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.

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On Standard Tools and Standard Solutions…

On the web and in print, you find frequent mention of a “lean toolbox,” “lean toolbook,” or similar. These books do have their use, and at least one of them is written by an author that I highly respect. Many other lean books also focus on the different tools and methods. But focusing on a set of tools can also be quite misleading. Hence, I wrote this blog post as a word of warning. Every master needs their tools, but the tools do not make a master!

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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.

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How Managers Drove Boeing into the Ground…

Boeing is a well-known maker of large commercial aircraft. If you fly occasionally, you almost certainly have been on one of their planes. Lately, however, Boeing is better known for quality issues and crashed planes. It seems that management at Boeing skimped on quality to save cost and make deadlines. In this post I want to look closer at the management of Boeing, especially in relation to the safety of the Boeing 737 MAX 8. Besides using different news sources, this article is mostly based on the book Flying Blind by Peter Robinson (source below).

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A Few More Turns on the Changeover Wheel – Part 3: Prioritizing Jobs

In my last posts I talked on how to set up a changeover wheel or, more generally, a changeover sequence. Next I will show you how to use a changeover wheel. You have to fit you prioritized production into the sequence. The idea is simple, but there are some pitfalls as well as some tricks to make it easier. I will talk more about the pitfalls in my next post. Let’s have a look on how to fill the changeover wheel with actual production jobs.

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A Few More Turns on the Changeover Wheel – Part 2: Improving the Sequence

In my last post I looked at how to create a changeover sequence. However, this was only the first draft of such a sequence. For a truly good sequence, you need to spend some more time optimizing the sequence. Try to get a better sequence, even though it is impossible to find the perfect solution even for a moderate number of products. I also give a suggestion on how to visualize a changeover wheel in Excel.

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