Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Lean Tips Edition #5

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 addition of tips from the Facebook page:

Lean Tip #61 - Don't make 5S a Stand-alone Program if You Want to Flow
Doing 5S is liberationg.  We have all experienced that feeling after cleaning the basement or garage after  a year of accumulating stuff.  But 5S is just one tool that enables stability that enables flow.   Well organized and sparkling clean waste is still waste.  Getting bogged down in 5S can be an avoidance pattern - avoiding the hard work of thinking about how to create flow and solve the real root cause problems inhibiting flow.

Lean Tip #62 - The Paradox of Inventory - It may be preferable to substitute one form of waste for another
One idea that is difficult to grasp is that in Lean systems inventory may be useful (at least in the short term).  We all know that inventory is one of the eight forms of waste, and therefore should be eliminated.  In fact, untill processes are capable, the careful use of inventory may be advantageous.  One paradox of the eight wastes is that it may be preferable to substitute one form of waste for another.

Lean Tip #63 - Don't Seek Immediate Perfection
Perfection is futile.  To be sure, perfection is the goal but it can not be achieved in one single initiative.

The problem in the real world is that nothing is perfect. It sounds obvious, but it is not quite as obvious.  Shoot for better, 80% better.

The 80/20 rule states that 80% of the benefit comes from 20% of the work. 

The last 20% of benefit (the perfect) requires 4 times more work. Often people believe perfection (100% benefit) is only slightly more expensive/difficult than the good (80% benefit). That isn't true.

Lean Tip #64 - The most important job of a leader is to develop people which includes future leaders
Everything about the

•Carefully selecting leaders
•Mentoring potential leaders by effective leaders
•Providing opportunities to challenge people to allow leaders to emerge
•Providing leaders the support and tools to be effective

Lean Tip #65 - Use the concept of heijunka in your problem solving to increase the likelihood of meeting desired results
Larger, long term countermeasures have a tendency of not being implemented.  Breaking these countermeasures into smaller increments is essentially the concept of heijunka.  Divide one month items into smaller daily increments or further segment to hourly increments.  In this way adjustments can be made throughout the day based on the frequency of checking the status.  Utilization of this leveling principle for problem solving greatly increases the likelihood of producing the desired results.

Lean Tip #66 - Expand on your library of printed literature to include standards
Standard work and visual factory elements together often form the language of an organization.  We often use a number of standard forms or templates.  Create a library of these standards with easy access to promote further standardization.  This may include forms, methods of labeling,  definition of floor markings,  and other visual identification methods.

Lean Tip #67 - Don't stop at the first workable solution
As humans we have a bias toward a particular solution usually that of our own.  We can make mistakes by jumping to solutions and thinking we solved the problem.  Failure to deeply explore alternatives can lead to a weak solution.  While it is important to consider as many solutions as possible it is not advantageous to pursue ideas without merit.

Lean Tip #68 - Clean to improve the performance of a machine not its appearance.
You clean to improve a machine's performance not its appearance.

Clean to Inspect
Inspect to Detect
Detect to Correct

A better looking piece of equipment is just a side benefit.

Lean Tip #69 - It is important to distinguish between actual uncertainty and self-created uncertainty with your supply chain.
There are three basic types of uncertainty which have a negative impact on any process with your supply chain.

Demand uncertainty - This type is related to the marketplace that is what the customer orders.

Conversion or Throughput uncertainty - This is any type of process uncertainty that hits throughput, such as producing defects, machine stoppages and breakdowns, and long changeovers.

Supply uncertainty - This type is related to the delivery of materials and components.

In addition to these basic types of uncertainty it is important to distinguish between actual uncertainty (i.e. caused by the end customer) and self-created uncertainty (i.e. created by poor coordination in the supply chain).

Lean Tip #70 - Spend no more than ten minutes planning your day for a 13 1/2 month calendar.
Planning each day will likely yield at least one hour more of productivity each day.  If you have one more productive hour each day, 365 days per year, you will have an additional 45 eight-hour days.  This is called the 13 1/2-month calendar.

Lean Tip #71 - Create opportunities to showcase your employees.
If you want to encourage employee to participate in improvements and empower them to make those improvements you need to recognize their effort and achievement.  Create an area in you facility to show off employees and their improvement activities.  You will be surprised by the buzz this creates.  Others will want to show off their improvements.

Lean Tip #72 - Whenever possible, provide opportunities for employees to work in self-managed or self-directed work teams.
Allow these teams freedom to determine the best course of action for meeting the agreed-upon goals and objectives.  Employees will see first hand the results of their decisions and feel the pride of group achievement.

Lean Tip #73 - Find ways to acknowledge employees and their performance.
Recognition...feedback...praise...thank you...appreciation - these are all ways you can acknowledge employees and their performance.  Research indicates that the number one thing employees want it recognition.  Recognition can take the form of verbal praise, a thoughtful note, positive feedback during a review, a public announcement (at a meeting, in a company newsletter, or on the department bulletin board) that shares the accomplishment with other employees, managers, and company executives.

Lean Tip #74 - Variability in a production system will attack you
Variability in a production system will be buffered by some combination of inventory, capacity, or time.  In other words if you do not attack variation in your system it will attack you in terms of more inventory, less capacity, and longer cycle times.

Lean Tip #75 - Flow in a cell should be counter-clockwise.
No matter the shape of the cell (U-shaped, L-shaped, or straight through) the flow around the cell should be counter-clockwise.   This will facilitate the ease fo movement with the right hand.  It is also the natural way - think of athletic tracks, car racing, and horse racing.  Even the planets (except Venus) move counter-clockwise.

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