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A French government agency report on Lean and Safety | EU-OSHA

A French government agency report on Lean and Safety | EU-OSHA | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it

"The implementation of this organizational model of production [Lean] may result if certain conditions are not met, in a deterioration of the workers´ health (musculoskeletal disorders, psychosocial risks, accidents)."

Michel Baudin's insight:

This document, from a French government agency, asserts that the implementation of Lean could make saferty worse in French plants. This might suggest that, without Lean, safety in French plants is adequate.

 

Lean is debated in France with the zero-sum assumption that, if you improve productivity and quality, it can only be at the expense of something else, usually safety. The idea that you can improve all dimensions of performance at the same time is not accepted. 

 

My experience of French plants is of safety levels that are perhaps higher than China's but a far cry from what you see in Japan or the US. The accidents waiting to happen range from people and forklifts sharing space without marked aisles, wine served in factory cafeterias, slick floors in metal working shops, operator jobs that require long carries of heavy parts,... 

 

While it is conceivable that a poor Lean implementation could make this even worse, a reasonably good one is guaranteed to improve on this dismal situation, simply by paying long overdue attention to the details of operator job designs. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with the INRS summary of recommendations, but they are already part of Lean. 

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Three Ways Big Data Helps Manufacturers Think Bigger | Industry Week

Three Ways Big Data Helps Manufacturers Think Bigger | Industry Week | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it
Here are three ways Big Data is helping manufacturers think bigger than ever before:
1. Monitoring Product Quality Proactively
2. Seeing the Future—and Changing It
3. Getting Customers into the Data-Collection Game
Michel Baudin's insight:
Manufacturers already collect data by the gigabyte, including metadata, plans and schedules, status, and history. It's not big data. It's tiny when compared to the daily terabytes generated by transactions on Amazon or eBay, but it is still ample fodder for analysis, that is woefully underutilized. 

The current databases contain information about trends, cyclical variations, product mix, and quality issues that most manufacturers do not currently extract. 

In such a context, I see an effort at improving analytics on existing data as a more relevant challenge than multiplying the quantity of collected data. 
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François Pellerin's curator insight, May 2, 11:10 PM

En Français :

  • Adieu le contrôle statistique de procédé. Bonjour le Big Data
  • Maintenance prédictive
  • Des capteurs dans le produit pour analyser les usages du client
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How is lean different from Taylorism? | Michael Ballé | LEI

How is lean different from Taylorism? | Michael Ballé | LEI | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it

"They are completely different indeed. They differ in their purpose, their practice and their outcomes. Lean is about self-reflection and seeking smarter, less wasteful dynamic solutions together. Taylorism is about static optimization of work imposed by 'those who know' on 'those who do.'"

Michel Baudin's insight:
Yes, "Scientific Management" was just a marketing label for theories that weren't truly scientific but were instead based on a simplistic view of human nature. And Taylor's stopwatch time studies were just aimed at increasing production at every operation with no consideration of flow. 

I would, however, ask for a more accurate and complete story, starting with the timeline. It is easy to check. For example, Taylor couldn't have had many brilliant insights in "mid-nineteenth century" because he wasn't born until 1856. Also, the Toyota Production System originated before 1960. 

The time matters because everything changed in America between 1850 and 1900, as it did in Japan between 1930 and 1960. By 1900, the American manufacturing industry had sprouted companies with tens of thousands of employees, employing many non-English speakers straight from farms in Eastern and Southern Europe, with primary school educations at best. It is quite possible that the communication challenges with the work force played a role in shaping Taylor's perceptions.  

Toyota's post-war workforce was comprised of native Japanese speakers, like their managers, and, like their American counterparts, better educated than 50 years earlier. As a result, some management approaches could work with them that Taylor wouldn't have thought possible in 1900. 

The article also implicitly attributes Ford's mass production system to Taylor. The Ford people would disagree with this, but it is a common and deliberate confusion made by French unions. In their literature, words like "taylorism" and "toyotism" also  serve to create further confusion and paint both as ideological smokescreens used by evil employers. 

The article also omits some of Taylor's actual contributions. This includes technical work like the invention of high-speed steel and the theory of functional foremanship which, while never used as he prescribed, defined the list of support departments found today in just about any manufacturing facility. See Fairness to Frederick Taylor (http://wp.me/p3Jqq9-48up) and Lean's Midlife Crisis (http://wp.me/p3Jqq9-51NS).




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Jens R. Woinowski (leanself.org)'s curator insight, March 10, 2:03 AM
Yes, "Scientific Management" was just a marketing label for theories that weren't truly scientific but were instead based on a simplistic view of human nature. And Taylor's stopwatch time studies were just aimed at increasing production at every operation with no consideration of flow. 

I would, however, ask for a more accurate and complete story, starting with the timeline. It is easy to check. For example, Taylor couldn't have had many brilliant insights in "mid-nineteenth century" because he wasn't born until 1856. Also, the Toyota Production System originated before 1960. 

The time matters because everything changed in America between 1850 and 1900, as it did in Japan between 1930 and 1960. By 1900, the American manufacturing industry had sprouted companies with tens of thousands of employees, employing many non-English speakers straight from farms in Eastern and Southern Europe, with primary school educations at best. It is quite possible that the communication challenges with the work force played a role in shaping Taylor's perceptions.  

Toyota's post-war workforce was comprised of native Japanese speakers, like their managers, and, like their American counterparts, better educated than 50 years earlier. As a result, some management approaches could work with them that Taylor wouldn't have thought possible in 1900. 

The article also implicitly attributes Ford's mass production system to Taylor. The Ford people would disagree with this, but it is a common and deliberate confusion made by French unions. In their literature, words like "taylorism" and "toyotism" also  serve to create further confusion and paint both as ideological smokescreens used by evil employers. 

The article also omits some of Taylor's actual contributions. This includes technical work like the invention of high-speed steel and the theory of functional foremanship which, while never used as he prescribed, defined the list of support departments found today in just about any manufacturing facility. See Fairness to Frederick Taylor (http://wp.me/p3Jqq9-48up) and Lean's Midlife Crisis (http://wp.me/p3Jqq9-51NS).




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Sorry, But Lean Is About Cost Reduction... | Rob van Stekelenborg | LinkedIn

Sorry, But Lean Is About Cost Reduction... | Rob van Stekelenborg | LinkedIn | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it

"It seems to be popular these last years and more recently to explicitly state that Lean is not (only) about cost reduction or cost cutting. See the recent posts by Mark Graban or Matt Hrivnak. So let me be somewhat controversial in this post (which I think is allowed to spark the discussion) and drop a bombshell: I think Lean is about cost reduction."

Michel Baudin's insight:
I know that much of the TPS literature is about "reducing costs," but it never includes any discussion of money! Ohno is even quoted as saying "Costs are not there to be measured, but to be reduced." On the face of it, it makes no sense, because cost is an accounting term intended to represent the monetary value of all the resources spent to achieve a result. 

You convert the quantities of materials, energy, outsourced services, labor, machine time, transportation, etc., into money so that you can add them up. There are many different ways to do it, particularly when it comes to allocating resources that are shared or used over time, and plenty of arguments about which one is "right," but the intent is always the same. And whenever you talk about reducing cost, it means making these amounts of money smaller. 

But the TPS authors never discuss it in this fashion, which tells me that they mean something different when they say "cost." The main reason we should never say that Lean is about cost reduction is that, just about anywhere other than Toyota, it will be immediately misunderstood as cutting every department's budget by 5%, or similar measures.

I see the point of eliminating waste as concurrently improving all dimensions of performance. You cannot boil a process down to just what physically changes workpieces. There are plenty of necessary steps that don't and they are not waste; overproduction, overprocessing, waiting, unnecessary stocks, etc., are unnecessary. Eliminating them makes no dimension of your performance worse, that is what makes them waste. 

If improving your performance in terms of lead time, delivery, quality, safety, and morale does not translate to reductions in cost, there is something wrong with the way your accounting system keeps score. 

In the discussion, Rob expressed surprise that I "evaluate something to be waste only if when you take it out it doesn't deteriorate performance." and added: "There are plenty of activities that are necessary and that you can't take out but that are still waste."

The Japanese word we translate as "waste" is "muda," which strictly means "unnecessary." And, if something is unnecessary, by definition, you are no worse off without it. In manufacturing, an activity is unnecessary if, and only if, no dimension of performance goes worse when you stop doing it. 

If you look at all the listed categories of waste, they fit this criterion. On the other hand, I see no point in branding as "waste" something that you have to do anyway. Revision management in technical data does make a single hole in a piece of metal, but it can't be dispensed with no matter what. So I am not going to tell the people who do it that it is waste! 

I see all the discussions identifying "value added" with customers' willingness to pay or physical transformation of materials as creating confusion. The only thing that matters is whether an activity is necessary or not. If it is, you must be effective and efficient at it; if not, stop doing it.
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What Went Wrong? (With Lean) | Bob Emiliani

What Went Wrong? (With Lean) | Bob Emiliani | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it
Can Lean do a do-over? Nearly 30 years after the start of the Lean movement, there is widespread agreement that things have not gone according to plan.
Michel Baudin's insight:

Bob's title for the article is just "What Went Wrong?" which I feel needs to be set in context. 

 

I agree with him that the most popular "Lean tools" are peripheral at best. None of the ones he mentions -- 5S, visual controls, value stream maps A3 reports, or gemba walks -- would make my list of what should be taught and applied first in a Lean manufacturing implementation. I would, on the other hand, include SMED, cell design, assembly line design based on takt time, etc. 


These are the kind of tools I believe Bob means when he says "core industrial engineering methods," the only problem being that you find them neither in the Industrial Engineering Handbook nor in the IE curriculum of most American universities. They have the look and feel of classical IE and should become part of it, but it hasn't happened yet. 


There is nothing wrong with starting with tools, as long as you don't get stuck there. You have to move on from production engineering tools like the above, to tools for production control,  quality, maintenance, and other support activities; then on to rethinking the roles of managers until, finally, you get to a point where "the way we do things" -- otherwise known as culture -- has changed. 

 

Bob's paragraph about Kaizen confuses me in describing Kaizen as critical to teaching "Continuous Improvement and Respect for People." I am used to thinking of Kaizen and Continuous Improvement as the same thing.  

 

There is ambiguity in all these terms, along with, perhaps, deliberate mistranslation. Toyota is under no obligation to teach its system to the rest of the world. It's good public relations to appear to be doing it, but they don't have to do it so deeply and accurately that other organizations can actually apply it, especially when their representatives are so quick to conclude that they get it, that it's nothing but common sense, or that there is nothing in it that our IEs haven't figured out 100 years ago. 


At Toyota, even though Kaizen is translated as continuous improvement, "continuous" is taken to mean "all the time." As Kei Abe put it, you start improving when you first open the plant and don't stop until you close it down. In this sense, improvements large and small all fall under the umbrella of Kaizen.


Outside of Toyota, to authors like Tozawa Bunji or Masaaki Imai, Kaizen designates small, incremental improvements to the way the work is done, designed and implemented by those who do the work. They also translate it as continuous improvement,  as opposed to radical change, or Kaikaku. 


Outside of Japan and of Japanese transplant facilities, since the invention of the Kaizen Blitz/Kaizen Event in the US in the 1990s, the word Kaizen has been used to designate the kind of improvements that can be accomplished in 5-day workshops.


And "Respect for People" is a mistranslation. The actual principle is "Respect for Humanity," and it does not mean being polite but taking advantage of all the abilities that are special to humans, including not just dexterity and strength but also cognition and creation. And the motivation is that, otherwise, you are competing with one hand tied behind your back. 


Bob and I also have different perspectives on the so-called "Scientific Management," but that was our previous conversation. 




 

 

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A critical look on Industry 4.0 | Christoph Roser

A critical look on Industry 4.0 | Christoph Roser | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it

One of the hottest buzzwords right now (at least in Germany) is Industry 4.0. However, it’s a bit fuzzy what Industry 4.0 is, exactly. In this post I would like to talk about Industry 4.0. This includes very little about all the promises of a wonderful future – you can read that elsewhere. Instead, I will try to give you the big picture. I will talk about how Industry 4.0 came into existence, why it is so popular, what the true current benefit of Industry 4.0 is, and why you should pay attention to clothes.

Michel Baudin's insight:

Thanks to Christoph Roser for information about Industry 4.0. I suspected it was a Hershey Hugs kind of program, and this confirms it. In case you are not familiar with Hershey Hugs, it was a follow-up product to the successful Hershey's Kiss, except that Hershey's marketing came up with the name first, and then ran a contest among employees to figure out that the product would be intertwined swirls of white and black chocolate in the same shape as a Hershey's Kiss.

 

In his list of previously hot topics, CIM is one I was personally involved with in the 1980s. And yes, I have the same feeling of déjà vu. The promises of Industry 4.0 sound identical to the unfulfilled ones of CIM, but they fall on the ears of a new generation of managers, that has yet to be disappointed. This being said, today's IT is more valuable than ever and has an important supporting role to play in manufacturing. I just share Christoph's doubts that a program like Industry 4.0 will do much to develop it. 

 

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Philip Marris's comment, January 11, 12:32 PM
I agree with both of you. The other buzz word with the same promise was "The Lightless Plant" because with all these intelligent robots and computers there would be no need for humans and therefore no need for lights. I thought that since then (circa 1975) we had all heard about this other thing called "Lean Manufacturing" that considers that people not machines and computers are the future of industry. :)
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"I've had results with Lean but Corporate pushes ERP. Any advice?" | LEI | Michael Ballé

"I've had results with Lean but Corporate pushes ERP. Any advice?" | LEI | Michael Ballé | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it

Question:  "I’m the head of a business unit and have had visible results with lean. Yet, my corporate colleagues refuse to acknowledge this and want to force their ERP and purchasing practices on my division. This is very frustrating – any advice?"

 

Answer: "I certainly understand (and share) your frustration and, unfortunately, I don’t really have useful advice[...] No easy answers"

Michel Baudin's insight:

Ballé then follows up the non-advice with a 1,079-word essay where, among other developments, he equates the use of ERP with colonialism, leading to the conclusion that there are no easy answers. 

 

Let us assume the question is from a real manager in a real situation, in a position to make choices with real consequences for his or her career as well as for the company. It deserves an answer. Following are a few different courses of action that I would recommend for consideration:

 

1. Take charge. After pondering the specifics of the ERP initiative, you may conclude that it is in fact not just about planning but is instead a worthwhile effort to upgrade the company's information technology (IT) overall, based on genuine needs. In this case, you want to get involved at the highest possible level. The best Chief Information Officers (CIO) are not always IT professionals; often operations managers' understanding of requirements and leadership skills trump IT knowledge. Telltale signs are that you and your peers are consulted upfront, and that the implementation plan, including vendor selection, is not prejudged.

 

2. Wait it out. If your judgment is that the corporate ERP initiative is hopelessly flawed, that the company is strong enough to recover from it, and that you want to stay, you acquiesce and do your utmost to prevent it undoing what you have achieved, and until this, too, passes. Such initiatives are often the straight implementation of an all-in-one "solution" sold by a software vendor to executives with no manufacturing background.

 

3. Leave. If you feel that the ERP initiative will damage your quality of life for the next two years, and result in a disaster for the company that you might be blamed for, prepare to leave. If you have other opportunities outside the company, take them.

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Standardization Doesn’t Stamp Out Creativity | The Deming Institute Blog | John Hunter

Standardization Doesn’t Stamp Out Creativity | The Deming Institute Blog | John Hunter | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it

"[...] One of the things I find annoying, in this way, is that reducing variation and using standardization is said to mean everyone has to be the same and creativity is stamped out. This is not what Dr. Deming said at all. And the claim makes no sense when you look at how much emphasis he put on joy in work and the importance of using everyone’s creativity. Yet I hear it over and over, decade after decade."

Michel Baudin's insight:

Yes, the metric system did not stifle anybody's creativity. By making commerce, engineering, and science easier, it actually helped creative people innovate, invent, and discover. 

 

But when Deming says "Standardization does not mean that we all wear the same color and weave of cloth, eat standard sandwiches, or live in standard rooms with standard furnishings," he seems to exclude the possibility that standardization could be abused. 


Rather than presenting standardization as a universal good, I think we should restrict its scope to domains where it is useful. Weights and measures is an obvious one, and there are even cases where making people "wear the same color and weave of cloth" makes sense, for example, if crews on airliners didn't wear uniforms, passengers couldn't tell them apart from other passengers. 


On the other hand, the Hollywood formula for romantic comedies is a standard we don't need. We don't need the obligatory chase at the end when one of the heroes has to find a way to prevent the other one leaving forever. 


Even in manufacturing, standards are not always helpful. You don't need a standard for the size of end-balls on motorcycle brake handles. In the 1980s, international committees hammered out comprehensive 7-layered standards on the way computers should communicate, that were set aside by the Internet. (See http://michelbaudin.com/2012/07/09/what-are-standards-for/)


The lack of an obviously useful standard also sometimes has unexpected consequences. In Japan, for example, half the country gets 50Hz power and the other half 60Hz, as a result of which, its electronics industry developed products you can plug into power sources from 97 to 240V and 50 to 60Hz. 


So, let's use standards where they help, but let's not become standardization zealots!



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Lean Human Resources Seminar In The Philippines

Lean Human Resources Seminar In The Philippines | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it

"...the first ever management seminar on how to eliminate wasteful activities in the HR function..."

Michel Baudin's insight:

As Mike Hoseus put it at the Lean HR summit in Florida last May:

"The important question is not “what is Lean’s role in HR” but “what is HR’s role in Lean”. HR’s role in a Lean Transformation is critical and essential.  For a Lean Transformation to be successful and go beyond implementing tools, an organization must address Purpose, Process, People and Problem Solving.  HR’s role is critical in all 4, but especially Purpose, People and Problem Solving."


In other words, it's not about the HR function doing things right but doing the right things. You are not going to do much good to a business organization if you just make HR efficient at yoyo staffing, by which I mean hiring in boom times and laying off as soon as the going gets tough. 


Lean HR is about hiring people for entire careers, helping them work out career plans, and helping them implement these plans. Of course, it's better if the HR department is efficient at doing this, but the pursuit of efficiency is pointless unless it is doing this. 

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Is there such a thing as managerial DNA? | LinkedIn

Is there such a thing as managerial DNA? | LinkedIn | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it

Scientific and technical terms are frequently used metaphorically in business, in ways that don't always make sense. Companies, nowadays, are commonly described as having certain practices, "in their DNA," and you hear discussions of "changing their DNA."As is known to anyone who has taken High School biology or watched a recent cop show on TV,  the one thing you can't change is your DNA. We each have our own version, formed at conception and replicated in every cell of our body.

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What's Next after Lean? | Industry Week | Larry Fast

What's Next after Lean? | Industry Week | Larry Fast | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it

"[...]What’s Next? The short answer is nothing. Don’t wait on anything new that is of a game-changing variety."

Michel Baudin's insight:

The emergence of Toyota and its production system (TPS) caught the manufacturing world by surprise. The first reaction was denial that it was new, followed by blind adoption of a few of its most visible features, and the development of something different, called "Lean," which borrowed Toyota's credibility but doesn't have much left in common with TPS. 

 

Unlike Larry Fast, I am sure there will be another game changer in Manufacturing. It will come from an unexpected place, as post-war Japan was, and I have no idea what it will consist of. In the past 250 years we have had revolution after revolution in the art of making things, and I think it is presumptuous to assume that there won't be anymore. 

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Lean in Manufacturing Staffing | Small Biz Resources | Louis Flory

Lean in Manufacturing Staffing | Small Biz Resources | Louis Flory | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it
Lean in manufacturing staffing requires a close review of your current staffing procedures so that you can identify areas where to eliminate waste.
Michel Baudin's insight:

Human resource (HR) management is a topic that deserves more attention than it has been getting in Lean Manufacturing, but this article's recommendations amount to little more than "Be careful!"

 

It says that you should be picky about whom you hire, automate the onboarding paperwork, spend more on initial training, and provide attractive benefits to retain your employees.

 

"Seeking out employees with the skills and experience required for your organization" can mean different things. In Ohio, for example, Honda set up shop in an agricultural area and recruited locals with no prior experience of car manufacturing with the objectives of retaining them and training them from scratch in the Honda way.

 

By contrast, in Kentucky, Toyota recruited people with the highest possible level of formal education, even for assembly line jobs. Neither one recruited people for a specific skills to fit in a pigeonhole. Instead, they looked for people who would be able to fill a variety of positions over a career. And both organizations are successful. 

 

For new employees, you can do more than just eliminate paper forms. For example, as part of Change Point Management, you can ask each team to develop its own plan or checklist for integrating new members. 

 

There is also more to retaining your existing employees than just "ramping up benefits." For example, you might help them plan their careers within the organization by identifying goals and defining with each individual training needs and career steps towards his or her goal. 

 

This needs to be said and repeated because, over the past 30 years, the trend in the US has been towards cutting down on HR services rather than beefing them up.

 

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The World Class Manufacturing programme at Chrysler, Fiat & Co. - better operations

The World Class Manufacturing programme at Chrysler, Fiat & Co. - better operations | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it

"The company-specific production system (XPS) of Chrysler is the World Class Manufacturing (WCM) concept, developed by the Fiat Group in 2006. But, what exactly is the WCM? And, what does Chrysler see as keys to success in WCM?

A few answers are given these days at the 4th annual Lean Management Journal Conference in Birmingham, UK: in his morning keynote, Mauro Pino—Vice President for vehicle assembly operations and the Head of World Class Manufacturing in the Chrysler Group—explains how Chrysler “achieves manufacturing excellence across the globe”. Pino stresses that “WCM is how we do our business. Period.” The presentation reminds me of the WCM factories I visited in Brazil, Spain and Sweden last year, all of which confirmed that WCM can be a powerful improvement system—if implemented seriously. Let’s take a closer look at the concept of WCM."

Michel Baudin's insight:

An update from Torbjørn Netland about what "World Class Manufacturing" means to FIat. As European or American lists have ten elements, rather than the seven in Japanese lists, WCM has 10 technical pillars and 10 managerial pillars, the logic of which puzzles me. 

"People development," for example, is a technical pillar that I would have put under "Management." Among the technical pillars, on the other hand, I can't find anything about organizing production for flow or designing operator jobs. The technical pillars seem to be about support departments like maintenance, quality, or materials management rather than production itself.

In both lists, the wording is generic, and they read like a table of contents, letting you wonder what specifics are behind each label. 

 

 

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The one thing Lean Six Sigma got wrong about Lean | Erwin van der Koogh | Guest on Lean Blog

The one thing Lean Six Sigma got wrong about Lean | Erwin van der Koogh | Guest on Lean Blog | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it

"[...]In 2002, Michael George and Robert Lawrence Jr. published Lean Six Sigma: Combining Six Sigma with Lean Speed, a book that started a revolution that quickly took hold in boardrooms around the globe. Total Quality Control and Six Sigma had always appealed to senior managers, but now it came with the added bonus of increased speed and reduced cost. It was a very welcome addition in the post “dot-com bubble” era and was always too good to be true.[...]"

Michel Baudin's insight:

This is a guest post on Mark Graban's Lean Blog.  Like Mark, I agree with enough of what Erwin says to recommend reading it. Approaches like Lean or Six Sigma emerge out of specific contexts where they are successful, but then their boosters go global cosmic.


Six Sigma started out as a modernization of the tools used to achieve process capability in various segments of the electronics industry, with the goal of making statistical design of experiments a common practice, and the belt system was a way to propagate this body of knowledge. Success in this limited endeavor did not justify selling it as a business panacea.

Lean started out as TPS, which is, to date, the best known way to make cars. TPS has a much broader scope than Six Sigma, encompassing management and technology. It includes human resource management as well as designs for welding lines. The "Lean" label for TPS was a way to allow other car companies to apply it without explicitly referencing Toyota, and to package it for use beyond the car industry. While it's clearly applicable in many industries, it's not a panacea either.

What happens when you try to expand an approach beyond its range of applicability is that you drain it of substance in order to make it generic, as has happened to both Lean and Six Sigma, not to mention Lean Six Sigma. All you are left with at that point is homilies. 
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Philip Marris's curator insight, April 4, 2015 4:04 AM
Michel Baudin's insight:

This is a guest post on Mark Graban's Lean Blog.  Like Mark, I agree with enough of what Erwin says to recommend reading it. Approaches like Lean or Six Sigma emerge out of specific contexts where they are successful, but then their boosters go global cosmic.


Six Sigma started out as a modernization of the tools used to achieve process capability in various segments of the electronics industry, with the goal of making statistical design of experiments a common practice, and the belt system was a way to propagate this body of knowledge. Success in this limited endeavor did not justify selling it as a business panacea.

Lean started out as TPS, which is, to date, the best known way to make cars. TPS has a much broader scope than Six Sigma, encompassing management and technology. It includes human resource management as well as designs for welding lines. The "Lean" label for TPS was a way to allow other car companies to apply it without explicitly referencing Toyota, and to package it for use beyond the car industry. While it's clearly applicable in many industries, it's not a panacea either.

What happens when you try to expand an approach beyond its range of applicability is that you drain it of substance in order to make it generic, as has happened to both Lean and Six Sigma, not to mention Lean Six Sigma. All you are left with at that point is homilies. 
Carolina Rojo's curator insight, April 29, 2015 12:55 PM

Un artículo acerca de un defecto de Lean SIX SIGMA.

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The A3 Report - Part 3: Limitations and Common Mistakes | Christoph Roser 

The A3 Report - Part 3: Limitations and Common Mistakes | Christoph Roser  | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it
Even if the A3 report is sometimes paraded around like a sacred relic, it is in my view only a minor tool. The main work is still identifying and solving the problem. If I have the choice between a sloppy root cause analysis on an A3 report and a good one on the back of an used envelope, I would go with the envelope any time. Using an A3 report will offer no advantage at all if the content is garbage!
Michel Baudin's insight:
This is the 3rd post by Christoph Roser about A3. I only wrote two (See http://wp.me/p3Jqq9-gF and http://wp.me/p3Jqq9-4rL0). I agree with him that it is a minor tool, but our perspectives differ on details. 

Christoph sees A3 as primarily for problem-solving; I see them as a communication tool with many more applications, in particular work instructions. And Pascal Dennis likes to use them in Hoshin Planning/Strategy Deployment. 

Christoph is also fond of paper and pencils, which I assume makes him miserable blogging... And he recommends generating A3 while on the shop floor, which I have trouble envisioning as it involves carrying around an unwieldy A3 clipboard. 

On a production shop floor, I try to avoid carrying too many conspicuous objects. My smartphone is convenient as a stills camera, video camera, and stopwatch. To take notes or exchange sketches with people on the shop floor, I use smaller formats, like 3"x5" gridded index cards. To generate anything on an A3, it's much more comfortable around a conference table. 

The tabloid format is the US equivalent of the ISO A3 but, if you write a document on a letter size of A4 sheet, please don't call it an A3. Size does matter, particularly for a concept named after a paper size. The A3 size is a tradeoff between the availability of paper and printers on one side, and the amount of information you can fit in one page on the other. 

Another element missing from the conversation about A3s is the type of communication that they support. After being eclipsed by bound books for almost 2,000 years, scrolls have made a comeback on screens. Their main drawback in hardcopy was that they were strictly sequential, which the book addressed (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xFAWR6hzZek) by letting readers flip back and forth. But the book is still a sequence of pages, and less effective for multidimensional communication than at-a-glance, single-sheet documents like maps, plans,... or A3 reports. 

You shouldn't see the A3 format as just restricting the amount of information but also as making visible relationships that might be missed in sequential reading. 


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Improving  50% is easy, improving 5% is difficult | Chris Hohmann

Improving  50% is easy, improving 5% is difficult | Chris Hohmann | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it
It is with this enigmatic sentence that one of my Japanese mentors introduced the growing difficulty with continuous improvement. What it means is that at the beginning of an improvement program or when starting in a new area, the first and usually the easiest actions bring big improvement, hence the “easy” 50%. This is also…
Michel Baudin's insight:
I have been using this method, but for the categorization of improvement ideas within a project rather than whole projects. For example, starting a SMED project on a machine with a 30-minute setup time, you find that you can get it down to 12 minutes in one week for $300 by organizing and prepositioning tool carts. This is your A idea. 

Then you find that, by modifying a fixture on the machine, you can get it down to 4 minutes, in three months for $5,000. That's your B idea. Finally, you discover that an automation retrofit can get it down to 2 minutes, in a year for $50,000, and it is a C idea. 

The one issue I have with applying this kind of thinking to whole projects is that the scope of "low-hanging fruits" changes over time with the skill level of the work force. Much of what appears inaccessible at the outset of your transformation becomes cheap and easy by its third year. 

I also find that how long and how much money it will take to implement an idea is easier for teams to work with than a metric like ROI. The economic justification of improvement projects is a difficult and sensitive subject. 
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"Ohm's Law" for WIP -- Little's Law Explained in Russian | Holz Expert

"Ohm's Law" for WIP -- Little's Law Explained in Russian | Holz Expert | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it

Translated from Russian: "Every production manager knows that the amount of work in process (WIP) -- stacks of parts lying between machines waiting for processing --  should be reduced. In contrast to the raw materials in the warehouse,  work has already been done on it, and its cost increased by the amount of value added. This makes it an illiquid asset - in contrast to raw materials and finished goods, it cannot be sold. In addition,  WIP costs extra space, heating, transportation and personnel. But, before reducing WIP, it is necessary to properly evaluate it..."

Michel Baudin's insight:

Even though it has a German name meaning "Wood Expert," Holz Expert is a consulting group based in Moscow and specialized in the furniture industry. 

 

I had not heard of them before, but Oleg Novikov pointed out this article to me on Facebook. It is well done. If you can't read Russian, check it out with Google translate. They explain all the assumptions needed for the formula to be applicable, and give examples from furniture manufacturing. They even include a smiling picture of John D.C. Little. 

 

Working with Russian clients, I was surprised that they insisted on mathematical formulas in consulting reports. To them, it was essential to the credibility of the recommendations, a feeling that I have never encountered among their counterparts anywhere else. 

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ims's curator insight, March 1, 7:28 AM

Even though it has a German name meaning "Wood Expert," Holz Expert is a consulting group based in Moscow and specialized in the furniture industry. 

 

I had not heard of them before, but Oleg Novikov pointed out this article to me on Facebook. It is well done. If you can't read Russian, check it out with Google translate. They explain all the assumptions needed for the formula to be applicable, and give examples from furniture manufacturing. They even include a smiling picture of John D.C. Little. 

 

Working with Russian clients, I was surprised that they insisted on mathematical formulas in consulting reports. To them, it was essential to the credibility of the recommendations, a feeling that I have never encountered among their counterparts anywhere else. 

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Lean’s Midlife Crisis | Bob Emiliani

Lean’s Midlife Crisis | Bob Emiliani | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it

"It seems to be common knowledge that the Lean movement is now suffering from a midlife crisis. Lean movement leaders are perplexed at the widespread continuing emphasis on Lean tools, narrow focus on cost cutting, and the slow uptake of the “Respect for People” principle over the last 15 years. This is the outcome, despite determined efforts to inform people otherwise. I’m not surprised."

Michel Baudin's insight:

While I agree with Bob's overall diagnosis of a midlife crisis for Lean, I object to a few details, the main one being his assertion that Lean descends directly from "Scientific Management," the brand under which Frederick Taylor sold his consulting services. 

 

As many do, Bob mentions Taylor and Gilbreth together, as if they were from the same school of thought, when in fact their approaches to people at work were polar opposites. While Taylor's explicit goal was to prevent workers from colluding to curtail output, Gilbreth's was to improve operations and make the work easier, based on films rather than just stopwatch time studies. It wasn't about policing bricklayers, but about presenting bricks at the right height so that they wouldn't have to stoop to pick up each one. 

 

The TPS/Lean approach to the design of individual workstations strikes me as in line with Gilbreth, not Taylor. And the all important flow dimension of TPS comes from neither. For external sources of inspiration, you need to look at Ford's mass production in the US and Junker's Taktsystem in the German aircraft industry. 

 

For a set ideas once arrayed as an all-encompassing approach or theory to be subsumed into common industry practice is not necessarily failure. Today, nobody explicitly references interchangeable parts technology -- known 150 years ago as "the American system of manufacture" -- not because it has failed but because it has become the standard way to design products and processes.

 

Also, while Taylor's approach to workers has been largely abandoned, his "functional foremanship" concept has provided the basis for the list of support departments found today in almost every manufacturing organization, if not for the way they are managed. 

 

If that were the future fate of Lean, it would be a success. If, however, the Lean label overwhelmingly continues to cover the diluted and distorted version of TPS that Bob calls "fake Lean," it is unlikely to happen. 

 

And 1988 is only the start of the Lean label. TPS-inspired improvement efforts had been underway for years already under names like JIT or World-Class Manufacturing. My own first exposure to the concepts dates back to 1980, and my first consulting gig in the field, to 1987. 

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Jens R. Woinowski (leanself.org)'s curator insight, March 10, 2:04 AM

While I agree with Bob's overall diagnosis of a midlife crisis for Lean, I object to a few details, the main one being his assertion that Lean descends directly from "Scientific Management," the brand under which Frederick Taylor sold his consulting services. 

 

As many do, Bob mentions Taylor and Gilbreth together, as if they were from the same school of thought, when in fact their approaches to people at work were polar opposites. While Taylor's explicit goal was to prevent workers from colluding to curtail output, Gilbreth's was to improve operations and make the work easier, based on films rather than just stopwatch time studies. It wasn't about policing bricklayers, but about presenting bricks at the right height so that they wouldn't have to stoop to pick up each one. 

 

The TPS/Lean approach to the design of individual workstations strikes me as in line with Gilbreth, not Taylor. And the all important flow dimension of TPS comes from neither. For external sources of inspiration, you need to look at Ford's mass production in the US and Junker's Taktsystem in the German aircraft industry. 

 

For a set ideas once arrayed as an all-encompassing approach or theory to be subsumed into common industry practice is not necessarily failure. Today, nobody explicitly references interchangeable parts technology -- known 150 years ago as "the American system of manufacture" -- not because it has failed but because it has become the standard way to design products and processes.

 

Also, while Taylor's approach to workers has been largely abandoned, his "functional foremanship" concept has provided the basis for the list of support departments found today in almost every manufacturing organization, if not for the way they are managed. 

 

If that were the future fate of Lean, it would be a success. If, however, the Lean label overwhelmingly continues to cover the diluted and distorted version of TPS that Bob calls "fake Lean," it is unlikely to happen. 

 

And 1988 is only the start of the Lean label. TPS-inspired improvement efforts had been underway for years already under names like JIT or World-Class Manufacturing. My own first exposure to the concepts dates back to 1980, and my first consulting gig in the field, to 1987. 

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Booze, bonks and bodies | The Economist

Booze, bonks and bodies | The Economist | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it
The various Bonds are more different than you think
Michel Baudin's insight:

Once hailed by Edward Tufte as purveyor of the most sophisticated graphics in the press, Britain's "The Economist" has apparently surrendered to the dictatorship of the stacked-bars. 

 

Of course, unlike most other stacked-bar charts, this one is entertaining but, to a data curmudgeon, it is also a case-study in bad descriptive analytics. It's harmless here, but it's not harmless in business or technical reports with ten bars stacked up in each column. 

 

First, kills, conquests, and martinis are not quantities you usually add and, second, the chart only supports comparison among actors for the bottom bar, the kills. conquests are martinis are difficult to compare visually, because the bars don't start from a common base. 

 

If you want to use bar charts to describe data by categories, use parameters that add up, such as sales revenue by product and region, or defect frequencies by product and type of defect. Unless the categories you want to use for the x-axis time periods, use horizontal rather than vertical bars.

 

Then show one chart for aggregate sales by region and a separate chart for each product, If you really want to make it visually clear which of Pierce Brosnan or Sean Connery had the most conquests per film, draw a separate chart.

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Akio Toyoda's aggressive reboot | Automotive News

Akio Toyoda's aggressive reboot | Automotive News | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it
Akio Toyoda is rolling out an aggressive overhaul of Toyota Motor Corp. that aims to improve everything from manufacturing and product planning to design and human resources.
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Unilever’s new program for WCM | business-improvement.eu | Jan van Ede

Unilever’s new program for WCM | business-improvement.eu | Jan van Ede | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it

"Unilever changed their approach in 2012. Within Fiat they discovered a balanced WCM-program, developed by professor emeritus Hajime Yamashima. He integrated Lean and Six Sigma from the start in the TPM management pillars. The result: more focus, better opportunities for cross-departmental improvement, and more attention to the role of the people."

Michel Baudin's insight:

In the late 1980s, as part of Kei Abe's MTJ team, I went to Unilever facilities in the Netherlands, Italy, the UK, and the US to help them implement what had yet to be called "Lean." Unilever was impressive as an organization in that, in markets including detergents, processed foods, mass-market toiletries and prestige cosmetics, they were afraid of nobody, anywhere.

 

They knew how to adapt their products to local tastes in 130 countries -- down to package dimensions -- and how to integrate a multinational, multicultural work force. A production supervisor we were working with in Italy was a 25-year old German engineer, and the executive sponsoring our engagement at corporate headquarters in the Netherlands was from India. 

 

Of course, the factories offered plenty of opportunities. Their processes started with chemical operations producing bulk, followed by filling and packaging operations producing discrete units at takt times that were often a fraction of a second, and then aggregating these units into display cases, boxes, pallets, and truckloads. Our recommendations were to start with projects that would accelerate and smooth the flow from start to finish.

 

Eventually, they went with TPM first, which we felt was not a good starting point, because it requires involving the entire work force and, if not correctly understood, can lead to local improvements that do not necessarily translate into improvements for the plant as a whole, which this article says actually occurred. 

 

The article gives a sense of Unilever's journey since then, as long as you ignore the confusing alphabet soup of improvement programs.  The term World Class Manufacturing (WCM) is described as having been coined in 2007, when in fact it is the title of a 1987 book by Richard Schonberger. And the descriptions of TPM, Lean, and Six Sigma are bewildering.


TPM is an approach to maintenance, and there is more to operating a process plant than maintenance. Unilever, and other companies in process industries, have responded by making TPM an umbrella program, under which they lumped all sorts of activities unrelated to maintenance. While it looks strange to outsiders, who is to argue with it if it works? 


In the 1980s and 90s, the "World Class Manufacturing" brand had currency, until it was eclipsed by "Lean." 20 years later, it was revived by Yamashina and Fiat. Unlike TPM, it suggests a comprehensive approach to manufacturing, but what is "world class" today may not be tomorrow and it is a label under which content may change. 

 

 

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David Poveda's comment, October 27, 2015 9:44 AM
Very interesting. I would add that a World Class Manufacturing initiative must include Factory Physics (the science of manufacturing) and Demand Drive MRP (the knowledge frontier in materials planning alone the entire supply chain). Unilever already uses DDMRP in some North American plants.
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On the Different Ways to Measure Production Speed | Christoph Roser

On the Different Ways to Measure Production Speed | Christoph Roser | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it
There are many different ways to measure manufacturing speeds. Depending if you need the losses included or not, if you want parts per time or its inverse or only a time, single processes or entire systems, actual or current values, you may have a completely different number. This post will help you to sort out what is what.
Michel Baudin's insight:

The main conclusion from this post is that, when discussing production speed, you should define your terms if you want to avoid confusion. 

 

It is a useful and well researched article, but there are a few points I would make differently:

1. OEE is a ratio, not a difference.

2. "Time" can mean duration or timestamp. I would use both terms to avoid ambiguity..

3. I would discuss the practical implications of using time per part versus parts per unit time. When you say you produce 1 part every minute, it usually means that one part is completed every 60 seconds exactly. When you say you make 60 units/hour, on the other hand, you make no difference between completing one every minute and having a batch of 60 coming out every hour. 

4. Averages are additive; medians or maxima are not. The average of a sum is the sum of the averages, but this is not true of the other statistics. This is of vital importance when adding up operation times in a process, and a key reason why ERP systems plan based on absurdly long lead times. 

5. I prefer to define a parameters by its intended meaning, and the formula then becomes the way you estimate it. The intent of the takt time of a line is to be the interval between the completion timestamps of two consecutive units. The formula then shows how you estimate it. 

6. Little's Law applies to steady-state averages, and it needs to be said. It does not apply, for example, during ramp-up. 

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The Internet of Things in Lean Manufacturing | SME |F. L. Thomas

The Internet of Things in Lean Manufacturing | SME |F. L. Thomas | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it

"[...]Within the context of Lean manufacturing, focused on elimination of waste and continual process improvement, the Internet of Things can lead to huge efficiency gains … some people see it as Lean on steroids. Tools and equipment will automatically collect, share and interact with other data and processes, opening up a whole new realm of achievements attainable under Lean initiatives.[...]"

Michel Baudin's insight:

Even though the article is a marketing pitch, and the Internet of Thing (IoT) so far has been focused on systems embedded in finished goods rather than production processes, it is a topic that manufacturing professionals and Lean implementers should pay attention to. 

 

This article uses the vocabulary of the German government's "Industrie 4.0" initiative to tout the benefits of the Internet of Things (IoT) for Lean. Industrie 4.0  is a government program to funnel research grants by manufacturing companies, of the sort that doesn't have much of a track record of producing useful technology.

 

The notion that the application of the latest IT to manufacturing constitutes a "4th industrial revolution" if far fetched, and reminiscent of earlier claims about things like "Computer-Integrated Manufacturing" that didn't pan out.

 

While the claims about the IoT strain credulity, it would be a mistake to dismiss it. Grandiose expectations aside, manufacturers should learn and experiment with this technology, and discover ways to make it useful. 

 

 

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Applying Lean to Engineering | ENGINEERING.com

Applying  Lean to Engineering |  ENGINEERING.com | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it

"[...]Applying lean concepts to engineering is a complex task, but as Dearborn Mid-West Company discovered the increased efficiencies are well worth the effort. To manage that complexity Dearborn focused on five key areas:

Eliminating wasted workDefining common communication protocolsAdopting a common technology platformBuilding core knowledge in a scalable small team and toolsScaling the team and tools to meet short-term bursts in demand."

.

Michel Baudin's insight:

This article is notable for what it doesn't say as well as what it does. A common focus for Lean engineering is capping the WIP to keep engineers from dividing their attention among so many projects that they make no progress on any. 

 

This article makes no mention of this as even being an issue. I assume this is due to the type of work the company does. The business of designing conveyor systems for the auto industry means working on large projects for a small number of clients. 

 

When a project comes, it's a 6 to 9-month job requiring a dedicated team, and their challenge is to put together such teams quickly when the need arises, as opposed to keeping engineers focused. 

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Why Your Lean and Six Sigma Improvement Efforts Aren’t Driving Better Results | IndustryWeek | John Dyer

Why Your Lean and Six Sigma Improvement Efforts Aren’t Driving Better Results |  IndustryWeek | John Dyer | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it

"Don't expect a positive ROI from your lean and Six Sigma investments if they are nothing but a pretty picture.

I once had a plant manager tell me his factory had implemented Six Sigma, but there was not a single statistical process control chart.  How is that possible? Another had the control charts in place but refused to allow the operator to shut the process down when it indicated an out-of-control condition.  Another plant claimed it was lean but had a dozen bins of parts stacked on the floor as part of a two bin system.  Another plant routinely violated the daily production plan by rescheduling orders, and then the plant blamed the supply chain for causing it to frequently run out of parts (which then drove it to change the schedule… a vicious circle)."

Michel Baudin's insight:

A good article about how you fail to achieve any performance improvement from what you pretend to do. The pretense doesn't make you any better at what you do, but it may have a business purpose in getting you the opportunity to do it at all. 

 

The author opens with SPC control charts, which aren't even part of Six Sigma as originally developed. These control charts are a 90-year-old tool that is not needed in mature industries and cannot cut the analytical mustard in high technology. It's a "Three Sigma" tool that Six Sigma was supposed to replace, until it was watered down to the old SPC. 

 

Is posting SPC control charts on your shop floor useful? Not if you want to improve your process capability, but yes if you have a customer who demands to see them. The tangible result is the contract you sign with this customer. 

 

Many manufacturing organizations also pretend to "do Lean" to humor customers. It's a cost of doing business. What you do for show does not, and cannot improve performance because it's not  the intent.

 

Mark Graban called this  "L.A.M.E." for "Lean As Mistakenly Executed"; Bob Emiliani, "fake Lean." I just call it "Lean Lite." Those who really want to improve performance are annoyed by it, because it distracts manufacturing professionals and, over time, devalues the "Lean" label. 

 

If your focus is performance improvement and not appearances, you select projects that have an impact and develop your skills -- like SMED on an injection molding machine -- but may not be as visible to visitors. You get more checkmarks on their lists by hanging Andon lights on all the machines, even if no one pays any attention to them in daily operations. 

 

If you are an engineer, all you care about is making things work. In marketing, on the other hand, appearances are essential. To be a general manager, you must be able to see the business from both perspectives. 

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Leather Accessory Manufacturing in India | YourStory.com | C. Ramalingegowda

Leather Accessory Manufacturing in India | YourStory.com | C. Ramalingegowda | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it

"Torero is an Indian leather manufacturing company that is the exclusive global license holder for Cross brand. Here is their story. It  aligns with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make In India’ campaign. It has nearly $20 million in annual revenues, employs 4000 workers...."

Michel Baudin's insight:

$20M/year for 4,000 workers works out to $5,000 in revenue/worker, out of which you have to pay them, buy materials, run facilities, etc., and eke out a profit. Are these numbers right? Given that the pictures do not show sweatshop conditions, I suspect that some the numbers are off, and that  it is really either $200M/year or 400 workers. 

 

According to the article, the owner/operator of this company is a guest lecturer at MIT's Sloan School of Management, and he has focused on modernizing the company's information technology. 

 

The two pictures of the company's manufacturing operations, however, show no hint of thinking in terms of flow, not much in the way of workstation organization or tooling. And these pictures leave you wondering what the operators' backs feel like after a day of sitting hunched over their work. 

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