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Achieving Perfection Through Mistake-Proofing | IndustryWeek

Achieving Perfection Through Mistake-Proofing | IndustryWeek | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it

"Mistake proofing can make a significant difference in the output of any process [....]  Mistake-proofing devices should meet three criteria:

Simple

Infallible

Effortless"

Michel Baudin's insight:

The article makes the point that mistake-proofing must be "effortless." The way I usually say it is that a mistake-proofing/poka-yoke device must not add labor, a point that is frequently missed in discussions of this topic in the US. 

 

Why is it essential? Because any device that adds labor is guaranteed to be by-passed under pressure. If preventing a mistake requires one more gesture, on any day where "we have to ship all this by 6:00PM," the organization will find a way around it. 

 

Mistake-proofing makes a difference in any process where human error is a major cause of failure. Many processes qualify, but not all. If the main cause of defects is the machine's  inability to hold tolerances consistently, mistake-proofing will not do much good. 

 

Yes, a device that is fallible cannot be considered mistake-proofing. Usability engineering, for example, provides user interfaces  that make mistakes unlikely, but not impossible. Sometimes it is sufficient, but it is not mistake-proofing. 

 

The one criterion I have an issue with is simplicity. A mistake-proofing device must be simple to use, I agree, and its design should not be anymore complex than necessary. However, where the stakes in human error are high, as in airliner cockpits or semiconductor process equipment, preventing mistakes may require elaborate technology. If a device for this purpose  works every time and adds no labor, I see no reason to deny it the "mistake-proofing" label. 

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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, 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, 12:55 PM

Un artículo acerca de un defecto de Lean SIX SIGMA.

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Toyota's car factory of the future | Autocar Professional

Toyota's car factory of the future | Autocar Professional | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it

"Toyota says it has has completely re-thought the way its future car factories will operate. Its plans for the new-generation factories – nicknamed ‘simple and slim’ – are well advanced. Toyota claims they will be 25 percent smaller than existing plants, require 40% less investment and emit up to 55% less CO2. Toyota also plans to re-engineer the production lines so they can be shortened or lengthened in less than 80 minutes. It’s claimed that a standard line can be shrunk from a 100,000 car-per-year capacity to just 50,000 cars, or vice versa. This would allow capacity to be easily reduced or increased depending on demand"

Michel Baudin's insight:

Thanks to Rob van Stekelenborg, a.k.a. Dumontis, for this scoop, which, again provides more specifics on Toyota's plans, including surface-mounted conveyors, smaller paint shops, laser screw welding, what sounds like induction heating of sheet metal for stamping, and a variety of energy saving techniques.

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Toyota Unveils Revamped Manufacturing Process

Toyota Unveils Revamped Manufacturing Process | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it
Toyota broke a two-year silence on a revamped manufacturing process—built on sharing components among vehicles—that it says will produce half its vehicles by 2020 and slash costs.
Michel Baudin's insight:

Other than that Toyota has a plan, the article does not directly reveal specifics. As several readers pointed out in their comments, sharing components across models is not a new idea and is not risk-free, even if executed perfectly, as it reduces the differences between your standard and luxury models in ways that customers may notice. 

 

The most revealing parts of the article, to me, are (1) the reference to VW, and (2) the keyword "modular assembly." Modular assembly sounds self-explanatory but it isn't. It is a specific approach to assembling cars brought to VW by former GM purchasing executive Jose Ignacio Lopez in the 1990s, in which up to 90% of the work traditionally done in a car assembly plant is done by suppliers and all that remains is the final assembly of large subsystems. 

 

The Porsche plant in Leipzig, for example, does not stamp, weld, or paint car bodies. It receives them ready to assemble, in a spotlessly clean facility that customers are encouraged to visit.

 

The whole site is in fact dominated by its visitor center, complete with a fine-dining restaurant overlooking the plant and where new buyers can receive an hour's worth of training on their new cars on the test track. In the same spirit, VW has set up an assembly plant in downtown Dresden, with glass walls to enable passers by to watch cars being assembled. 

 

Modular assembly was used by GM in Lordstown, OH, in 1999, (http://bit.ly/1NnPXwt) and then by VW in Spain, and by DaimlerBenz for the Smart in Hambach, France (http://bit.ly/1xmRyi6). At the time, Toyota evaluated the concept and passed on it. Apparently, Toyota's production leaders changed their minds. 

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Philip Marris's curator insight, March 29, 5:01 AM

Michel Baudin makes the following valuable comments:

(see his excellent news website: http://www.scoop.it/t/lean-manufacturing)

 

"Other than that Toyota has a plan, the article does not directly reveal specifics. As several readers pointed out in their comments, sharing components across models is not a new idea and is not risk-free, even if executed perfectly, as it reduces the differences between your standard and luxury models in ways that customers may notice. 

 

The most revealing parts of the article, to me, are (1) the reference to VW, and (2) the keyword "modular assembly." Modular assembly sounds self-explanatory but it isn't. It is a specific approach to assembling cars brought to VW by former GM purchasing executive Jose Ignacio Lopez in the 1990s, in which up to 90% of the work traditionally done in a car assembly plant is done by suppliers and all that remains is the final assembly of large subsystems. 

 

The Porsche plant in Leipzig, for example, does not stamp, weld, or paint car bodies. It receives them ready to assemble, in a spotlessly clean facility that customers are encouraged to visit.

 

The whole site is in fact dominated by its visitor center, complete with a fine-dining restaurant overlooking the plant and where new buyers can receive an hour's worth of training on their new cars on the test track. In the same spirit, VW has set up an assembly plant in downtown Dresden, with glass walls to enable passers by to watch cars being assembled. 

 

Modular assembly was used by GM in Lordstown, OH, in 1999, (http://bit.ly/1NnPXwt) and then by VW in Spain, and by DaimlerBenz for the Smart in Hambach, France (http://bit.ly/1xmRyi6). At the time, Toyota evaluated the concept and passed on it. Apparently, Toyota's production leaders changed their minds. 

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Six differences that distinguish cost cutting from cost reduction | Chris Hohmann

Six differences that distinguish cost cutting from cost reduction | Chris Hohmann | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it

1. Arbitrary vs. Rational

2. Reaction vs. analysis

3. Blanket vs. focused

4. One shot vs. sustainable

5. Limited vs. infinite

6. Quick vs. slow

Michel Baudin's insight:

Another insightful article from Chris. I would expand on what he says in point 4, that "it is not unusual to see a surge of expenses afterwards, in order to recover from the negative side effects of arbitrary cost cutting." 

Generally speaking, if you make one dimension of performance better by making others worse, you have not achieved any improvement. If, by cutting costs, you degrade quality and delay deliveries, all you are doing is setting the stage for spending even more down the line to fix the problems you have just created. It's playing management whack-a-mole. 

The only genuine improvements are the changes that result in better quality, faster deliveries, or lower costs without making anything else worse. 

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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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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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Organize for learning to make kaizen stick | Michael Balle

Organize for learning to make kaizen stick | Michael Balle | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it

"[...]the Quality Director would ask the nursing supervisor to track the time of first incision in each theater every day and share the results with surgeons. This simple measure increased OR usage by 20% in the first month. It also led to heated discussions among surgeons (why were some late and others on time?) and paved the way for further kaizen. But then one of the crises hospitals are so accustomed to came, and the practice was abandoned. Theater usage went back to what it was before.[...]"

Michel Baudin's insight:

The author is missing an essential point: changes that add labor are unsustainable. They will be reversed at the first emergency and rarely if ever reinstated once the emergency is over.

 

Asking a nursing supervisor to track the time of first incision in each operating room meant adding to his or her work, without reducing anybody else's. It was a change all right, but not a Kaizen. 

 

100 years ago, Frank Gilbreth improved the performance of operating rooms by, among other things, having nurses supply tools and instruments to surgeons rather than having the surgeons leave the patient to fetch them. Work previously done by the surgeon was offloaded to nurses for the benefit of the patient, without any net addition of labor. It was a genuine improvement and became standard practice. 

 

Ballé quotes Ohno as  saying.  "Why not make the work easier and more interesting so that people do not have to sweat?" 

Adding record-keeping tasks does not fit that bill. 

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Toyota's Shared-Parts Strategy | IndustryWeek

Toyota's Shared-Parts Strategy | IndustryWeek | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it
Toyota said the move, aimed at cutting development costs by 20%, would start with mid-sized, front-wheel-drive vehicles this year. It wants half of vehicles it sells globally by 2020 to fall under the new platform strategy.
Michel Baudin's insight:

Specifics are trickling out about Toyota's plans. It seems that they want to make more different products from fewer components and have plants that are competitive even at low volume. 

 

Readers' comments on the idea of having fewer platforms and more common parts are focused on the risk of extensive recalls, and the way such recalls can wipe out any savings achieved by the strategy. 

 

It really is a matter of degree and of execution. Having fewer dashboard options might reduce the attractiveness of your products, but using fewer types of proportioning valves will not. Also, it is easier to ensure not only availability but quality as well for fewer components, making recalls less likely. 

 

With regards to volume in a given plant, Toyota's strategy seems a continuation of their work on the Global Body Line, in which the same infrastructure and fixtures could be used for robotic welding at high volume and manual welding at low volume. 

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Lean Engineering Case Study | Pascal Chaloyard (PDF)

Lean Engineering Case Study | Pascal Chaloyard (PDF) | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it

Potain, a manufacturer and supplier of tower cranes in La Clayette, France, where it made all the mechanical and electrical systems, safety devices and cabs for cranes manufactured in Europe. The diversity of components manufactured was wide and production was in small runs, indeed in single units.

The factory, on a hill, had a handicap in terms of flow as, each time the business grew, a new building had to be built at a different altitude from the others. The organisation was by trade, which penalized production flows.

A layout reorganization project was launched in 1997. The objective was to improve flows, flexibility, responsiveness and

competitiveness. It took two years to review the designs of all hoists, cabinets, safety systems and cabs. We took advantage of new crane, hoist mechanisms and cabs.

 

The results

 

 -66% primary components

 

 -40% subassemblies

 

 -20% costs

 

 70% lead times

Michel Baudin's insight:

A great case study from Pascal Chaloyard. 

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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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