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.

Read more

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:

Read more

Cardboard Engineering – Alternatives

Cardboard Engineering is a quick way to try out different configurations in reality. As the name says, this is done using cardboard. However, there are a few alternatives. Let me show you a portfolio of different ways to make cardboard models with (not only) cardboard, from ultra-cheap to very fancy. Please note that the fancier methods are usually not so well suited for layout optimization, but more for workstation optimization.

Read more

Cardboard Engineering – Workshop

Cardboard BoatIn my last post I talked about what you need for Cardboard Engineering. In this post I will show you how to do a Cardboard Engineering workshop. Spoiler: Keep in mind that the goal is not to just put something together but to try out different options (and I will repeat this a few times in this post). It is very easy to have fun with cardboard while learning very little about the problem you want to investigate!

Read more

Cardboard Engineering – Preparation

Cardboard Engineering (CBE, sometimes also Cardboard Modeling) is in general the building of models from cardboard.  These models are usually quick and inexpensive to build, but often not very durable. In lean manufacturing, these cardboard models are often workstations or entire assembly lines to test different concepts before building the whole thing in more expensive and time-consuming aluminum and steel. This allows faster and easier experimentation with different concepts to improve your production system.

Read more

Mixed Model Sequencing – Complex Example Sequencing 2

In this seventh post on Mixed Model Sequencing, I will finish the sequencing of the more complex example with Product-Dependent Workload and Mixed Model Sequencing. This is now the tenth post in this series. I knew this sequencing topic was demanding, but even I am surprised how much there is to cover. Thanks for staying with me, and read on.

Read more