Resilient/Agile processes and systems
Real Life is never ‘standard’, external factors will always try to destabilize what ever is going on right now. Whether it is the supply-chain, the internal logistic flow, the quality parameters of our product or the safety of our customer, our personnel; anything that can go wrong will go wrong, even when that is never supposed to be.
So if disturbance is a given; what does that mean for the design of a process?
It means the process should be able to cope with that! It should either avoid, or shield the negative influence, or it should be able to absorb it and to automatically return to its normal state.
a resilient system:
Absorbing destabilizing energy and naturally moving back to its normal stateThis last mechanism is called ‘resilience’. Like a punch ball, no matter how hard you punch it, it will always return to its center point, waiting to be punched again.
So in stead of assuming our processes are basically safe or stable, in a safe and stable world, we rather assume things will try to happen, but we do not want them to destabilize our system. What ever happens, the system will never go out of control, and will have a natural tendency to re-center.
This goes beyond the traditional ‘Poke Yoka’ concepts (it CAN not go wrong); here we assume ‘Even if It WILL go wrong it will not escalate and will correct automatically, as a natural behaviour’.
Well designed kanban-systems have this natural tendency –within a certain range- to absorb deviant situations and as a natural behavior return to its normal state. In the contrary we see the effect of push systems. A constant energy is needed to keep them going. Its natural behavior is to drop dead, to go out of control.