Shikumi: System Based Lean Transformation

Systems thinking

Thinking about systems?

Every once in a while, I see lean ideas that seem to come at just the right time. I have been preaching about the importance of a systems approach to successful lean implementations for years and found an article that gives an interesting take on that vision.

From the article: ” Shikumi signifies a system; more specifically a holistic system, composed of elements and aspects. Shikumi materializes certain underlying principles through the system’s tangible and detailed policies, methods, rules and standards. According to Frederick Stimson Harriman on LinkedIn’s “TPS Principles and Practice” group, Shikumi means setting up things so that they will react in a desired way in certain circumstances. This also makes it into a more organic system; a nervous or self-regulating system, which Toyota’s famed kanban system is also sometimes referred to. Shikumi-zukuri refers the creation of such a system.”

Here is the link to the rest of the article:

For any of my fellow lean practitioners, I would be interested to hear your thoughts.

Mister Mac

2 thoughts on “Shikumi: System Based Lean Transformation

  1. We fought the good fight for awhile and while unfortunately the lean transformation didn’t happen. I believe the organisation’s failure was even more flawed than due to a lack of Shikumi. To me, it was a fundamental ignorance, willful or not, of leadership that did not want systemic change, did not want to change the culture from project/delivery thinking to systemic/service (customer-oriented) thinking. It is akin to the attitude of some seal divers–when you first meet some, they want to know numbers—how far, how many, how deep? I am more interested in where, why, how the unexpected was met successfully and their insight after that experience. Plant managers that only want to see a number on their scorecard could care less about lean in English or Japanese terms.

    1. Amen. For nearly twenty years, I tried to understand why so many people with this understanding. That’s why I have stepped back a bit for the time being.

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