Advent of One-Piece Flow In Machining Operations

Posted by on Sep 19, 2021 in Henry Ford, Lean, One-Piece Flow | 0 comments

Everyone will agree that Henry Ford developed the automobile assembly line. Back in Ford’s day, there were two ways to assembly automobiles. One way was to keep cars stationary while moving the assembly workers around; the other was to keep the assembly workers stationary while shuttling the vehicles around. Realizing how bulky and heavy automobiles were, Ford initially thought it better to follow the first concept. But one day, while looking for ways to eliminate waste, he noticed the following: waste in the scattered movement of...

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Automation With A Human Touch

Posted by on Sep 12, 2021 in Lean | 0 comments

One of the two pillars of the Toyota Production System is autonomation, meaning automation with a human touch. The concept originated in the early 1900s when Sakichi Toyoda invented a textile loom that stopped automatically when a thread broke. Previously, if a line broke, the loom would make mounds of defective fabric, so each machine needed to be watched by an operator. Toyoda’s innovation let one operator control many machines. Autonomation allows machines and operators to detect when an abnormal condition has occurred and immediately...

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What Customers Really Want And How You Can Give It To Them

Posted by on Sep 5, 2021 in Lean | 0 comments

All customers want the same thing when it comes to purchasing a product or service.  They want one that performs the tasks they need to be done works when it is supposed to, and costs as little as possible.  They want the product or service now and do not wish to wait.  They want their questions answered promptly and correctly.  They don’t really care about guarantees or warranties; what they want are no problems.  They don’t want to return to have something fixed; they want zero defects from the outset. In Lean, we call this...

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Lean Helps Organizations Break Bad Habits

Posted by on Aug 29, 2021 in Lean, Learning Organization | 0 comments

I recently read an article about a company that made a considerable improvement in productivity by simply staggering their lunch breaks. Before the change, everyone went to lunch at the same time. The plant made an item that had a printed dial of some kind. The printing process required two machines. When lunchtime came, the ink had to be removed and cleaned, or it would dry out. When the employees returned from lunch, both pieces of equipment had to be re-inked, which took twenty minutes. While this took place, others on the line waited with...

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An Important Lesson Learned

Posted by on Aug 22, 2021 in Lean | 0 comments

Over the years, I’ve dealt with many organizations that were “interested” in implementing lean. A few were looking for a complete lean transformation. Others wanted to solve particular problems related to reducing change overtimes, improving flow, or eliminating quality issues. Several of these organizations made substantial progress and continue their lean efforts using kaizen and other lean techniques. But some organizations tried lean and determined it wasn’t for them. I heard excuses such as “It takes too much...

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Organizations Must Have A Lean Vision To Create A Masterpiece

Posted by on Aug 8, 2021 in Lean | 0 comments

The first requirement in making a successful transformation to lean is to have a clear vision of what the organization will become.  The vision is no doubt achievable, but the journey will take time, discipline, and execution to get there.  Throughout the journey, you must hold tight to the vision and take consistent actions. Compare your vision to a work of art.  Whether it is a painting, a sculpture, a novel, or a Broadway musical, true masterpieces are comprised of a host of small details.  The little things combine to create a work...

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Visual Management Is The Heart of a Lean Organization

Posted by on Aug 1, 2021 in Lean, Lean Healthcare, Visual Management | 0 comments

A lean organization makes extensive use of visual management techniques.  These techniques require the placement of all tools, parts, activities, and indicators of the system performance so that the status of the system can be understood at a glance by everyone involved.  The objective is to be able to see the factory — its workflow, its performance, its problems, and its improvement opportunities. Visual management helps everyone understand the flow and is a major contributor to the elimination of waste in a process.  Shadow boards...

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Six Rules To Ensure Your Kanban System Is Effective

Posted by on Jul 25, 2021 in Flow and Pull Systems, kanban, Lean | 0 comments

A kanban is a signboard or card, and the word also refers to the system of utilizing standard containers, each of which has a card designating what and when to produce.  Toyota uses kanban to make what they need when it is needed and in the quantity. Taiichi Ohno, the father of the Toyota Production System, stated that it is not an overstatement to say that kanban controls the flow of goods at Toyota. Kanban is a way to achieve just-in-time.  In essence, it becomes the autonomic nerve center of the production line.  Based on this, the...

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5-Whys Helps Understand Cause & Effect Relationships

Posted by on Jul 18, 2021 in 5 Whys | 0 comments

5 Whys is a question-asking method used to explore the cause/effect relationships underlying a particular problem. Ultimately, the goal of applying the 5 Whys method is to determine a root cause of a defect or problem.  It was developed at Toyota as part of their production process.  In fact, the Toyota production system was built on this practice and the evolution of this scientific approach.  As Taiichi Ohno, father of the Toyota production system stated: “Why does one person at Toyota Motor Company operates only one machine,...

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Lean, Six Sigma, Kaizen! What Is The Best Direction For Your Organization?

Posted by on Jul 11, 2021 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Methodologies are almost as numerous as the tools they use. Organizations sometimes struggle with where to start their improvement effort especially when resources are few and funds are in short supply. It really gets down to thinking about your organization’s problems and then selecting the right CI method to address those needs. If your organization is struggling with quality issues and lots of variation and inconsistency, then Six Sigma is the best approach I know of to address those kinds of problems. Projects will focus on...

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