# Visit the Shop Floor or Your People Will Fool You! – Genchi Genbutsu

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

# Line Balancing Part 5 – Balancing Using Paper

The previous four posts in this series for line balancing all looked at how to prepare the data and do some initial calculations. You could balance the line using a computer or – much better – do it using paper. In this fifth post, we now actually start to balance the line though shifting around small pieces of paper. In the next post I will show you some important tricks, and also how to do it on a computer (bah!). Continue reading Line Balancing Part 5 – Balancing Using Paper

# Line Balancing Part 4 – OEE Usage and Flexibility

In the previous post we looked at the potential problems when using an OEE for line balancing. Now, in the fourth post on line balancing, we actually use the OEE to create target cycle times (or, alternatively, a target line takt) for our system before we start balancing the system in the next post. Continue reading Line Balancing Part 4 – OEE Usage and Flexibility

# Line Balancing Part 3 – OEE Caveats

When balancing a line, it is important to distinguish between idealized times without losses, and times that include all types of losses like breakdowns or missing material. The ratio between the ideal time and the real time is the OEE. This post looks at some of the problems that can happen with line balancing if an OEE is used incorrectly or differently, and is the third post on this series of line balancing. Once we have determined what OEE to use, we will look at how to use the OEE in line balancing in the next post. Continue reading Line Balancing Part 3 – OEE Caveats

# Line Balancing Part 2 – Duration of Tasks

In our first post on line balancing, we looked at the tasks that must be included in the line. In this second post of this series on line balancing, we look at the durations for the individual tasks. Of particular interest are different strategies on how to balance a line if the tasks have different durations for different products. A second consideration is if the equipment is already available or is still to be purchased (and hence can be customized more). The next post will look at more details of the losses (i.e., the OEE). Continue reading Line Balancing Part 2 – Duration of Tasks

# Line Balancing Part 1 – Data Overview

Balancing the workload in a manufacturing system helps greatly in improving performance. Most importantly, it reduces unevenness (mura) due to different workloads. This in turn will reduce wasted waiting time (muda) for those with too little work, and overburden (muri) for those with too much. Additionally, I usually find it to be one of the easier aspects of lean manufacturing, since the new standard can simply be enforced through the layout of the machines. This post looks at data preparation, especially the customer takt and the list of tasks. It will be the first in a long series of posts on line balancing. The next post will look at the durations needed for the tasks. Continue reading Line Balancing Part 1 – Data Overview

# Taiichi Ohno’s Chalk Circle

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

# How to Use an Andon – and How Not To

In my last post, All About Andon, I detailed how the mechanical side of an Andon signaling system works, including Andon cords, buttons, and boards. In the Western world, the mechanical side of an Andon system usually works pretty well. However, in most cases, the usage of the Andon is poor to nonexistent. Hence, in this post I tell you how to actually work with an Andon, and then I will give you a rant why  companies so often mess it up! Continue reading How to Use an Andon – and How Not To