The Gold Mine.The Gold Mine, by Freddy Balle and Michael Balle, Book, 2005, Lean Enterprise Institute, $24.95.
Storytelling has been an accepted teaching principle since before humans first drew pictures of their hunting prowess on cave walls. The spoken word--songs, ceremonies, and conversation--has been a way (and in many cases, the only way) to pass down tradition and culture, train young warriors and hunters in the skills necessary to survive, and school young mothers in childrearing and the household and farming skills also necessary to survive.
The more things change, the more they remain the same. The "business fable A business fable is a fable written about a business or person in a business setting and the moral of the story is a business lesson.
The two most famous writers of business fables are Dr. Ken Blanchard and Dr. Spencer Johnson who co-authored The One Minute Manager. ," a recent reincarnation reincarnation (rē'ĭnkärnā`shən) [Lat.,=taking on flesh again], occupation by the soul of a new body after the death of the former body. of classic storytelling as teaching technique, has helped many a young (and old) modern day business warrior through the jungle that is the manufacturing world. Examples are numerous and include what are now classics: Eliyahu M. Goldratt Eliyahu M. Goldratt (1948 - ) is an Israeli physicist turned business consultant, the originator of the Theory of Constraints (abbreviation: TOC). He claims that he applied the scientific method to resolving some permanent problems of organizations. and Jeff Cox's The Goal, Ken Blanchard and Jim and Diana Robinson's Zap the Gaps, Spencer Johnson's Who Moved My Cheese?, and William Byham and Jeff Cox's "Zapp! The Lightning of Empowerment."
Each story works through a complex business or manufacturing concept in classic archetypal ar·che·type
1. An original model or type after which other similar things are patterned; a prototype: "'Frankenstein' . . . 'Dracula' . . . 'Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde' . . . style: The wiser, experienced teacher (generally garrulous gar·ru·lous
1. Given to excessive and often trivial or rambling talk; tiresomely talkative.
2. Wordy and rambling: a garrulous speech. or cantankerous can·tan·ker·ous
1. Ill-tempered and quarrelsome; disagreeable: disliked her cantankerous landlord.
2. to add a dash of character and realism) nurtures the knowledge-seeking acolyte or novice through a series of questions and exercises that lead to enlightenment.
To this list add Freddy and Michael Balle's The Gold Mine: A Novel of Lean Turnaround. A father-son team, Freddy and Michael, bring a unique perspective to the operational and maintenance disciplines of lean manufacturing Lean manufacturing is the production of goods using less of everything compared to mass production: less human effort, less manufacturing space, less investment in tools, and less engineering time to develop a new product. . Freddy worked in the French auto industry for over 40 years, learning and implementing the Toyota production system The Toyota Production System (TPS) is the philosophy which organizes manufacturing and logistics at Toyota, including the interaction with suppliers and customers. The TPS is a major part of the more generic "Lean manufacturing". upon which the concepts of lean manufacturing were first developed. Michael, a professor and business consultant, has focused on the human application and implications of the lean manufacturing system.
Each chapter moves the story forward, with love interests, sailing lessons, and marital stress, and provides an explanation and application of each of the concepts that make up lean manufacturing theory. The concepts include:
* Gold in the Flow: discrete flow of "widgets" or the process flow of a refinery--it's all about reducing waste.
* Takt Time Takt time can be defined as the maximum time allowed to produce a product in order to meet demand. It is derived from the German word taktzeit which translates to clock cycle. There is a logic therefore to setting the pace of production flow to this takt time. : producing what the customer consumes, no more and no less.
* Standardize Work: reducing the variation in the working cycle (i.e., Single Minute Exchange of Dies SMED SMED Single Minute Exchange of Dies
SMED Spondyloepimetaphyseal Dysplasia, Strudwick Type ).
* It's All about the People (my personal favorite): reduce variability in the environment to increase involvement, personal commitment, and coordination. This is where the concepts of 5S come into play.
* Level to Pull: sequential and replenishment pull or the movement of work in progress through the system.
* Kanban Meaning "visible record" in Japanese, it is a system of notification from one process to the other in a manufacturing system. Kanban cards, which may be multicolored based on priority, are stored in a bin or container that holds the items. They describe the parts, supplier and quantity. Rules: produce only what has been consumed in the right order.
* Gemba Attitude: the place where things really happen.
* The Heijunka Way: leveling.
* Kaizen This article is about a continual improvement philosophy. For Kaizen ($K), a fantasy currency invented by Kaizen Games, see Priston Tale.
“Red tag” redirects here. For designation of damaged structures, see Red-tagged structure. Forever: continuous improvement in many small steps.
Throughout the course of the fable, the human elements of lean manufacturing are explored as much as the technical aspects. There are labor problems, management problems, and heroes and heroines on the plant floor and in the executive suite. The combination gives the business fable soul and the power to inspire and teach.
The business fable format makes the lean manufacturing concepts both easy to understand and to apply across diverse industries. The characters and plot line bring home the necessity of eliminating waste and speed to market more than a textbook could. The Gold Mine is an easy read, well developed and organized.
For any leader or manager in a manufacturing business seeking to reach new heights of productivity or a plant floor supervisor looking to understand the changes going on around her, this is a must-read. There's an advisory on this book, however. Someone who likes business content cast in story form will enjoy the plot as a welcome addition to (and maybe relief from?) the professional content. Someone who doesn't will be annoyed by the distraction and may consider the story second-rate fiction.
The Gold Mine Freddy Balle, Mich ...
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Review by Richard Lowell
Product Ratings The Gold Mine Holds user interest *** Value of Content **** Self-Study Value *** Instructional Value *** Value for the money *** 1/2 Overall rating ***