Over 50 managers, Lean experts and researchers participated in an interesting and interactive discussion. Former Toyota Manager Isao Yoshino clarified four important roles of managers at Toyota, as he experienced in his career:
- Devotion on evolutionary learning. Seeing ‘’bad news” as an opportunity to become better in the future;
- Understanding and using PDCA in everything. The manager is responsible for organizing periodically ‘checks (or: study of results and process)’;
- Alignment of activities with other departments, cooperation and
- develop and be connected with your subordinates.
After this introduction to the subject, the group discussed about the impact of LEAN4.0 on the position and the main roles and responsibilities of the operations manager. There was a thought that Industry 4.0 requires more competence on the work floor in order to maintain and improve good operations. The managers’ responsibility will shift more towards improvement and development activities. Furthermore, attendees gave interesting comments, such as: “Industry 4.0 empowered our workforce, our teams. They have more information and can more directly interact with others”, “More information/data is available for the Check (in PDCA), but check is not only data. There are always ‘invisible’ and human-related issues which need attention”, “Industry 4.0 does not mean automatically high investments. There are good opportunities for low cost Industry 4.0 investments. For instance, cobots are not that costly and can be very profitable”.
Attendees of this session get a summary of the meeting and are asked to give their experience and opinion on a number of statements. This will be processed in a new document, which will be the start of the next session which will cope with the skills needed by the Operations Manager 4.0.
Author: Jannes Slomp