Steven Spear article in Quality Magizine
Perhaps you have already seen it. But Jim Peck from the forum, JobShopLean linked the TWI blog up with the Steven Spear article titled, Innovation and Workforce Engagement in a High Velocity World, in the November 2009 edition of Quality Magazine talks about a different kind of workforce training and management's obligation to directly lead that effort.
There are some nuggets to take away from Spear's article. In today's fast paced world, even "Change is not enough." Spear goes on to explain, "Any one idea, even an insanely great one, will get a company only so far ahead and keep it there only so long.," therefore , "Competition today has to be a team sport with barely anyone riding the bench."
Sidenote: I'm not sure what the following means: "The result is that Toyota went into the downturn well in advance of its rivals, had a far bigger cushion and seems to be recovering quicker." So, does this mean that Toyota, because of the noticeably more sensitive (fragile?) systems it has intentionally put in place felt the effects of the economic downturn before its competition? This would be a very interesting hypothesis to explore further...any thoughts on this?
We can imply from the article that most management has failed in engaging the entire workforce in a meaningful way. At Aisin, a Toyota supplier, "Junior employees hired for front line work are first trained to do standard work with high fidelity," and then subsequently are "taught how to see problems that compromise safety, quality and time. This does not mean dropping a note in the suggestion box. It cannot be accomplished by the same management style that has already failed to accomplish it. A company's management has to change."
An anecdotal example from Pratt and Whitney follows, just so those that say it can only happen in Japan have a genba they can go and see in the United States.
And what do they need to see? That which requires change: managements ultimate obligation is that they must "improve their ability to keep improving."