You have a problem and you engage in a deep analysis define the root cause and instigate corrective action ... YEAH !! problem solved.
But then the problem comes back ... so did you really solve the problem?
Or, you have a problem and you think I am sure this problem has occurred before and someone must have solved it let me search through Google or YouTube if I can find the solution. But you get several answers but perhaps not specific enough to address your problem.
Toyota attempted to solve this dilemma internally by creating a YOKOTEN data base. Here Team Members were asked to log the results of their Problem Solving activities so others facing a similar problem could learn from others or continue to build their own Problem Resolution.
Makes a lot of sense when you have 16 plants across 13 countries assembling Corollas. Especially when you consider each plant has between 1000 to 1500 hundred Team Members all trained on how to solve problems ... that is a huge amount of brain power.
YOKOTEN a Japanese word that roughly translates to best practice sharing across an organization. The sharing can be successes, learnings, concepts, ideas, policies and experiences that may be useful for others. Also called horizontal deployment.
YOKOTEN as a concept is incredibly powerful and effective, implementing it as a core concept is very difficult. Across Toyota the principle is implemented with discipline and rigor. but many companies fail to have the cultural discipline to implement such a powerful tool.
The YOKOTEN data base can quickly become huge and searching within it can become a challenge especially if discipline is not followed on how solutions are being name or no naming convention exists for entry of data into YOKOTEN.
Until Now ...
Mercedes-Benz brings ChatGPT to factories
Mercedes-Benz is betting big on ChatGPT in both its manufacturing and vehicles themselves.
The company unveiled plans last month to integrate the technology into voice control in its vehicles through another partnership with Microsoft. The automaker rolled the feature out to 900,000 vehicles in the U.S. equipped with its MBUX entertainment system.
In its factories, ChatGPT’s voice-based interface will allow employees without programming backgrounds to leverage data analysis tools and and evaluate process production data stored in Mercedes-Benz’s digital ecosystem. The platform launched last year and connects the company’s 30 global passenger car plants through a cloud-based system, allowing for real-time operations visibility.
By integrating ChatGPT into its platform, the company said it aims to help employees make strategic decisions regarding the production process faster. The technology shows data queries in a dialogue format with the chatbot, rather than through complex programming functions, making it easier to sift through information, and allowing daily production planning to be checked and adjusted if necessary.
“Through new digital tools, employees are further empowered to optimize production processes and quality management in a sustainable way,” Burzer said in a statement.
Another automaker is also exploring applications of ChatGPT. Reuters reported in March that GM is exploring expanding its own partnership with Microsoft to bring the technology to customers as a voice assistant in cars, helping them access information often found in a user’s manual.
To summarize, YOKOTEN is a concept where every time a problem is found, the team not only finds a solution to the problem, but also looks for other areas where that problem could repeat itself in the future. Even though it requires a significant amount of time and resources to identify other potential areas where the problem could surface, it will be more efficient in the long run by avoiding these issues. But searching through a huge data base takes time and lots of resources.
This is likely the biggest challenge that needs to be overcome in order to see YOKOTEN accepted and adopted in companies, and other companies around the world. Most other strategies that were developed by Toyota are able to offer companies easy to understand benefits that can be seen and measured quite quickly.
Now perhaps the concept of YOKOTEN with the assist of ChatGPT within your Database will allow you to reap benefits quickly. Perhaps, even that problem will finally become permanently fixed.