The Singapore’s MRT Subway System was badly hit by a series of breakdown, flooding and collision incidences in 2017 that a study team was sent to Taiwan to learn what was done differently at Taipei Metro. Taipei Metro has a punctuality rate of almost 100% and less than 30 delays exceeding 5minutes per year. One of the most reliable in the world!

Surprisingly, it was not a bag full of technology wonders which the Singapore team had brought back…but a simple but elusive term called “Culture” – which is the secret ingredient for Taipei Metro’s achievements.

The first time I read this piece of news, it struck a lot of familiarity to me as a LEAN/TPS Practitioner. All of these so called Culture things picked-up from Taipei Metro are actually part of LEAN & TPS-Toyota Production System!

Toyota Production System (TPS) or LEAN Organizational System (as called in the western world) is an organizational-wide implementation of LEAN (as compared to just fragments of LEAN tool implementations in most companies). From my years of experience as a Lean Master developing and implementing LEAN Organizational System at both Honeywell and Shell, I shall relate some of key takeaways from the Taipei Metro news article to some of the key elements in LEAN.

Link to Article on Channel NewsAsia : 

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/discipline-experience-the-secret-to-taipei-metro-s-success-9416472

 

LEAN #1) STANDARDIZATION (STANDARD WORK) – for Day-to-Day Operations & When Things Go Wrong.

News Article: “…the transport operator has also developed more than 100 standard operating procedures to handle all types of incidents”…. “There are also specific procedures for dealing with other issues including if a passenger jumps onto the railway…”

LEAN #2) STANDARD WORK FOR RAPID PROBLEM RESOLUTION

News Article: “Normally when a problem occurs, the affected station will immediately alert the operations control centre. The centre will then instruct station staff on how to fix the problem, and the public will be informed within five minutes should the problem lead to delays.”.

LEAN #3) ACCOUNTABILITY AT ALL ORGANIZATIONAL LEVELS +

LEAN #4) LEADERSHIP STANDARD WORK +

LEAN #5) PURSUE THE ROOT CAUSE

News Article: “And it’s this kind of corporate culture that has shaped Taipei Metro, which prides itself on discipline and dedication.” …..“Now we still have weekly meetings with top executives chaired by vice presidents and sometimes by myself,” said Mr Yen. “We discuss how incidents happened, how to overcome them, can they be prevented. When you do such reviews on a weekly basis, it becomes a habit.”

WHAT IS CULTURE?

Many people might be wondering, how do I change the organization and workplace culture?… Does it takes a decade or more to do that? …What can we do?

I will leave you today to read the Taipei Metro news article and think about it before I release another follow-on post to share my methods and some of my coaching experience to leaders.

Stay Tuned for More…

Note : I am a Lean Master and Six Sigma Master Black Belt Consultant based in Singapore. I am also very active in Data Analytics and Programming. Individuals or Companies interested to learn more or exchange ideas about Lean, Six Sigma and Analytics can drop me a note by Linkedin messaging or to my personal email : siowkiat@gmail.com