top of page
Search
  • Writer's picturehidet77

Pathology


Pathology is a medical discipline in which they study “the essential nature of diseases and especially of the structural and functional changes produced by them.” It understands the causes and effects of a disease or injury. It links basic research and medicine (practice).


Do we have or do we need pathology for work?


I am a Manga enthusiast. I read so many Manga that I can’t count.

Recently I ran into a Manga called “Fragile” by Saburou Megumi and Bin Kusamizu. It is about pathology doctors.

Yes, it is fiction. But as I read this story, I wonder if we have pathology in our work. Do we need one?


Pathology is a medical discipline in which they study “the essential nature of diseases and especially of the structural and functional changes produced by them.” It understands the causes and effects of a disease or injury. It links basic research and medicine (practice).


I am not knowledgeable of medical science and its practice. Therefore, I am not here to evaluate what is really happening in the field. Instead, such a highly scientific field has such a discipline as pathology interests me. What can we learn from this?


1️⃣ How often do we encounter people who only focus on fixing the symptom without understanding the root cause? Quality who only do rework. Maintenance only does repairs. Production scheduling who only do schedule changes. Many make decisions without understanding the cause. Sometimes, they look like a hero, saving the operations from problems. But the true hero is the one who finds the root cause of a problem. We need to exist from the crisis first, but then we need to understand the root cause. It is an essential responsibility of the pathologist to examine the remains of the patients to understand the root cause.


2️⃣ How often is our work not necessarily linked to science but to myth or beliefs?


“OEE 80% is world class.”

This is a typical statement that I hear often. I am not an OEE believer. But is there any logical explanation for how this number was generated? Was there any scientific research behind this statement? To be accurate, even inside the same company, I have seen different methods of OEE data collection. There are no clear rules on what to compare against. I have seen some comparisons against the historical average. If so, OEE 80% means 20% below historical performance. The factory loses output and money, while the management praises the high OEE performance. The management not understanding the science behind a number is a tragedy.

And, I am not saying that OEE 80% is high or low. What is the science behind that number? If we need preventive maintenance, let’s define standardized work scientifically. If we need to perform a changeover, let’s look at standardized work and the Just In Time production level. When you sum up all the necessary activities to sustain the business, which turns out to be 20%, then we are good. Unfortunately, the number spreads without logic. 80% doesn’t mean anything.


In the past, I made a post about Ri “理.” Here, the fourth Ri is Gouri [合理], typically translated as rational, and in Ohno’s book, it was translated as Kaizen. Following the symbols, Gouri means matching [合] the science or logic [理]. Sometimes we work without science or logic. Based on trial and error, we figured out that a way to work is more productive. And I am not denying such trial and error. Instead, I see trial and error as the critical first step. But as we trial and error and find a suitable method, we should learn the science and logic behind why that method was better. For example, counter clock movement. I have been told that, based on experience, it is better. Marketing believes the same. And now, some theories are behind why counterclockwise is better, like brain, right-handed, or leg. There are many things in work that we find science or logic later.


By the way, pathology in Japanese is 病理. The first symbol means disease.


3️⃣ Don’t skip the basic process of analyzing the “Genbutsu” by saying “busy.”

“Busy” should not justify why we skip problem-solving to the root cause. It is part of the responsibility of a manager or a specialist. We often hear that we don’t have time to perform such tasks. Then stop doing other stuff. Focus on problem-solving. We shouldn’t expect that we will have a “pathologist” to do problem-solving for you. Such a position doesn’t exist in business.

34 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page