Successful companies require the ability to continuously improve, yet many struggle to establish and sustain a culture of daily continuous improvement. As a result, they fall to reach challenging business goals and may become uncompetitive. The Improvement Kata and Coaching Kata patterns identified by Mike Rother in his research for his “Toyota Kata” book, provide a practical and effective means of developing the required thinking and culture. The Coaching Kata is used by Toyota managers as they mentor “learners” who are responsible for reaching challenges. The learners follow the Improvement Kata pattern which involves setting future state target conditions and overcoming obstacles preventing them from reaching those conditions through a series of rapid PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Adjust) cycles. TDO offers several programs to help companies learn the Kata concepts and patterns and to develop the culture in their organizations. These include:
- Kata 1/2 day and 1 day Simulations
- Kata 10-Hour Program in the TWI 5x2 format
- Kata “Train the Trainer” Programs for Simulation and 10-Hour Program
- Kata Implementation coaching
Participants are exposed to the Improvement Kata and Coaching Kata patterns through immersion in a simulated manufacturing operation. The simulation establishes a baseline performance and then challenges participants to reach an improved state. Obstacles are identified and overcome through rapid PDCA experiments during which learners begin to understand the Kata concepts and how the simulation relates to their business. The lessons are powerful and often serve to generate energy and enthusiasm for implementation in the real world. The half-day simulation introduces the Kata concepts exclusively. The full-day simulation also includes the natural integration of the TWI J programs (Job Instruction, Job Relations, and Job Methods) which are introduced and demonstrated as needed to overcome obstacles during the simulation.
Kata 10-Hour Programs
Participants develop a practical understanding of the Improvement Kata and Coaching Kata patterns and the theory behind them following the format of the TWI 5 x2 hour J programs. Mike Rother’s research is discussed including the brain science of behavior based change. Each of the 4 steps of the Improvement Kata and PDCA cycles are explored in detail. The use of “story boards” to help facilitate the Kata patterns is introduced. Participants learn how to use the pocket reference cards as a guide when performing the Coaching Kata and preparing for coaching sessions. Learning is further reinforced by participant demonstrations of the patterns.
Kata “Train the Trainer” programs
“Train the Trainer” (TTT) programs are offered for both the Kata Simulations and the Kata 10-Hour Program through the TWI institute. Participants gain further insight into Kata and learn to deliver the simulation or 10-Hour programs using the training delivery manual and standard materials. Following successful completion of the program, participants are certified to deliver the program within their organization to ensure self-sufficient sustainment. The TTT programs are delivered by TWI Institute Master trainers
Custom on-site offerings help companies as they establish coaching capability and confidence in the early stages of Kata implementation. Each program can be customized to company needs. Typically, TDO staff first serves as coach to a small “advance group” who practice the Improvement Kata pattern until they are prepared to take on the coaching roll themselves. TDO staff then takes on the role of “Second coach” providing feedback to the Coach as they guide a learner until they gain competence as a coach. This approach can be applied as an adjunct to the 10-Hour and Simulation offerings or as a stand-alone program following a brief introduction to the Kata patterns.