Work Improvement before Equipment Improvement

Maintenance Work in IndustryWhen improving a system, Western engineers love to take the technical approach and to optimize the machines and tools. However, at Toyota this is seen differently. At Toyota, they try to address a problem by first training the people, followed by improving the standards and the layout, before improving the equipment and finally twiddling with the design. Let’s have a closer look at how Toyota is approaching improvements.

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How to Convince Your People to Do a Lean Transformation

Many companies want to achieve a lean production system. For this, these companies conduct lean transformations. And this in turn needs the buy-in of the people who will be working with the transformed system later on, usually the operators. However, a problem many lean transformations encounter is that … the operators don’t want to transform! This is of course a challenge. Let’s have a look at why this happens, and how you can prevent and overcome the issue.

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About the Value of Disagreement for Leadership

Leaders not only make decisions, but also have a large impact on the mood and the culture in a company. Often, they like to be right. Yet, they are only humans, they don’t know everything, and they do make mistakes. Hence, a good culture for disagreement is important to make better decisions. In this post I would like to talk more about the value of disagreement, and why it is not common to find it in industry.

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About Just in Time and Fluctuations (Like… a Pandemic…)

Global logistics networkJust in Time (JIT) is a powerful tool in lean. However, it is not an easy tool. Using it without understanding the requirements can quickly make things worse. I have written about related topics before, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, Just in Time was often blamed for a lack of material, usually by people who do not understand how just in time works.

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Standards Part 9: Leader Standard Work

Leader standard work. Sometimes also called standard work for leaders.  A term that floats around quite a bit in lean manufacturing, but I always find it hard to make it more specific. The idea follows the lean concept to standardize things, and tries to standardize the work of managers or leaders. The idea itself is not bad, but it always feels like nailing Jell-O to a wall. There are definitely some worthwhile elements, but sometimes it appears almost mystical. Let’s have a look:

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Standards Part 8: Example for a Work Standard

In this series I have talked a lot about standards in general, work standards, standardized work. Let me now show you an example of a work standard, an actual instruction on how to do a work. Since standards in industry are usually confidential, I present you my own standard on how to make a cup of ramen noodles. I used a software tool Soft4Lean SWI to help me with the format; more on that later.

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