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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

New Feature: Daily Lean Tips

For my Facebook fans you have probably already seen this. But for those of you that are not connected to A Lean Journey on Facebook or Twitter I started a new feature which I call Lean Tips.  It is meant to be advice, things I learned from experience, and some knowledge tidbits about Lean to help you along your journey.

Click this link for A Lean Journey's Facebook Page Notes Feed.

Here are the first 15 tips from the Facebook page:

Lean Tip #1 - 3 Knock Rule
Use the "3 Knock" rule if any team member deviates from the meeting agenda to improve meeting productivity. This is when a person politely knocks on the table to provide an audio indicator that the speaker is going off track of the agenda topic being discussed.

Lean Tip #2 - Stay Organized
Staying organized will save you time and money and allow you to focus on your tasks effectively thus increasing your personal productivity. Is Disorganization Holding You Back?

Lean Tip #3 - Use Checklists
Use checklists. Make and use checklists of daily tasks. This saves you time in two ways: you will work more efficiently with a checklist in front of you, and you will spend less time trying to remember what still needs to be done. Expert Advice for Getting Things Done

Lean Tip #4 - To Do List Tonight So You Can Start Tomorrow Productively
Write up tomorrow's to-do's before you leave the office today. I find that I can hit the ground running when I get into work the next day if I have a plan for the most important to-dos for day. Expert Advice for Getting Things Done

Lean Tip #5 - Overproduction: Too much, too early often leads to too little, too late
Overproduction is producing more, sooner or faster than is required by the next process. Ohno considered overproduction to be the most grievous form waste because it generates and hides other wastes, such as inventories, defects, and excess transport. 'Too much, too early' often leads to 'too little, too late' because of the cumulative nature of time.

Lean Tip #6 - Use informational measures not motivational measures.
Informational measures help you to decide what to do. But targets (motivational measures) are often associated with rewards, punishments and motivation. Targets thereby almost invariably encourage deviant behavior. Motivational measures frequently result in cheating, but informational measures can assist improvement.

Lean Tip #7 - Measure the Process, not the Person
Deming spoke about the 94/6 rule - 94% of problems can be traced to the process, but only 6% to the person. But often it is the person that is measured, not the process. Start with the assumption that it is the process that is broken and most times you will be right.

Lean Tip #8 - 3 Simple Questions all Managers Should Learn to Ask
All management should learn to ask these three simple questions: 1) What is the process? 2) How can you tell it is working? 3) What are you doing to improve it (if it is working)? Nothing sustains itself, certainly not Lean manufacturing or Lean management. So, establish and stick to a routine including regular visits to the Gemba, check the status of visual controls, follow-up on daily accountability assignments, and ask the three simple questions everywhere. Lean management is, as much as anything, a way of thinking. Three Simple Questions All Managers Should Ask

Lean Tip #9 - Learn to create a "Self" visual system in your workplace so you can "See".
The goal in Visual Factory is to create a "status at a glance" in the workplace. This refers to an operating environment where anyone can enter the workplace and: See the current situation (Self-explaining) See the work process (Self-ordering) See if you are ahead, behind or on schedule (Self-regulating) and See when there is an abnormality (Self-improving) You Won't Get Lean, Until You Get Visual

Lean Tip #10 - Standardize: All work shall be highly specified as to content, sequence, timing, and outcome
Lean Rule in Use #1: All work shall be highly specified as to content, sequence, timing, and outcome.
Ask these questions of your process: Is the work being performed to the written procedure? Is the outcome of the work known to be good when it's complete? Can the worker spot a problem and ask for help if one is found? If you can't answer "yes" with satisfaction then you need to focus on standard work.

Lean Tip #11 - Binary Communication: Direct, unambiguous customer-supplier communication
Lean Rule in Use #2 - Binary Communication Every customer-supplier connection must be direct, and there must be an unambiguous yes-or-no way to send requests and receive responses.
Ask these questions of your process: Is there a clear signal of when to produce/provide a product or service (and when not to) and in what quantity? Do the workers have a clear method to signal for help? Does the worker clearly know when help has been received? If you answer no then you need to revisit your visual management and signals.

Lean Tip #12 - The pathway for every product or service must be simple and direct
Lean Rule in Use #3: Simple and Direct Flow The pathway for every product and service must be simple and direct.
Ask these questions of your process: Do products and services follow one simple, direct flow path? Does a request for a product or service move directly from the requestor to the provider? If you answer no then you may want to try to Value Stream Map your process with the aim of reducing those wastes preventing flow.

Lean Tip #13: Continuous improvement must be done with the scientific method (PDCA)
Lean Rule in Use #4: Continuous Improvement Any improvement must be made in accordance with the scientific method, under the guidance of a teacher, at the lowest possible level in the organization.
Ask these questions of your process: Can the workers recognize problems and opportunities for improvement by themselves? Do they measure their own performance? Is there a structured method for problem solving that can be utilized by everyone in the organization? Do leaders teach scientific problem solving and coach the teams to develop their skills? This is truly the power behind sustaining Lean. If you have difficulty answering these questions with a resounding yes then sustaining is going to be difficult. Focus on the process and the people if you want to be successful.

Lean Tip #14 - Go and see for yourself and thoroughly understand the situation.
Solve problems by going to the source and seeing the problem personally. Always speak based on facts you have personally observed. A dramatic example of this is the Ohno circle.  Tachii Ohno the father of the Toyota Production System is known for his practice of painting a circle of the plant floor and having managers stand in that circle for hours at a time and to report back their observations.

Lean Tip #15 - The Operator is Your Most Important Resource
The Lean philosophy is that the operator, not the machine, is the most important asset. The machine serves the person, not the other way around. It is disrespectful to the individual to waste his or her value by waiting for the machine to complete its cycle. The Standardized Work Combination Table is used to gain an understanding of the man/machine relationship and to effectively utilize the human asset.

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