Lean

Material Issues Create Huge Losses!

Material problems wreak havoc in many operations.  Inconsistencies and variation within a lot or between lots of material can cause operators to constantly tweak machines and processes, which in turn can lead to defects and high scrap rates. Having multiple suppliers for the same material creates variability and can cause production delays, especially if the change from one supplier to another...

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Machine & Equipment Issues Create All Kinds Of Waste!

Is your operation plagued with equipment issues that drive you crazy? Old, outdated, hard to maintain, constantly down, or making bad parts — equipment exhibiting these conditions can really drive a plant manager to drink! Or maybe it’s an office copier that keeps jamming up or a computer system that has a mind of its own and decides to go down or won’t boot...

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Kaizen – A Slow Steady Approach to Continuous Improvement

Shutterstock Illustration Kaizen is a commonsense, low-cost approach to continuous improvement. It is ideal for projects that are short in duration and attack a specific, known problem that is physically observable. Making small improvements is also much easier for employees to accept and since the projects are small in duration and the results can be seen almost immediately. A few years...

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How a Lonely $25 Grease Gun Contributed to a $1Million Problem!

Many of us go to work each day, do our thing, and feel pretty good that we gave our organization a good days work.  But how many of us go to work each day and really think about how we can cut cost and save our organization time and money.  We’re all running around trying to get things done and never have time to think about how we can improve the process.  The following is a true story...

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Don’t Let Excessive Motion Sabotage Your Operation

A simple, but effective tool to help you eliminate waste due to motion is the spaghetti diagram.  You start by getting a layout of the area or by drawing a simple sketch.  The idea is to observe an employee perform a task and document all the movement the employee makes in performing that task.  Figure 1 is a spaghetti of a change over process on a machine.  As you can see there is a lot of...

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Use a Gemba Walk to Help You Understand Your Process

A simple, but effective tool to help you better understand a process is a “gemba walk.”  Gemba is a Japanese word for “where the work takes place,” and so a gemba walk is nothing more than taking a walk in the area where the actual work is occurring.  Some of you may remember the term “management by walking around” that was popular many years ago. This is...

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