Bottleneck Management Part 1 – Introduction and Utilization

Seven empty green wine bottlesIn the past I’ve written a few posts with some nifty methods on how to find the bottleneck (The Bottleneck Walk – Practical Bottleneck and The Active Period Method), and some warnings of which methods don’t work. In this post I would like to go into more detail on what to do once you find the bottleneck! Due to the length of this topic, I have split it into multiple posts. This first post gives an introduction and goes into more detail about increasing utilization. The next post talks about planning. A third post looks at Bottleneck Decoupling and Capacity Improvement.

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Common Mistakes of Top Executives – A look at “Undercover Boss”

Undercover BossI occasionally watch the reality show Undercover Boss, where top executives work undercover in their own companies. Over and over again I see these managers making the same mistake: They have no understanding whatsoever of what is really happening on the front lines. It is a typical case of not going to the shop floor often enough, or in lean speak, no genchi genbutsu (Japanese for “go and see”).  So, <dramatic voice> Why do bosses all make the same mistake? Will they ever learn? Will you enjoy this post? See for yourself in the post below! </dramatic voice>.

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Top Five Cases When NOT to Use a FiFo

FiFo LaneStandard wisdom for creating a good material flow is to use FiFo lanes (First in, First out). In other words, the first part that goes into the line should also be the first part that comes back out. As such, FiFo lanes and its big brother, Supermarket, are essential for any lean material flow. However, some rules of wisdom can be bent and others can be broken. Here are the  top five cases when NOT to use a FiFo lane.

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A Successful Example of Lean Implementation – Trumpf and its Synchro Manufacturing System (Part 2)

Trumpf LogoHalf a century ago, Toyota started to develop its Toyota Production System, the archetype of every lean manufacturing system. Almost every manufacturing company nowadays seems to try to implement lean manufacturing. At the same time, most also seem to fail miserably, creating a lot of huff and puff with little benefit. However, occasionally there are (very) few companies that have implemented lean manufacturing successfully. Trumpf and its Synchro production system is such a successful example of Lean manufacturing, and one of the finest production system for machine tool builders. Due to the length I have split this post into two parts. This is the second part.

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A Successful Example of Lean Implementation – Trumpf and its Synchro Manufacturing System (Part 1)

Trumpf LogoAlmost a century ago, Toyota started to develop its Toyota Production System, the archetype of every lean manufacturing system. Almost every manufacturing company nowadays seems to try to implement lean manufacturing. At the same time, most also seem to fail miserably, creating a lot of huff and puff with little benefit. However, occasionally there are (very) few companies that have implemented lean manufacturing successfully. Trumpf and its Synchro production system is such a successful example of Lean manufacturing, and one of the finest production system for machine tool builders. Due to the length I have split this post into two parts, the second part being available here.

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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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Determining the Size of Your FiFo Lane – The FiFo Formula

FiFo Lanes
How long should it be?

FiFo lanes are an important tool to establish a pull system. They are often combined with kanban. However, while there is a lot of information on how to calculate the number of kanban (the Kanban Formula), there is very little information available on how large a FiFo should be. In my last post I talked about why we need FiFo lanes. In this post I want to discuss how large a FiFo should be. 

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Theory and Practice on FiFo Lanes – How Does FiFo Work in Lean Manufacturing?

FiFo LaneFiFo lanes are an important part of any lean material flow. They are a very simple way to define both the material flow and the information flow. In this post I want to tell you why to use FiFo, how to use FiFo, and the advantages of FiFo, as well as show you a few examples of FiFo lanes.

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