Thursday, September 2, 2010

More 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.


Here is the next edition of tips from the Facebook page:

Lean Tip #16 - Use visual controls so no problems are hidden
Install simple visual indicators that tell people when the standards are being followed. Avoid using computer screens that take workers out of the work area. Reduce all reports to a single sheet of paper even for your more difficult financial decisions.

Lean Tip #17 - Use only reliable thoroughly tested technology that serves your people and processes
It is best to workout a process and to add the necessary disciplines before adding technology. New technologies can be unreliable and general are not well understood and are difficult to standardize. A standardized process that is well implemented is better than a misunderstood new technology.

Lean Tip #18 - Develop exceptional people and teams who follow your company's philosophy
Empowerment happens when employees use the company tools to solve problems. Build cross functional teams to improve quality and productivity. Work hard to reinforce the company culture and assure it is followed over the course of years.

Lean Tip #19 - Make decisions slowly by consensus, thoroughly considering all options; implement
Thoroughly explore alternatives before choosing one path to follow. Take time to build consensus by understanding all views on an issue. It is only when all alternatives have been considered that a decision is made, then implementation should be pursued swiftly.

Lean Tip #20 - Don't Give People Rules They're Unable to Follow
This tip applies in many ways, but let's look at it in context to the rule of never knowingly pass defects to the following processes. What do they do if they find a defect? Who do they call? Where do they put the part? If these issues are not defined people will be confused and conflicted. People want to do the right thing and follow instructions, but if it isn't possible to follow the rule and get the job done effectively, they will choose to get the job done and violate the rule. Don't assume that people break the rules because they don't care. Maybe there is not a good system for helping people to follow the rules.

Lean Tip #21 - A New Standard Requires a Learning Period
It is not uncommon to see a slight drop in performance as people adjust to the new method. Do not rush to go back to the old way. Continue observing to ensure that the method is being followed as planned and that any minor adjustments are made immediately.

Lean Tip #22 - Schedule Regular Reviews of Progress on the Floor
Unfortunately, some top leaders get into a pattern of e-mail, meetings, and travel, and walking the floor to see firsthand lean progress is at the bottom of their priority list. There should be a regularly scheduled walk-through of the facility. There should be visual indicators of progress in the lean projects, and general metrics so it's clear when walking into the area how they are doing. Also, a checklist for the walk-through, noting what to look for is a good addition.

Lean Tip #23 - Ask the Five Whys to get beyond the obvious symptoms to discover the root cause
Taiichi Ohno gave this example about a machine that stopped working (Ohno 1988, p. 17):

1. Why did the machine stop?
There was an overload and the fuse blew.

2. Why was there an overload?
The bearing was not sufficiently lubricated.

3. Why was it not lubricated?
The lubrication pump vs not pumping sufficiently.

4. Why was it not pumping sufficiently?
The shaft of the pump was worn and rattling.

5. Why was the shaft worn out?
There was no strainer attached and metal scarps got in.

Without repeatedly asking why , we would likely replace the fuse or pump and the failure would recur. Keep asking why until the root cause is reached and eliminated.

Lean Tip #24 - Optimize the 4 M's that produce value for the customer.
In a lean system, the 4 M's are:

Material - no defects or shortages.
Machine - no breakdowns, defects, or unplanned stoppages.
Man - good work habits, necessary skills, punctuality, and no unscheduled absenteeism.
Method - standardized processes, maintenance, and management.

Lean Tip #25 - Use Red Tags to label unneeded items for removal in manufacturing or service functions.
Red tagging is a necessary step in 5S under the first S, sort. It Is a simple method for identifying potentially unneeded items in the factory, evaluating their usefulness, and dealing with them appropriately.

For an item with a red tag, ask 3 questions:
Is the item needed?
Is the item needed in this quantity?
Is the item needed at this location?

Lean Tip #26 - Store items based on the frequency of use.
Use this helpful guideline for determining where in your area items should be stored based on their use.

Frequency of Use                              Location
Never                                                   Place in holding area
Seldom(once/year)                              Store in a remote location
Infrequently (less than once/month)   Store at facility
Once/week                                          Store in work area
Once/day or more                               Store at workplace

Lean Tip #27 - Create conditions that promote discipline in activities.
Make adherence to the rules easier to follow with these guidelines:

AWARENESS and understanding of Lean
You need to have or make enough TIME for Lean
STRUCTURE to support how & when Lean is done
SUPPORT from management
Rewards and Recognition
Satisfaction, Fun, and Excitement

Lean Tip #28: When listening learn to understand nonverbal communication
There are two ways to communicate nonverbally: (1) body movements such as facial expressions, gestures, and posture, and (2) spatial relationships, such as how much distance you put between yourself and the other person.

Understanding body language is essential because over 50 percent of a message's impact comes from body movements.  The total impact of a message can be broken down like this:

       7 percent          verbal (words)
       38 percent        vocal (volume, pitch, rhythm, etc.)
       55 percent        body movements (mostly facial expressions)

Lean Tip #29 - Use a project log to record your mistake-proofing ideas to improve and enhance the quality of your solutions
Include in the log the following fields:

Mistake being madE
Benefits of mistake-proofing this mistake
Process where the mistake resides
Root cause of this mistake
Explanation of the mistake-proofing solution
Type of (solution) effect
Type of (solution) outcome

The log can be used as a coaching feature that will help you improve and enhance the quality of your mistake-proofing solutions.

Lean Tip #30 - Wherever possible, use mistake-proofing techniques that lead to a forced control effect.
With forced control, the action or trigger that leads to the effect is both automatically triggered and compulsory.

There are four families of devices or methods used to achieve a forced control effect:

Elimination
Combination
Use of Guides
Process Control Systems

1 comment:

  1. thanks..your article is helping me understand more about lean..

    ReplyDelete