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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How 5S Works

The joy of cleaning!

5S is one of the basic methods in lean manufacturing, used to create and maintain a clean and organized work environment. As far as lean methods go, it looks pretty easy. After all, everybody has cleaned something at least once. Unfortunately, cleaning it once is not enough. The challenge is to keep it clean! And this is where most 5S activities fail. In this post I want to describe the basics of 5S and how it works (plus also 4S, 6S, and even more S’s). In my next post I want to point out the hidden dangers of failure, and give some advice on how to make 5S stick.

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Shop Floor Etiquette – Part 2

A little courtesy often goes a long way!
A little courtesy often goes a long way!

This is the second post of a two-post series on shop floor etiquette (first post here). I find this a very necessary post, as I have way too often observed visitors to the shop floor lacking manners (and occasionally, I may have lacked manners myself 🙁 ). Hence, please do not treat this post as optional, but try to incorporate it into your daily shop floor work. Being accepted on the shop floor is crucial for any successful change on the shop floor.

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Shop Floor Etiquette – Part 1

Greeting
A little courtesy often goes a long way!

There is often a distinct lack of appreciation and good manners toward shop floor employees. Yet, lean manufacturing happens on the shop floor. Not in Excel, not in PowerPoint, not in meeting rooms. As such, you need to become part of the shop floor in order to change the shop floor. For this, you need the support and goodwill of the people on the shop floor. The first step to getting their support is to have good shop floor manners. Due to the length of the post, I have divided it into two posts. These two posts will give you some guidelines on how to behave on the shop floor. (The second post is here)

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The Folly of EPEI Leveling in Practice – Part 2

LevelingIn my last post, I started to show the main reasons why EPEI leveling with a fixed repeating schedule so often fails (for details on EPEI leveling, see Theory of Every Part Every Interval (EPEI) Leveling). This post continues with more reasons and also gives some advice on how to reduce the damage or even increase its chances of success. It also has a suggestion for a test to determine if your system is ready for leveling.

Again, there seems to be a lean religion that claims that putting up a leveling box will lead to salvation. Well, Lean is not a religion or magic. Lean is hard work, and you actually need to understand what you are doing. Just copying something without understanding is a good way to fail, especially with leveling.

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The Folly of EPEI Leveling in Practice – Part 1

LevelingIn my last post I presented the EPEI leveling pattern (also known as EPEC, EPEx, Heijunka, fixed repeating pattern, or simply leveling). While in theory this approach looks pretty solid, in my experience it rarely works in practice. In fact, most of these types of leveling that I have seen were complete rubbish. They were a dog-and-pony-show to please management at the expense of performance and shop floor efficiency.

Furthermore, lean manufacturing seems often to be confused with a religion. People believe that if you put up a leveling box your manufacturing system will have salvation. Well, Lean is not a religion. Lean is hard work, and you actually need to understand what you are doing. Just copying something without understanding is a good way to fail, especially with leveling.

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Bottleneck Management Part 3 – Bottleneck Decoupling and Capacity Improvement

Nine empty green wine bottlesBottleneck detection and management are important in managing or increasing your production capacity. In the first post of this series I talked about fundamentals and improving utilization. The second post looked at the impact of planning on the overall production capacity.  This final post in the series will look at the effect of decoupling and the actual process capacity improvement.

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Bottleneck Management Part 2 – Improve Bottleneck Planning

Eight empty green wine bottlesBottleneck detection and management are important when managing or increasing your production capacity. In the first post of this series, I talked about fundamentals and improving utilization. This second post looks at the impact of planning on the overall production capacity. A third post looks at Bottleneck Decoupling and Capacity Improvement.

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