Bottom-Up Systems

Presented By:

Robert “Doc” Hall

Session Abstract:

The basic idea of bottom up systems is to organize a company, or to build an economy by systems that encompass all reality as closely as possible. To pay attention to reality, try to see as much of it as possible — a holistic view, often called taking a big system or big picture view. However, it possible to think that we see a big picture, when we merely see another small picture from a perspective differing from the small pictures that others see. As individuals, we can expand our perspective, but one person cannot “see it all.”

Lean operations exemplify opening a perspective. Often, the total of a company is thought to be the sum of its parts (sometimes called spreadsheet illusion). Therefore, the sum of a number of separate operations that are very efficient by themselves should add to an efficient whole — optimum. Not so. The flow of work through many efficient steps can be dreadfully slow. Lean usually begins by charting value stream maps that make this obvious.

But there’s more. Factory systems are a mix of material flows, tool flows, maintenance, IT, communications flows, and on and on, including human systems, from the formal HR system, to the formal organization chart, to the informal systems by which people actually get things done. Well done, lean eliminates waste from as much of a factory’s total operations as possible.

So how can companies help? Robert “Doc” Hall will lead this session and explain these ideas and give some examples of elements that are underway. This fascinating dive into how to think and act to understand Compression will be eye-opening and insightful. Learn:

  1. Some forms of PDCA (including A3; TWI, etc.) These emphasize concentrating on processes and agreeing on facts (whether cued from Big Data or just by looking).
  2. Dialog for Change, a way to resolve or dissolve issues in which we have clashing beliefs, different perspectives, or clashing interests.
  3. Becoming a Vigorous Learning Organization, meaning to become very flexible addressing new problems as they arise and quickly determining what to do. (Much of this is learning from the experience of doing rather than researching what others have done, although that is helpful.)

About the Facilitator:

Robert “Doc” Hall; Dr. Hall is Professor Emeritus, Kelley School of Business, Indiana University (USA). Having worked in engineering and manufacturing, in 1985 he became a founding member of the Association for Manufacturing Excellence, and for 22 years edited its publication, Target. In 1982, he wrote Zero Inventories, the first of many “lean” books and articles. Before that, his interest was in R&D and innovation, so he gravitated to “next-generation” technology, operations, and business practices. In 1992, he wrote The Soul of the Enterprise, a critique of the system that led to an “unending book,” Compression. He contends that we need a major shift in business and economic practices to meet our challenges of the 21st century, and proposes a general pathway – Compression Thinking. To that end, he now is chairman of the newly formed Compression Institute.