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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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Communication Is The Key To Success

Posted by on Jul 4, 2021 in Communication | 0 comments

Communication is important in any initiative, but none as important as in a Lean Six Sigma deployment. It starts with communicating the vision and making sure everyone is on board.  Top leadership must incorporate messages in their daily activities.  They must discuss how these activities are in alignment or not in alignment with the vision.  They must walk the talk.  Company newsletters and other communication formats must continually convey this vision. Deployment champions and department managers must communicate the projects conducted...

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Incorporate These Four Elements To Ensure A Successful Continuous Improvement Program

Posted by on Jun 20, 2021 in Continuous Improvement, Learning Organization, Problem Solving | 0 comments

Problems, customer issues, productivity issues, and making decisions are an inherent part of daily life in every organization.  Many organizations do an outstanding job and can resolve issues and make decisions very efficiently and quickly.  However, there are still many organizations that struggle to resolve the simplest of issues. Why is it that some organizations are so much better than others?  I believe four key elements must be a part of every successful continuous improvement effort. A Defined Problem Solving Process. There must be...

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Use The Zwicky Idea Box To Generate More Ideas and Solutions

Posted by on Jun 6, 2021 in Creativity | 0 comments

In the Six Sigma DMAIC process, we are often told to use the brainstorming process to generate as many potential solutions as possible.  Brainstorming is a common method for a team to generate a lot of ideas to solve a problem.  It’s supposed to encourage open thinking when a team is stuck in the “same old way” thinking.  It should get all team members involved so that a few people don’t dominate the whole group and allow team members to build on each other’s creativity while staying focused on their joint...

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Solve Problems Faster Using The Phoenix Checklist

Posted by on May 30, 2021 in Phoenix Checklist, Problem Solving | 0 comments

Asking questions give conscious direction to your thinking.  When you ask a question, you have to think about it.  And when you ask the right questions, it allows you to see the whole thing to comprehend it.  In order to do this, we use a question checklist. A checklist of questions helps you make sure no aspect of a challenge is overlooked.  Unless the challenge is extremely easy to solve, you need to know what to ask.  The Phoenix checklist is a series of questions developed by the CIA to allow agents to look at a challenge from many...

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Do We Trust Our Employees? If So, Why Performance Appraisals?

Posted by on May 23, 2021 in Performance Appraisal, Trust | 0 comments

Over the years, there has been a lot of discussion on the effectiveness of performance appraisals.  The premises for conducting performance appraisals vary but generally include the following: Problems result from individual dereliction. Successful work requires holding people accountable for the achievement of measurable goals. There is a reservoir of withheld effort that must be coaxed or coerced out of people. Managers can and must motivate and control the workforce. In his famous 14 Points, Dr. Deming stated in his eighth point,...

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The Value of Flow and Improving Cash Flow

Posted by on May 16, 2021 in Cash Flow, Flow, Henry Ford, Lean | 0 comments

The beginning of lean can be traced back to Henry Ford and the Ford Motor Company from about 1910 to about 1915.  It was not so much Ford himself, but his leadership and sponsoring of projects that led to their mass production accomplishments.  Ford created the environment that drove many on his team to dream up and implement those projects. Just about every change in the flow came from the bottom of the organization.  A common saying among the workers in the shop at the time was, “Everyone takes the hardest way first.”  They...

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Trust The Process, Not Your Gut Instincts!

Posted by on May 2, 2021 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

A process is defined as a series of steps taken in order to accomplish a particular end.  We all have processes we follow every day — getting up and getting ready for work, making a pot of coffee, taking the dog for a walk, cleaning up, and doing dishes after a meal — these are processes we typically execute with very little thought.  But it is surprising how few people can actually articulate what a good process looks like. People are generally quite poor at explaining how they go about making a high-quality decision, solving a...

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