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.
Industry 4.0 is still a hot topic, even over ten years after the term was coined. Unfortunately, very often I find it to be much more hype than content. The examples where it actually worked well are few and far between, and the examples where not much was hyped as groundbreaking are way too frequent. In my view, a large problem of Industry 4.0 is the data, especially the data structure and the problems with analyzing the data. Hence, (yet another) short series of post warning on the difficulties of Industry 4.0 with a focus on the data.
Toyota did not start out as a lean company, but evolved over time. This was also not an automatic process. It needed a lot of care and attention, as well as continuous improvement and PDCA. This is the second post of this short, two-post series on the path of Toyota from a messy and hard-to-manage job shop to a much more efficient flow shop.
When setting up a new production – or even when rearranging an existing production – one important decision is how to arrange your processes. I have written a lot on line layout, but this post will look at how the arrangement of lines evolved at Toyota. Some of their insights are now accepted wisdoms in lean, but many companies still struggle with it. This post also looks into the manning of machines, especially multi-machine handling. The blog post is based on the appendix in the Toyota Handbook from 1973.
Two hundred fifty years ago today, clockmaker Eli Terry was born on April 13, 1772 in (what is now) South Windsor, Connecticut, USA. He was one of the earliest industrialists using mass production with interchangeable parts in the USA, contemporary with the better-known muskets of Honoré Blanc in France (ca. 1785), and long before John Hancock Hall at the Harpers Ferry Armory (ca. 1824). His name is known mostly to nerds in manufacturing and horology, but I believe his achievements deserve recognition. Hence I will go back in history to look at his life.
On the web and in print, you find frequent mention of a “lean toolbox,” “lean toolbook,” or similar. These books do have their use, and at least one of them is written by an author that I highly respect. Many other lean books also focus on the different tools and methods. But focusing on a set of tools can also be quite misleading. Hence, I wrote this blog post as a word of warning. Every master needs their tools, but the tools do not make a master!
SAP is turning 50! The company was founded on April 1, 1972, exactly fifty years ago. Nowadays it is one of the largest software companies worldwide, and their products are found in many, MANY companies, although not every user seems to love the product. For me, this is a love-hate relationship. You can’t live with it, but you can’t live without it either. Let’s use this anniversary to have a look at the company and its software that is widespread in industry, as well as some general musings on ERP systems.