Where to Start Your Kaizen?

To become lean, you need to improve your factory. Continuous improvement (kaizen) consists of many smaller and/or larger improvements. However, often the first challenge is where to start this improvement. Let me dig deeper into the possibilities and challenges of picking improvement projects, with a particular focus on systems that have multiple independent production lines, which makes everything trickier.

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Effect of Prioritization on Waiting Times

Prioritizing one part over others is an easy way to speed up the production of the prioritized part. However, if too many parts are prioritized, the performance of the others will suffer.

My general recommendation is to prioritize no more than 30% of your production volume. In this post I will look in more detail at this relation and verify this assumption (TL;DR: this is correct!). This post is based on a masters thesis by my student Yannic Jäger.

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How to Prioritize Your Work Orders – Prioritization of Made to Stock

Emergency Corridor 2
Prioritization strategy for emergency vehicles …

In my last two posts I described why and how to establish a system for handling priority work orders. This post discusses how to actually prioritize your different work orders.

Hint: It has a lot to do with the quantity of a particular product ordered. The more frequently a product is ordered, the easier it is to provide the parts through inventory rather than rush orders. But … I rush ahead 🙂 .

There are different strategies available, depending on your production mix – in particular your mixture of made-to-order and made-to-stock products.  Let’s first focus on made-to-stock production.

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How to Prioritize Your Work Orders – The VIP Lane

VIP LabelIn my previous post I went through the basics of prioritization of your work orders. The easiest way to prioritize these orders is through a VIP lane: a lane for very important parts. In this post I will discuss what you need to make your VIP lane work – and how you can completely mess up a priority system. In my next post I will describe different prioritization strategies that can be used.

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How to Prioritize Your Work Orders – Basics

Prioritize OvertakeAny manufacturing system has production orders, some of which are urgent, others of which are less so. Hence, you may need to prioritize some orders over others. There are different ways to prioritize your orders – and merely telling your people to rush a job creates more chaos than it helps. Luckily, in a kanban loop, there is one spot to prioritize your production orders: before the first process. Done correctly, this allows you to create a smoother and more efficient production system. Let’s go into more detail. In this first post of a longer series, I go through the basics: why, where, and how not to prioritize.

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