All posts by Christoph Roser

Flexible Manpower Lines 4 – How-To do Flexible Manpower Lines

This is the final post in this series on flexible manpower lines. Since we completed the example line in the last post, I will give you a brief theoretical run-down on how to divide the work among multiple people. I will also show you some easier-to-manage but maybe not-quite-as-efficient alternative options, the bucket brigade and the rabbit chaseContinue reading Flexible Manpower Lines 4 – How-To do Flexible Manpower Lines

Flexible Manpower Lines 3 – Example Line

Flexible Manpower Line 3 OperatorsThis third post in the series continues with the example on flexible manpower lines. Now we will investigate different options for these flexible manpower lines (also called Shoujinka 少人化). I will show you the details on all options between a single operator and the (sensible) maximum of six operators, and why for our example it does not make sense to use four or five operators. Continue reading Flexible Manpower Lines 3 – Example Line

Flexible Manpower Lines 2 – Alternatives and Example

Flexible Manpower Line 2 OperatorsHaving a flexible manpower line is a good way to adjust the production capacity to changing demand while still keeping your system leveled. In this second post in my series on flexible manpower lines, I give you some alternatives before going into more details of an example line that we will set up for different numbers of operators in the next few posts. Continue reading Flexible Manpower Lines 2 – Alternatives and Example

Flexible Manpower Lines 1 – Introduction

Flexible Manpower Line 1 OperatorProduction lines with manual labor often have the possibility of adjusting manpower due to demand. Such flexible manpower lines can work with different staff numbers, and can adjust the production output to the customer demand. At Toyota, such lines are also called Shoujinka (少人化, literally “few people production”). A gender neutral term would be “flexible staffing line”. This blog post will go into the details on how to set up such a line. Continue reading Flexible Manpower Lines 1 – Introduction

What Is Kaizen?

Kaizen Word BubbleIf you are in lean, you surely have heard of kaizen, and its English translation, continuous improvement process (CIP). It is one of the fundamental parts of lean. Kaizen generally means to improve, and in lean in particular, it means to continue improving forever. Pretty much all companies that haven’t gone bankrupt do this, often without using the word kaizen. You need to continuously improve in order to survive the harsh realities of competition. Continue reading What Is Kaizen?

225th Anniversary of the Death of Josiah Wedgwood – Father of Science in Manufacturing

Josiah WedgwoodThe British potter Josiah Wedgwood (12 July 1730 – 3 January 1795) was not only a ceramic artist, but also on the forefront of the Industrial Revolution. Wedgwood brought science into the manufacturing process. He also introduced work standards, time sheets, and many other methods that are common in the modern-day workplace.

While experiments to gain knowledge were already well known in science, craftsmen still followed the old traditions and rarely improved their craft. Josiah Wedgwood was one of the first industrialists who used this scientific method of experimenting and collecting data to propel his wares to an never-before-seen level of quality. Combining this with his keen business sense, he and his firm prospered, and the works of his firm are still highly regarded even today. Continue reading 225th Anniversary of the Death of Josiah Wedgwood – Father of Science in Manufacturing

115 Years after the Birth of Joseph Juran

On Christmas Eve 115 years ago, Joseph Moses Juran (December 24, 1904 – February 28, 2008) was born. He was a highly respected and very influential quality guru. His work not only helped the United States, but also changed Japan, possibly even more than that of his better-known colleague Edwards Deming. Time to look back on his life’s impact on the world. Continue reading 115 Years after the Birth of Joseph Juran

When and How to Use Extra Kanban

Dog with bandage and first aid kitKanban (and pull systems in general) are a beautiful way to manage production. While the number of kanban cards should be verified periodically, for certain situations, however, it may be sensible to have additional kanban prepared. These extra kanban are added to the system on short notice to alleviate symptoms of other problems. However, please do not see this as a new and cool additional feature to your kanban system. Instead, if you have to use extra kanban, then something is going  wrong. Such extra kanban are only an emergency fix and do not solve the underlying problem. Still, in some cases you do need an emergency fix. Let me explain: Continue reading When and How to Use Extra Kanban