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What is happening in lean manufacturing in the world
Curated by Michel Baudin
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Lean 2.0: Faster, Better, Permanent | Jim Hudson | Lean Expert Academy

"The Lean that we all grew up with came to us completely wrong. Messengers Jones and Womack not only mislabeled it, but misinterpreted it too. In their roles as observer-reporters, they described what they saw through the old management paradigm and pretty much interpreted and documented everything from that perspective. They did that really well and Lean Thinking became the “go-to manual” as a result. But it wasn’t the right thing, so they pretty much missed the engine of Toyota’s management system. The result? 30+ years of misfires from nearly all corners of the earth, as leaders and consultants took what Jones and Womack observed and tried to implement it." 

Michel Baudin's insight:
I agree with your assessment, but I am not so sure about the remedy. About Womack and Jones, I would say that they authored one good book: "The Machine That Changed The World," and leave it at that. To them, manufacturing was a spectator sport, and they shared the results of a worldwide benchmarking study of the auto industry. 

I met Jim Womack at Honda in 1999, where I was helping a team of engineers on the design of a new motorcycle engine assembly line. We then had lunch together with our common host, Kevin Hop, and Womack was forthright about his limitations. It's other people's response to his writings and speeches that changed him from a reporter to a thought leader, and ushered in what you describe. 

 20 years ago, I started using the "Lean" label as a company- and industry-neutral alternative to "TPS," allowing other car manufacturers to embrace it without referencing a competitor, and companies in other industries not to appear to borrow from car making. Today, it has come to mean a set of simplistic, half-baked ideas with a record of implementation failure. 

 You are suggesting doubling-down and going for "Lean 2.0." In principle, anything 2.0 comes after the success of the first version. There are exceptions, particularly in manufacturing, where a string of versions from MRP to ERP have been sold to successive generations of managers without any having been successful. What about using a new label?
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The A3 Report - Part 3: Limitations and Common Mistakes | Christoph Roser 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I see all the discussions identifying "value added" with customers' willingness to pay or physical transformation of materials as creating confusion. The only thing that matters is whether an activity is necessary or not. If it is, you must be effective and efficient at it; if not, stop doing it.
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Is there such a thing as managerial DNA? | LinkedIn

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

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

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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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Fundamentals of Performance Metrics | Bill Waddell

Received a question the other day: “If you were allowed to use 3 metrics to operate by, what would they be (and why) if you were: (1) a CEO, (2) a Plant Manager, (3) a Value Stream Manager, (4) a Purchasing Manager, and (5) a Sales Manager.” In...
Michel Baudin's insight:

A thoughtful, rant-free article, focused primarily on the language of money. My few blog posts on the subject were on metrics in the language of things, as spoken on production shop floors:

Chart junk in performance boards and presentations (http://wp.me/p3Jqq9-1Bz)

Companies focus on what is easy to measure (http://wp.me/p3Jqq9-10g)

Metrics in Lean recorded webinar (http://wp.me/p3Jqq9-Zx)

Alternatives to Rank-and-Yank in Evaluating People (http://wp.me/p3Jqq9-KC)

Productivity of a Quality Assurance department (http://wp.me/p3Jqq9-JT)

Lead times and inventory (http://wp.me/p3Jqq9-s0)

Metrics on the web versus manufacturing (http://wp.me/p3Jqq9-D6)

Metrics gaming and how to prevent it (http://wp.me/p3Jqq9-tk)

Metrics of Equipment (http://wp.me/p3Jqq9-rM)

Metrics of Quality (http://wp.me/p3Jqq9-rp)

Requirements on Metrics (http://wp.me/p3Jqq9-rc)

The staying power of bad metrics (http://wp.me/p3Jqq9-41)

Orbit charts, and why you should use them (http://wp.me/p3Jqq9-1Q7)

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The Term “Lean Production” is 25 Years Old – Some Thoughts on the Original John Krafcik Article | Mark Graban

The Term “Lean Production” is 25 Years Old – Some Thoughts on the Original John Krafcik Article | Mark Graban | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it

"The term “lean production” arguably was first used in a MIT Sloan Management Review article by John Krafcik that was published 25 years ago this fall (Fall 1988), titled “Triumph of the Lean Production System.” In the 1980s, Krafcik, who worked with The Lean Enterprise Institute’s Jim Womack in the MIT International Motor Vehicle Program is now president and CEO of Hyundai North America."

Michel Baudin's insight:

Mark Graban's throughts on the article that first used the term "Lean."

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The Legacy of Eiji Toyoda | Businessweek

The Legacy of Eiji Toyoda | Businessweek | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it
Washington Post
The Legacy of Eiji Toyoda
Businessweek
He transformed Toyota into a global powerhouse with management and manufacturing processes that transcended the auto industry.
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'Lean' Manufacturing Takes Root in U.S. | Fox News

'Lean' Manufacturing Takes Root in U.S. | Fox News | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it
It’s called “lean” manufacturing, and analysts say it enables managers to reduce redundancy, increase output and save capital that can be used to hire more workers.
Michel Baudin's insight:

This article in from April 29, 2011, but I just found it today. The facts are approximate, as you would expect from Fox News, but the video includes a good segment on a raku-raku seat in action and an interview of Jeffrey Liker. 

 

The article presents the Toyota Production System are being strictly make-to-order, which makes you wonder where the new Toyotas for sale at your local dealership come from. 

 

Toyota's system is also presented as centered on collocating designers, suppliers, sales and marketing by project, which says nothing about production... Incidentally, no one who has actually researched Toyota's approach to product development describes it as collocating everybody. 

 

Even the Liker quote about Toyota's not having laid off anybody during the financial crisis, while formally accurate, does not take into account what happened with temporary workers. These workers do not have the tenured status of permanent employees, but some work for the company continuously for years.

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Guidelines for Fast Lean Transformation | M. Zinser & D. Ryeson | HBR Blog

Guidelines for Fast Lean Transformation | M. Zinser & D. Ryeson | HBR Blog | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it
One of the most common mistakes that companies make when embarking on a lean program is trying to do too much at once. These "boil-the-ocean" initiatives are long, costly and often end up stalling under the weight of their own...
Michel Baudin's insight:

Scoop It just brough my attention to this 2 1/2-year old article by BCG consultants Michael Zinser and David Ryeson. Their key point is that a successful Lean implementation must start with a small number of well-chosen, pilot projects, and I agree. 

 

I do, however, part company with them on two other issues. First, they only speak the language of money, relentlessly bringing up costs, savings,  payoffs, metrics and incentives. I understand that this language is familiar and attractive to top management.

 

The article only cites examples of improvements that have a direct economic impact, but there are many aspects of Lean for which the relationship is indirect. Scoring a goal in tonight's game has a direct impact on performance; building a championship team doesn't.

 

Which brings me to my second disagreement with the authors:  there is no consideration in their article of the need to develop the organization's technical and managerial skills. They are just assumed to be there. 

 

Lean is about developing a team that is able to compete at the highest level in your industry. If you already have such a team, you are probably not looking to implement Lean. If you don't have it, you can't start projects as if you did. Instead, you have to focus on projects that your team can do today and that will start it on its way. The biggest payoff and the practically possible do not always match. 


This perspective is missing in their guidelines. 

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Betting on Lean, or …. Analytics versus Empowerment | Bill Waddell

Betting on Lean, or …. Analytics versus Empowerment | Bill Waddell | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it

"Management is all about playing the odds. [...] 

In operations, calculate lot sizes, generate forecasts and set quality standards with enough data and increasingly sophisticated algorithms and statistical methods and you will increase the chances of coming close enough.  At least that is the theory, and the hope.

This is the basic premise of big data and ERP.  With point of sale scanning, RFID, smart phones and all of the other data collecting technologies increasingly in use, the data to feed the engines is more and more available.  The potential and the lure of the data driven, analytical approach to finding the center line and getting more decisions closer to correctness is growing.

The other approach is empowered people.  Recognizing that management cannot be involved in every one of the individual customer interactions and operational, situational, tiny decisions, those calls are left to the people on the spot.  They are expected to rely on their knowledge, understanding of company values and goals, and the information available to them in very real time to decide what to do.[...] The basic question is whether empowered people will get it right more often than big computer."

Michel Baudin's insight:

In this article, Bill Waddell presents the data-driven approach to management decision making as contradictory to people empowerment. I do not see these as mutually exclusive. 

 

In 1993, there was a group within Toyota’s logistics organization in the US that, based on weather data, thought that the Mississippi might flood the railroad routes used to ship parts from the Midwest to the NUMMI plant in California. Four days before the flood, they reserved all the trucking available in the Chicago area, for the daily cost of 6 minutes of production at NUMMI. When the flood hit, they were able to ship the parts by truck around the flood zone, and NUMMI didn’t miss a beat.

 

This is what a good data scientist  does.

 

In Numbersense, Kaiser Fung points out that data analysis isn’t just about the data, but also about the assumptions people make about it. As an example, he points out the Republican polling fiasco of the 2012 election, as being due to the combination of flawed data collection and equally flawed modeling.

 

In other words, it’s not a computer that comes up with answers from data, but a human being, and the quality of these answers depends as much on the human analyst’s understanding of the underlying reality as it does on the ability to collect clicks from the web or transactions from point-of-sale systems.

 

Good data analysis does not require petabytes of data. In statistics, a small sample is 10 points; a large sample, 100 points. The difference matters because, with small samples, there are many convenient approximations that you cannot make. But 100 points is plenty for these approximations to work.

 

With millions of points, the tiniest wiggle in your data will show overwhelming significance in any statistical test, which means that these test are not much use in that context. To figure out what this tiny wiggle is telling you about reality, however, you still need to understand the world the data is coming from.

 

I don’t see an opposition between relying on people and relying on data, because, whether you realize it or not, you are never relying on data, only on people’s ability to make sense of it.

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

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

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

Michel Baudin's insight:

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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Lean dairy farming in New Zealand | The Southland Times

Lean dairy farming in New Zealand | The Southland Times | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it

"Southland's dairy farms and economy could reap the benefits of a manufacturing programme designed to increase efficiency in the industry.


The Venture Southland-led Lean Manufacturing Programme focuses on enhancing on-farm performance, reducing input costs and developing the skills and knowledge of farmers by identifying areas where efficiency gains can be made."

Michel Baudin's insight:

Based on the article, it boils down to 5S.

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The Internet of Things in Toyota Operations | Laura Putre | Industry Week

The Internet of Things in Toyota Operations | Laura Putre | Industry Week | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it

"... Trever White, divisional information officer, noted that his team is regularly on the plant floor, building good relationships so team members can articulate what their challenges are. One challenge they recently identified was the need to build a containment system to more quickly identify and contain a quality issue when it emerges..."

Michel Baudin's insight:
As described in this article, advanced IT for Manufacturing, at Toyota, starts from the needs of the shop floor and works its way up. First, you build systems that take root because they help in daily operations, Then you extract and summarized data from these systems for the benefit of managers and engineers. 

ERP, on the other hand, starts from the needs of management and works its way down, and I think it is the key reason why ERP success stories are so hard to find. 


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François Pellerin's curator insight, May 19, 2016 1:00 AM

L'Internet des objets comme source d'information pour les équipes Kaizen

 

Robin MARINO's curator insight, May 26, 2016 2:19 AM

Fully applicable in Aerospace industry, within a Manufacturing Execution System?

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How is lean different from Taylorism? | Michael Ballé | LEI

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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Jens R. Woinowski (leanself.org)'s curator insight, March 10, 2016 2:03 AM
Yes, "Scientific Management" was just a marketing label for theories that weren't truly scientific but were instead based on a simplistic view of human nature. And Taylor's stopwatch time studies were just aimed at increasing production at every operation with no consideration of flow. 

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

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

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

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

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




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

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

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

 

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

Michel Baudin's insight:

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

Michel Baudin's insight:

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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Saskatchewan Health Care Data Not Showing Improvements from Lean?

Saskatchewan Health Care Data Not Showing Improvements from Lean? | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it

"The government has stated that its kaizan promotion offices do not measure or evaluate lean, and that no reports have been written. At the same time, however, it has stated that lean has already demonstrated benefits. To test this, I reviewed the HQC website - Quality Insight - that has a significant amount of provincial data. For each indicator I will report the first and last month or year where data were collected."

Michel Baudin's insight:

The article's author, Mark Lemstra, from The StarPhoenix, claims that Lean yielded no improvement in the financial or medical performance of Saskatchewan's health care system,  based on data from the Health Quality Council (HQC), available at http://bit.ly/1dQmihS.

 

The article's title is only about "Savings," but most of the body is about health outcomes and perceptions, and presented through numbers buried in text. 

 

Before taking this article at face value, I recommend checking out the HQC website directly. As in the featured image above, some metrics have clearly improved. Other indicators are flat, like  the willingness of patients to recommend their hospital, or the rate of medical error reports. And some have moved in the wrong direction, such as those related to pain management. 

 

It is perhaps not the rosy pictures that the Lean boosters would like, but neither is it the disaster Lemstra is painting. 

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Cells in Jewelry Manufacturing? | Dumontis

Cells in Jewelry Manufacturing? | Dumontis | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it
How Stuller's development of continuous-flow work cells using a lean manufacturing approach is helping the company compete in the U.S.
Michel Baudin's insight:

The words in the article are great, but the picture does not match. This looks like traditional workbench manufacturing, not Lean cells!

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The top ten lean manufacturers | Manufacturing Digital

The top ten lean manufacturers | Manufacturing Digital | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it
From the automotive philosophers of Toyota to the makers of Kleenex tissues, Lean manufacturing principles have been exemplified by some of the world's top companies. Here is a list of some of the best practitioners in the ...
Michel Baudin's insight:

Top ten by what criteria? What is the measure of leanness on which these companies outperform everybody else? The article doesn't say. Most "top ten" lists don't either, but you want to see who is on them anyway. If you know the inner workings of some of these companies, you may be surprised to find them there. You may also wonder what the actions described in the paragraph about Nike have to do with Lean. 

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A defense of old-fashioned WIP accumulation | Manufacturing Digital

A defense of old-fashioned WIP accumulation | Manufacturing Digital | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it
Toyota pioneered modern lean manufacturing and created a highly efficient and reliable manufacturing system that the rest of the world sought to adopt with huge variations in success. A main thrust of Lean philosophy is to closely examine manufacturing processes, find unnecessary steps and eliminate them. The same philosophy suggests that we should only allow room for value adding steps – in terms of value perceived by the customer – as this drives up efficiency and enables us to manufacture simpler and faster. It is said that accumulating work-in-progress through the process ties-up resources and can obscure problems and is therefore deemed to not add value, so conventional Lean thinking is to eliminate this wasteful step.With this thinking comes a generally held view that Lean manufacturing and Accumulation cannot coexist....
Michel Baudin's insight:

The gist of this article is that you should hold just enough WIP to meet your production requirements with the changeover times you currently have and protect your bottlenecks against malfunction in other resources.

 

So far, this is stating the obvious, and a visit to a Toyota plant or even dealership is enough to see that the Toyota system is not one with zero inventory. You see shelves of stampings, bins of bolts, and trees of wire harnesses. The Kanban system involves some inventory, and, in fact, the only approach that doesn't is just-in-sequence.

 

What is considered waste is not all inventory, but unnecessary inventory, accumulated for no valid reason anyone can explain. The article, however, goes further and asserts that it is cheaper to accumulate WIP than to expose and solve the problems that make it necessary, which is a return to the mass-production thinking that was prevalent in pre-Lean operations management.

 

What the Lean successes of the past decades have shown is (1) that the overall costs of WIP were understated and (2) that the ingenuity of production people and engineer was underestimated. You operate today and next week with the resources that you have, dysfunctional as they may be, and you hold WIP as needed to sustain production. As you do this, however, as an organization, you keep working at solving your problems so that you need less and less WIP month by month and quarter by quarter. This perspective is missing from the article.

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Philip Marris's curator insight, September 14, 2013 6:02 AM

Michel Baudin commented, very pertinently I beleive, on this article (see his insight below).

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The Apparent Contradictions of Lean | Lonnie Wilson | IndustryWeek

The Apparent Contradictions of Lean |  Lonnie Wilson | IndustryWeek | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it

"Concepts of lean are both counterintuitive and counter-cultural. If you want to be a lean leader, you must go back to the basics and make sure you have a clear understanding of lean. Only then are you able to teach others."

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Australia’s Lean Trojan | Troy Taylor

Australia’s Lean Trojan | Troy Taylor | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it
Not all RTO's are doing a great job, read this post and find out why your selection will make all the difference.
Michel Baudin's insight:

An Australian version of Certification-Shmertification!

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Lean principles yield huge improvement for Spanbild | Voxy.co.nz

Lean principles yield huge improvement for Spanbild | Voxy.co.nz | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it
Spanbild, a local market leader in the design, manufacture and construction of residential, rural and commercial buildings, today announced results of a project to apply lean principles throughout their manufacturing plants.
Michel Baudin's insight:

A report on Lean implementation at a construction company in Christchurch,  New Zealand, with government help. 

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Modern automotive lean detailed at LMJ Conference 2013 | Manufacturer.com

Modern automotive lean detailed at LMJ Conference 2013  | Manufacturer.com | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it

"It is by constantly developing our people and focusing on fostering a culture of continuous improvement that we can hope to, one day, achieve success.

This was the message of the 4th annual LMJ Conference, a two-day event held last week by TM’s sister publication Lean Management Journal in Birmingham. Manufacturing, naturally, made a very important contribution to the conference, with speakers from Volvo, Chrysler and Toyota Material Handling providing highlights from Day One."

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