In 2019 I organized an Industry 4.0 tour through southern Germany for a few friends. We called this the “Van of Nerds,” and you can read all about it in a series of blog posts starting here. The participants liked the van trip so much that we wanted to repeat this experience… and then came COVID. We held two online Van of Nerds mini-conferences (organized by our Nerd Torbjörn Netland), and finally, on September 5–9, 2022, we were able to take another real-world tour with our van of nerds, this time in France. The tour was organized thanks to nerds Franck Vermet and Michel Baudin.
You may have heard of Takumi at Toyota. Takumi in general are highly skilled artisans that excel in their craft. Despite Toyota mass-producing cars using lots of machines, they also employ hundreds of Takumi. This blog post takes a deeper look at what a Takumi is, and why they are so important for Toyota and other Japanese companies.
Recently, the Japanese word ikigai has been popping up as a way to find happiness. While not quite a manufacturing theme, it is related to industry and to Japanese culture, and hence I decided to write a blog post about it. It is a lot of hubbub around a few good (but not new) ideas, wrapped in a out-of-context Japanese word.
In my last post I looked at how to reduce product variants, and the inevitable conflict with sales. In this post I will look at how to reduce not the number of final products, but the number of part types that go into the final product… and here you often have a conflict with product development. However, like the reduction of the number of final products, this reduction in fluctuation has significant benefits for the company.
Product variants drive up cost. The more variants you have for the same quantity sold, the higher your production cost. Inversely, if you can reduce your number of variants, you can reduce your cost. In this post I will give you some general suggestions on how to reduce your number of variants. Hopefully these inspire and help you to become more efficient.
This is the third and last post in my series on how to reduce the lot size. The first post gave some introduction and how to approach the problem of reducing lot sizes. The second post looked in more detail at how to reduce lot sizes due to changeovers, container size, and shipment size. This final post will look at the remaining causes of customer order size, machine batch size, the abominable leveling pattern, and tradition.
In my last post I gave some basics on how to reduce the lot size in order to reduce both inventory and fluctuations (mura). There are many different reasons why you may have larger lot sizes in the first place. Depending on the root cause, the possible solution may differ. In this and the next post I will look at these different root causes and possible solutions in more detail.
In lean, the perfect lot size is one. Ideally, you should be able to make your products in a lot size of one. However, especially in mass production, larger lot sizes are common. Getting down to smaller lot sizes, or ideally to a lot size of one, is not always easy, and sometimes may not even be economically feasible (yet!). Let me discuss ways to reduce lot sizes.