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Tips To Ensure Your Kaizen Event Is Successful

Posted by on Oct 10, 2021 in Kaizen, Lean, Lean Six Sigma | 0 comments

Kaizen events are meant to be focused, short in length, low risk, and low cost.  The idea is to try something, see if it works, then try something else.  Kaizen events are a means of continually making improvements, identify waste and eliminate it adding more value as each new improvement is made. They are not intended to be a one-time event. The kaizen event must be planned and structured.  It should enable a group to improve some aspect of their business.  Prior to the actual event, an area is chosen and prepared, a problem is selected,...

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How To Achieve One-Piece Production In Machining Operations

Posted by on Sep 26, 2021 in Flow and Pull Systems, Lean, One-Piece Flow | 0 comments

Last week, I discussed how Henry Ford developed one-piece-flow in his assembly operation and why he could not implement one-piece production in his machining operations. But all was not lost due to Taichi Ohno’s persistence, and one-piece production became a reality in machining operations. This week I’ll focus on the rules and conditions necessary to implement one-piece production in machining. Toyota identified five rules and conditions necessary for one-piece production: Base cycle time on market requirements. This approach...

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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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