Line Balancing Part 3 – OEE Caveats

Stacked handsWhen balancing a line, it is important to distinguish between idealized times without losses, and times that include all types of losses like breakdowns or missing material. The ratio between the ideal time and the real time is the OEE. This post looks at some of the problems that can happen with line balancing if an OEE is used incorrectly or differently, and is the third post on this series of line balancing. Once we have determined what OEE to use, we will look at how to use the OEE in line balancing in the next post.

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The Challenges of Lean Administration

More WorkLean started with manufacturing, but since then has moved in many other areas of the economy, from lean banking to lean healthcare. One major part of modern economy is administrative processes, which includes things like making offers, procurement, accounting, engineering, research, and many others. By some estimates, more than half of the cost of producing companies are in administration. Up to 80 percent of the lead time is due to administration. A lot of the principles behind lean can be used in administration. However, there are also some unique challenges that are less prominent in manufacturing. Let’s have a look.

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The Problems of Cost Accounting with Lean

Calculator and MoneyAccounting is one of the cornerstones of the modern economy. Cost accounting in particular helps in decision making with the goal to maximize profit. Many decisions are based on these numbers. Unfortunately, cost accounting usually does a really poor job of capturing the essence of manufacturing in general and lean manufacturing in particular.

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A Critical Look at Industry 4.0

Modern Man with BackgroundOne of the hottest buzzwords right now (at least in Germany) is Industry 4.0. However, it’s a bit fuzzy what Industry 4.0 is, exactly. In this post I would like to talk about Industry 4.0. This includes very little about all the promises of a wonderful future – you can read that elsewhere. Instead, I will try to give you the big picture. I will talk about how Industry 4.0 came into existence, why it is so popular, what the true current benefit of Industry 4.0 is, and why you should pay attention to clothes.

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How to Use an Andon – and How Not To

One Station Andon CordIn my last post, All About Andon, I detailed how the mechanical side of an Andon signaling system works, including Andon cords, buttons, and boards. In the Western world, the mechanical side of an Andon system usually works pretty well. However, in most cases, the usage of the Andon is poor to nonexistent. Hence, in this post I tell you how to actually work with an Andon, and then I will give you a rant why  companies so often mess it up!

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When to Do Value Stream Maps (and When Not!)

Futuristic Astronaut Businessman Using Flexible Display Tablet
Why to do value stream maps

Value stream mapping is a method to create a structured image of the material and information flow on the shop floor. You often hear that a value stream map should be the first and last thing to do during a lean project. It sometimes sounds like all you need is VSM and Kaizen and you are on the road to success. This is bollocks! While value stream mapping is sometimes quite useful, it is not a universal tool.

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How to Find a Good Lean Consultant

Group of businessmen without heads
Whom shall it be?

Lean manufacturing is difficult. External expertise can help you in improving your business. However, the wrong consultant can at best have no effect, or worse damage your company, or at worst kill the company. Hence the consultant you hire will have a significant impact on the outcome of the project. This post will give you some advice on how to select a good consultant.

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Definition of Lean Production

Lean production Tag Cloud
What is lean production?

As the name says, this site is all about lean manufacturing. But, what is lean? How do we define lean manufacturing? After all, since most of industry talks about lean, we should have a definition to make sure that we’re all talking about the same thing. Unfortunately, a) we do not have a good definition of lean, and b) not everybody means the same thing when they talk about lean. So, what could lean manufacturing mean? Let’s have a look at the different definitions out there:

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