Newsletter – June, 2012

On My Mind

Leaders of organizations periodically develop and deploy objectives to address strategic issues and move the organization towards the vision. Three of the more popular systems historically for doing this have been Management By Objectives (MBO), the Balanced Scorecard, and Hoshin Kanri (Policy Deployment). QCDSM is a framework that is commonly used in Hoshin Kanri to structure the development and deployment of objectives The framework originated in Japan several decades ago. Q = Quality; C = Cost; D = Delivery (Quantity & Schedule); S = Safety (Physical or Business Risk); and M = Morale (Employee). You can re-arrange the letters to reflect your organization’s priorities. For example, I like the sequence SQDMC. Then you can ask fellow employees the question, “Can you think of any ideas to perform our work safer (S), better (Q), faster (D), happier (M), or cheaper (C)?” Some organizations emphasize speed and/or cost, but generally you should focus on mastering safety and quality first before you focus on performing your work faster and cheaper. Cost reductions often are a natural result of safety, quality, and/or delivery-related improvements.

Interesting Stories

I recently visited a well-known fast food restaurant for breakfast and noticed a spiral-bound notebook lying open on the counter near the cash register. It looked like a baseball scorebook. Although it was upside-down from my perspective, I could read the title, “Daily Food Safety Checklist.” The page had dozens of empty boxes waiting for hand-written entries. The shift manager eventually came over and entered information into some of the boxes with a pen. She took her time and her penmanship was superb. I sensed that she took this task very seriously given her level of concentration and the great care she took in making the entries. It was a low-tech, manual process like the traditional scoring of a baseball game. I was impressed and felt more comfortable with the food I was about to consume. Their notebook might eventually be replaced with an iPad or some other device, but it is serving a useful and valuable function today.

Company News

The Advances in Hoshin Kanri public seminar has been scheduled for August 15, 2012. It will be held at the Crowne Plaza in Plymouth, MN. A detailed brochure is now available (contact me at The Fourth Annual Advanced Strategic Improvement Practices Conference has been scheduled for October 16, 2012 at the BayView Event Center on the shore of beautiful Lake Minnetonka. The speaker list is nearly complete, but as of now there will be presenters from the Carlson School of Management, MN Department of Human Services, MN Department of Natural Resources, Nortech Systems, Cargill, Hormel Foods, 3M, Seagate Technology, and The Toro Company.

Intriguing Reads

Japan continues to play an important role in the global economy. It is home to numerous world class companies and has the third largest economy in the world. However, it is facing many challenges including those related to nuclear power, demographics, and exchange rate fluctuations. The book, Reimagining Japan: The Quest for a Future That Works, edited by McKinsey & Company, contains contributions from more than 80 leading thinkers from a variety of fields. One of my favorite sections was titled, “See the Big Picture, Mind the Details,” by Masahiro Sakane, Chairman of Komatsu. Komatsu’s focus on corporate value, which they define as ‘the total sum of trust given to us by society and all stakeholders,” is quite profound.