In 2019 I organized an Industry 4.0 tour through southern Germany for a few friends. We called this the “Van of Nerds,” and you can read all about it in a series of blog posts starting here. The participants liked the van trip so much that we wanted to repeat this experience… and then came COVID. We held two online Van of Nerds mini-conferences (organized by our Nerd Torbjörn Netland), and finally, on September 5–9, 2022, we were able to take another real-world tour with our van of nerds, this time in France. The tour was organized thanks to nerds Franck Vermet and Michel Baudin.
Material Flow and Traffic Flow – An Analogy
In lean, the concept of “flow” is important. But what is it? In this post I would like to look deeper into this important concept using another flow we are all (much too) familiar with: traffic flow!
How the Corona Virus affects Logistics
The coronavirus, also known as COVID-19 or SARS-CoV-2, is running through the world like a wildfire. Besides killing hundreds of thousands of people, it is also creating a huge headache for the economy. Many countries are currently experiencing a second wave. In this post I will look at how the pandemic affects supply chains, how they react, and how this may shape supply chains in the future.
How to Convert a Job Shop into a Flow Shop – Part 2
Turning job shops into flow shops is not easy. This is my second post explaining such transformations as I try to help you in improving your shop floor from an (always) messy job shop into a much more efficient flow shop.
How to Convert a Job Shop into a Flow Shop – Part 1
Job shops are always very difficult to manage. As I described in my previous posts, the irregular material flow causes fluctuations that are very hard to contain. In my view, the only true fix for a job shop is to convert it into a flow shop. In this post I will talk a little bit about how you approach the idea of converting a job shop into a flow shop … although this is not always possible. However, in many cases it is possible to increase flow-shop-like segments, even though the whole system is still a job shop.
Why Are Job Shops Always Such a Chaotic Mess? Part 2
Job shops are a mess. Period. The increased and uneven levels of inventory cause a host of other problems. In my last post I described how these inventory imbalances are caused by irregular material flow, how subsequent safety buffers increase inventory even more, and how this causes staff to change their workplace irregularly in a job shop. In this post I will continue the long list of ills in a job shop with staff changeover losses, extra searching and organizing, fluctuating lead times, and general un-plannability of job shops.
Why Are Job Shops Always Such a Chaotic Mess? Part 1
Job shops have a strong tendency toward chaos. Even well managed plants struggle to maintain order in a job shop. This is due to the inherent nature of a job shop, and there are no good solutions to manage job shops. The only good way to improve a job shop is to turn it into a flow shop. I will talk more about such changes later in this short series, but first let me explain why job shops are always a mess.
When NOT to Pull!
Pull production is a highly useful tool in manufacturing, logistics, services, and other industries. However, there are instances where pull may be not the best option. These instances are rare, but they do exist. In this blog post I will list different cases when pull may not be the best option.