Disabled Employees in Manufacturing – Omron Taiyo in Japan – Part 2

In my last post, I started to describe the factory tour at Omron Taiyo, where more than half of the employees are disabled. This post continues this interesting tour, also looks into the financial situation of their employees, and gives some suggestions for other companies. Continue reading Disabled Employees in Manufacturing – Omron Taiyo in Japan – Part 2

Disabled Employees in Manufacturing – Omron Taiyo in Japan – Part 1

In every country, a part of the population has temporary or permanent disabilities that handicap their working ability. While in Japan, I was able to visit two factories of Omron Taiyo, in Kyoto and Beppu, where the majority of the employees have a disability. This was quite an enlightening experience for me, and I would like to share it with you. Due to the length of this post, I have split it into two parts. Continue reading Disabled Employees in Manufacturing – Omron Taiyo in Japan – Part 1

My Workshop Structure for Creative Problem Solving

In lean manufacturing – or in fact, in any kind of production system – you have to solve problems. Depending on the problem, you may need a creative solution and have to access the wisdom of the crowd. For this I have a workshop structure that I frequently use for problems that have lots of different options. Let me show you my workshop structure with which I’ve had quite good results. Continue reading My Workshop Structure for Creative Problem Solving

Creative Provocation, Reverse Brainstorming, and Analogy

After showing you the details of a few basic creativity techniques, I now get to my most favorite one: creative provocation! It is a bit more advanced, but I had huge successes with this one. It is part of a group of techniques that alter the initial question to foster more creativity. I will also show you reverse brainstorming. Continue reading Creative Provocation, Reverse Brainstorming, and Analogy

Fishbone Diagrams and Mind Maps

A lot of lean problem solving requires creativity. There are many creativity techniques available to help generate ideas for problem solving. In my last post I presented brainstorming, which is a freewheeling creativity technique. In this post I will show you some creativity techniques that have a more structured approach. These include mind maps and fishbone diagrams. Both can be used in groups, but they are also helpful if you need to tackle problems on your own. Continue reading Fishbone Diagrams and Mind Maps

How to Do Brainstorming

A lot of lean is about problem solving, and most of these problems are complex and difficult. Otherwise, someone would have solved them already. Hence, I would like to introduce you to different creativity techniques for problem solving. Most of them can be used in groups to access the collective wisdom and creativity. Most of them are also suitable to develop a number of alternative solutions, of which you can pick the best ones (see my previous post on Japanese Multidimensional Problem Solving). Many of them can be combined in sequence. Let me start with the most common one, brainstorming: Continue reading How to Do Brainstorming

Effect of Prioritization on Waiting Times

Prioritizing one part over others is an easy way to speed up the production of the prioritized part. However, if too many parts are prioritized, the performance of the others will suffer.

My general recommendation is to prioritize no more than 30% of your production volume. In this post I will look in more detail at this relation and verify this assumption (TL;DR: this is correct!). This post is based on a masters thesis by my student Yannic Jäger. Continue reading Effect of Prioritization on Waiting Times