How to Make 5S Stick

How to keep it clean …

In my last post I detailed the 5S method (and its variants 4S, 6S, and so on). However, knowing the theory is the easy part. Successfully implementing 5S is much more difficult, and industry is ripe with anecdotes on failed 5S implementations. Here I will give you a few tips on how to increase your chances of success. However, there is no magic bullet. Cleaning and organizing a shop floor is hard work, and keeping it that way is even harder.

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Lies, Damned Lies, and KPI – Part 3: Countermeasures

Kid with Glasses
How to measure good KPIs

There is an inflation of key performance indicators (KPIs) in industry. In my last posts I have explained how KPIs are often wrong, and why bad and fudged KPIs are a huge waste. Yet, you cannot really run a larger corporation without KPI. In this post I will finally give some advice on (1) what you need to do to measure good KPI, and (2) how to avoid fudged KPI.

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Lies, Damned Lies, and KPI – Part 2: Effects of Fudging

Business fraud
About the ills of number fudging

Modern manufacturing works with a lot of performance measures, often called key performance indicators (KPIs). Unfortunately, they are rarely accurate, and often even intentionally misleading. In my previous post I described some examples of commonly manipulated KPIs. In this post I would like to explain the ugly consequences of incorrect or manipulated KPIs. In a final post I will also show some ways that you can reduce this negative effect. But first, how do bad KPIs (and hence most KPIs) hurt your company?

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Lies, Damned Lies, and KPI – Part 1: Examples of Fudging

Upward Trend
Don’t get too excited about your numbers!

Statistical measurements, usually called key performance indicators (KPIs) are found on pretty much every shop floor and in every company. Many management decisions are made based on KPI. Unfortunately, these numbers often are not reliable at all.

Mark Twain popularized the phrase “Lies, damned lies, and statistics.” Winston Churchill famously said, “I only believe in statistics that I doctored myself.” Hence, both men were wary of trusting numbers. You should be too!

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Why Leveling (Heijunka) is important

LevelingProduction leveling, also known as heijunka (平準化) or production smoothing, is one of the hottest topics in lean manufacturing. Successful leveling is considered one of the highest achievements in lean manufacturing. Unfortunately, if the production system is not ready for leveling, it also has lots of potential to make things worse. A lot worse! This is the first post in a longer series of post about leveling, where I will present different types of leveling and their advantages and disadvantages.

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Eight Rules for Total Gridlock in the Organization (Video)

Prof. Dr. Peter Kruse
Prof. Dr. Peter Kruse

There is an excellent and highly sarcastic video around by Prof. Dr. Peter Kruse, professor of organizational psychology at the University of Bremen. In this, he describes his Eight Rules for Total Gridlock in the Organization (8 Regeln für den totalen Stillstand). Since these eight rules are quite relevant to the lean change process, I have transcribed, translated, and subtitled the German video for you into English.

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The Advantage of Handwritten Data on the Shop Floor

Hand with PenOn a modern shop floor, you will find lots of data and documentation. These are quite useful to track and improve the situation in the operations. Many of them are quite nicely printed charts, diagrams, and tables of key performance indicators (KPIs). However, when I look closer at them, I often find that they were last updated six months ago, or even more than one year ago. That is useless in practical terms! You need up-to-date information if you want to manage a process. For this, entering data by hand is most useful. In this post I will discuss different advantages of tracking data by hand on the shop floor.

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Facing Change in Modern Manufacturing Systems – The Difference between Flexible, Agile, Reconfigurable, Robust, and Adaptable Manufacturing Systems

Four SeasonsThe speed of modern business is continually increasing.  Product life cycles of cars and mobile phones are decreasing, and customer demand is more volatile. Gone are the days of Henry Ford, who produced his Model T for almost 28 years without much change. Modern manufacturing systems need to be prepared for a constantly changing environment. The challenge has been realized for quite some time now, and there are a multitude of expressions related to this problem. This post will discuss many of these terms related to the challenge of change.

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