Lean 2012 is the first Lean conference in Iceland (I think). I attended and I put down a few notes:

Introduction speech
Pétur Orri talked about the change of scenery of business today. How outlearning your competitor is the most important things in order to stay on top.
Old ways of Lean management was just standardizing the production line but today we need more in order to succeed. If you are outwitted you might just loose everything over night.
A good workplace needs happy and engaged workers and people need purpose.
Then he related to Nokia as an example of a product where they lost customers and mentioned briefly that Iceland now has 17 airlines flying to Iceland…I don’t know if that’s really a good thing for the long run…well see 😉

The Toyota way to Excellence
Jeffrey K. Liker
He honestly begun by admitting that when he was inved to talk at the conference he had to take out a globe to see where Iceland was and he was very impressed by the Golden Circle tourist trip he took upon arriving.
His talk discussed how Toyota developed their culture: a culture of continuous improvement. How lean is very similar to the word learn: learn to be healthy and being able to run “fast” for a long time.
Toyota history, how the Toyoda family grew from hard work into Toyota and the culture behind the ideology…
The Toyoda Cultural values

  • contribute to society
  • customer first/company second
  • respect for people
  • know your business
  • get your hands gritty
  • hard work, discipline
  • teamwork
  • always innovation

“It is a big world out there, open the window”
Ideology of JIT was founded by the Toyota thinking where there aren’t enough resources around.
Ohno wrote down the Toyota Production System. The TPS House drawing by his pupil to explain the thinking behind the system.
A lot of history and basic ideology where Lean comes from and how the mentality and culture is the most important part of it all.

What is Kaizen and how we use it as Össur
Viktoría Jensdóttir
Explaining how continuous improvement is a great tool. Kaizen days (3-5) to focus on specific tasks and find better ways. 2-4 weeks are in preparation mode and follow up 30/60/90 days after where they measure changes. Business cases are created to show off to upper management.
Whent through how they use Kaisen’s to become the best company that they can be.
Insiprational how enthuistatic Össurs employees are about Lean/Kanban and focused as presented in the slides.

One size does not fit all…the need to continually evolve the approach to quality & productivity
Brenton Harder
We are all chief sustainable change managers.
Has learnt more about how not to do it rather then how to do it 😉
Check out Honeywell operation system: From bitter to sweet (economist), good story…
Always look out for the best way to go without holding on to a specific methodology or fad.

  • Transformation – BIG changes (Lean)
  • Streamline – Make it better (six sigma)
  • Enhancement – Small thinks, quick wins (workout)

Meaningful buy-in from management and epmpoyess is needed.
“It’s not one person, not one team, its the whole business”

Lean Management: From Thinking to Acting
Ýr Gunnarsdóttir
Worked at Toyota and they din’t call in Lean, they do many things that have been formalized in Lean talk but you might not find the terms within Toyota. Somethimes they referred to Lean as “George”.
“I am responsible for the custom experience”
Create and communicate your Lean plan. Get confirmation, get feedback.
Keep everybody enlightened.
Agree on your Lean mission.
State and agree on your Lean objectives.
She stated that she was a Lean fanatic and spoke very fast and had a lot to say. That made it a little hard to keep up with everything she said and take notes, so I might have forgotten to write some things down.

Lean deployment in a greenfield on the edge of the world
Magnús þór Ásmundsson
Talk about how Fjarðaál was set up. Went into a lot of details of how they’ve implemented the TBS via ABS. Being from the east of Iceland I’m really interested into taking a look at the plant itself…maybe I can get a tour this summer 😉

It’s the SYSTEM stupid!
John Seddon
He started by stating that “Agile is just doing the wrong thing faster” (pun on IT projects 30% failing).
Great point about getting to know what is needed before involving IT. First build the system, make it work, improve it and have it working and first then bring in IT. Here the system is not the IT system but the “process” or how people work…get that right first and then turn it into software…then you really know what you wan’t & need and how it works.
When he came to the slide with the word Lean he said: “Don’t do this shit” (good pun for this crowd…he’s not fond of the word…and had some good points to it…just like the founders of Toyota had): Never codify method (Haiichi Ohno). You need to know before you codify…and to write it down you might fuck the future up.
A tool is for a specific purpose, if you don’t know who made it or what is was build for you can’t use it…do you have the same problem?
If you explain, they don’t get it, if they study they get it. This one is quite loaded and has a direct link to “Teaching by questioning”…
Get a tool or fashion one for yourself.
Study the work beforehand!
I thought this was a really good ending, not only did he have some excellent points & truths but he also questioned the whole “Lean” religion. The latter may have been more rememberable at this conference, but I liked it…good to get someone who’s not a fanatic to keep people open minded 😉

The Panel
Q: What’s your take on John’s talk on Lean not being good?
A: Can’t find Lean at Toyota. Toyota is not using these tools, they are solving problems in the system. Lean has a lot of value in the word today.
A: Learn what are you problems, don’t have someone else come in and learn for you!
A: It’s about understanding where you are and where you wan’t to go.
A: Change the system = redesign the process. Learn all things through your process…Learn!
A: Many tools, know them and fit the right one for you problem…or create a new of you can’t fint the appropriate tool. Ask the who, what & why before starting…don’t follow blindly a single tool or methodology.
A: management thinking has to change!
A: not many of us are the top leaders, how do we get them on board. DO ANYTHING TO MAKE THEM QUORIOUS! (Get them on to learning)