Category Archives: Practical Tips

Hands on, practical tips that you can use for your work immediately. Academic theory is reduced to a minimum

Taiichi Ohno’s Chalk Circle

Chalk CircleOne of the famous teaching methods by Taiichi Ohno is the chalk circle. The method itself is simple. A circle is drawn on the shop floor near a point of interest. A disciple is put in the circle and told not to leave it until he is picked up again by the teacher.

In this post I will explain a bit about the chalk circle, how to use it for teaching, and how to use it for yourself. Continue reading Taiichi Ohno’s Chalk Circle

Cycle Times for Manual Processes

Alfonsina Morini
Even more on cycle times…

In my last two posts I described how to measure cycle times. However, for manual processes measuring cycle times is quite different, since the humans that are measured usually strongly dislike being measured. Therefore, it is difficult to measure it directly. There is an alternative to calculate it, but this also has lots of pitfalls. Let me explain you a bit about human psychology, and how to measure manual cycle times. Continue reading Cycle Times for Manual Processes

How to Measure Cycle Times – Part 2

Bicycle New Zealand
More on Cycle Times …

This is the second post on how to measure the cycle time of a process. Again, the cycle time is the fastest repeatable time in which you can produce one part. Hence, as part of a series on manufacturing speed measurements I continue with more details on what cycle times really are. This is the second post on how to measure cycle times (post 1 here), with an additional third post focusing on the details of manual cycle times coming up next. Continue reading How to Measure Cycle Times – Part 2

How to Measure Cycle Times – Part 1

Quadracycle 1886
The good old cycle times …

The cycle time of a process is a key to match the supply with the demand in lean manufacturing. Everybody working on a shop floor knows the term. Yet, I still find that people sometimes confuse what exactly it means. The cycle time is the fastest repeatable time in which you can produce one part. Hence, in this post as part of a series on manufacturing speed measurements I would like to dig deeper into what cycle times really are, and how to best measure them. As it turns out, there is actually quite some detail on how to measure cycle times, hence I split this post into two parts (second part How to Measure Cycle Times – Part 2), with an additional third post focusing on the details of manual cycle times. Continue reading How to Measure Cycle Times – Part 1

Theory and Practice of Supermarkets – Part 2

grocery store market supermarket retail shop
How to use supermarkets correctly …

In my last post, I described how supermarkets work in theory. But while knowing the theory helps, actually creating a working supermarket is much more difficult. Are there situations where supermarkets are not so useful? (Hint: Yes!). And what is needed to have a working supermarket? Let’s find out! Continue reading Theory and Practice of Supermarkets – Part 2

How to Find a Good Lean Consultant

Group of businessmen without heads
Whom shall it be?

Lean manufacturing is difficult. External expertise can help you in improving your business. However, the wrong consultant can at best have no effect, or worse damage your company, or at worst kill the company. Hence the consultant you hire will have a significant impact on the outcome of the project. This post will give you some advice on how to select a good consultant. Continue reading How to Find a Good Lean Consultant

How to Make 5S Stick

Cleaning
How to keep it clean …

In my last post I detailed the 5S method (and its variants 4S, 6S, and so on). However, knowing the theory is the easy part. Successfully implementing 5S is much more difficult, and industry is ripe with anecdotes on failed 5S implementations. Here I will give you a few tips on how to increase your chances of success. However, there is no magic bullet. Cleaning and organizing a shop floor is hard work, and keeping it that way is even harder. Continue reading How to Make 5S Stick

Shop Floor Etiquette – Part 2

A little courtesy often goes a long way!
A little courtesy often goes a long way!

This is the second post of a two-post series on shop floor etiquette (first post here). I find this a very necessary post, as I have way too often observed visitors to the shop floor lacking manners (and occasionally, I may have lacked manners myself 🙁 ). Hence, please do not treat this post as optional, but try to incorporate it into your daily shop floor work. Being accepted on the shop floor is crucial for any successful change on the shop floor. Continue reading Shop Floor Etiquette – Part 2