29 October 2003
Danaher: Kaizen is our way of life
You'll recall the post–World War II story about how E. Edwards Deming developed the principles of total quality management (TQM) in America, only to have the Japanese endorse it wholeheartedly to improve their industrial efficiency such that they practically ruled the industrial world a mere forty years after being bombed into complete ruin.
The Japanese even named an award after Deming—a highly unusual move. The Japanese ultimately gave TQM the name Kaizen. Kaizen strategy is the single most important concept in Japanese management—the key to Japanese competitive success.
Danaher's Thomas Joyce spoke to the spirit of Kaizen at the annual Measurement, Control & Automation Association's (MCAA's) industry breakfast at ISA EXPO 2003.
Joyce said Kaizen is among one of several overriding principles that guide his company and that are responsible for Danaher's remarkable and consistent business numbers over the years, including the recent manufacturing downturn during which they generated well-above-industry average profit and revenue results.
"It's all part of the Danaher Business System [DBS]," says Joyce, who is the president of the Hach Company and a group executive for Danaher Corp.
He said the Danaher Business System drives consistent development across product and technology groups, areas, and lines.
His talk is one that most of us have heard before. The difference is above the motivational demeanor Joyce bears are the facts that Danaher is more consistent in its growth and profits, even in the worst of times, than Cal Ripken was at playing baseball everyday.
Also, in the various Danaher business groups in the room one could often see nodded heads in agreement as Joyce named the DBS five core values and expanded on their use and success at Danaher.
DBS has evolved from a collection of manufacturing improvement tools into a philosophy, set of values, and series of management processes that collectively define the company and how they do what they do.
It relies on a never-ending cycle of change and improvement and leverages a simple philosophy rooted in four customer-facing priorities: quality, delivery, cost, and innovation.
Joyce outlined Danaher's core values. They include:
The best team wins: Associates are the most valued assets. Danaher is passionate about retaining, developing, and recruiting the best talent available. Danaher and its associates win because they are team oriented with involvement by all.
"We seek fact-based, root-cause solutions, not blame. We are accountable for results, and we deliver. We are nonpolitical and not bureaucratic. We have high integrity and respect for others. Winning is fun!" Joyce said.
Customers talk, we listen: Quality first, always! We base our strategic plan on the voice of the customer. Robust, repeatable processes yield superior quality, delivery, and cost that satisfy our customers beyond their expectations.
Continuous improvement (Kaizen) is our way of life: The Danaher Business System is the company culture. They aggressively and continuously eliminate waste in every facet of the business processes.
Leading-edge innovation defines our future: The company continuously applies creativity to the technologies of products, services, and processes. Out-of -the box ideas, both large and small, add value to the enterprise. They accomplish breakthroughs through the policy deployment process.
We compete for shareholders: Profits are important, because they attract and retain loyal shareholders. Shareholders secure the future by providing capital for investment and growth.
Joyce finished with, "We find that the DBS applies to all our units. When we acquire a new business that is already a successful business, we find that the Danaher Business System makes that entity even better."
The MCAA, a national trade association founded in the mid-1940s, presents a prominent speaker every year at the ISA Exposition. MCAA's members—manufacturers, manufacturers' representatives, distributors, systems integrators, members of the trade press, and industry consultants—are the leading companies supplying hardware and software products and services associated with the measurement, control, and automation of industrial processes.
— Nicholas Sheble