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Beware the Sirens of Management Pseudo-Science |HBR Blog | Freek Vermeulen

Beware the Sirens of Management Pseudo-Science |HBR Blog | Freek Vermeulen | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it

"...A common formula to create a best-selling business book is to start with a list of eye-catching companies that have been outperforming their peers for years. This has the added advantage of creating an aura of objectivity because the list is constructed using "objective, quantitative data." Subsequently, the management thinker takes the list of superior companies and examines (usually in a rather less objective way) what these companies have in common. Surely — is the assumption and foregone conclusion — what these companies have in common must be a good thing, so let's write a book about that and become rich..."

Michel Baudin's insight:

Bill Waddell branded the author of this article "The Naysayer Personified," which prompted me to read it. Vermeulen's first target it "In Search of Excellence," a best seller from the 1980s that pointed out "excellent" companies that didn' excel so much after the book came out. I had read it at the time, and had found it little more than a cheer-leading compilation of the public relations literature of the companies. So far, I agreed with Vermeulen.

 

Further on, he bashes as management fads not only Six Sigma, TQM, and ISO-9000 -- no argument here -- but also Lean. Ouch! This is my stock in trade, and I really should argue that Vermeulen doesn't get it.

 

But my heart is not in it. Much has been done in the name of Lean by now that amounts to little more than slapping the label onto ideas that are unrelated to the Toyota Production System (TPS), and it hasn't been particularly effective. 

 

That is not what Lean is to me. I see it as the adaptation to other contexts of the principles that have made Toyota successful in the car business, involving in practice the selection and adaptation of relevant TPS tools, as well as the development of new ones. And I admit readily that it is not a panacea. There are plenty of human endeavors to which it does not apply, but what interests me is the ones to which it does. 

 

When you want to discuss this now, just can't just say "Lean," you have to qualify it as "Lean Deep" or "True Lean,"  as opposed to "Lean Lite" or "Lean As Mistakenly Executed" (L.A.M.E.). 

 

Could the same be said of the other approaches Vermeulen criticizes? To some extent, yes. Six Sigma and TQM, for example, are based on real contributions made in specialized areas, before their promoters went global cosmic. 

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3rd Annual Survey of US-Based Manufacturing Executives | BCG

"BCG's latest manufacturing survey finds decision makers at large manufacturers expect the U.S. share of their production to rise an average of 7 percent in five years; half expect to boost U.S. factory jobs by 5 percent or more."

Michel Baudin's insight:

As you can see from the survey methodology on slide 11, the findings are based on responses from 252 manufacturing companies with revenues <$1B, in which one individual took the trouble to answer.

According to Industry Week's 2014 rankings, however, the top 500 manufacturing companies in the US all have more than $1B in sales, meaning that barely 50% of the companies spared a manager's time to respond. 

How exactly do answers from such a self-selected sample enable anyone to make general statements about the intentions of all manufacturers?

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How Do You Address Employee Resistance to Lean Manufacturing? | Larry Fast | IndustryWeek

How Do You Address Employee Resistance to Lean Manufacturing? | Larry Fast | IndustryWeek | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it
In the first six to 12 months, get the turkeys out. Don’t drag your feet.
Michel Baudin's insight:

The problem with this approach is that, at the outset of Lean transformation, management doesn't know what it's doing. It's not the managers' fault, but the skills of leading a Lean transformation in this particular organization have to be learned along the way.

 

More often than not, the author's version of "addressing the issue early" means firing loyal employees for disagreeing with something you later realize was wrong. And the message it sends is not one of commitment but of a mixture of brutality, incompetence and disrespect.

 

"Education and Training" will not convert anybody, but results will. What you have to do to achieve results in the absence of consensus is work without fanfare on projects that only involve people who are already supporting the initiative.

 

Finding projects that provide tangible results and are entirely under the responsibility of supporters is a skill that good Lean consultants have. You conduct these projects with the minimum amount of publicity while in progress; once they are successful, you tell everybody.

 

That will convert many fence-sitters and a few antagonists. You then use the project participants to transfer the knowledge and skills they have just acquired to others.

 

Fast's argument is centered on two employees named Elvis and Madonna. Elvis is tool and die maker with 30 years of experience, who openly refuses to participate; Madonna, the plant engineering manager and a foot-dragger. 

 

If Elvis is a die-hard antagonist, you try to put him in a position where he can be useful without jeopardizing your Lean transformation. If he has 30 years with the company, he has only a few more years before retirement, and can spend them passing his skills to the next generation.

 

And make it gratifying for him, with a raise and the rank of "master craftsman." Show the next generation how their elders' loyalty is being reciprocated by the company and how they are being treated with respect.

 

As for Madonna, perhaps she is right to consider that she is being sent on a wild goose chase. An audit of ALL BOMs and routings may not be the right priority. Maybe, such an audit makes more sense if focused on the target areas of the pilot projects.

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Lean six sigma the oxymoron | Troy Taylor | LinkedIn

Lean six sigma the oxymoron | Troy Taylor | LinkedIn | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it

"In the beginning Toyota created TPS, then came Motorola in 1986 with their six sigma process. In 1988 John Krafcik coined the term Lean in his paper entitled“Triumph of the Lean production system” which was quickly popularised by Womack, Roos and Jones in 1991 with the publication of their book “The machine that changed the world”. Then in 2002 Michael George and Robert Lawrence junior published their book entitled “Lean Six Sigma: Combining Six Sigma with Lean Speed”.

Ever since this point organisations have been attempting to mesh the 2 methodologies into one business improvement technique and failing."

Michel Baudin's insight:

Troy speaks from experience. Mine is similar, but I am not as negative on Six Sigma as he is. I think of Six Sigma as an approach that is useful within a range of applicability and is limited in scope.  

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dumontis's curator insight, February 1, 1:27 PM

I've "lived" in both systems and know firsthand the benefits but also shortcomings of both. I do see value in both, but feel Six Sigma is limited in scope. Not by principles, but by approach which is more like a Six Sigma "add-on" instead of Lean "inside". That said, I' ve also seen Lean "add-on" like approaches that are just as limited as Six Sigma as an "add-on".

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The World's Most Dangerous Job? | James Lawther

The World's Most Dangerous Job? | James Lawther | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it
Jobs you really wouldn’t want... A crew member of a World War II bomber (I don’t suppose it matters which side). You shouldn’t believe everything you read on the internet, but according to some of ...
Michel Baudin's insight:

This is a great story both about effective visualization of series of events in space-time and about proper interpretation in the face of sample bias. 

 

Manufacturing, thankfully, is less dangerous than flying bombers in World War II was, but it is still more dangerous than it should be. Posting the locations of injuries on a map of the human body is also an effective way to identify which body parts are most commonly affected, and which safety improvements are most effective. 

 

But are all injuries reported? Many organizations blame the victims for lowering their safety metrics, and discourage reporting. As a consequence, we can expect under-reporting and a bias towards injuries severe enough that reporting is unavoidable.

 

If you get data on an entire population, or if you thoughtfully select a representative sample, you can avoid bias, but many of the most commonly used samples are biased, often in ways that are difficult to figure out.

 

Customer surveys of product quality, for example, are biased by self-selection of the respondents. Are unhappy customers more likely to take the opportunity to vent than happy customers to praise? If so, to what extent? The effect of self-selection is even stronger for posting reviews on websites. 

 

 

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Hong Kong Power Company Holds QC Circle Convention | Quality Alchemist

Hong Kong Power Company Holds  QC Circle  Convention | Quality Alchemist | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it

CLP Power Quality Control Circle (QCC) Convention was established in 2002. It aims to offer our staff a platform to submit any creative ideas they may have to improve processes, procedures and overall operations in the form of a proposal. CLPP QCC Convention is one of key quality culture activities and HKSQ exco members were honored to be invited as guests for the Convention. Moreover, our former chairman Dr. Aaron Tong was one of judges. 

Michel Baudin's insight:

The QC circle, born in Japan in the early 1960s and the object of a short-lived fad in the US and Europe in the 1980s, lives on as a useful tool in organizations that stuck with it, including many companies in Japan, China, India, and other Asian countries. 

 

CLP Power has been an electrical utility serving Hong Kong for 100 years. In the jury that awarded prizes to circle projects at this convention was my friend Aaron Tong, former chair of the Hong Kong Society for Quality (HKSQ). 

 

 

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When Finance Runs the Factory | William Levinson | Industry Week

When Finance Runs the Factory | William Levinson | Industry Week | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it

"Henry Ford achieved world-class results with three key performance indicators (KPIs), none of which were financial. His successors' changeover to financial metrics, on the other hand, caused the company to forget what we now call the Toyota production system."

Michel Baudin's insight:

Yes, giving power over manufacturing companies to accountants, as American industry massively did in the 1950s yielded disastrous results. The summary given in this article's lead paragraph, however, does not match the historical record from other sources. 

 

First, Ford did not "forget what we now call the Toyota production system." Instead, Ford's people developed in the 1910s a system later called "mass production," that was the best of its day and was copied worldwide in many industries. But anyone who seriously studies mass production and the Toyota Production System (TPS) can tell the difference. 

 

Second, Ford lost its position as the world's largest car maker long before accountants were put in charge. It was taken over in the 1920s by GM, not decades later by Toyota, while still led by Henry Ford. Historians blame this loss of competitive position on his dictatorial approach and on his failure to put in place the kind of management systems Alfred P. Sloan did at GM. Blaming the Whiz Kids of the 1950s is a misleading shortcut. 

 

Third, the article seems confused about accounting. By definition, everything you own is an asset, whether desirable or not. In fact, when you produce as much as before with less inventory, you boost your return on assets by reducing assets. 

 

Allocating overhead to products based on labor is simply a legacy of an era in which manufacturing was primarily manual and information technology was a paper ledger. It makes no sense today, and accountants trained in the last 50 years know it. But many large companies still have systems in place that keep doing it. 

 

It is simply wrong economic thinking, and so is making decisions based on "unit costs" when you not making individual units but a flow of, say, 30,000 units/month. What really matters is the flow of revenue from this flow of goods, and what you have to spend to sustain it. And a flow may not just be of one product but of a family that includes free samples, entry-level, premium, and luxury versions.

 

All you can legitimately do with a unit cost is multiply it back by the size of your flow. Otherwise, looking at unit costs leads you to think of your product as you do of a carton of milk you buy at the supermarket, and to believe that its unit cost is money you will not spend if you don't make it. This king of thinking what leads you to outsource production to the latest cheap labor country and starts companies down death spirals.

 

Fourth, time, energy, and materials are not Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) but dimensions of performance. Order-fulfillment lead time, inventory dwell time, kilowatt-hours of electricity, percentage of materials recycled as scrap... are performance indicator. Going from identifying a dimension to having a good metric for it is not a simple step. 

 

Wasted time, energy and materials are clearly important, but are those all the dimensions that need to be considered? What about equipment and facilities, for example? 

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Are Radical Improvements Too Risky? | John Dyer | IndustryWeek

Are Radical Improvements Too Risky? | John Dyer | IndustryWeek | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it
Michel Baudin's insight:

The two stories in this article -- about refrigerator assembly and a heating process -- have the ring of truth. I have had similar experiences, both positive and negative. 

 

Both stories are morality tales and I don't want to spoil them for you, so I won't go into specifics. Read past the business-speak of "paradigms" and "significant changes, " go straight to the stories, and draw your own conclusions as to their lessons on management.

 

Dyer's own conclusions that follow, and his recommendations of tools like FMEA or DMAIC, are too specific for my taste. I understand he is explaining his approach, but it is beyond what is directly supported by the stories. 

 

 

 

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Kevin T. Kjellerup's curator insight, November 17, 2014 3:24 PM

A great risk may be not trying.

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Dr. Deming: 'Management Today Does Not Know What Its Job Is' (Part 1) | IndustryWeek

Dr. Deming: 'Management Today Does Not Know What Its Job Is' (Part 1) |  IndustryWeek | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it

[...]"Management today does not know what its job is. In other words, [managers] don't understand their responsibilities. They don’t know the potential of their positions. And if they did, they don't have the required knowledge or abilities. There's no substitute for knowledge."

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Using Poka-Yoke Techniques for Early Defect Detection | Accelerate Management | Jennifer R.

"Shigeo Shingo developed processes, called “devices,” which made errors much less likely. In one of the examples used by author Harry Robinson, Shingo created a process where workers were required to take two small springs and put them into a dish before assembling a switch (which used the two springs). While this seems like a waste of time, it stopped the workers from forgetting to put the springs into the switch to start with, which saved an enormous amount of time by preventing technicians being sent to customer locations for repair."

Michel Baudin's insight:

What could possibly go wrong? Placing two springs in a dish prior to assembly not only adds a handling step, but it neither physically prevents a mistake, nor immediately detects it once made. A new operator, or one who fills in for another who has the flu, is likely to skip this step, particularly if necessary to sustain the pace. 

 

This example not like any Poka-Yoke I am used to, like the slots in my printer that are shaped so that an ink cartridge of the wrong color won't go in, or the food processor that is started by pressing on the lid. These devices actually make mistakes impossible without adding any work, so that there is no incentive to bypass them. 

 

And it's not difficult to imagine methods that might have worked with the switches. For example, the springs, presumably prop the buttons up, and a whisker hanging over the assembly line might be triggered only if the switch is tall enough... 

 

This article made me wonder whether Shingo, the inventor of the Poka-Yoke concept, had actually come up with this dish idea. It is indeed on p. 44 of his book, "Zero Quality Control: Source Inspection and the Poka-Yoke System," and he does call it a Poka-Yoke, even though he didn't coin the term until two years later. 

 

It is the only example I remember seeing in the Poka-Yoke literature that does not meet the requirements of being 100% effective and not adding labor. 

 

Devices and methods that make errors less likely are useful too, but not mistake-proof. It is usability enginering. If you make operations easy to understand with intuitive, self-explanatory user interfaces, mistakes may be so rare that you don't need mistake-proofing. It's fine, but it's not mistake-proofing. 

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Lean-Lite versus Lean-Deep: Interview with Michel Baudin | Pete Abilla |Shmula.com

Lean-Lite versus Lean-Deep: Interview with Michel Baudin | Pete Abilla |Shmula.com | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it
Lean-Lite versus Lean-Deep: Interview with Michel Baudin where he helps us better understand superficial versus deep lean.
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Is Lean A Science Based Profession or Tool Based Craft | Steve Spear | LinkedIn Pulse

Is Lean A Science Based Profession or Tool Based Craft | Steve Spear | LinkedIn Pulse | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it

 "Is lean a bona fide management science based profession or a tool based craft? I'll suggest that current practice and teaching is more the latter than the former and because of that, the influence of lean is far inferior to its potential."

Michel Baudin's insight:

Within Manufacturing, management, engineering, and even consulting are professions. "Lean" per se is not a profession, but a loosely defined body of knowledge that all manufacturing professionals should possess to some extent. 

 

Like Spear, we all tend to think of mechanical engineering as an application of Newtonian mechanics. In reality, however, it is not as if the field had developed from scratch based on Newton's theories.

 

People had been making mechanical devices long before, and mechanical engineering as we know it actually came from the grafting of Newtonian mechanics onto an existing body of craft-based, empirical know-how. 

 

As Takahiro Fujimoto pointed out, the Toyota Production System (TPS) was never designed from first principles but instead emerged from the point solutions and countermeasures Toyota employees came up with to overcome a succession of crises in the development of the company. What is remarkable is that they did coalesce into a system. 

 

Lean is supposed to be a generalization of TPS to contexts other than car manufacturing at Toyota. The challenge of developing Lean is to reverse engineer principles from tools.

 

Over the past 35 years, many Japanese publications have described TPS, with authors like Taiichi Ohno, Shigeo Shingo, Yasuhiro Monden, Kenichi Sekine, Takahiro Fujimoto or Mikiharu Aoki... 

 

These publications have made many of the tools of TPS accessible to anyone willing to study them. They have been less effective, however, at showing how the tools work together as a system, and even less at spelling out underlying principles. It is something I have attempted in my books. 

 

Little of the content of TPS has made its way into Lean, as promoted and practiced in the US and Europe, where it boils down to drawing Value-Stream Maps and running Kaizen events that have little to do with TPS.

 

TPS still needs to be studied, and its essence abstracted into a theory that is neither false nor trivial and provides principles that can be practically deployed as needed in new industries. I agree with Spear that there is great value in such a theory, but it has to exist before we can use it. 

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Takumi, Toyota's Secret Weapons To Train The Robots

Takumi, Toyota's Secret Weapons To Train The Robots | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it

Via dumontis
Michel Baudin's insight:

Interesting article about master craftsmen (匠) at Toyota. I just wonder why the people in the picture wear caps from air conditioner manufacturer Daikin. 

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dumontis's curator insight, October 5, 2014 4:10 AM

Interesting read, particularly now that in the Netherlands a national debate around the role of robots and their effects on the work force was sparked by minister Asscher. 

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The Creative Benefits of Boredom | HBR Blog Network | David Burkus

The Creative Benefits of Boredom | HBR Blog Network | David Burkus | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it

"[...]a certain level of boredom might actually enhance the creative quality of our work [...]"

Michel Baudin's insight:

It is one step away from claiming that boredom makes you creative, which makes no sense. The frustration of boredom may motivate you to use your creativity, but deliberately boring people in order to make them creative is not something I would recommend.

 

I think that creativity is innate, but much more widely spread than most managers and engineers believe. The example in the article is about sales;  I am more familiar with manufacturing, where most jobs are repetitive, tedious, and boring.


They jobs are also tiring, but most production operators will tell you that they don't mind the tiredness as much as the slowness of the clock. Boredom is their number one enemy, and participation in improvement activities a welcome relief from it, as well as an opportunity to be creative.

 

People who are bored by repetitive tasks go "on automatic." Their hands keeps executing the sequence of tasks with accuracy and precision, while their minds wander off to, perhaps, the lake they fish in on week-ends. While on automatic, you don't think about improvements. 

Changes in the routine, whether deliberate or accidental, refocus their minds on the workplace. This includes product changes, spec changes, rotation between work stations, or any breakdown like defects in the product, component shortages, or machine stoppages. During theses changes, while engaged, your mind is focused on responding as you were trained to, and avoiding mistakes. If you think of better ways to do this work, they go on the back burner in your mind, while you attend to immediate needs. 

Depending on the management culture, operators may or may not be willing to share these ideas. They may be afraid of humiliation by a tactless manager, or they may fear that improving their job puts it in jeopardy,... 

To put to use the operators' creativity, you have to organize for this purpose, and it can't be while the line is running. This is why continuous improvement requires structures, procedures, and leadership.

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Buy More Robots? | Adams Nager | IndustryWeek

Buy More Robots? | Adams Nager | IndustryWeek | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it

"More robots means lower unemployment and better trade performance. [...] The United States does not lose jobs because there is not enough work to be done but rather because U.S. industry is not competitive with foreign producers. More robots will help fix this."

Michel Baudin's insight:

Really? If you are not competitive, just buy more robots! But wait... Haven't we heard this before? Isn't it what GM did in the 1980s? Under Roger Smith's leadership, from 1980 to 1989, GM spent about $40B on robots, and this investment didn't make it competitive. 

It doesn't mean robots are bad, only that they are not a panacea. Toyota's Global Body Line is designed to use welding robots where they are justified, and manual welding where not, using the same fixtures. 

In an auto parts plant in Japan, I remember seeing a machining cell with old machines served by robots. A few yards away were new, automated lines that didn't use robots. 

It looked very much as if the old cell with new robots was the result of incremental automation, and that the lessons learned had been applied in the design of the new lines. 

Robots are tools. If you know how to use them, they will help you; if you don't, buying more is just a waste of money. 

 

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How to Do a Gemba Walk

A 'how to' outline for executives trying to do an effective Gemba Walk
Michel Baudin's insight:

No disagreement with what Michael Bremer is saying, but I would emphasize observation skills more.

 

One exercise Kei Abe came up with is the bug hunt. You take a team of managers to the floor and give each one 20 red tags. They they have 20 minutes to attach the tags to such "bugs" as frayed cables, devices held with duct tape, puddles of lubricant, misplaced items, etc. They usually have no trouble using all 20 tags.

 

I also ask people to be like the Count in Sesame Street and count people walking, machines not working, etc. These activities have a data collection and validation value in their own right, but they also focus the eyes of participants and make them notice details they would otherwise miss.

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Don't waste time on Strategy Deployment (Hoshin Kanri) | David Bovis

Don't waste time on Strategy Deployment (Hoshin Kanri) | David Bovis | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it

"Where people put the effort into it and understand the principles and why they work fully, Hoshin Kanri can unlock enormous potential throughout an organisation."

Michel Baudin's insight:

Great article. As a condition for success in implementing Hoshin Planning, at least in Manufacturing, I would add timing. The organization must be ready for it, and it is, for example, after a number of successful, local improvement projects have led people to say "These are great, but what do they add up to? And where do they lead us?" Hoshin Planning can then help them figure out their own answers and provide a structure for moving forward.


In the list of failure causes for Hoshin Planning, I would also add the lingering influence of Management-By-Objectives (MBO), which keeps managers obsessed with gaming metrics instead of doing the work. I think it is what you mean when you say that Hoshins should not be formulated in terms of metrics, but it should be made clear that Hoshin Planning replaces MBO; it is not an add-on to it.

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Not Exactly Poka-Yoke and Chaku-Chaku

"Japanese automobile manufacturing methods are adopted by American competitors. Watch the concept of poka-yoke, meaning "correct" and chaku-chaku, meaning "one worker, several tasks" in the manufacture of rear view mirrors."

Michel Baudin's insight:

An interesting video, but "Poka-Yoke" and "Chaku-Chaku" don't mean what the narration says they do. And they are not "Japanese" methods but methods invented by specific individuals in specific companies that happened to be in Japan. Likewise, the assembly line is not an "American" method but a method invented by P.E. Martin, Charles Sorensen and others at Ford. 

 

"Poka-Yoke" doesn't just mean "correct." More specifically, a Poka-Yoke is a device integrated in the production process to prevent human error or detect it immediately without adding any labor. Checking bar codes on parts, as shown in a video, doesn't qualify as a Poka-Yoke because it adds labor, and error prevention devices that add labor are ineffective because they are by-passed under pressure. 

 

The video shows an operator attending to a sequence of tasks and calls it "Chaku-Chaku." There is, however, ,more to Chaku-Chaku than this, such as automatic processing at each station, with automatic unloading and chutes between stations, so that the work of the operator is focused on checking the part after an operation and loading it into the next. 

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Bridging the Gap between Buyers and Suppliers | Robert Moakler | IndustryWeek

Bridging the Gap between Buyers and Suppliers | Robert Moakler | IndustryWeek | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it
Creating high performance, collaborative alliances between buyers and U.S. suppliers will ensure rebuilding a strong and sustainable American supply chain.
Michel Baudin's insight:

Robert Moakler reiterates the well known fact that collaboration between suppliers and customers is a win/win, and offers an e-sourcing platform as the better mousetrap that will make it happen. 

 

As COO of an "online marketplace exclusively developed for the American manufacturing industry," Moakler is forthright about where he is coming from. But is lack of technology the reason why adversarial, arm's length relations between suppliers and customers remain the norm? 

 

My own findings on this matter -- summarized in Lean Logistics, on pp. 342-350 -- is that each side stands to gain a short-term advantage from unilaterally breaking a collaborative relationship, and that the business history of the past 25 years shows examples of this happening. 

 

On the customer side, a new VP of purchasing can instruct buyers to use the information suppliers have shared to force price concessions. Conversely, suppliers can leverage intimate, single-sourcing, collaborative relations with a customer to charge above-market prices.

 

None of these behaviors is viable in the long term, but not all managers care about the long term, and the toughest challenge in establishing collaborative relations is defusing well-founded fears about the future behavior of the other side. 

 

While wishing Mr. Moakley the best of luck in his business, I don't believe technology is the problem. 

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Pyush Pandey's curator insight, December 9, 2014 4:19 AM

Lean manufacturing practices, automation and innovation are critical elements in rapid customization, reducing costs, shorter lead times and more rapid product cycles

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Setup Reduction Methodology | Alejandro Sibaja

Setup Reduction Methodology | Alejandro Sibaja | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it

"We may think, based in all the information about Lean Manufacturing, that many tools and methods are well understood, unfortunately on real live there is many misunderstanding about them, that’s why I decided to write this article, for one of the most popular and known tool, SMED."

Michel Baudin's insight:

It's good to see that not everyone has forgotten SMED or is taking it for granted. When you bring it up with manufacturing managers nowadays, they often respond with "Oh yeah, we had some consultants show us how to do this three years ago."

"And how long do you take to set up this machine today?"

"I am not sure. Maybe 90 minutes..."

 

They think SMED is yesterday's news, but they are not doing it, and they are often confused about its purpose. They think it is to increase machine utilization, as opposed to flexibillity. 

 

Sibaja's article is a valuable introduction to the subject. I would have called it "Setup Time Reduction" rather than "Setup Reduction," which might imply that you are making fewer setups, or spending less time on setups overall. It's not what SMED lets you do. Instead, your total setup time budget remains the same, but you are using it to make more setups and produce smaller lots of more different products. 

 

I would also have put more emphasis on the use of video recordings in analyzing setup processes. You don't just show up on the shop floor with a camera; instead, you have to prepare the ground carefully, secure the consent of the participants upfront, and know how to use the camera to capture the relevant details. 

 

Sibaja's last sentence is about using the information "in your next Kaizen Event," which implies that Kaizen events are an appropriate method to manage SMED projects. It is not my experience. You might kick start a SMED project with a Kaizen Event, but not to finish it. Often, to achieve quick setups, you have to make changes to the machine and the tooling that require patient work over time. Standardizing the dimensions of 300 dies, for example, may take a year of incremental progress. 

 

 

 

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Philip Marris's curator insight, November 28, 2014 3:32 AM

Michel Baudin's insight:

It's good to see that not everyone has forgotten SMED or is taking it for granted. When you bring it up with manufacturing managers nowadays, they often respond with "Oh yeah, we had some consultants show us how to do this three years ago." "And how long do you take to set up this machine today?" "I am not sure. Maybe 90 minutes..."

They think SMED is yesterday's news, but they are not doing it, and they are often confused about its purpose. They think it is to increase machine utilization, as opposed to flexibillity.

Sibaja's article is a valuable introduction to the subject […] I would also have put more emphasis on the use of video recordings in analyzing setup processes. You don't just show up on the shop floor with a camera; instead, you have to prepare the ground carefully, secure the consent of the participants upfront, and know how to use the camera to capture the relevant details. […]

 

Michel Baudin's "Lean Manufacturing" Scoop It is highly recommended: www.scoop.it/t/lean-manufacturing

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Dr. Deming: 'Management Today Does Not Know What Its Job Is' (Part 2) | Quality content from IndustryWeek

Dr. Deming: 'Management Today Does Not Know What Its Job Is' (Part 2) | Quality content from IndustryWeek | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it

"The usual procedure is that when anything happens, [we] suppose that somebody did it. Who did it? Pin a necklace on him. He's our culprit. He's the one who did it. That's wrong, entirely wrong. Chances are good, almost overwhelming, that what happened, happened as a consequence of the system that he works in, not from his own efforts. In other words, performance cannot be measured. You only measure the combined effect of the system and his efforts. You cannot untangle the two. It is very important, I believe, that performance cannot be measured."

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Change your production leveling strategy to achieve flow | Ian Glenday | Planet Lean

Change your production leveling strategy to achieve flow | Ian Glenday | Planet Lean | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it

"...What I came to call Repetitive and Flexible Supply (RFS) is based on the idea of manufacturing the largest products in the same sequence at the same time every week. To many people, this sounds ridiculous and stupid at first.

My analysis consistently showed that, typically, 6% of a company’s products represent 50% of the volume it produces.

I started to see this happen in every factory, hospital, or office I went to. And that’s when it hit me - why not simply focus on stabilizing the plan for that 6% of the products?..."

Michel Baudin's insight:

Ian Glenday's idea of RFS is fine, but not quite as original as presented in the article. Making it easy to do what you do the most often is the motivation behind the Product-Quantity (P-Q) analysis I learned in Japan in the 1980s. 

 

To use the terminology introduced  in the UK by Lucas Industries about that time, it breaks the product mix into Runners, Repeaters, and Strangers. You make each Runner is an dedicated production line, because it has a volume that justifies it.


Then you group Repeaters in families and make them in flexible lines, and you keep a residual job-shop to make the Strangers -- the long tail of your demand -- products in large numbers but with low and sporadic demand. 


This method is described, as prior work, in Lean Assembly (http://bit.ly/11bEb5V) as a foundation for assembly line design, and in Lean Logistics (http://bit.ly/1m2OM8V) for warehouse/supermarket design and for production scheduling, in particular heijunka. 

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Two Vancouver companies get manufacturing awards | The Columbian

Two Vancouver companies get manufacturing awards | The Columbian | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it

"Two Vancouver companies were among five top award winners in this year's Manufacturing Excellence Awards, sponsored by the Association of Washington Business and UPS. [...] 


TigerStop won the Manufacturing Excellence Award for innovation. That award highlights a company's work in designing, developing and delivering a blockbuster product concept. TigerStop was founded in 1994 by Spencer Dick to develop a cutting machine that would consistently produce accurately shaped parts, whether metal, aluminum, plastic or wood. The company has sold more than 30,000 machines, and uses local sourcing in its production facilities, the business association said of TigerStop."

Michel Baudin's insight:

It's gratifying to see a former client receive an award. A few years ago, TigerStop asked me for Lean training. They went through a society of wood cutting machine makers and hosted a workshop at their site. For this small company, it was a way of getting what they wanted without bearing the whole cost. 

 

I was impressed by the creativity, open-mindedness, and dedication of the TigerStop people. Congratulations on this award!

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Keep It Simple: Value Stream Map at the Gemba | Dave LaHote | LEI

Keep It Simple: Value Stream Map at the Gemba | Dave LaHote | LEI | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it

As we walked the line I had my notebook and pencil out. We walked each step and took note of the work-in-process inventory. I timed and recorded the cycle time of each process step. We asked the workers how long it took to change-over from one product to another. And we asked the workers about the kinds of problems they experienced when a sample order needed to be completed. It took us about 20 minutes. When we were done we had an old fashion process and material flow chart (today more commonly called a value stream map). In addition, our discussion with the workers pointed us to one step in the process that commonly got behind when sample orders were put into the process.

Michel Baudin's insight:

Dave LaHote tells an interesting story, with good learning points for practitioners. Except that it is about process mapping on the shop floor, not "Value Stream Mapping" (VSM) as described in the Lean literature. 

 

A VSM is supposed to map an order fulfillment process, following data from customer to supplier and materials from receipt to delivery. And, while quite detailed in terms of production control, it does not show process details at the machine or workstation level.

 

And it is not simple. It involves 25 different graphic symbols, some of which, like the zebra-patterned push arrows, take forever to draw by hand.  

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The Great Lightbulb Conspiracy | IEEE Spectrum

The Great Lightbulb Conspiracy | IEEE Spectrum | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it
The Phoebus cartel engineered a shorter-lived lightbulb and gave birth to planned obsolescence
Michel Baudin's insight:

Early in my career, I worked with an older engineer who told me that his first professional experience had been in the reliability department of a large, US appliance maker, where his job was to change product designs to make them fail as soon as the warranties expired.

 

I had heard of such efforts before, but had found the accounts difficult to believe. How could companies spend money to deliberately lower the quality of their products? But this was the testimony of a man I trusted who had personally done it, and hated it. 

 

It was malicious, and it was corporate hubris at its worst. It created opportunities for competitors, which they eventually took. When we were having this conversation, my colleague also told me that the manufacturer was no longer in business. 

 

This article from IEEE substantiates another story of market dysfunction that I had heard of but was not sure was true: the manufacturers of incandescent light bulbs conspired to reduce the lives of the bulbs. 

 

The article gives dates, names, and places. An organization called the Phoebus cartel was set up in Geneva in 1924 by the leading lightbulb manufacturers in the US, Germany, the Netherlands, France, and Japan for the purpose of shortening bulb lives from 1,500 to 2,000 hours down to 1,000 hours. 

 

Now that the incandescent lightbulb itself is becoming obsolete, how do we prevent LED manufacturers from pulling the same stunt? 

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Philip Marris's curator insight, October 12, 2014 4:35 AM

In my opinion this is the exception that proves the rule that "when a product fails early it is because of poor design and poor manufacturing not because of planned obsolescence". But this documented story is worth knowing.

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Discipline And The Broken Windows Theory | Dumontis

Discipline And The Broken Windows Theory | Dumontis | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it

"Over the last few years a lot has been written about Lean leadership. For instance about what the differences would be between Lean and traditional leadership. And what the characteristics are of a Lean leader. One of the aspects often missing, I feel, is "discipline". I have always told my managers that they weren't paid more because they would supposedly be more intelligent or because they studied for a longer period of time, but because I expected them to be the most disciplined in respecting standards. As without the manager's respect - also interestingly described in the "broken windows" theory - the organization as a whole will flout its own rules."

Michel Baudin's insight:

Is being disciplined in respecting standards truly the quality that justifies managerial pay? By this criterion, the Caine's Captain Queeg and the Bounty's Lt. Bligh were both excellent managers. Whatever happened to "plan, organize, control, and lead"?

 

Like the "Hawthorne effect" or "Maslow's hierarchy of needs," the broken windows theory is being accepted just because it sounds plausible, not because it is supported by experiments. Do clean walls and intact windows deter serious crime? Perhaps, but it has to be established, and the response of passers-by to flyers does not do the job. 

 

 

 

 

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