Pull production is one of the most important aspects of lean production. Its key feature is to have an upper limit on inventory that is not to be exceeded. The most well-known way to implement a pull system is by using kanban cards. However, there are many others. In this short series of two posts, I want to give you an overview of the different ways to implement pull systems, and discuss the pros and cons of them. Continue reading Different Ways to Establish a Pull System – Part 1
Yet another hot topic in lean manufacturing is visual management. This can be very helpful in running a shop floor, but when done wrong it can also be quite wasteful and embarrassing. In this post I would like to show you the basic principles of visual management with a few examples. There is more to visual management than merely putting lines on the shop floor. Continue reading Visual Management
Motivating employees is not easy. In previous posts I described that the carrot and the stick approaches don’t work very well. What in my experience works best to improve the system is Respect for People!
This is actually a very important aspect of the Toyota Production System, and Toyota puts in lots of effort to show respect to all people. This includes not only employees (the focus of this post), but also customers, suppliers, neighbors, and pretty much everybody else it comes in contact with. At Toyota, it is actually called Respect for Humanity (人間性尊重, ningenseisoncho). Unfortunately, all too often I find this lacking in Western lean implementations. Continue reading Employee Motivation and Lean Implementation – Part 4: Respect for People
Motivating employees for change is tricky. What often helps is respect, but in reality the opposite is common. While managers claim that of course they respect their people, the employees feel very differently, and quite often there is a lack of respect. In this post I want to talk about this lack of respect and why it happens, before showing how to do it better in the next post. Continue reading Employee Motivation and Lean Implementation – Part 3: Lack of Respect
Lean improvements often fail in implementation, meaning the employees do not follow the new standards. In my last post we already saw that pressure (“the stick”) doesn’t work very well. The second option is the carrot. In this post I will show different “carrots” that are sometimes used to get employees to follow the new standard. However, most of them won’t work very well either. What often works best is actually simply treating people with respect – but I will talk about this in my next post. Continue reading Employee Motivation and Lean Implementation – Part 2: Money
All too often, good ideas for a lean implementation fail because workers won’t use the new ideas. They simply stick to their old habits. And, no matter how good the ideas are, if they are not used, then the improvement project is a failure. In this post I want to talk about this common problem in industry. The solution is – in theory – easy: Get your people motivated! Doing this in reality, however, is an extremely challenging task with an often-unknown outcome. Continue reading Employee Motivation and Lean Implementation – Part 1: Carrot and Stick
The sequence of your changeover can have quite an impact on the duration of the changeover. In this series of posts I will show some approaches on how to improve your changeover durations by carefully sequencing the products. This was initially intended to be one post, but as so often happens, it turned out to be more complex than initially thought, and hence I have split it into two posts. The next post will appear next week. Continue reading Changeover Sequencing – Part 1