Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Lean Tips Edition #136 (2235-2250)

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 #2236 - Eliminate Waste
Lean principles aim to identify the waste found in nearly every business and minimize or completely eliminate it, if possible. Using the acronym “DOWNTIME” reveals the 8 types of waste Lean Manufacturers target:
  • Defects can lead to rework/salvage and scrap. It is arguably the most costly type of waste, especially if a defective product makes it to the customer.
  • Overproduction is making more product than that which is ordered, potentially causing an inventory shortage and wasting labor hours that could be used elsewhere. Additionally, the manufacturer runs the risk of having obsolete inventory if the customer that generally uses the product decides not to order more.
  • Waiting comes in several forms. The most obvious, perhaps, is a line shutdown while waiting for parts or equipment repair. Finally, there is in-process waiting that occurs when an employee has to wait for a machine to process before he or she can take the next step in the process.
  • Not using people’s talents is a waste of their abilities, and it could hold a manufacturer back when it comes to innovation.
  • Transportation happens throughout the manufacturing process, from the supply chain to material delivery and specific production areas.
  • Inventory has five major categories: finished goods, sub-assembly, raw component, office supplies and Maintenance, Repair and Operations (MRO). Obsolete or overlooked inventory can build up in all of these areas, taking up valuable space.
  • Motion includes bending, reaching, lifting and walking. Something as simple as sharing a tool between workstations can lead to a lot of wasted motion in retrieving it.
  • Excess processing happens whenever time is spent on product features that do not impact part functionality. For example, painting a part that won’t be seen is non-essential and excessive, provided it still functions properly without paint.

As you read through the DOWNTIME definitions, did a few examples of waste within your facility come to mind? If so, be proactive; make detailed notes about the inefficiencies and work to minimize them, asking for help from your colleagues as needed.

Lean Tip #2237 – Organize with 5S
Through the continuous improvement process, the more organized a manufacturer is dictates process efficiency. Start from the top down, building value streams on the production floor based on assembly complexity and volume. Then, divide those value streams into work cells for each assembly. Within those work cells, every tool and work instruction are identically placed in order to implement a one-piece flow, based on the Lean Manufacturing 5S organizational methodology:
  • Sort
  • Set in Order
  • Shine
  • Standardize
  • Sustain
The 5S principles are proven in keeping any workspace — offices included — running efficiently.

Lean Tip #2238 - Discard Conventional Fixed Ideas
Part of problem solving is thinking “outside of the box.” Encourage fresh perspectives and ingenuity in your team in order to develop innovative ways to forward Lean manufacturing without changing what is already efficient and successful. With such a rapidly evolving climate in manufacturing, sometimes conventional thought is what leads to the problem in the first place!

Lean Tip #2239 - Don’t Just Talk About it, Do it!
Once you have a Lean strategy in place, put it into fast and thorough action. Naturally, implementation is what ultimately yields results and improvement. The last think you want is to devise and formulate a Lean campaign that then sits on the shelf and collects dust. Run with your Lean plans as soon as you have everything nailed down.

Lean Tip #2240 - Concentrate on Bad Processes, Not People
By concentrating on the processes and building continuous improvement, you will have the culture change that you are looking for. Also, correct mistakes immediately. Don’t wait for the next shift, the weekend or maintenance to do it.

Lean Tip #2241 - Use Kaizen Workshops to Teach and Make Rapid Changes
Use a talented and experienced facilitator who has a deep understanding of lean tools and philosophy but keep training focused on a specific problem. This helps to keep the training relevant to real world situations and ensures that there are tangible outcomes from training activity. The kaizen might have an objective to reduce setup time from 80 minutes to 60 minutes in four days, for instance.

Lean Tip #2242 -  Organize Around Value Streams
In most organizations, management is organized by process or function. In other words, managers own certain steps in a process but nobody is responsible for the entire value stream. In the second edition of Lean Thinking (2003), the authors recommend a matrix organization where there are still heads of departments but also value stream managers, similar to Toyota's chief engineer system. Someone with real leadership skills and a deep understanding of the product and process must be responsible for the process of creating value for customers and must be accountable to the customer.

Lean Tip #2243 - Keep Leadership Focused on Long-term Learning
A crisis may prompt a lean movement, but may not be enough to turn a company around. Once the crisis has passed it can be all too tempting to go back to business as usual. Company leadership has to stay focused on Lean for the long term – not just to solve one problem.

Lean Tip #2244 - Create a Positive Atmosphere
Be tolerant towards mistakes committed in lean environment with a supportive and learning attitude. Have patience with progress as this will be key to get results and also try to create a blame free supportive environment. Have courage to take risks at crucial stages to push things and resources to meet the plan and achieve results.

Lean Tip #2245 - Set up a Lean Enterprise Steering Team
This team would be responsible to provide support in the planning, resourcing, implementation, and follow-up accountability for implementation. The steering team is often identical to the normal line management team. The internal resources and external consultants would provide consulting support to the team. This infrastructure would resolve inter-departmental issues.

Lean Tip #2246 - Benchmark with Other Companies
Visit other companies that have successfully implemented lean to get ideas and understanding; other companies are often delighted to present their lean implementation progress. Networking is key to ensure global understanding with other companies implementing Lean.

Lean Tip #2247 - Identify Lean Stewards Who are Passionate About Lean. They Will Continue to Fuel the Fire.
Adoption of any tool and process takes commitment and an open mind to evolve and grow.  We find that without people that are passionate about the process, teams can become complacent.  Although anyone can take on the role of Lean steward, we have found transformation works best when the project management office owns the process and the tool. With project management owning the process, organizations can aim for continuous improvement and a consistent process across functional teams.

Lean Tip #2248 - Use Visual Management To Control The Workflow
Use visual management principles to provide visibility of work-in-progress (i.e., status of orders, projects, reports, etc.). A visual communication system ensure that standards are in place so that work is completed on schedule. Visual Management should be implemented in the office areas as well as in production areas.

Lean Tip #2249 – Share More, Not Less.
Even in a small company, silos emerge. A policy of more sharing will help everyone stay in touch with what others are doing, and create a collective expectation. Keeping everyone pointed in the same direction is hard; sharing more about what’s going on, how you’re doing things, reasoning behind decisions, etc. will help.

Lean Tip #2250 - Plan/Do/Check/Act (PDCA).

Part of building an innovative culture is letting people experiment. So, plan what you’re going to do, do it, then check to see if you get the result you wanted. If you see success, then you act on it. You don’t want to put something into practice without knowing that it will achieve the desired result. Checking results before you act allows you to ensure that you’ve worked out all the kinks before you implement change.

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