Category Archives: Lean Tools

Posts related to different lean tools, often also known as the lean toolbox. Different methods that can be used to improve the shop floor, although it is risky to use methods on their own without a whole lean system.

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)

Hoshin Kanri – Part 4: The X-Matrix?

Is more better?

When googling Hoshin Kanri, you will sooner or later come across an X-Matrix. It is a visually very impressive tool, but I am in serious doubt about its usefulness. It focuses on the creation of the Hoshin items, but to me this approach is overkill, and – even worse – may distract the user from actually following the PDCA, especially the Check and Act parts. While the article is highly critical, I hope reading it and understanding the shortcomings help you better understand how Toyota thinks. Continue reading Hoshin Kanri – Part 4: The X-Matrix?

Hoshin Kanri – Part 3: Hierarchical Hoshins

Hoshin Kanri can be used individually, but its full potential is shown across the levels of corporate hierarchy. The goals of a Hoshin Kanri should be derived from the Hoshin Kanri of the next-level hierarchy above. This post is part of a larger series on Hoshin Kanri. Let’s look at the hierarchy structure: Continue reading Hoshin Kanri – Part 3: Hierarchical Hoshins

Hoshin Kanri – Part 1: The To-Do List

This week I will look at Hoshin Kanri (方針管理, policy management). The word is often used as a sort of miracle cure for the problems in your organization. The tool itself, however, is rather mundane, although it did significantly help Toyota. This, of course, did not stop the West from over-complicating and over-hyping it. This post is the start of a small series on Hoshin Kanri. Continue reading Hoshin Kanri – Part 1: The To-Do List

Point-of-Use Provider Routing

Ice Cream Sundae order
Just what you need …

This is my last post of a series of three posts on point-of-use providers (also known as mizusumashi, water strider, or water spider). In this post I will go into much more detail on the routing of the point-of-use provider. A less-busy point-of-use provider can handle multiple lines. Similarly, very busy lines may have multiple point-of-use providers. Here I will show you some more details on these possibilities. Continue reading Point-of-Use Provider Routing

Point-of-Use Provider Calculations

In this second post of my series on point-of-use providers (also known as Mizusumashi, water strider, or water spider), I will discuss the calculation of the workload for the point-of-use provider … although calculation is a way-too-big word for what is, in practice, guesswork with limited data of low quality. However, I hope it helps you with planning your point-of-use providers. Continue reading Point-of-Use Provider Calculations

Introduction to Point-of-Use Providers (or Mizusumashi)

Make to Order OktoberfestThe point-of-use provider, also known as Mizusumashi, water strider, or water spider, is a worker that supplies material to the point of use. Similar to a waiter bringing food and drinks (and beer 🙂 ) to the customer, the point-of-use provider brings material to the workers. The latter, however, merely refills materials rather than custom orders. This point-of-use provider fulfills an important role between the inventory and the final point of use. Let me give you the details: Continue reading Introduction to Point-of-Use Providers (or Mizusumashi)