There was an interesting story a couple of weeks back about the use of HGH in Major League Baseball (MLB). It took years but there is finally testing for performance enhancing drugs, including human growth hormone (HGH).
The part that was most interesting from a lean and metrics standpoint was about the base lining of HGH. Instead of using baseline data for the amount of HGH a person should have established by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), MLB is establishing their own baseline. What is even more incredible is the MLB is telling players when they will be tested for the baseline.
A MLB player can load himself with HGH in preparation for the test. This would be no different than a department manager saving some of the extra production from the week before and print the finishing tickets the next week so both weeks look good. MLB’s baseline procedure would allow players to skew the baseline to the high side. Players could continue to take HGH as a performance enhancing drug and still “be within the baseline.”
This is gaming the system to your benefit and missing the true intention of what is trying to be accomplished. This is why the principle of directly observing the work is so important. When you go and see what is actually happening gaming the system becomes harder because you see the finished product on the floor waiting for tickets or that players might be juicing up for the baseline test.
A balanced scorecard and direct observation can help prevent gaming the system.
At the end of the year, John Hunter does a great job of facilitating an annual roundup of business and lean blogs at Curious Cat Management. The roundup is a review of blogs by other bloggers. This year I have the honor of participating in the Blog Carnival Annual Roundup.
A blog that I discovered this year was Lean Blitz written by Chad Walters. Chad is a student of the Toyota Principles and he does a great job of explaining each principle in a separate blog post. Each post has an example of the principle that can be seen in everyday life. If you are not familiar with the Toyota Principles I would suggest checking out Chad’s posts on the all 14 Toyota Principles.
Chad uses his business background to write about lean in business like the overproduction Domino’s Pizza has in their stores with all the pre-built pizza boxes. He also points out how Domino’s can use standardized work toe fold the boxes in the most efficient way like the worker in the TV advertisement.
Chad also shows how the Toyota Principles can help small businesses in a practical way.
A unique perspective that Chad brings is his experience in working with professional sports teams and organizations. He does a great job of relating the Toyota Principles to happenings in the sporting world. The Miami Marlins inability to think long-term in order to achieve their goals is a fantastic post about Toyota Principle #1.
Being a very large St. Louis Cardinals fan, I really enjoyed the post about the filth at Wrigley Field (home of the Chicago Cubs). Chad uses data sited from studies and then relates it to having a good 5S program in place and using visual management. The morale increases everyone is happier. Is this the reason the Cubs can’t win?
Chad talks about other lean concepts such as long lead times and how sporting organizations are losing revenue due to long lead times. Texas A&M got off to a great start in football this past season and their quarterback, Johnny Manziel played well enough to be in the discussion as a Heisman finalist as the best college football player. The university had long lead times on the jerseys for Manziel and ended up leaving a lot of cash on the table and fans unhappy when they couldn’t get one.
Chad has created a unique blog at Lean Blitz. It is a fun and different way to demonstrate lean principles in action in any environment.