One important aspect in lean manufacturing is “Respect for People,” or more correctly, “Respect for Humanity.” But while it is mentioned frequently in presentations and books on lean manufacturing, what it actually means is often glossed over. And it is not an easy topic to write about. There is no “5 Steps to Respect for People.” Sorry. I have been thinking about writing a blog post on respect for quite some time, but it is difficult to write something substantial rather than just some anecdotes. It runs the risk of quickly drifting off into general management and leadership behavior. Nevertheless, I managed to write a series of three blog posts on it. Well, anyway, here we go…
Reducing lead time is often important for the success of a company. This last out of four posts looks a bit more in detail at the reduction in lead time during product development. This is especially important for make-to-order production, but also for the introduction of new products into the market. Let’s have a look.
Two more factors for reducing your lead time are the throughput and the lot size. However, the throughput has a smaller effect – although with other benefits that are often larger than the reduction in the lead time. The reduction in the lot size can have a huge effect, although usually only for make-to-stock production. Nevertheless, both are worth looking at if you want to reduce the lead time.
This second post in a series on how to reduce your lead time looks deeper at the effect of fluctuations and utilization. Improving these will reduce your inventory and hence, as per Little’s Law, reduce your lead time.
Lead time is a key factor for customer satisfaction, especially with make-to-order production. Hence, many companies want to reduce this lead time. In this blog post I show you the basic levers that influence your lead time, and a few more that may also apply to some cases. You have to find the combination of these levers that works best for you. This is the first post in a series of four posts on how to reduce lead time. Most of the series focuses on production, but the last post looks into reduction of lead time in development.
Lean manufacturing often talks about true north. This is the direction in which your operations should move to become better. Sometimes that may be a bit fuzzy, so let’s have a look at what true north could include.
I am fully aware that reaching true north in all aspects is unrealistic. If you actually reached true north, there would be nothing left to improve… which goes against my beliefs in manufacturing. You can always get better! Hence, achieving the list below is not realistic. But hey, as I am writing this, it is almost Christmas, and it is okay to make a wish! I hope that this unrealistic list helps you to get closer to true north in at least some aspects.
The baton touch is probably the easiest way to do multi-machine handling in a line. This ease-of-use makes it a very popular approach for the assignment of the operators in a line. An operator is in charge of a fixed set of processes. The operator always repeats the same loop of processes. Multiple operators, each with their fixed assignment of processes, work on a production line together. It is quite simple.
Lean manufacturing can help you and your company greatly. But how do you learn lean? Of course, there are plenty of Six Sigma lean black belts and other certificates available online, but do they really make you understand lean? In this post I have some suggestions on how to learn lean. These can befollowed by people with access to an actual shop floor to work on. However, I have also included suggestions for people, e.g. students, that do not have access to a shop floor. In this case, you can do … let’s call it “Home Improvement“. Let’s have a look at some suggested actions for learning how to do lean!