Category Archives: Lean Tools

Posts related to different lean tools, often also known as the lean toolbox. Different methods that can be used to improve the shop floor, although it is risky to use methods on their own without a whole lean system.

Changeover Sequencing – Part 1

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

On Running Changeovers

Women Relay RaceChangeover times and their reduction are popular topics in lean manufacturing. In this post I would like to introduce the idea of running changeovers for production lines. The idea behind it is simple, and probably many of you do it already. Nevertheless, I have found little info on it online. I also would like to go into more detail on the benefits of a running changeover in comparison to the alternatives. Continue reading On Running Changeovers

The Phases of a Changeover

Formula 1 Pit StopA changeover is changing the set-up of a process from one product to the next. Reducing changeover times is a common and popular way to decrease inventory or to increase available work time (see SMED). Ideally, the changeover time should be zero, allowing true one-piece flow. In reality, however, it is often not zero. This post looks in more detail at the different phases of a changeover to help you understand the process better and to reduce your changeover times. Continue reading The Phases of a Changeover

What to Do with SMED: Reduce Lot Size or Increase Work Time?

SMED (Single Minute Exchange of Die) is a very useful tool to reduce changeover time. Reducing changeover time will free up time for other uses. Western management often wants to use this time to produce more goods. However, the rule of thumb at Toyota is to use this newly available time to do more changeovers rather than more products. This increase in changeover has the potential to significantly reduce the lot size, which often has much larger benefits than the additional work time. In this blog post I want to look in more detail at this relation between changeover duration, productivity, and lot size. Continue reading What to Do with SMED: Reduce Lot Size or Increase Work Time?

Pacing of Flow Lines 2 – Continuously Moving Line

In my last post I described the pacing of pulse and unstructured flow lines. Another common way to structure the pacing of flow lines is the continuously moving line. In  this type of line, the parts are always moving, and the processes and workers move along with the part until the process is completed. Continue reading Pacing of Flow Lines 2 – Continuously Moving Line

Pacing of Flow Lines 1 – Unstructured and Pulse Line

Flow lines are often the best and most organized approach to establish a value stream. Hence, for flow lines or flow shops you can organize the processes much more easily than for many other types of production systems.

In this series of posts I will look at and compare different ways to pace your production processes. Please note that this is not line balancing about the work content for each process, but rather different options on when to start the work for each process. In the first post I will look at unstructured pacing and pulse lines. In my next post I will go into detail for the continuously moving line. Continue reading Pacing of Flow Lines 1 – Unstructured and Pulse Line

Organize Your Production Sequence – 3: Flow Shop

The flow shop is usually preferred for most lean production systems. In a flow shop, the processes are arranged in the sequence of the production steps.  If you can manage to establish a flow shop, your production will be much more efficient than in a job shop or a project shop. In this post I want to talk in more detail about the flow shop. Be warned, this will be a bit of an ode to the flow shop 🙂 . Continue reading Organize Your Production Sequence – 3: Flow Shop