Tag Archives: History

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

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

The Arsenal of Venice

Land Gate of the Arsenal of Venice
Land gate of the Arsenal of Venice

The Arsenal of Venice was one of the the largest industrial sites in Europe in the 16th century. This was the hub of Venetian ship building, supporting the power of the Venetian republic. Both warships and merchant vessels were built there.

It is also known for the organization of its work. Sometimes it is listed as the world’s first assembly line, although in my view this may be a bit of a stretch. While they achieved a lot, there was also a lot of chaos. In this post I present you with a bit about the Arsenal in general, as well as some detailed maps by Abbot Maffioletti from 1797 and 1798. In my next post I will go into much more detail on the material flow based on these maps. Continue reading The Arsenal of Venice

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

150th Anniversary of the Birth of Sakichi Toyoda

Sakichi Toyoda
Sakichi Toyoda

Exactly 150 years ago, on February 14, 1867, Sakichi Toyoda (豊田 佐吉 Toyoda Sakichi)  was born. He is known in Japan as the King of Inventors (which is probably a bit of an exaggeration), father of the Japanese Industrial Revolution, and also the founder of the Toyota industrial empire. Time to take a look back in history on his life. Continue reading 150th Anniversary of the Birth of Sakichi Toyoda

Interview on the David Pakman Show on the Future of Manufacturing

david-pakman-show-logoRecently I had the exciting opportunity to be interviewed on the David Pakman Show on American TV, where I talked about the future of manufacturing, especially in America. Our subjects of discussion ranged from “bringing jobs back,” to the presidential election, to the carbon tax and many more current issues. Here’s the full video and also the transcript: Continue reading Interview on the David Pakman Show on the Future of Manufacturing

Reddit: I am Chris Roser, a professor studying the past, present, and future of manufacturing, and just published my first book. AMA!

reddit-logo-notextOn September 27, I did my first Reddit: “I am a … ask me anything.” With almost four hundred comments, I consider it a quite successful AMA.

I am Chris Roser, a professor for production management; a lean expert; a Toyota, Bosch, and McKinsey alumnus; and I’m interested in the past, present, and future of manufacturing. I lived and worked for multiple years in the USA, in Japan, and in Europe. I run a blog, AllAboutLean.com, and just completed my first book, “Faster, Better, Cheaper” in the History of Manufacturing: From the Stone Age to Lean Manufacturing and Beyond. Continue reading Reddit: I am Chris Roser, a professor studying the past, present, and future of manufacturing, and just published my first book. AMA!

Volkswagen Supplier Relations Failure

volkswagen-fightIn the last months, there has been an unprecedented power struggle between Volkswagen and its suppliers. Two of the suppliers stopped delivering, leading to a full stop of multiple production lines at six Volkswagen plants, including its main plant Wolfsburg. This whole mess comes on top of the separate problems Volkswagen has had with its Dieselgate. In this post I would like to look in more detail at what happened. Continue reading Volkswagen Supplier Relations Failure