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

The Grand Tour of Japanese Automotive – Subaru

Subaru is the smallest of the Japanese car makers, with barely a million vehicles per year in 2016, which makes it the 23rd-largest vehicle maker in the world. Yet, since it produces almost exclusively four-wheel-drives, it is also the largest maker of four-wheel-drives. Despite its small size Subaru is highly profitable. During my grand tour of Japanese automotive, I visited Subaru in February 2018. Here are my findings.  Continue reading The Grand Tour of Japanese Automotive – Subaru

The Grand Tour of Japanese Automotive – Mazda

Mazda is the seventeenth-largest car maker in the world with around 1.5 million cars produced in 2016. Most of them were produced in Japan. It is also the only car maker that mass-produced cars using a rotary engine. As part of my Grand Tour of Japanese Automotive Plants, I visited their main Hiroshima plant in January 2018 (one of three Mazda plants in Japan). Here’s what I found: Continue reading The Grand Tour of Japanese Automotive – Mazda

The Grand Tour of Japanese Automotive – Mitsubishi

Mitsubishi Motors is the oldest of the major car companies in Japan, established 1917. It is also one of the smaller ones in Japan, with only slightly more than 1 million vehicles produced in 2016. In January 2018, I had the chance to visit their Okazaki plant near Nagoya. I also visited the Mitsubishi Fuso plant in Kawasaki and one of its suppliers, although that is technically another company. Let me give you the gist of the Mitsubishi Motors Plant Okazaki. Continue reading The Grand Tour of Japanese Automotive – Mitsubishi