth” shows no sign of abating.


The dangers posed by this unconstrained growth are evident enough. Global temperatures are on the rise – and are projected to continue rising – wreaking untold damage across the world. Natural resources such as oil, coal, and gas however abundant today, are ultimately finite. Deteriorating quality of air and water and scarcity of water have grave implications for human well-being. In spite of this, very little meaningful action has been taken to combat these perils. Global summitry has focused more on apportioning blame for past emissions rather than developing solutions to avert or to mitigate the effects of global warming. Some businesses have undertaken initiative towards “sustainable” development as a part of their corporate social responsibility and individuals are beginning to develop awareness of the consequences of their actions towards climate change or global warming. However, these are not enough and a fundamentally different way of doing things is required to moderate the impact of our activities on the environment.

The Kaizen Way  

Many businesses across the globe have, over the past two decades, adopted Kaizen tools and practices to improve their operations. At a fundamental level, the Kaizen philosophy espouses the identification and relentless effort to minimize or eliminate the seven kinds of Muda (or waste) from our processes. These seven kinds of Muda are –

  1. Overproduction – Producing more than or earlier than customer requirement.
  2. Inventory – Excess raw material, work-in-process or finished goods inventory.
  3. Waiting – Either a part or a person or a machine waiting.
  4. Defects – Producing a defective product or service.
  5. Transportation – Movement of material from one place to another.
  6. Motion – Movement of a person from place to place.
  7. Excess Processing – Incorporating a process customer would not be willing to pay for.     

These are deemed non-value added activities (i.e. they add no value to the customer or end user) and through observation and thorough analysis (through tools such as “Value Stream Mapping”) at the Gemba (place where work is done or value is added), they are identified. Improvement activities are usually geared towards minimizing or eliminating them from the process. As any Kaizen practitioner or a Kaizen practicing business would vouch, the importance of this simple philosophy cannot be overstated.

In a similar way, our approach to environment must be fixated towards identifying and eliminating or minimizing “environmental hazards”. We have classified them into five kinds and they are –

  1. Use of non-renewable energy – Energy generated though sources such coal, gas, oil, nuclear etc.
  2. Air Emissions –
    1. Emissions through product or service – Harmful emissions generated during the process of making the product or service, or emissions generated during the continual use of the product or service.
    2. Transportation emissions – Harmful emissions generated through transportation (air, sea or road).
  3. Water –
    1. Usage – Excess usage or wastage of water.
    2. Pollution – Chemicals or harmful contaminants dumped into water sources.
  4. Use of non-biodegradable material –
    1. Direct material – Content of non-biodegradable material in the product.
    2. Garbage – Content of non-biodegradable material in disposed waste or garbage.
  5. Ecological Damage – Damage wrought to ecological balance by activates such as deforestation or cutting trees or harming the habitat of certain species.

A thorough analysis of all business processes (through tools such as “Green Value Stream Mapping”) must be conducted to identify and quantify these five “environmental hazards”. Once known, a relentless effort to minimize and eliminate these hazards from the processes must be undertaken. Ultimately, businesses must aim to be “Carbon-Neutral”, “Water-Positive” with zero contribution to landfills and with zero ecological damage.

In the long run, if this way of thinking is adopted, businesses and individuals can contribute towards arresting the negative impact of our actions on the environment. Doing nothing or carrying on in the same way that we have over the last century is simply not an option. We may not be left with an inhabitable planet within the next two generations if we do not change our ways.

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10 Steps of Quick Changeover


– Map all the activities involved in changeover.
– Categorize activities in to ‘Internal’ & ‘External’
– Do changeover only with ‘internal’ activities
– DO a Pareto analysis for time taken by ‘internal activities’
– In sequence, starting from highest time consuming activities,
Try & convert ‘Internal’ activities into ‘External activities
If not possible,
Reduce the activity time
– Classify remaining ‘internal’ activities into sequential & parallel activities
– Do changeover with parallel activities done in parallel
– Reduce ‘Adjustment time’. Target –Zero (First Time Right)
– Standardize ‘internal’ changeover process (SOP)
– Study  ’External’ activities. Reduce Muda, Mura & Muri & Standardize

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KAIZEN – Do’s & Don’s


  1. Discard conventional, fixed ideas.
  2. Think of how to do it, not why it cannot be done.
  3. Do not make excuses, start by questioning current practices.
  4. Do not seek perfection. Do it right away, even if only 50 % of target.
  5. Correct it right away, if you make a mistake.
  6. Do not spend money for Kaizen, use your wisdom.
  7. Wisdom is brought out when faced with hardship.
  8. Ask WHY five times and seek out root causes.
  9. Seek the wisdom of ten people rather than knowledge of one.
  10. KAIZEN ideas are infinite.


  1. I am too busy to study it.
  2. It’s a good idea but the timing is premature.
  3. It is not in the budget.
  4. Theory is different from practice.
  5. Isn’t there something else for you to do?
  6. I think it doesn’t match corporate policy.
  7. It isn’t our business; let someone else think about it.
  8. Are you dissatisfied with your work?
  9. It’s not improvement, its common sense.
  10. I know the result even if we don’t do it.
  11. I will not be held accountable for it.
  12. Can’t you think of a better idea?


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What is Early Management?

Application of Kaizen principles/ LEAN learning’s & concepts on a company’s future projects, so that MUDA (waste) can be PREVENTED. This is Kaizen applied as a ‘preventive measure’.

Why Early Management?

To help design waste-free, visual, easily managed factory layouts, processing centers, assembly workstations and supporting material management and handling infrastructure in order to minimize recurring costs. Properly done, the need of floor space can be reduced 50% & manpower reduced 30% to 50%, apart from eliminating a lot of other Muda/ waste

What does Early Management typically Cover?

1)       Manufacturing FLOW improvements

2)       LEAN/ Cellular layouts

3)       Investment in ‘right-size’, multiple, easily maintained, flexible equipment (including utilities)

4)       Quick changing, flexible equipment  (also workstations and layouts)

5)       Ergonomic workstations

6)       Multi-skilled, multi-tasking manpower

7)       Customized, count-free containers for parts

8)       Line side – design for material inputs using FIFO racks

9)       POUS (Point-of-use Stores)

10)   Design of Supermarkets for storage, where necessary (and pull replenishment) of raw materials and parts

11)   Kaizen warehouse (FG and spares sales) for optimization of flow

12)    Lean internal logistics systems (supporting JIT operations internally) 

13)    Lean supervision

14)    Lean documentation (perhaps supported by bar-coding)

15)    Visual management of ‘gembutsu’ and information/ data

16)    Implementing ‘Factory within a factory’ paradigms, if required


Typical Impact of Early Management application

  • Reduced shop floor space/ storage space requirement (we target 50%)
  • Creation of FLOW & PULL in order to reduce inventory and manpower allocation
  • Reduced capital investments (in certain areas), all of which will offer better Productivity, reduced Through Put Time, Lower Waste etc.