250 Years of the Cromford Cotton Mill – Start of the Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution is arguably the most significant change in manufacturing history. Since it was a gradual process over almost a century, the exact start and end dates are hard to pin down. However, for me one of the key dates is the start of the first cotton mill in Britain, the Cromford Cotton Mill by Richard Arkwright. Construction of this mill started in 1771, and production began 1772, which is 250 years ago, hence time for me to write an anniversary post on the Cromford Cotton Mill.

Read more

Happy 9th Birthday, AllAboutLean.com

Yet another year has passed. AllAboutLean.com is now nine years old! I never though I would keep it up for so long, but your support and encouragement for my writing keeps me motivated. Many thanks! I am looking forward to writing many more years on the topic of lean. I also have more books planned (but this will take some time). Anyway, let’s review the year:

Read more

Manufacturing in a War Zone – Part 1

Destroyed Russian Tank in Ukraine
Destroyed Russian tank in Ukraine

Running smooth operations is difficult enough in peacetime. But it becomes much trickier if you are located in an area experiencing an active armed conflict. Yet, there are many active armed conflicts on the world, like Ukraine, Myanmar, Afghanistan, and others, many of which have been ongoing for decades. I have put together some of my thoughts in the hope that it may help people and factories in difficult circumstances, with special focus on the current invasion of Ukraine.

Read more

250 Years after the Birth of Eli Terry

Two hundred fifty years ago today, clockmaker Eli Terry was born on April 13, 1772 in (what is now) South Windsor, Connecticut, USA. He was one of the earliest industrialists using mass production with interchangeable parts in the USA, contemporary with the better-known muskets of Honoré Blanc in France (ca. 1785), and long before John Hancock Hall at the Harpers Ferry Armory (ca. 1824). His name is known mostly to nerds in manufacturing and horology, but I believe his achievements deserve recognition. Hence I will go back in history to look at his life.

Read more

50 Years of SAP–Blessing or a Curse?

SAP LogoSAP is turning 50! The company was founded on April 1, 1972, exactly fifty years ago. Nowadays it is one of the largest software companies worldwide, and their products are found in many, MANY companies, although not every user seems to love the product. For me, this is a love-hate relationship. You can’t live with it, but you can’t live without it either. Let’s use this anniversary to have a look at the company and its software that is widespread in industry, as well as some general musings on ERP systems.

Read more

50 Years after the Death of Lillian Evelyn Gilbreth

Lillian Moller Gilbreth
Lillian Moller Gilbreth in 1921

Fifty years ago today, Lillian Evelyn Gilbreth (May 24, 1878 – January 2, 1972) passed away. She was an early pioneer in optimizing and streamlining work, which is especially remarkable in a time when women were supposed to be at home in the kitchen instead of pursuing science and engineering. I already wrote briefly about her, her husband, and Frederick Winslow Taylor in my post The Tale of Taylor and Gilbreth. I also have her portrait, among other key people in the history of manufacturing, hanging in my office. Let’s have a look at the life of this very remarkable and outstanding woman!

Read more