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    I am now using this blog to re-post some comments I make other blogs. For my full management blog see the Curious Cat Management Blog

    Thursday, June 22, 2006

    Toyota IT for Kaizen

    How Toyota Uses Information Technology (IT) for Kaizen by Jon Miller. He quotes Toyota's CIO from the Japanese article:

    Part of my job as CIO is to take on these company-wide issues and use this data to make improvement suggestions when I have an opportunity to meet with the managing executives.

    Of course, it requires more than me making suggestions for Toyota to make good use of IT. The departments who are the users of information technology must be motivated for IT use to spread. Fortunately, the departments who are users of information technology frequently contact me to ask "Can we use IT for this?"

    Working in Information Technology myself I see many great uses for IT. I also see all sorts of poor attempts to try creating IT tool for quality (including lean) tools that work much better in there original state. I can also see why people make fun of IT: If Tech Companies Made Sudoku.

    IT often does the opposite of lean management and makes things more complex, more prone to error, less effective, etc.. Often all in search of only one thing - cutting costs. For that people should not be faulted for being skeptical of IT solutions. However, that does not mean that IT cannot play a part in improvements. It can, just be careful.

    I find it a good sign when the CIO office is helping people find solutions at the request of the users rather than dictating solutions from on high. Some of the dictating might be necessary to optimize the system of IT (some local sub optimization may be required for the overall good) but in my opinion this is used as an excuse far too often.

    He also mentions:

    If anyone out there knows of a grant to read Japanese literature and share summaries with English-speaking audiences, or some other scheme that would allow me to pay the bills e-mail me.

    Please do, we can all benefit from his translations, like: Gemba Keiei by Taiichi Ohno.

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