Monday, June 30, 2014

Value Stream Mapping and Daily Kaizen Using Toyota Kata

After having been introduced to us by James Womack and Daniel Jones in the book Lean Thinking back in the '90's and then explained thoroughly in the book Learning to See by lean experts Mike Rother and John Shook, Value Stream Mapping has endured as one of the most talked-about Lean methods.  Daily kaizen, the idea that improvement should happen everyday, is also an often discussed concept within Lean Manufacturing.  But, what is the relationship between these two concepts?  This video explains the relationship between value stream mapping and daily kaizen utilizing the Improvement Kata (introduced to us by Mike Rother in the book Toyota Kata).

Monday, June 23, 2014

Heijunka for High Mix, Low Volume Operations

Heijunka, or level loading (or load-leveling) is a very important concept within Lean Thinking; however, it is one of the most often ignored concepts.  Leveling the workload is critical to making other concepts such as pull systems and one piece flow work.  For a high mix or custom environment like a job shop or even an administrative operation, level loading is even more of a challenge.  In this video heijunka or level loading for such high mix environments is explained:

Monday, June 16, 2014

Lean Manufacturing: One Piece Flow and Cellular Manufacturing

Cellular manufacturing was one of the first lean concepts to be adapted in the United States; however, it was often misunderstood.  A lean manufacturing cell involves placing the equipment, people, materials, and methods in a sequence in order to complete entire products, assemblies, or sub-assemblies.  Our goal is to create one piece flow to the rate of customer demand; sometimes, we cannot implement one piece flow, so we design specific sized buffers in between operations as a stopgap measure.  In this video, the concept of cell manufacturing and one piece flow are defined.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Standardized Work

Standardized work is a fundamental lean manufacturing concept.  In creating standardized work, we attempt to create a repeatable method for meeting customer requirements.  For example, we might create standardized work in order to assemble 1 automobile every 30 seconds.  Or, we might create standardized work to process 1 insurance claim every 45 seconds.  Standard work and standardized work generally refer to the same concept.  In this video, the concept of standard work is explained:

Monday, June 02, 2014

Pull Systems and Kanban

Pull is a key principle of lean thinking.  We often think of pull and kanban synonymous terms; however, they are not.  Kanban, which means "sign" or "signboard" in Japanese is the signal that makes a type A pull system work.  In this video, kanban and pull systems are explained.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

5S: The Five Pillars of the Visual Workplace

5S is one of the most basic methodologies within lean manufacturing.  The purpose of 5S is to create an organized, consistent workplace that supports standardized work.  Implementing 5S eliminates motion and transportation waste, reduces errors, and improves safety.  In this video, Five S is explained in the context of an entire continuous improvement culture.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

What is Takt Time?

Very often, people question the concept of takt time?  Takt time is often presented using the following formula:

Takt time = Available Working Time per day / Average Units Demanded per Day

There is nothing wrong with this formula; however, one must understand the purpose behind takt time in order to understand whether or not to use this formula.  Takt time is used for understanding rate of sales relative to the operating time of a factory or service organization.  For example, if we calculate a takt time of 20 seconds per vehicle in an automotive assembly plant, we would then set up our operations to produce one automobile every 20 seconds.  However, what if we are dealing with a high mix, low volume environment like a job shop?  Does takt time apply?  How can we utilize this concept.  In this lean manufacturing video, takt time is explained.