Lean Blog — 462: Professor John Grout, a Deep Dive on Mistake Proofing and Lean

Expert on mistakes and mistake proofing, professor and former business school dean

Episode page with video, transcript, and more: https://leanblog.org/462 

My guest for Episode #462 of the Lean Blog Interviews Podcast is Professor John Grout the former dean of the Campbell School of Business at Berry College in Rome, Georgia. 

He was recently a guest on “My Favorite Mistake” — Episode 186, so I encourage you to check that out.

He’s the current Chair of the Technology, Entrepreneurship, and Data Analytics Department and the David C. Garrett Jr. Professor of Business Administration. John has overseen the development, approval and implementation of Berry College’s Creative Technologies program and Berry’s makerspace, HackBerry Lab. 

Dr. Grout has researched mistake-proofing extensively and published numerous articles on mistake-proofing. In 2004, John received the Shingo Prize for his paper, “The Human Side of Mistake-Proofing” with Douglas Stewart. John has also consulted with a large variety of firms to mistake-proof their processes.

He’s also published “Mistake-Proofing the Design of Health Care Processes” a book that’s freely available online.

His Website: https://mistakeproofing.com/

Today, we discuss topics and questions including:

  • Your origin story – how did you first get introduced to TPS, Lean, etc? Context of discovering mistake proofing?
  • Shingo’s book on Poka Yoke
  • “Shingo was not kind to Statistical Quality Control”… use SQC and/or mistake proofing?
  • Acceptance sampling… keeps bad product out… maybe?
  • Field goals — Conformity to specs vs. closer to center?
  • Successive checks and self checks
  • Source inspections – Shingo’s gold standard
  • Why should you react when a part’s out of control but still in spec??
  • Do you HAVE to stop the line? Don’t be dogmatic??
  • Statistics don’t do well with rare events
  • Do we have data on how universal the “universal protocol” is?
  • Doctor signing vs. you signing the surgical site?
  • ZERO – “the only way to go” in terms of goals
  • The goal of “zero defects” can be controversial.. is it possible? Motivating? Demoralizing?
  • Possible research – optimal time to stop doing final inspection??
  • Why is it easier to error proof now? Technology
  • “People don’t like to own up to mistakes”
  • Naida Grunden episode on aviation safety
  • Can’t error proof everything??
  • Preventing execution errors is easier than preventing decision errors
  • The balance and benefits of examples to copy vs. developing thinking?? “Catalog or catalyst”?? BOTH

The podcast is sponsored by Stiles Associates, now in their 30th year of business. They are the go-to Lean recruiting firm serving the manufacturing, private equity, and healthcare industries. Learn more.

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