The 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
Sometimes, consultants sell lean as a quick and easy way to success that pays for itself. Unfortunately, this is usually not true, as many companies have found out the hard way. Getting lean in a company is similar to getting a lean body; it is usually neither quick nor easy. Let me show you the different phases of a lean transformation. Continue reading Lean Is Tough – The Phases of a Lean Transformation
Lean is my life. Whenever I see someone working, I cannot help but to think about the work from a lean point of view. Every now and then I come across a little gem, where I am just thoroughly impressed with someone’s approach to manage and improve their work. During my winter vacation in Iceland, I came across just such a gem with an excellent corporate culture for continuous improvement. Let me introduce Te & Kaffi and its lean mindset. Continue reading The Lean Mindset – Te & Kaffi in Iceland
There are different ways to manage workers in an manual U-line. One of these methods is known as the “Rabbit Chase,” also known as the “Caravan Approach” or “Operators-in-Motion.” The workers always move in a circle and handle all processes in sequence. Continue reading The Lean Rabbit Chase in a U-Line
A lot of decisions in lean manufacturing have uncertainty. How many products will I sell (and what is my customer takt)? Which layout is more efficient? Should I believe expert A or expert B? Uncertainty is a part of life in manufacturing. In fact, the higher up you go in the hierarchy, the more you have to deal with uncertainty. And often these are not just simple “A or B” type of questions, but highly complex and interacting decisions like “What should our new line look like?” Here are some suggestions on how to deal with uncertainty. Please note that they will not answer all of your questions but will help you make better decisions. Continue reading Dealing with Uncertainty
Recently 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
In 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
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