I was on a quest, a quest to find the cheapest ballpoint pen possible. And what I found was amazing. Modern manufacturing has achieved stunning productivity, where even a complex product like a ballpoint pen can be produced at costs that were unbelievable only a few decades ago. While everybody can make a pen, the goal in manufacturing is always to make it cheaper! For the same functionality, the customer will almost always go for the cheaper products. Let me show you the results of my quest. Continue reading How Cheap Can You Make it?
Changeover times and their reduction are popular topics in lean manufacturing. In this post I would like to introduce the idea of running changeovers for production lines. The idea behind it is simple, and probably many of you do it already. Nevertheless, I have found little info on it online. I also would like to go into more detail on the benefits of a running changeover in comparison to the alternatives. Continue reading On Running Changeovers
A changeover is changing the set-up of a process from one product to the next. Reducing changeover times is a common and popular way to decrease inventory or to increase available work time (see SMED). Ideally, the changeover time should be zero, allowing true one-piece flow. In reality, however, it is often not zero. This post looks in more detail at the different phases of a changeover to help you understand the process better and to reduce your changeover times. Continue reading The Phases of a Changeover
Chaku Chaku is a way to operate a semi-automated manufacturing line. One (or more) workers walk around the line, add parts to the processes, and then start the process. While the process works on the part automatically, the worker adds the next part to the next process, and so on. Continue reading The Chaku Chaku Line
In my last two posts (here 1 and here 2) I discussed line layouts, including the famous U-line. In the last post of this small series, I would like to wrap up the line layout discussions, looking at merging material flows and other things. Continue reading Line Layout Strategies – Part 3: Merging
The layout of a line can make quite a difference in the performance of your line. The U-line is most famous, although in my view while good it may not be the right thing for all situations. There is also the I-line, the S-line, and the U-line. In my last post I described some general thoughts on line design and took a look at the big picture. In this post I want to look at and compare actual line layouts, in particularly the I, U, S, and L layout. Let me give you an overview of the different options. Continue reading Line Layout Strategies – Part 2: I-, U-, S-, and L-Lines
While this is a great solution, it may not fit all problems. Depending on the surrounding conditions, a different line layout may be beneficial. This post is the first in a series on line layout. In this post I would like to discuss what you should consider when designing a new line layout. The next post will look at actual line layout options. Continue reading Line Layout Strategies – Part 1: The Big Picture
A famous step toward perfection in a lean production system is a lot size of one. However, few people realize what enormous effort and rigor Toyota applies to achieve this goal. During my visit to a Toyota plant and the APMS conference in Tokyo in 2015, I saw quite a few stunning examples of this quest. Let me show you … Continue reading Toyota’s and Denso’s Relentless Quest for Lot Size One