Foundational Concepts of Lean

Foundational Concepts of Lean

Lean manufacturing utilizes a number of strategies and tools to improve the business by boosting productivity and eliminating waste. The following are just a handful of the most common Lean tools, many have been adopted from manufacturing in Japan and the Toyota Production System . 5S (The Visual Workplace) 5S is a system of creating

What is a Gemba Walk?

What is a Gemba Walk?

Gemba walks are an important concept in your Lean toolbox. Managers and business leaders go on  (“go and see”) walks to observe firsthand how the production line is operating. The Objective of a Gemba Walk In businesses, managers often look to company leaders for direction. The value created by a business, though, exists out on

The Toyota Production System House

The Toyota Production System House

 The Toyota Production System, or TPS, is a widely-used and successful production system in manufacturing that focuses on reducing and eliminating waste, while producing quality products for consumers. The TPS model was developed by the Toyota Motor Corporation for their vehicle production system, but the principles and activities it encompasses can be applied to nearly

How do you make a Factory Culture Embrace Lean?

How do you make a Factory Culture Embrace Lean?

Several years ago, I was working as a project manager for a local manufacturing company. The owner asked me how much I knew about lean, and I told them I had about three years experience working on a lean transformation in upstate New York in which we had to completely change the factory climate from

Lean Is More Than Its Tools

Lean Is More Than Its Tools

I talked with a guy yesterday about 5S and how well it would work at his office.  I asked him what the problem was, and he said, “Oh, you know, it’s messy and I want people to be tidier.” I didn’t laugh or anything, but I let him know that 5S, under the larger lean

What is 5S and How Should We Implement It?

What is 5S and How Should We Implement It?

5S is, in the simplest terms, a method of creating, maintaining and improving a workplace which is clean, orderly, and has methods for detecting waste and errors built in. When used properly, it will help to identify areas where things are being done inefficiently, and come up with solutions for improvement. It will help to

Connection Between 5S and Lean

Connection Between 5S and Lean

In order to have a good understanding how 5S and lean concepts are connected, is important to first take a look at them separately. 5S is a way of measuring the implementation of lean manufacturing techniques. It is the foundation which is used to support lean manufacturing strategies from the beginning until full implementation. Lean manufacturing,

Importance of Catchball

Importance of Catchball

The catchball is an important part of any planning process, but it is something that is all too often just glossed over. When done properly the catchball encourages leadership and team members to dialogue about a particular topic in an efficient and productive manner. It can help to break down the walls which are all

The Lean Manager

The Lean Manager

Getting started as a lean manager can be a daunting task because in many cases people don’t really understand what it is you’re supposed to be doing.  In many cases the lean manager will also have other roles within the facility, and has been given the task of implementing lean concepts as well.  One of the most

Taking Advantage of your IT Staff to Implement Lean

Taking Advantage of your IT Staff to Implement Lean

When evaluating a facility for ways to improve efficiency and implement lean standards there are many different areas to observe.  For most companies it is important to take advantage of the IT staff when planning and implementing any changes or improvements throughout the facility.  While IT won’t be able to assist with every single step

Kanban Systems

Kanban Systems

Kanban systems are an important scheduling system used in ‘just-in-time’ production facilities.  The word Kanban actually means signboard or billboard, and with these systems each part or product is only supplied as it is needed.  This critical part of the just in time method of manufacturing helps to eliminate waste in a variety of ways

Six Sigma and More

Six Sigma and More

As most people are aware, six sigma is a concept of process measurement and improvement used by many companies around the world.  The goal in any six sigma process is to have no more than 3.4 defects per million opportunities.  An opportunity is any specific task which is performed.  It could be anything from the manufacturing of