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.

Mixed Model Sequencing – Introduction

In a mixed model production line, different products may have different work content at different stations. Hence, some stations may need a longer or shorter time depending on the product. This requires careful planning of the assembly line. If this is not taken into account, it may cause significant idle time with all stations along the line. This is the first of a (very) long series of posts looking at Mixed Model Sequencing (i.e., the behavior of unbalanced workloads, and different ways to address these issues). Continue reading Mixed Model Sequencing – Introduction

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