Thursday, September 23, 2010

Daily Lean Tips From Facebook Edition 3

For my Facebook fans you have probably already read these Daily Lean Tips. 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 Daily 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 is the next edition of tips from the Facebook page:



The keys to quick changeover are found in changing your thinking about changeover as in the following:

1. Rethink the idea that machines can be idle, but workers cannot be idle.     
2. The ideal setup change is no setup at all or within seconds.    

3. Ensure that all tools are always ready and in perfect condition.    

4. Blow a whistle and have a team of workers respond to each changeover.      

5. Establish goals to reduce changeover times, record al changeover times and display them near the machine.       

6. Distinguish between internal and external setup activities and try to convert internal to external setup.

Lean Tip #32 - Changeover is defined as the time from the last good product to the next good products, not just set-up.

Changeover can be divided into the 3 Ups:

     Clean-up - the removal of previous product, materials and components from the line.     
     Set-up    -  the process of actually converting the equipment.    
     Start-up  -  the time spent fine tuning the equipment after it has been restarted.

Lean Tip #33 - Categorize the steps in the changeover process by External set-up, Internal set-up, and non-essential operations

To start identify and separate the changeover process into key operations – External Setup involves operations that can be done while the machine is running and before the changeover process begins, Internal Setup are those that must take place when the equipment is stopped.  Aside from that, there may also be non-essential operations. Use the following steps to attack the quick changeover:

Eliminate non-essential operations – Adjust only one side of guard rails instead of both, replace only necessary parts and make all others as universal as possible.

Perform External Set-up – Gather parts and tools, pre-heat dies, have the correct new product material at the line… there's nothing worse than completing a changeover only to find that a key product component is missing.

Simplify Internal Set-up – Use pins, cams, and jigs to reduce adjustments, replace nuts and bolts with hand knobs, levers and toggle clamps… remember that no matter how long the screw or bolt only the last turn tightens it.

Measure, measure, measure – The only way to know if changeover time and startup waste is reduced is to measure it!

Lean Tip #34 - Use Inventory Reduction as a Measure for Success, Not as a Goal

Many people pursue inventory reduction as a primary goal of Lean activities.  There are numerous ways to achieve this goal, including manipulation of the inventory.  It is better to establish a goal to create connected flow and to use inventory as a measure of success. 


The problem with communication is that it is hard to understand why others misunderstand what we clearly understand.  The point of an agreement on a standard is for everyone to have the same understanding.  One simple way to test this is to find someone who is not familiar with the work area, show them the standard, and ask them to explain the agreement.  You may be surprised to discover how challenging it is to clearly communicate agreements visually! 


Be wary of comments such as, "There is only one way to solve this problem."  There will always be more than one solution for every problem.  There is a tendency toward "fancy" of "high-tech" solutions to problems.  Invariably the latest technology or machine is suggested.  In rare cases the technology is needed; however, while waiting for the "ultimate" solution, consider short-term improvement that can be implemented immediately. 


Use SPACER (Safety, Purpose, Agenda, Conduct, Expectations, and Roles & Responsibilities) as a technique to improve team meeting efficiency and effectiveness.

Safety – is always the top priority, discuss safety protocols like evacuation, PPE or safety equipment needed in the facility, bathroom location, etc.

Purpose – "what is the meeting for?", discuss what is in scope and what might not be.

Agenda – no matter what type of meeting or for how long there should be some sort of plan.

Conduct – what are the rules the team participants should adhere to while in the meeting like cell phone us, side discussions, etc.

Expectations – what do we expect to get out of this meeting especially if it is a training session?

Roles – what are the roles of the participants in the meeting, is there a note taker or time keeper for example. 

Lean Tip #38 - Establish a meeting code of conduct to make meetings more efficient.

Codes of conduct are merely a set of guidelines by which a team agrees to operate. Such codes are guidelines designed to enhance the productivity of team meetings. The following are a few common examples of codes of conduct:

  • Arrive on time for scheduled meetings.
  • Stick to the agenda.
  • "3 Knock" rule if any team member deviates from the agenda (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).
  • Everyone's ideas will be heard.
  • One person speaks at a time.
  • No sidebars.
  • "Parking Lot" for out of scope ideas (this is a place on the easel pad where topics are placed for consideration on the next meeting agenda because they are not appropriate for the meeting at hand).

FMEA studies can yield significant savings for a company as well as reduce the potential liability of a process or product that does not perform as promised.

FMEA means Failure Mode and Effects Analysis:

  • Every product or process has modes of failure.
  • The effects represent the impact of the failures.
An FMEA is a tool to:

  • Indentify the relative risks designed into a product or process.
  • Initiate action to reduce those risks with the highest potential impact.
  • Track the results of the action plan in terms of risk reduction. 
Lean Tip #40 - The first step in finding true cause is careful observation of the phenomenon of the defect.

People often try to reduce productions defects by tracing directly back to the cause of the defect.  That is a straightforward approach and, at first glance, it seems to be efficient.  But, in most cases, the causes obtained from that approach are not true ones.  If remedies are taken for defects based on the knowledge of those false causes, the attempt may be abortive, the effort wasted.  The first step in finding true cause is careful observation of the phenomenon of the defect.  After such careful observation, true cause becomes apparent. 

Lean Tip #41 - The use of statistical tools lend objectivity and accuracy to observations.

The maxims of statistical way of thinking are:

  • Give greater importance to facts than abstract concepts.
  • Do not express facts in terms of senses or ideas.  Use figures derived from specific observational results.
  • Observational results, accompanied as they are by error and variation, are part of a hidden whole.  Finding that hidden whole is observation's ultimate goal.
  • Accept regular tendency which appears in a large number of observational results as reliable information.
Lean Tip #42 - Machine guarding can create a barrier to prevent dangerous situations but only by meeting minimum requirements.

To be effective guards must meet these minimum requirements:

Prevent contact: The guard must prevent hands, arms, or any part of your body or clothing from making contact with dangerous moving parts.

Secure: Guards should not be easy to remove or alter; a guard that can easily be made ineffective is no guard at all.

Protect from falling objects:  The guard should ensure that no objects can fall into moving parts.

Create no new hazards: A guard defeats its own purpose if it creates a hazard of its own.

Create no interference: You might soon override or disregard any guard which keeps you from doing your job quickly and comfortably. 

Lean Tip #43 - Use Key Points to Positively State the Correct Way to Do a Task

Key points should be "how to's" rather than "don't do's."  Positive reinforcement is more effective.  For example, if there is risk of injury on a job from a pinch pint, rather than stating, "Avoid the pinch point," try stating, "You hands should be places here and here when working." Then during the next step of the training, when the reasons behind they key points are explained, it can be said that the purpose of the key point is to "avoid the pinch point."

Lean Tip #44 - A process with too many restrictions will limit participation

There are very few restrictions placed on continuous improvement at Toyota. At many other companies management places 'guidelines" or "restrictions" on ideas.  Restrictions send the message that some ideas are acceptable, but only when management decides so.  If the idea is safe for you and others and will not adversely affect quality, then why not try.  The only way to know if an idea will work is to try it.


Many trainers make the mistake of asking the trainee, "Do you think you're ready to try the job now?"  The trainer should make this important decision only after careful observation of the trainee.  Most trainees will say they are ready because they're afraid they will be perceived as incapable if they say no, they're not ready to do the job.  Asking the trainee also places responsibility for understanding on him or her.  The trainer must assume responsibility for the outcome of the training.

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks Tim for these great tips! Keep up the good work:)

    These lists are great to print out and put them on wall.

    ReplyDelete