With the constant changes in technology, political and economic influences it becomes essential for organizations to continuously develop and grow. However, it is not always easy to sustain long term developmental growth when only using one lean process at a time. The combined usage of Hoshin Kanri, Training Within Industry (TWI) and Kata methodologies however, makes sustainability easier to manage and maintain.
Hoshin Kanri creates the basis for combining the three methodologies by obtaining the commitment from all employees and managers of the organization. This is vital in getting everyone on board with future training and cultural changes. Everyone is involved in setting the organizational goal and determining steps to achieve it. After breaking down the organizational goal into plans for each department, managers can look to apply Kata. They’ll look at their specific departmental plan and think of it as a challenge to use. They then start on a journey looking at where they are now to where they want to be. Regular applications of PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) allows them to experiment yet keep them on track to achieve their challenge.
Managers have the responsibility of being guides to their employees and directing their actions towards their challenge and the organizational goal. The flow of information and catch ball methods used in Hoshin Kanri can support the both Training Within Industry and Kata by engaging the employees in the communication channels, not just within their departments but within the organization as a whole. While experimenting different ways to get to their goal it is vital for them to report the results to the higher levels in the flow of information. Adapting to Kata practices and changing the everyday reporting practices makes the new information flow a natural process throughout the organization.
In order to use the improvement and coaching Katas both managers and employees need to be trained on them. This is where the J programmes from TWI comes into play. Using the Job Instruction Training from TWI to teach the improvement and coaching Katas. This helps everyone to start re-adjusting their thought processes and culture, by applying the Katas into their current situations. Managers are used to guiding their employees, however, going through the Job Instruction Training gives them the additional skills to direct their workforce in the right direction. They train their employees on how to not only apply the Improvement Kata but, to also change the working standards to keep everyone aligned with the organizational goal. The standards outline the ‘what, how and when’ of the process steps so each department and employee is working in the same way, yet flexible at the same time.
Each of the 3 processes – Hosin Kanri, Training within Industry and Kata – have elements that overlap. Therefore, easily blending with one another to produce an adaptable, flexible and committed workforce. Everybody working towards the same goal and using the same standards. This leads to a workforce that can ride the waves of change and autonomously work through obstacles that cause issues, without the organization coming to a standstill. Not just in the short term but for the long term running of the organization. Alone these practices are beneficial but together they generate a highly sustainable working environment.