In 1890, Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft was formed and 2 years later their first automobile was sold. Assembly was required. Thirteen years later, Orville and Wilbur Wright demonstrated the first powered flight. Assembly was required. Fast forward to the late 1960's, when Frank Pipp, an assembly plant manager for an American automobile company, instructed his team to purchase competitor's cars. His plan was to have the final assembly team disassemble these cars and learn first-hand how they assembled. At that time, if two connecting parts could be assembled in Pipp's plant without the use of a handy rubber mallet, then these parts were known as "snap fit". In Pipp's experience, snap-fit was a rare occurrence. To his amazement, one competitor's car was discovered to be 100% "snap fit", for which his division general manager replied, "The customer will never notice." If assembly wasn't required, perhaps he would have been right. How much simpler things would be, especially on Christmas morning, if assembly wasn't required. (If assembly wasn't required, there would be little interest in a YouTube video with soldiers disassembling a jeep in under 2 minutes.)
Slowly, but surely, customers have noticed the assembly efforts and performance results that Frank Pipp's team discovered when they first examined a Toyota pick-up truck. Beginning in the early 1980s, organizations from around the world have traveled to Japan to study Toyota and their production system. In a review of the literature, much of the attention, then and now, remains how Toyota produces parts and assembles parts. Yet, could it be what guides Toyota's operations is not a focus on the parts, but how the parts work together, and that their competitive advantage is not minding parts, but minding the gaps between the parts?
If assembly isn't required, the parts could lay in a box, or, perhaps, fly in close formation, without regard to the gaps between them. If assembly is required, of a team, an airplane, or an automobile, gaps do matter. Perhaps parts do not exist when you're part of something bigger. Imagine the implications if the lessons of minding gaps, not parts, could be extended to enhancing teamwork in any organization.
If you're interested in exploring the limitless implications of teamwork in industry, goverment, and education, through better thinking about thinking, we invite you to join with peers at the In2:InThinking Network 2013 Forum in Los Angeles, California, from June 19th through 23rd, on the campus of California State University, Northridge (CSUN). This year, our ever timely focus will be;
"The Art of Reflection: Connect - Inspire - Act"
For more information, visit our 2013 Forum website at www.in2in.org/forums/2013
or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
. Our Forum registration fee is $400 for our Weekend Conference, with a $50 discount for registrations received by midnight, Pacific Time, on May 8th.
If you are not able to attend our Weekend Conference, you are most welcome to attend any of our 18 Pre-Conference sessions, all free, with the exception of a $40 material fee for one (N - What We're Learning About the Brain). Webcasting is also an option; find details at this link.
Register by Monday, June 17th to attend any of our Pre-Conference sessions
Register by Saturday, June 22nd to attend our Weekend Conference
If you're not ready to register, but are likely to attend, please complete our RSVP Survey to help us with attendee estimates in our planning efforts.
For a glimpse of the excitement we offer, link here for a photo montage from our 2012 Forum. Link here for a complete list of our previous 2013 Forum UPDATES.
In2:InThinking Network 2013 Forum Team