Process Improvement

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 Old, outdated, hard to maintain, constantly down, or making bad parts — equipment exhibiting these conditions can really drive a plant manager to drink!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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Jim’s Sixteen Principles of Continuous Improvement

Over the years, I have helped various organizations improve their operations. Along the way, I have heard and seen things that have either aided or hindered their efforts to improve. As a result of these observations, I have compiled a list of sixteen continuous improvement principles to share with you. Challenge the status quo every day. Don’t take anything for granted or be...

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Contamination, Perception and The Story of the Dirty Rug

Several years ago, I had the pleasure of working with a relay manufacturer in China.  They wanted help implementing lean in their stamping operation, reducing changeover times and help resolving some long standing quality issues.  During my initial visit, they told me that one of their biggest problems was product contamination due to dirt, dust, human skin, fibers, etc.  As they took me on a...

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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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