All posts by Christoph Roser

150 Years after the Birth of Albert Kahn

Albert Kahn PortraitAlbert Kahn (1869–1942) is an often unknown but very influential figure in the history of manufacturing. An architect by trade, he revolutionized industrial architecture, and is often nicknamed the “Architect of Detroit.” Most modern factories have a design that goes back to his innovations. Since he was born exactly 150 years ago on March 21, 1869, it is a good time to look at his achievements. Continue reading 150 Years after the Birth of Albert Kahn

The Toyoda Model G Loom (with Videos)

Toyota Motor originated from the Toyoda loom factory, where Sakichi Toyoda invented looms. Probably the most famous one is the Toyoda Model G Automatic Loom. This loom touches on many points that are part of the Toyota Production System and lean manufacturing. During my last visit to Japan in September, I made some videos detailing many of the features of the Toyoda Automatic Loom from 1924. Be advised: Lots of images and videos ahead! Continue reading The Toyoda Model G Loom (with Videos)

Production Control with COBACABANA

The Copacabana is a very nice beach in Rio de Janeiro. Spelled slightly differently, COBACABANA is a production control approach. Here, COBACABANA stands for Control of Balance by Card Based Navigation (sometimes also abbreviated to COBA). It is an approach to manage a job-shop workload of custom orders using paper cards. A lot of paper cards, in fact, which also makes the method a bit complex, and I am doubtful if this method is practical. Let me show you how it works. Continue reading Production Control with COBACABANA

Delivery Sequences: FIFO, LIFO, and Others

Sometimes, when you need a part or product from your inventory, you may have more than one item in stock. Which one do you pick? In this blog post I want to present a few strategies for choosing which item to take. The most famous one is FIFO, but there are more options available. In my next post I will present similar strategies if you need to start production before the item becomes available. Continue reading Delivery Sequences: FIFO, LIFO, and Others

How to Make CONWIP Loops

CONWIP-go-round with different jobs: like a roller coaster with different people

CONWIP (Constant Work in Progress) is an easy way to establish pull production for custom-made products. Traditionally there is only one large loop for the product. However, there may also be situations where it is sensible to split a longer CONWIP loop into smaller segments. Let’s have a look at the details. Continue reading How to Make CONWIP Loops

Should You Use Physical or Digital Kanban Cards?

One Process Kanban LoopKanban and similar pull systems like CONWIP or POLCA are basic parts of lean production. They limit the maximum number of parts by attaching a sort of token (i.e., the kanban card) to the part, and return to the beginning when the part leaves the system.

These kanban can be physical cards or digital representations. In this post I look into when you should use a physical kanban and when you should use a digital kanban. Continue reading Should You Use Physical or Digital Kanban Cards?

Hoshin Kanri and the Kanri Noryoku Program: Rejuvenating Toyota

In my previous posts I explained how Hoshin Kanri works. This post looks at how Toyota embeds Hoshin Kanri as part of their overall management structure. Toyota started this in 1979 when director Masao Nemoto started the Kanri Noryoku Program (管理能力プログラム), usually shortened to KanPro. Continue reading Hoshin Kanri and the Kanri Noryoku Program: Rejuvenating Toyota