Category Archives: Inventory

How to Determine Your Lot Size – Part 1

There are a few factors that can influence lot size: machine batch size, changeover time, size of the container, shipment sizes, and the size of your customers’ orders, which then are combined in the set up of the information flow. All of these factors can be influenced to move toward the true north of lot size one! Also, do not confuse the lot size with the number of parts per kanban. They are related but can be different. In this series of three posts, let me explain in more detail how the factors come together for you to determine the lot size of your processes. Continue reading How to Determine Your Lot Size – Part 1

Toyota’s and Denso’s Relentless Quest for Lot Size One

Relay Race Hand Over
Just when you need it …

A famous step toward perfection in a lean production system is a lot size of one. However, few people realize what enormous effort and rigor Toyota applies to achieve this goal. During my visit to a Toyota plant and the APMS conference in Tokyo in 2015, I saw quite a few stunning examples of this quest. Let me show you … Continue reading Toyota’s and Denso’s Relentless Quest for Lot Size One

Can you tell your Bottleneck from your Inventory?

HourglassOn the shop floor it is common wisdom to find the bottleneck based on the inventory. If the buffer is full, the bottleneck is downstream. If the buffer is empty, the bottleneck is upstream. Is this true? My student Carolin Romeser and I spent quite some time verifying this, and found some interesting results. In general it is true, but … the devil is in the details. Continue reading Can you tell your Bottleneck from your Inventory?

How to Prioritize Your Work Orders – Prioritization of Made to Order

Nico_Rosberg_overtaking_Heidfeld_2007_BrazilIn my previous posts I went into great detail on how to prioritize your work, with a focus on made-to-stock-type production. In this last post of my series on work prioritization, I look at made-to-order systems and mixed made-to-order and made-to-stock systems. Continue reading How to Prioritize Your Work Orders – Prioritization of Made to Order

How to Prioritize Your Work Orders – Prioritization of Made to Stock

Emergency Corridor 2
Prioritization strategy for emergency vehicles …

In my last two posts I described why and how to establish a system for handling priority work orders. This post discusses how to actually prioritize your different work orders.

Hint: It has a lot to do with the quantity of a particular product ordered. The more frequently a product is ordered, the easier it is to provide the parts through inventory rather than rush orders. But … I rush ahead 🙂 .

There are different strategies available, depending on your production mix – in particular your mixture of made-to-order and made-to-stock products.  Let’s first focus on made-to-stock production. Continue reading How to Prioritize Your Work Orders – Prioritization of Made to Stock

How to Prioritize Your Work Orders – The VIP Lane

VIP LabelIn my previous post I went through the basics of prioritization of your work orders. The easiest way to prioritize these orders is through a VIP lane: a lane for very important parts. In this post I will discuss what you need to make your VIP lane work – and how you can completely mess up a priority system. In my next post I will describe different prioritization strategies that can be used. Continue reading How to Prioritize Your Work Orders – The VIP Lane

How to Prioritize Your Work Orders – Basics

Prioritize OvertakeAny manufacturing system has production orders, some of which are urgent, others of which are less so. Hence, you may need to prioritize some orders over others. There are different ways to prioritize your orders – and merely telling your people to rush a job creates more chaos than it helps. Luckily, in a kanban loop, there is one spot to prioritize your production orders: before the first process. Done correctly, this allows you to create a smoother and more efficient production system. Let’s go into more detail. In this first post of a longer series, I go through the basics: why, where, and how not to prioritize. Continue reading How to Prioritize Your Work Orders – Basics

How to Make “Just in Time” Work – Part 2

Women Relay Race
Just in time…

In my previous posts I explained what “Just in Time” is, and started with different actions on how to make “Just in Time” work. As it turns out, there are a lot of things you can do, and one blog post was not enough. So here’s part two on how to make “Just in Time” work! As before, be warned that most of these methods or actions are not easy! Continue reading How to Make “Just in Time” Work – Part 2