Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Change for the better or just meaningless change?

As Ford Prefect noted, "Time is an illusion, lunchtime doubly so." I'm actually wondering when I can get to eat at the moment.... you can crunch only so many glucose tabs before your tongue revolts!

This morning we had one of those occasional tortures that they inflict on you: the "Management Meeting" This morning's effort was all about "Lean Management" and "eliminating waste in the procedures". This all stems from the experiment Toyota tried back in the 70's which they employed the principles that became "Kaizen". IT seems to work well in the manufacturing industry, but seems to fall short in most other sectors.

Kaizen is a Japanese term formed from the words Kai meaning change and zen which means good. In Korea, this translates as ge sun and in Chinese gai shan both meaning improvement change for the better. However, modern management has perverted it to stand for one of it's supposed foundations: continual inmprovement. From what I can see this is just another case of "smoke and mirrors"

While I agree waste, in terms of time and effort should be got rid of with all possible speed, I'm not sure how we in particular can do this as most of the waste is generated by the procedures thrust upon us by the management itself.

As a team, once our own pointy-haired boss had left (20 minutes into a scheduled 90!) we sat down and worked out some ways we could use to measure how much time we are actually spending on fulfilling the reporting tasks he demands from us as against how much time we are spending actually servicing our customers; we intrinsically know we are spending less on the latter, we just can't prove it yet.

This afternoon I'm going over to see the union rep. with one of the team (I'm acting supervisor as he's resigned!) as the guy has issues with the pointy-haired one

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