miércoles, 30 de mayo de 2018

Are you prepared to implement the Obeya Room in your company?

The maturation process of digital transformations, or agile transformations, is being significant. There comes a point where the approach to the Lean world is so notorious, due to the maturity of the corporations, that they begin to appear, use or appropriate Lean terminologies within the Agile world.

Wanting to reinvent the wheel, or one more step in the maturation of your digital or agile transformation.

The last one is the Obeya room. The Obeya room arises in 1990 within the multinational Toyota, as a need for improvement (Kaizen, also invented by Toyota).

Obeya is a japanese word, whose meaning is "great room", in english it has been translated rather by war room. It has nothing to do with wars, or Hollywood movies, very friends to magnify or take things to eccentricity.

Its japanese origin is due to the fact that it was aimed at being a large room from which the management, teams and staff could visualize, share and make decisions in a different way: with transparency and speed.

It has an implantation of more than 25 years both in Japan and the USA. Every large company, initially in the automotive and manufacturing sector has this technique implemented for some time.

The Obeya room, initially arises, as I said before in 1990, to try to reduce the development time of Toyota vehicles, until then the Toyota Corola had been developed in 36 months, being the fastest manufacturing of Toyota.

After the introduction of the Obeya hall in 1990, the first edition of the Toyota Prius was developed in 18 months, reducing by half the times until then obtained in the complete development of a Toyota product.

The mission of the Obeya room was:
- Coordinate the development tasks at a corporate level from a single place.
- Reduce development time.
- Make a better visual communication, aligned with the strategic vision, promoting corporate alignment.
- Promote transparency and collaboration to break existing "silos".
- Visualize the complete cycle of Deming or PDCA.
- Focus on solving specific problems.
- Generate a new inclusive and rapid decision-making process.
- Make visible the quality, cost and delivery capacity.


The Obeya room responds to the Deming cycle (PDCA), enabling at least 3 Lean corners, or 4 at best. Each of them will respond to one step of the cycle:

- PLAN: It is the area defined by the future vision of the company, one year old, 3 years old, or 5 years maximum. It will depend on the corporate strategy. The objectives to be achieved are shown, the areas involved in these objectives, responsible people, roadmap, etc.

- DO: It is the area defined by the current plan, with a maximum quarterly view and weekly detail of the work in progress of the equipment or equipment. It is the area where the teams work daily, updating the status and evolution, dependencies, etc.

- CHECK: In this area the business metrics are displayed. It shows the customer feedback obtained by the company, key OKRs, profitability, quality, closeness to the customer, transparency, adaptability, contribution to the market. All the important metrics at the corporate level that add value to the management committees, to be able to do them in this space and in a Lean way (efficient, fast, optimal, with quality and with all the necessary data, compiled in a single point). At least it will have two levels of visualization, one strategic and one tactical. In this way both the management and the teams will be able to know at all times the existing situation in the company. CTQs (critical quality values) will also be shown, as well as their evolution and deviation. Focused on everything for and by the client.

-ACT: It is the Kaizen area of ​​the room. It shows the problems that have arisen, the causes, the proposed improvements, the evolution of the improvements (calendar of actions and execution), as well as the feedback of the success or not obtained with these implementations. Proposals made by employees, short (palliative), medium (corrective), long-term (consolidation) actions.


The minimum version is the Lean corners, specific management areas at the team level with the visualization of the current and next plan (1 month - 3 months) as well as the problems, improvements and evolution of said improvements (Kaizen).

The grouping of Lean corners generates an Obeya room, at the product, portfolio or global company level.

The only problem of the Obeya Room, is its origin, Lean, that is, it is a philosophy of transformation and evolution based on continuous improvement, transparency, face-to-face communication, something that requires a lot of courage and discipline, and not all companies are willing to such adoption.

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