Now the improvement drive is taking hold of German industry, too / Kata expert Bill Costantino to speak at the Best Practice Day in Darmstadt in early June – The “Toyota Kata” efficiency boost

April 28, 2015 | News Germany

Car manufacturers have again forged ahead in the search for opportunities to boost additional potential efficiencies. Now more and more German industrial companies from other sectors, too, are backing a new management method: Toyota Kata. The aim is to systematically improve processes through changes in management behaviour. According to the experiences of the Staufen management consultancy this enables significant improvements to be achieved, such as efficiency increases of up to 20 percent. “Although production systems based on the Toyota model are now standard in numerous German factories, many companies have to acknowledge that no lasting continuous improvement process has become established despite all the efforts that have been made,” says Michael Hahn, Business Unit Director at the Staufen AG management consultancy. “This is precisely where Toyota Kata comes in, since it focuses intensely on achieving a lasting change in the management culture within the company.” The term “Kata” is Japanese in origin and it is also used in the martial arts. In a management context Kata stands for regular improvement achieved by the employee who receives mentoring support from his manager. This leads to the creation of improvement routines that are used to gradually get ever closer to a defined target state. A specific project could for instance be: halving the error rate per shift. Through undertaking continually recurring “Plan, Do, Check, Act” (PDCA) cycles, the people involved then jointly come closer to this goal until it is achieved and a new one can be formulated. “This means adhering to firmly set routines in which the manager and the employee review the improvement status at least once a week,” says Kata expert Hahn, underlining the need for discipline as the basis of success. Kata should not however be seen as a methodology to be used in isolation: “Toyota Kata is a holistic approach,” says Staufen consultant Hahn. “In order to be able to access the full potential of the improvement routines that are created in this way, Kata must be integrated into the existing lean management system.” “Toyota Kata changes our current understanding of personnel and company management. It influences the patterns of behaviour that are followed in a company every day. Although these patterns largely operate in a subconscious and automatic manner, they form the basis of the day-to-day corporate culture and they shape a business’s ability or inability to adapt in the face of global market conditions characterised by volatility and an ever increasing intensity of competition. Toyota Kata is a way of managing a company differently and more effectively. It invites both sides – managers and employees – to engage more deeply with each other, and it consequently leads to a lasting competitive advantage,” the US Toyota Kata expert, Bill Costantino, stresses. Bill Costantino will be explaining how Toyota Kata leads to a corporate culture of creativity, innovative strength and adaptability, and consequently to business success, on the 9th of June at this year’s Best Practice Day hosted by Staufen AG in Darmstadt. BestPractice Day 2015: The leading lean management congress in Europe At the BestPractice Day 2015 to be held from 8th to 10th June 2015 in Darmstadt companies and leading lean management experts will report on their experiences on the road to developing successful value creation systems. A key focus this year: Industry 4.0 and Lean. About Bill
Bill Costantino, the founder and senior partner of the W3 Group, LLC management consultancy, travels the world as a Toyota Kata ambassador. The lean management expert was among the first 200 employees to be hired at Toyota’s US car plant in Georgetown where he worked for seven years as a group leader. He has worked as a management consultant since 1994.

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