Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Lean Tips Edition #6

For my Facebook fans you already know about this great feature. But for those of you that are not connected to A Lean Journey on Facebook or Twitter I post daily a feature 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.  Another great reason to like A Lean Journey on Facebook.


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

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

Lean Tip #76 - When creating a cell consider the location of support teams.
Locate design and engineering areas close to manufacturing.  Place production control in the middle of the plant floor.  Make them share common break areas.  Foster communication and visibility by sharing information on visual displays and have common meeting areas.

Lean Tip #77 - There is much to be said for combining operations rather than specialization in a series.
Think about the checkout line at a grocery store.  Would you rather progress through a series of checkouts, each one specializing: the first on fruit and vegetables, the second on drinks, the third on dairy, etc.  Shopping would be a pain.

Lean Tip #78 - Batching causes time lost while waiting of three components.
The waiting time has 3 components, which are the time lost while waiting for:

 - Completion of the batch a particular product or service is part of

 - Completion of the batch ahead of the batch a particular product or service is part of

 - Management to get around to making and executing the decision to send the batch on to the next step of the value added process

Lean Tip #79 - Use problem cards as an SOP for troubleshooting.
Problem (Trouble shooting) cards are "what if" cards to cope with relatively rare but important contingencies.  What to do if the chuck breaks, for example.  Most air force pilots are used  to the idea of these cards in an emergency in order to avoid potentially disastrous mistakes in a time of crisis.

Lean Tip #80 - A test card can help you with your tasks.
Test cards include a small number of questions on the task - true or false, or multiple choice - used for standard ops where:

•Tasks are done infrequently
•A new operator requires confirmation
•There is a job rotation amongst the team.

Lean Tip #81 - Single Point Lessons can be used as a reminder of a training aid.
A single point lesson is sheet of paper focused on a single lesson that can be covered in 5 minutes of less.  It is often used in TPM (Total Productive Maintenance).   The purpose is to reinforce ares where difficulties have been experienced in quality, safety, downtime, etc.  It can be used as a reminder or a training aid.

Lean Tip #82 - A RACI chart is a good practice for SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures).
RACI denotes who is R = responsible, A = accountable, C = needs to be consulted, I = needs to be informed.  For example:

                           Supervisor    Operator     Facilitator  Area Manager

Prepare SOP              C                 C                   R               A             

Write SOP                  C                 R                   I                A

Approve SOP             R                 I                   C                A

Audit SOP                R & A             I                   I                 A



The RACI charts also has a wide application outside SOPs like use on A3.

Lean Tip #83 - Standards are not to be used for a 'Gotcha' moment.
Standards should not be used to catch people but to enable them.  This is  like a tennis or golf lesson.  You don't hide your weaknesses from the coach, your bring them out because you want to improve.  This is the essential spirit that needs to be fostered with standards.

Lean Tip #84 - When reducing changeovers consider categorizing adjustments into three.
Adjustment is an important consideration that can consume much time.  Moreover, adjustment is the root of many quality problems.  List all adjustments on paper, then categorize into three items.  First, adjustments that should not be made.  Second, adjustments that have a limited number of standard settings.  And third, adjustments that truly need adjustment.  Start by attacking the first category.

Lean Tip #85 - Variation in changeover time is almost as important as the changeover time itself.
 If a changeover has large variation, then good scheduling practice is made difficult.  Therefore, track the major elements of changeover and determine which stages have greatest variation.  Then tackle variation as a separate exercise.

Lean Tip #86 - Successful changeover comprises of four key elements.
There are four elements to successful changeover.  Attitude, including workplace culture and receptiveness to change.  Resources, including time, money, personnel, training, tools.  Awareness,  including the contribution of changeover to flow, flexibility, inventory, capacity and awareness of different  possibilities achieving quick changeover.  Direction, including leadership and vision. priority and ranking, (and presumably impact on the value stream).

Lean Tip #87 - Address the four areas of changeover for real improvement.
In all changeovers there are four areas to address:

1. 'On line activities' - by internal and external task reallocation, or by designs that allow the sequence to be altered - for example simultaneous rather than sequential steps

2. Adjustment - by reducing trial and error by for example indicators and shims, or by design which allows 'snap-on' adjustment

3. Variety - by standardization and standard operations or by design which reduces the possibilities of variation - poka yokes

4. Effort - by work simplification and preparation or by design which incorporates simplification - for example fixing multiple hoses by one fixture.

Lean Tip #88 - For Lean supply to work there must be a few or even single suppliers per part.
The idea is to work with a few good, trusted suppliers who supply a wide range of parts.  An objective is to remove the long tail of the supplier Pareto curve by 10% whereby perhaps 10% of the parts are supplied by 80% of the suppliers.  Generally, collaborative long-term supplier partnerships make sense for 'A' and possibly 'B' parts, less so for commodity items.

Lean Tip #89 - There are essentially two basic and opposing models of how to relate to suppliers.
The two models: the cost-driven adversarial model and the long term collaborative model.  The former is the traditional model where you aim to negotiate hard, get the best unit cost.  And if next year another supplier offers you a better price, you switch.  The Lean model is very different.  Here the relationship is built on trust, and long-term commitment.

Lean Tip #90 - A Lean supplier partnership features 4 key elements.
The features of a Lean supplier partnership are:

1.  Long-term collaborative relationships: where trust and commitment, as well as respect of the right of mutual existence are the prime directive.

2.  Dual sourcing: each component will have few, but at least two sources.

3.  Joint improvement activities: there is a strong collaboration with suppliers on operational improvement.

4.  Operations and logistics: Level production schedules are used to avoid spikes in the supply chain.
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