Any manufacturing system has production orders, some of which are urgent, others of which are less so. Hence, you may need to prioritize some orders over others. There are different ways to prioritize your orders – and merely telling your people to rush a job creates more chaos than it helps. Luckily, in a kanban loop, there is one spot to prioritize your production orders: before the first process. Done correctly, this allows you to create a smoother and more efficient production system. Let’s go into more detail. In this first post of a longer series, I go through the basics: why, where, and how not to prioritize. Continue reading How to Prioritize Your Work Orders – Basics
Motivation is a key aspect to success. This applies not only to individuals, but also to corporations. Since this is not really any new revelation, many companies put in quite a bit of effort into raising corporate morale. One popular morale booster is corporate events. It is difficult to make such events truly exceptional, but most companies manage to do at least a decent job. Others, however, produce just cringe-worthy results. Or, you could say they create a night to remember. Luckily for us, these are there for all to see on YouTube . Let’s have a look! Continue reading Using Lots of Effort and Money to Demotivate Your People
Employment is an exchange of work for money. In my last post I showed a few tricks on how operators keep management in the dark about the true workload. However, management is also not giving out all the details on their side either. Naturally, the true value of the work is difficult to asses. Even if companies could know exactly how much each employee contributes to the success, they probably would keep this information top secret.
More interesting, however, is the value of the target workload, where operators are able to work continuously at 130% capacity without problem. The following are my own thoughts, as I have never seen these conclusions anywhere else before.
Employment is an exchange of work for money. As with most negotiations, both sides would like to keep their cards hidden, so employers and employees use different tricks in an attempt to hide the true facts from the other.
This post looks at the tricks of employees, whereas the next post will look at those of employers. As employees have more control over the work than they do over the salary, this post shows how to keep management in the dark about the true workload. Continue reading How Operators Hide the True Workload
To manage your shop floor (or any other part of your enterprise), you need to have reliable data about the situation on the shop floor. Even with reliable data, the remaining uncertainty makes good management a challenge. Many managers, to save precious time, rely on data and information provided to them by their people. This is a grave mistake! Always verify at least part of the data with you own eyes! You would be surprised how different – and usually worse – it is in reality. Continue reading Visit the Shop Floor or Your People Will Fool You! – Genchi Genbutsu
Lean started with manufacturing, but since then has moved in many other areas of the economy, from lean banking to lean healthcare. One major part of modern economy is administrative processes, which includes things like making offers, procurement, accounting, engineering, research, and many others. By some estimates, more than half of the cost of producing companies are in administration. Up to 80 percent of the lead time is due to administration. A lot of the principles behind lean can be used in administration. However, there are also some unique challenges that are less prominent in manufacturing. Let’s have a look. Continue reading The Challenges of Lean Administration
One 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
The largest ten car makers sell over 200 different car models on the US market. Without vans, SUVs, and sport cars, there are still 100 consumer cars left. Toyota has the largest number with a total of 14 models, yet they still have an excellent market strategy and very little self cannibalization. BMW has much fewer models, yet still manages to cannibalize itself. GM has 13 models and also steps on its own toes, while completely missing another market segment. This post is based on a master’s thesis of one of my students, Amir Javanshir, and the detailed source is at the end of the article. Continue reading American Automotive Market Strategy of Toyota and Others