Real World Application of Step Up 1 of the Kato 5 Step Ups Model.

Guest post by Oscar Roche.

“Without Work Standards there will be no standardized work” – Mr Isao Kato

Mr Kato’s statement above, along with 2 others I read, plus an observation I made at a customer around the same time, lead me toward learn by doing. Staff at Warburn Estate, a2 Milk, Saputo, CSP Plastics, Discount Tires, Norton Manufacturing and Story Construction, and myself are all considerably wiser than we were with respect to Mr Kato’s statement. I venture to say we think we understand what he has been telling us!

I was fortunate. Warburn Estate (winery) is only 15minutes from our office so an ideal location for me to ‘test’ Step Up 1. I could come and go frequently and they assigned a resource to learn along with me. We focussed on the ‘Jetpack’ being a packaging machine that collates casks, wraps them in shrink film, then shrinks the film in a heat tunnel to produce a tightly bound twin or four pack. It wasn’t long before Josh (Supervisor) was able to apply the thinking with me standing back and observing. He’s now extended application of Step Up 1 well beyond the Jetpack. (That was the plan from day 1.) Frank, Josh’s manager, said to me about 2 months ago ‘The concept of ‘normal’ makes more sense to me than anything else I’ve ever experienced in lean’. That was rewarding.

Following a live online workshop October 2020, Chris (CSP Plastics), Layton, Corey and Jamie (all Discount Tire Co) and Raaghavan (Norton McMurray) engaged in 6 mentoring sessions approximately a week apart each. They were required to apply Step Up 1 – straight forward learn by doing with a PDCA mentoring pattern. All they needed to do was to nominate a ‘learning platform’ just as the Jetpack was at Warburn Estate.

Chris (CSP) focussed on a cell that made the grill for a large truck manufacturer. Chris’s learnings included:

  • ‘Normal’ being clearly defined leads to much better questions …
  • Recognition of how Step Up 1 identifies and drives the need for TWI skills like JI, JM and JR. (They are not required everywhere. This allows better use of available resources.)
  • Clearly defining normal will allow better utilization and support of employees.
  • Defining ‘normal’ is extremely foundational in standardization/lean.

The Discount Tires people focussed on a process that happens quite a lot in their 1,100 stores – replacing a tire on a wheel! Their learnings included:

  • Capturing ‘normal’ and then easily communicating it isn’t easy, but it is very important! And the benefits are tremendous.
  • It helps a lot to start problem solving conversations by first asking ‘what is normal?’
  • Organizational documents such as quick reference guides are much stronger when ‘normal’ is clear.

Raaghavan (Norton McMurray) focussed on a machine that made a nut used in domestic gas supply mains. It was ideal as the output had elements important to the external customer as well as the internal customer. Raaghavan’s learnings included:

  • The importance of being clear on and grasping the ‘why’ behind an output work standard quality parameter. It locks in the importance (like reasons for key points in Job Instruction) thus builds relevance in training.
  • ‘Normal’ in a machine work standard becomes the basis for efficient problem solving AND genuine improvement.
  • The effort to define ‘normal’ generated very positive discussion at different levels in the organization. It also allowed recognition of where commercially there was a need to continue running ‘abnormal’ but elevate the priority of the solving the problem.

Story Construction (Iowa) has been particularly interesting for me too – we applied Step Up 1 to their construction planning process. We had some concerns as a) I have zero background in construction and b) it wasn’t a manufacturing process, more a service to construction. While this is Work In Progress, the rewards are coming through application of the Step Up philosophies and principles on just one part of the planning process.

Want to learn more?

Here is our recommended continuum of learning, from short, free engagements to a longer, in-depth, paid workshop that will cement all that you’ve learned.

  1. “What Is?” short video from Oscar Roche on the 5 Step Up Model, with a focus on Step Up 1 – https://youtu.be/LtFqucRqkY4
  2. March 30 Webinar, “Infection Reduction in ICU: A hypothesis based on Kato’s 5 Step Up Model.”https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_qON_v_RYTe2Mir7rDdQfFw
  3. April 8 Q&A Session, “Real World Application: Step Up 1 of the Kato Step Ups Model For Standardization”https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_X9iGLjDSSV-H11J5S–u9w
  4. April 21 & 22 Workshop (2-day, 4-hours total), “Standardization:Laying a Solid Foundation, Step Up 1 of the 5 Step Ups Model.”https://leanfrontiers.com/duplicated-standardization-laying-a-solid-foundation-step-up-1-of-the-5-step-ups-model-23544/

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