Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Daily Lean Tips Edition #17

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

Lean Tip #241 – Leaders must teach by example to transform a culture.

To get people across an organization to systematically work on improvement every day requires teaching the skills behind the solution. And for that to happen, their leaders and mangers also need to practice and learn those skills.

Lean Tip #242 – Developing people means going beyond challenging people.

Developing people means challenging people. But just issuing challenges isn’t enough. It would be disrespectful to not also teach a systematic, common means of developing solutions and meeting those challenges.

Lean Tip #243 – The purpose of coaching is an interaction not an audit.

The learner should know when the coach is coming and what he/she will ask. They can prepare the information in advance of the coaching cycle. The purpose is not to control or get people to do what they say. There should be a genuine interest in both parties in what you are trying to achieve, what you are learning, and what will be the next experiment.

Lean Tip #244 – Once you have a target condition don’t think too far ahead.

One you have a target condition, relax and focus on the next step. Put your emphasis on the next step, because what you learn there may influence the step after that. You’ll only see the full path in hindsight. And you’re probably not going to be taking the most direct route to the target condition either.

Lean Tip #245 – A Target is not the same as a Target Condition.

A target is an outcome, while a target condition is a description of a process operating in a way, in a pattern, that we predict will result in the desired outcome. A target condition enables teamwork. It’s not so much my idea vs your idea. It’s more about what we need to work on to get there.

Lean Tip #246 - Mapping your processes will help you understand the actual condition.

To gain control over your processes, you must understand the “three actuals”:

- The actual place or location in which a process occurs
- The actual employees working in that location
- The actual process in that location

Mapping the processes will help you understand all three actuals.

Lean Tip #247 – When creating a value stream map take a tour from end-to-end of the flow with out prejudice.

Conduct a quick tour of the value stream to view end-to-end material and information flows, making sure that you have identified all the component flows. Remember to record exactly what you see without making any judgments. Don’t waste time debating the merits of an activity or its proper sequence; just record what is happening.

Lean Tip #248 – Use quick-changeover methods to reduce your set-up costs and batch sizes.

By reducing changeover times, you company will be able to run smaller batch sizes and free up production capacity. If being able to offer a mix of products and services is important, then quick changeover will reduce the number of operations you need to run every day, week, or month.

Lean Tip #249 – Use error-proofing techniques to ensure that no product defects are being passed on to downstream operations.

The goal of error proofing is to create an error-free production environment. A Lean enterprise strives for quality at the source. This means that any defects that occur during one operation in a manufacturing or business process should never be passed on to the next operation. This ensures that your customers will receive only defect-free product or services.

Lean Tip #250 – Zero defects is an achievable goal!

Many organizations have attained this level of error proofing, One of the largest barriers to achieving it is the belief that it can’t be done. By changing this belief among your employees, you can make zero defects a reality in your organization.

Lean Tip #251 – Effective problem solving requires good understanding of the problem and the current situation.

The first step in problem solving is to be certain you have a good understanding of the current situation. To ensure your solutions get to the root cause, you must understand the process where the problem initially occurred. When starting to diagnose a problem, don’t rely on verbal reports to provide the details. Go to the work area, observe the situation, solicit help from the people in the area, and collect hard evidence for yourself. Gathering the facts first hand will help you gain a better understanding of the problem which, in turn, will allow you to better focus your solutions.

Lean Tip #252 – Source inspection and mistake proofing are needed to achieve zero defects.

To achieve zero defects, both source inspection and mistake proofing are needed. Remember that, although it is necessary to have efficient inspection operations, they are of little value to the process. Even the most efficient inspection operations are merely efficient forms of waste.

Lean Tip #253 – Empower operators to stop the production line whenever a defect is detected.

Wherever practical, empower operators to stop the production line whenever a defect is detected. This creates a sense of urgency that focuses employees’ energy on prevention of the defect’s recurrence. It also creates the need for the effective source inspections and self-inspections.

Lean Tip #254 – Don’t let and error-proofing device sit idle.

This happens all too often when people override sensors, disconnect them, or ignore them. If your employees are tempted to disconnect an error-proofing device, then install an error-proofing device for the error-proofing device. It is likely that the device needs some improvement to make it effective.

Lean Tip #255 – Always use data as the basis for making adjustments in your processes.

Always use data as the basis for making adjustments in your processes. Using subjective opinion or intuition to make adjustments can result in errors – and eventually defects. Data also ensures that the adjustment was effective or not.

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