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?

Where Lean Went Wrong – A Historical Perspective

Clueless ManagerThe Toyota Production System is widely considered to be the best production system for any larger company. Achieving similar performance is the vision (or dream?) of many companies. Pretty much all of lean manufacturing is the attempt to copy the approach of Toyota in the hope of a similar stellar performance. Yet most lean transformations fall way short of the goal. In this blog post I would like to give some insights, from a historical perspective, on why lean so often fails. Continue reading Where Lean Went Wrong – A Historical Perspective

Strategies for Mass Customization

Steering wheelsMass customization promises us individually customized products at the price of a mass-produced item. We get something that is customized to our needs but doesn’t have the luxury price tag usually associated with custom-made products. While challenging, numerous different companies have managed to achieve customization with only marginally higher prices than standard products. In this post I want to look in more detail at how to achieve mass customization. Continue reading Strategies for Mass Customization

Material Flow in the Arsenal of Venice 1797

Whenever I am in Venice, I try to visit the Museo Storico Navale, near the entrance to the Arsenal of Venice. This museum has a set of beautiful detailed maps by Abbot Maffioletti showing the Arsenal of Venice in 1797, 1798, and “After Napoleon.” You can see in great detail the different steps needed to build and equip a sailing vessel. In this post, I will explain the material flow of the Arsenal of Venice, which was the largest industrial site in Europe and possibly in the world during its time.  Be warned, this post is rich in images. The material flow is partially based on the master thesis of my student Maren-Linn Janka. Continue reading Material Flow in the Arsenal of Venice 1797