Lean Process Innovation & Sustainable Continuous Improvement...

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Volume 2, Issue 25
December 09, 2015

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Why run a Share Showcase?

Share Showcases are organized in order to build internal innovation, grow employee involvement or strengthen Continuous Improvement. The value of a SS or Best Practice Exchange is well known to companies that use them. But the number of companies that use them are few. Will you be taking the plunge in 2016?

This story is a teaser that highlights the value your ATJ editor saw demonstrated when he judged at a SS in mid-November in Milton, ON. The attendees rallied around the tag line Achieving World Class Performance through Collaboration. The sound level in the room throughout the day reflected the energy and intensity with which learning transactions were occurring.

As it turned out, this was Ontario’s eighth annual SS — and their largest to date, with 150 practitioners attending from the 30 companies belonging to five consortia (all seeking new thinking to feed their Continuous Improvement appetites). There are more SSs underway and planned across the country and ATJ will be sharing as many as possible, so stay tuned. In Manitoba, each of the province’s five consortia are now in the process of holding their own SS. And in Newfoundland & Labrador, they’re no strangers to this model. In that province, an ongoing series of high-quality Best Practice Exchanges have been held over the years for practitioners of all backgrounds to come and learn. ATJ has attended and been impressed on every occasion. We look forward to reporting on the others across the country.

New this year

What was new this year at the Milton SS was the rich diversity of attendees from manufacturing, healthcare, and non-profit organizations. And ALL were speaking the same language — LEAN! The manufacturing consortia in attendance ranged from HPM (the oldest at 24 years, but still with many original members), AfEE (13 years). They were joined by the Continuous Improvement Alliance (CIA) which has been underway for three years and includes representatives from BlackBerry, Sick Kids Hospital, St. Mary’s, Scarborough General, St. Joseph’s Healthcare, Brant Community Healthcare System and Wescam (part of Canada’s largest defense contractor L-3). The newest consortium is the two year‑old Cambridge Capacity Consortium (CCC), which includes non‑profit organizations.

And the winners were?

1st place:
Tremco Commercial Sealants & Waterproofing (Toronto)

Tremco showed how they’ve put Taiichi Ohno’s Quality Circles thinking into action by fashioning a very simple but powerful animated learner-coach process. It has resulted in a safer work environment to Tremco practitioners at all levels.

2nd place:
S&C Electric Company (Etobicoke)

S&C did a spirited team portrayal of their LEAN Performance System and showed how it relates to how team members think and work together by focusing on leadership, techniques and philosophy.

3rd place:
St. Mary’s Hospital (Kitchener)

Applying extensive LEAN thinking and analysis has  dramatically reduced patient falls over the past year. No one will forget the graphic and high-impact portrayal of how a reduction in falls at the hospital impacts many people! 

Closing thoughts

A Share Showcase can be designed in many ways. The most common Share Showcase designs are in-house affairs that begin with a clear vision of what the outcome will be, followed by planning and organizing a process that will deliver it. In starting one up, there can never be too much collaboration.

The second most common SS design also obviously starts with a vision, but includes people from outside the company who see value in collaborative learning. This could include suppliers, customers — the options are limitless.

Your ATJ editor remembers an encounter in Biggar, SK almost two decades ago by an elderly man who made it clear that the consortium idea was not at all new. He described farmers in his and his father’s eras who would often get together and contribute what they had to solve a problem or put something new in place. This ranged from field drainage to changing a bend in the road — anything where people needed to come together to implement a solution.

As the need for innovation increases, it’s clear that more perspectives and more collaboration should be sought. You’ll be hearing about Share Showcases from across the country in and outside of ATJ for some time to come. Please contact us with your story. 

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