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Monday, August 5, 2013

Ten Inhibitors of Continuous Flow

A Lean Enterprise is centered on the concept of flow. Once value added activities and necessary non-value activities are identified, improvement efforts are directed toward making the activities flow. Flow is the uninterrupted movement of product or service through the system to the customer.

An obvious question is why the processes we operate at the moment are not Lean. There are 10 basic reasons that inhibit flow:

Products or services that are out of specification that require resources to correct. Defects are the result of executed processes that did not produce value.

Waste from producing product that is not currently needed or product that is not needed at all.

Idle time created when material, information, people, or equipment is not ready. No value is added while people wait for product to process or product waits for people or machines.

Non-utilized resources/talent
The waste of underutilized intelligence and intellect commonly referred to as behavioral waste. When employees that are not effectively engaged in the process.

Transporting items or information that is not required to perform the process from one location to another. While the product is moving, no value is added to it.

Inventory and information queued-up between people and processes that are sitting idle not being processed.

Excess movement by people or equipment only consumes time and resources without producing value. People, information or equipment making unnecessary motion due to workspace layout, ergonomic issues or searching for misplaced items.

Excess Processing
Performing any activity that is not necessary to produce a functioning product or service. Doing more than what is necessary to generate satisfactory value as defined by the customer.

Work that is too hard creating unnecessary stress to our employees and our processes.

Inconsistent workload or quality from fluctuations in customer demand, process times per product or variation of cycle times for different operators.

Lean production theory focuses on managing the flow of production through all the steps that add value to the final product. The objective in creating continuous flow is to keep parts and components moving through the production process, without pause. The benefits of this to a production system is that materials are not purchased before they are required, that defects are detected early in the production process, and that resources are not expended storing and moving unneeded materials and components.

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