The 6R Goals of Lean Manufacturing

Lean manufacturing aims to improve manufacturing. In this post, I would like to look at the 6R goals and clarify them. The 6R are right product, right place, right time, in the right quantity and quality, and at the right cost. It has a lot to do with logistics, not only for the final product, but also for the raw materials and intermediate components. Let’s have a look:

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How to Look Good at the Cost of Your Successor (Please Don’t!)–Part 3

This is the last of my three posts on how to benefit at the cost of your successor. And again, please don’t. This is more of a warning on how to damage the plant for the benefit of the manager. And again, I hope rather than someone using this as a to-do list, someone uses it to see dangers. This last post looks at the worst “trick” of them all, burning the goodwill of your employees for a quick buck. It also looks at the one easiest to see, selling the plant and renting it back.

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How to Look Good at the Cost of Your Successor (Please Don’t!)–Part 2

This is the second post in this short three-post series on how to look good while driving the plant into the ground. Again, the following is intended more of a warning on how NOT to do it, even though I fear some may use it as a checklist. My hope is that even more see the signs and can stop it, or at least not reward the person in question for this type of skullduggery. I will also talk briefly about how to recognize and counteract this type of behavior for the long-term health and success of your plant.

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How to Look Good at the Cost of Your Successor (Please Don’t!)–Part 1

This post series will be an unusual one. I will tell you how to look good in manufacturing at the cost of your successor. Of course, I do NOT want you to do that. Not only will there be no improvement, but instead the plant will be worse in the long run at the cost of a short-term benefit. This is a somewhat sarcastic post on the dirty tricks you can use to look good, while at the same time driving your (future) plant into the ground. The responsible managers of course will be somewhere else before the inevitable happens. Even though the approaches below are bad for the plant, I am sure some managers will use this as a checklist. But I hope that even more people will see it as a list of warnings for bad managers.

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Virtual Reality Factory for Training and Teaching

The COVID-19 pandemic and its distancing made teaching quite difficult. On-site trainings on the shop floor especially were no longer possible. Torbjørn Netland, Head of Chair of Production and Operations Management (POM) at ETH Zurich took this challenge as an opportunity and brought the factory to the students virtually. Let me show you his success.

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Where to Start Your Kaizen?

To become lean, you need to improve your factory. Continuous improvement (kaizen) consists of many smaller and/or larger improvements. However, often the first challenge is where to start this improvement. Let me dig deeper into the possibilities and challenges of picking improvement projects, with a particular focus on systems that have multiple independent production lines, which makes everything trickier.

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The Modern Way to Buy Screws

Screws, or more generally fasteners, are a main staple in most industries. Recently I visited a factory and saw a nice way to automate the procurement of screws and other fasteners. This Industry 4.0 solution is part of a vendor-managed inventory (VMI), where you not only buy the screw, but also the service of always having enough screws, and let the vendor manage the hassle of making sure there are enough screws. I found the example in this factory quite neat, and hence decided to tell you about it. Let me show you.

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The Problem of Industry 4.0: Data! – Part 2

In my last post I started to look at the difficulties of handling data in Industry 4.0. I looked especially at the complexity and the often underestimated problem of merging data from different sources or machines. This second post of this two-post series finishes up this topic and will look at the also important and often underestimated task of cleaning up the data.

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