Lean Blog — 510: Karen Martin on the Power of Mistake Proofing in Lean Management

My guest for Episode #510 of the Lean Blog Interviews Podcast is Karen Martin, Founder and CEO of TKMG and TKMG Academy, appearing for the fifth time.

Episode page with video, transcript, and more

She is the author of books including The Outstanding Organization, Clarity First, and Value Stream Mapping.

In this episode, we discuss mistake-proofing in lean practices, exploring its significance in various industries. The conversation begins with a light-hearted discussion about the “five-timers club” and Mark’s “ZERO hat” from the Patient Safety Movement Foundation, which symbolizes the goal of zero harm in healthcare.

Karen shares her extensive background in quality improvement and lean management systems, emphasizing the importance of building quality at the source. Drawing on the teachings of Dr. W. Edwards Deming and the Toyota Production System, Karen and Mark discuss the psychological impact of striving for zero harm, debating whether it is an inspiring goal or potentially demotivating.

The episode also explores real-world examples of organizations achieving zero harm and the cultural shifts required to reduce errors. Karen introduces the TKMG Academy and its comprehensive courses designed to enhance lean practices, including the new mistake-proofing course co-developed with Mark. Her passion for quality improvement and continuous learning shines through, offering listeners valuable insights into achieving operational excellence.

Questions, Notes, and Highlights:

  • Why is quality such a passion for you?
  • Why did you want to add the mistake-proofing course to the TKMG Academy catalog?
  • What are some common barriers to achieving zero harm in healthcare?
  • How do you differentiate between mistakes and errors?
  • How do you handle situations where the work system isn’t at fault, but the individual continues to make mistakes?
  • Can you tell us more about the “slow work” movement?
  • What are your thoughts on final inspection versus quality at the source?
  • How do you address the challenge of maintaining standards in training and process design?
  • Could you elaborate on the spectrum of mistake-proofing from 100% prevention to error reduction?
  • How does the TKMG Academy help organizations with continuous improvement?

The podcast is brought to you by Stiles Associates, the premier executive search firm specializing in the placement of Lean Transformation executives. With a track record of success spanning over 30 years, it’s been the trusted partner for the manufacturing, private equity, and healthcare sectors. Learn more.

This podcast is part of the #LeanCommunicators network