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Blast from the Past, Blog

The pursuit of excellence

Posted: October 8, 2018 at 6:00 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

G U E S T  A R T I C L E

Blast from the Past

The pursuit of excellence

October Section Meeting Review
By Bill Osborne
Capital Quality News 2001 Issue 3

Contributed by : Candice Carter

This month the section members were treated to what was , in the words of one participant “One of the best presentation we’ve had” the emphasis was on participant, when Jim Meyers (“with an “s”’) of JCM Work Designs showed us the meaning of Quality, Lean Organization, and high performance.

Jim previously with “a company who’s initials are K.O.D.A.K.” has many years of experience in the management f Quality (which as Jim stated “is somewhat different than quality management (which sounds like it could be a subject of a discussion all by itself), and in instituting lean manufacturing.

Referring to his many years as a trainer, Jim got the evening off to an unusual start by dividing up the audience and assigning roles as either Quality, Lean manufacturers, or High Performers. Jim’s intent was to show none of these by themselves is enough, but all three are needed for a company to achieve the outstanding difference most of them are looking for.

Jim referred to the need for a vision and a long range threshold. Pointing out that most businesses are focused on the next quarter’s performance, Jim gave the example of Toyota as a company striving to be number one, and showed that there vision is addressed at the  next 250 years…. now that’s long term planning.


There was of course a lively debate over the definitions of each term, but, by dividing the audience into three groups quality, lean production and High performance and asking each to address three questions (is quality enough? Is Lean Enough? Is High performance enough?)  All three are necessary; you can’t be a high performance company without also being lean and having quality.

High Performance companies typically show a 9:1 performance advantage which translates to nine times fewer defects. That in itself translates directly to the bottom line.


In asking the question what is lean performance, Jim illustrated it by focusing on it’s opposite:FAT manufacturing. No not a new form of fast food processing, but showing that each step in the traditional process has built in extra to compensate for delays, overwork, invalid assumptions and forecasts. Again pointing to Toyota as an exempler, Jim showed that Toyota does not make a part until it is ready to use it. Toyota’s efficiencies are such that they can perform what is called a “single Minute Exchange of Die” or (SMED) which means that they can switch the entire product over to a new product in nine minutes or less. The efficiencies this gives in terms of producing the right thing at the right time, are crucial in Toyota’s goal of becoming the No 1 car company in the world, a goal that even General Motors now acknowledges Toyota will probably achieve.


But what about the people in all this. As Jim pointed out most companies pay lip service to the concepts of our employees are our best asset, and focus on employee satisfaction is always high-when times are good.  Jim described an approach known as citizenship which is typical of high performance companies: with qualities of ownership, responsibility, accountability and a inclusiveness in the company goals, right down to sharing financials as a model for success, the aim is to engage people’s  “Maximum Discretionary Effort’

Jim finished with a discussion of an essential checklist of what is needed for a company to move to a high performance model.

About the author:

Bill Osborne

Bill Osborne is a long time member of ASQ Ottawa Valley. He is currently in Ghana, where he seeks to find quality in every aspect of Africa and continue with his lifelong education.

Opinions and ideas in this article are entirely Bill’s own. Any mistakes, omissions or questions should be addressed to Bill, not ASANKO or ASQ Ottawa Valley Section.



Candice Carter

The post has been contributed by Candice Carter. You can contact her using our contact form.



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