Bando example of bottom-up approach to deploy targets

Bando example of bottom-up approach to deploy targets

Here’s a live case that I read from The TQM Magazine, Volume10, Number 6, 1998 by Yoshio Kondo. I liked it and thought it is very apt and also interesting to read.

“Bando Chemical Company, for a long time had been implementing the top-down type of planning, in which production was carried out in accordance with targets set by the factory manager. In the first 2 weeks of the month, there used to be sag in production but there used to a catch-up in the last leg.

After much investigation and deliberation, this factory decided to change its system for setting the monthly production quotas. Under the new system, the factory manager would first propose the draft monthly production target and explain carefully why it was necessary to achieve that target. The proposal would then be thoroughly discussed by the people in the workplace. When this system was first implemented and the individual values determined as a result of the discussion were collated, the final value turned out to be a little less than that originally proposed by the factory manager.”

When such situations we often try thrust higher targets on people in order to meet the originally proposed value. Though we start our with a bottom-down approach we end up with top-down. To an employee, it looks like an eye-wash.

“This factory took a different approach. It was decided to trust their commitment and enthusiasm and leave the total arrived at as the official monthly production target.

A curious thing happened when the setting of targets was changed from top-down to bottom-up in this way. The sag in the monthly cumulative total production graph occurring at the beginning and middle of the month disappeared, and the production proceeded more or less in accordance with the target line. Also, the monthly target was consistently achieved. Another interesting thing was that, although the target value established as a result of discussion in individual workplaces in this way started out slightly under the factory manager’s proposed draft target, it increased month by month and at the end of six months, was approximately 20 percent higher than the factory manager’s proposal, a result originally thought to be out of the question.”

So again, this is an example of successful bottom-up approach. We wouldn’t ever adapt this method. It is time-consuming and many managers feel defeated to accept a target lesser than what they initially proposed!

It sounds impractical in our culture and current conditions.

There is no doubt that it is a powerful way to get team energized, but lacks universality.

There’s a great opportunity to adapt ‘catch-ball’ technique which overcomes most deficiencies of bottom-up approach and top-down approach.

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