Toyota’s Master Craftsmen: Takumi

Japanese Master Brush Maker Yoshiyuki Hata
Japanese master brush maker Yoshiyuki Hata

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.

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What Is Ikigai?

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.

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How to Reduce Part Variants

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.

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How to Reduce Product Variants

Steering wheelsProduct 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.

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How to Reduce Your Lot Size Part 3—Customer, Machine, Leveling, and Tradition

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.

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How to Reduce Your Lot Size Part 2—Changeover, Container, and Shipments

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.

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How to Reduce Your Lot Size Part 1—Introduction

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.

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Why FIFO: The Benefits of First In, First Out

Waiting for service – FiFo or notFIFO (first in, first out) is one of the simplest and most basic ideas in manufacturing, and yields significant benefits. It is so simple that I don’t even want to call it a tool, since it is one of the fundamentals in manufacturing (and many other areas). In this post I want to take a closer look at the power of this most fundamental approach to material flow.

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