Tag Archives: Waste

All About Spaghetti Diagrams

Eating Spaghetti
Working hard on that diagram …

A spaghetti diagram is a quick and easy way to track distances of parts and people on the shop floor. The name comes from the result looking like a plate of spaghetti. In this post I will explain the details and give some tips and tricks on how to make a good spaghetti diagram. Continue reading All About Spaghetti Diagrams

Muda, Mura, Muri: The Three Evils of Manufacturing

Three Evils of Manufacturing
The three evils …

In its never-ending quest to improve its production, Toyota has identified the three evils of any manufacturing system: waste (muda), unevenness (mura), and overburden (muri). In this post I will explain the concepts behind these three banes of manufacturing. Continue reading Muda, Mura, Muri: The Three Evils of Manufacturing

More On Cuba’s Planned Economy: Cuban Industry

Hershey Factory Cuba
The state of the Cuban economy

A few weeks ago I wrote an article on the Cuban economy, focusing on commerce (See How a Planned Economy Can Screw Up an Entire Country – Analogy between Cuba’s Communist Economy and Push Systems). On the same visit I not only saw supermarkets, but I also had a look at industry. Unfortunately there are no visitors allowed in their government factories. Nevertheless, I was able to catch some glimpses of different industries. Continue reading More On Cuba’s Planned Economy: Cuban Industry

The Seven Types of Waste (Muda) – Now with 24 More Types of Waste Absolutely Free!

Seven Trash Cans Labeled

One popular and well-known concept of the Toyota Production System is the elimination of waste, in Japanese also called muda (無駄). It is one of the three evils of manufacturing systems, the others being unevenness (mura, 斑) and overburden (muri, 無理). In this post I would like to go through the details of waste with you. This includes the traditional seven types of waste – of which I am a big fan. For completeness sake I also included a lot more types of waste I have come across in industry. However, you have to decide yourself if these additional wastes are not themselves a waste. Continue reading The Seven Types of Waste (Muda) – Now with 24 More Types of Waste Absolutely Free!

How a Planned Economy Can Screw Up an Entire Country – Analogy between Cuba’s Communist Economy and Push Systems

Cuban FlagOver Christmas I escaped the cold weather in Germany and relaxed on the warm beaches in Cuba. Of course, being a lean expert, I was also interested in the Cuban economy. As a communist economy (or more precisely, a socialist economy), it is based on centralized planning. In comparison, the capitalist system of the US (and most of the rest of the world) leaves most business decisions to individual entrepreneurs. This is somewhat similar to push and pull in manufacturing. Push systems also rely on centralized planning, while pull systems have their signal from inside the system to match the customer demand. As capitalism outperforms communism, pull usually outperforms push. Hence, in this post I would like to show you the shenanigans that happen in Cuba due to the effects of centralized planning. Warning: Lots of images ahead! Continue reading How a Planned Economy Can Screw Up an Entire Country – Analogy between Cuba’s Communist Economy and Push Systems

The Hidden and not-so-hidden costs of Inventory

Gold Bullion Missing
1/3rd to 2/3rd gone every year!

Inventory is one of the seven types of waste. There is usually quite a significant cost associated with having inventory, usually much more than what traditional bookkeeping accounts for. Between 30% and 65% of the value of your inventory is spent every year as inventory-related costs! This post looks into more detail at the cost of this inventory. Continue reading The Hidden and not-so-hidden costs of Inventory

A Lean Obituary for Maybach – A Cautionary Tale About Cost of Complexity

$439,000 gift with every car purchased
$439,000 gift with every car purchased

With the end of last year, Daimler stopped selling its flagship vehicle, Maybach. I would like to use this opportunity to talk about the danger and harm to your company by increasing the number of product types sold. As an illustrative (and expensive) example, I would like to split the total cost of the Maybach in its individual parts (as far as I can estimate them).  My hope is that this motivates you to reduce, or at least no longer increase, the number of variants in your product portfolio. Continue reading A Lean Obituary for Maybach – A Cautionary Tale About Cost of Complexity

Lean Shop Floor Checklist – Top 4 KPI to Watch in the Factory

Lean Shop Floor Visit Checklist
Check my List!

Due to popular demand related to my two posts on “Make Your Plant Tour a Success!” and “How to Misguide Your Visitor – or What Not to Pay Attention to During a Plant Visit!,” I have created a  checklist for a lean visit to a manufacturing shop floor for you to download. Take this checklist with easy-to-use metrics during your shop floor visit to make yourself independent of potentially misleading data given to you by the shop floor staff. Metrics include worker utilization, machine utilization, inventory reach and turnaround, and order & cleanliness. Continue reading Lean Shop Floor Checklist – Top 4 KPI to Watch in the Factory