czwartek, 26 listopada 2015

An Introduction to Lean Six Sigma

•Lean tends to be used for shorter, less complex problems. Often time driven. Focus is on eliminating wasteful steps and practices.
•Six Sigma is a bigger more analytical approach 
– often quality driven 
– it tends to have a statistical approach. Focus on optimizing the important steps 
– reducing defects.
•Some argue Lean moves the mean, SixSigma moves the variance. But they are often used together and should not be viewed as having different objectives.
–Waste elimination eliminates an opportunity to make a defect
–Less rework means faster cycle times
•Six Sigma training might be specialized to the “quality” department, but everyone in the organization should be trained in Lean

All About Poka Yoke & Mistake Proofing

niedziela, 22 listopada 2015


5-S, a housekeeping program, is an integral part of the Lean process. The 5-S’s are Sort, Straighten, Sweep, Schedule and Sustain. When 5-S is performed as the first step of a Lean effort, processes become more visible and identified “trash” is cleaned out. While change is often perceived with a sense of apprehension, participants in the 5-S program begin to taste change as something that can be positive and even fun. 5S clearly communicates that management is willing to allow the employees to be involved in the process of change. The goal of the program is to have a plant and office area that is customer ready at all times. 5-S creates a neat, clean and orderly facility that will become a source of lasting pride for all employees.

The benefits of a 5-S implementation include:

  • An organized, efficient workplace for improved productivity
  • A cleaner work place for improved safety
  • Reducing inventory and supply costs
  • Recapturing valuable floor space and minimizing overhead costs
  • Contributes to “how we feel” about our product, our company, and ourselves
  • Provides an always-ready customer showcase to promote business
Three different levels to serve three different objectives:
5-S Blitz – This session is one week in length and involves working with a team from a particular area or process line in the facility. The week includes a combination of classroom work and plant floor work. In the classroom, the team will learn the basics of 5-S including definitions, benefits, and scoring system. On the plant floor, the team performs an initial 5-S evaluation to establish a base line. Then the 5-S training is actually implemented in the team’s work areas to give them an enhanced understanding of the 5-S principles while making positive, visible changes to the work environment. An inspection and “score” follow. Teams then learn and develop a plan for sustained, ongoing improvements to make the work area “world class”.

General Workforce Training - This training is 1 ½ - 2 hours in length and involves groups of 15-20 participants. It is a condensed version of the 5-S Blitz activity in which the general workforce learns the basics of 5-S in a classroom setting and then moves to the plant floor to see examples of 5-S. This training is an excellent supplement to the 5-S Blitz Activity as it motivates your associates to sustain the gains made during the blitz.

Independent 5-S Audits – Once the initial 5-S program is put into place in your facility, maintaining the integrity of program and the scoring is essential to continued improvement. TAG offers a program for recommended quarterly audits of your program by one of our associates. These unannounced audits are performed with an eye for improvement opportunities and serve to keep your scoring system properly calibrated.


1. SORT (Disposal)
Clearly distinguish between what is needed and kept/what is unneeded and thrown out. Keep only what is necessary in the work area. Store often used items at the work area, store infrequently used items away from the work area and dispose of unneeded items.

2. STRAIGHTEN (Arrangement)
Organize the way necessary things are kept, making it easier to find and utilize them. Everything has a place and everything in its place, providing an efficient way to find items. Not having to search for items saves time.

3. SWEEP (Cleanliness)
Floors, walls, ceilings, equipment and furniture are kept in like new condition. The area is kept clean on a continual basis because a dirty environment cannot produce a quality product. A clean workplace is indicative of a quality product and process.

4. SCHEDULE (System Methodology)
Each department maintains a schedule to insure that the first three S’s - Sort, Straighten and Sweep are maintained, preventing regression back to an unclean environment. Items are returned to their designated places after use. The need for special clean-up efforts, which cost time and money, are eliminated. Clean while the task is small – routinely when a task is complete.

5. SUSTAIN (Disciplined Culture)
Practice and repeat the process until 5-S become a way of life. Housekeeping is built into the everyday processes in a continuing, sustaining way. Commitment and discipline toward housekeeping is essential in taking the first step to becoming a World-Class producer.


Whenever there is a product for a customer, there is a value stream. The challenge lies in seeing it.
Value Stream Mapping is the most essential tool to provide understanding of how to make processes truly “Lean”. Kaizen efforts, Reliability efforts, or any other lean manufacturing techniques, are only truly effective when applied strategically within the context of building a lean value stream.
Most of the time, managers concentrate on the wrong things such as the Plant Facility, Machines, and the Organization. Value Stream Mapping focuses our attention on the main thing, the Product or more simply…


  • The benefits of Value Stream Mapping include:
  • It helps you visualize more than just the single-process level, you can see the flow
  • It establishes priorities for improvement efforts
  • It helps you to see waste and the source of that waste
  • It is focused on no cost or expenseable improvements
  • It provides a common language to talk about the processes
  • It is based on objective information
  • It forms the basis of an implementation plan
  • It shows the link between information flow and material flow, no other tool does this

Value Stream Mapping Objectives:
  • Determine ‘VALUE’ from the Customer
  • Identify Value Streams
  • Identify Value Stream Managers
  • Build “Current State” Map
  • Build “Future State” Map
  • Develop Annual Value Stream Plans

Value Stream Mapping Approach
  • Develop Commitment to Value and Use of the Value Stream Mapping
  • Create a Product Family matrix
  • Identify Value Stream Mapping Integrated Team
  • Facilitate Development of ‘Current’ State Map – How things actually are!
  • Facilitate Development of ‘Future’ State Map – How things should be!
  • Provide Focus, Direction, Tools, & Methods to Value Stream Mapping Teams
  • Ensure Value Stream Mapping Applications are based on Facts and Data not Supposition
  • Develop the Value Stream Plan tied to business objectives
  • Presentation by Value Stream Team to Management Group
  • Conduct Value Stream Reviews – Walking the ‘Flow’ on the floor

Value Stream Mapping Deliverables:

  • Development of a Value Stream Team & Approach
  • Identification of Key Value Streams
  • A Plan for Value Stream Mapping
  • For Selected Value Stream:“
    • Current State” Value Stream Map
    • “Future State” Value Stream Map
    • Prioritized List of Opportunities within the Value Stream
    • Annual Improvement Plan by Value Stream
  • Establish the true method for Continuous Improvement


Set-up reduction is a valuable tool utilized in the effort to decrease overall costs and lead-times. Set-up or “change-over” is defined as the time required from the unloading or completion of the last good part until the production of the first good part of the next run. Broadly defined, set-up includes unloading of tooling and fixtures, getting new tooling, getting tools, loading fixtures, getting materials, getting paperwork and inspection of the first part. This entire process can take place in less than 10 minutes!
A common concern exists in companies that reduction in the number of parts made before changing over will adversely affect the amount of product able to be produced. Focus is typically on Economic Order Quantity (EOQ) and amortization of cost setup over a larger number of parts. The resulting emphasis on large production runs and large lot sizes increases inventory, inventory holding and capital costs and extends the time to build and deliver the product. Lead-times are longer and costs are higher.
The SMED process focuses on reduction of setup and changeover time as a way of reducing lot sizes. Changeover of machines or processes can be accomplished in less than ten minutes and serves as a goal for change.
Benefits of a set-up reduction or SMED program include:
  • Reduction of inventory
  • Dramatic reduction in lead-time for the product
  • Elimination of waste and nonvalue-added operations
  • Improvement of plant capacity
  • Increase in manufacturing flexibility
  • Improvement in quality as lot sizes and lead-times shrink
  • Improvement in cash flow through reduction of inventory and rapid conversion of raw materials into saleable product
  • Increase in competitiveness
Set-up Reduction training is offered as a seminar with 10 to 15 participants in attendance. The training consists of classroom sessions and the videotaping of several set-ups and process changeovers, which are carefully analyzed for potential improvements in set-up changes. At the completion of the seminar, each participant will be able to analyze and reduce nonvalue-adding activities in their area.

“Fish Your Value Stream For The Biggest Catch!”

“Where Should I Fish?”
One of the biggest challenges that fisherman have always faced is determining where to fish for the biggest catch. Many organizations today face the same problem when it comes to where to fish for the biggest improvement opportunities. For most all organizations with a process, system, or procedure that involves serving a customer or client, the value stream is the best place to fish for the biggest catch “a.k.a. bottom line results.” Whether you’re a service company, a manufacturer, a financial institution, a restaurant, a government entity, or a health care facility, you have processes and steps involved with getting your product or services developed, processed, and delivered to your customer or client. These critical processes and steps are your value stream. Every company, whether for-profit or non-profit, that provides a product or service typically has one or more value streams.

“You’ve Told Me Where To Fish…Now What?”
Knowing where to fish is only part of the equation. You must also know where to cast your hook and bait for the big catch. Cast into an area of the stream with no fish and guess what you’ll catch. Nothing!
In many organizations, leadership too often focuses its efforts on fishing for results within the wrong processes and then they can’t understand why their efforts didn’t result in a “big catch.” When fishing the value stream for results you’ll always find opportunities for improving the bottom line. Why? Because steps within the value stream all lead directly to your customers and clients. Improving a process and/or lowering costs associated with your customers will lead you toward a positive result. If efforts are focused only on internal processes and systems you’ll likely end the day frustrated and have difficulty in understanding where the true bottom line results are at the end of a project. Granted, operations may temporarily improve as a result of such efforts, but the bottom line improvement is difficult to measure and the probability of realizing sustained results is very low. In some cases, these bottom line results are non-existent because the process improved involved only the internal rather than the external (customer).

“It’s Only A Catch When They’re In The Boat”
It’s great to know where you should fish and cast for the biggest catch, but if you don’t land‘em you’ve failed to produce a result. Granted, it is sometimes fun to just go through the motions, but it doesn’t put dinner on the table.
Once the true value stream of an operation has been identified and developed, it’s time to set the hook and reel in the results. This is accomplished by developing a “future state” value stream that puts into place the new and improved steps and processes that lead to lower costs, improved throughput, additional capacity, and improved customer satisfaction. It also highlights the steps that must be taken to get those “big catch” results.

“Enjoy the Taste Of Your Efforts”
Ummm…doesn’t it taste good? Nothing tastes better than reaping the rewards of your hard work. We all realize that we must continue fishing for the next big catch in order to survive, but it’s great to taste success. The key element of continual positive results is for companies is to keep fishing the right stream…to keep casting… and to keep reeling them in. If you do, you’ll continue to taste success.

sobota, 21 listopada 2015

Relocation or Renew Location?

If You Could Start Your Business From Scratch, What Would You Do?
Businesses in industry are frequently starting up a new facility, consolidating facilities, or moving to a new location. In these cases, because of the natural disruption that comes with an event of this significance, many of these companies can institute changes, both physical and cultural, that bring significant improvement to the operation of the enterprise.
These changes can range from the layout of the plant to the integration of ‘front office’ activities into an integrated project team/business unit organization. In many cases, especially for an operation that has been in place in the same location for many years, the ability to make changes of this significance can breathe new life into an organization, as well as provide some significant competitive paybacks (i.e., cost reductions, quality improvements, space reductions, speed, attitude, customer satisfaction, etc.). The justification for this type of change can usually be easily developed through a feasibility study of the operational impact of making the change. Many times the payback amounts and time periods are so significant that it would be a terrible business decision to not make the move.
Is it possible that making the same change in your current site would provide the same type of positive financial result?
If the payback of a new facility start-up or relocation to a new site is significant, is it possible that the payback of making the same type of ‘drastic’ change in your current site would provide the same type of financial result? Now, if your plant or facility is 100 years old, it may be that you just need a new building. But in many relocations, the plant is moving into a facility that is not new and provides no significant advantage over the current site. In some cases, building modifications are performed to enhance the atmosphere and capability of the operation. However, in many cases, an equal impact could have been achieved had the investment/modifications been applied to the current facility.
Are you serious?
If a company is serious, and we mean really serious, about change and improving their total enterprise, there is an equally powerful reason to consider “Plant RENEWLOCATION”. Now, if you were to do this at home, it would be because your wife/husband has harassed you for several years and you would call it ‘remodeling’. It usually involves many things other than just some paint and plaster. If you talk with anyone who has been through a significant remodeling project, they will tell you: 1) “It was a pain, 2) “Yes, it costs a lot of money”; and, most importantly, 3) “I wish we had done this years ago”. Now, why do people make these comments? Usually, because in their newly ‘remodeled’ home they have a whole new attitude about living in their new old house. It is brighter, cleaner, and more efficient. It makes you proud to live there again. Gee, isn’t that what we want in our business operations? Is that not what our Board of Directors, our CEO’s, our CUSTOMERS are (harassing us about) asking for? So….do you ‘have to’ relocate to gain these advantages? What if you could just RENEWLOCATE?
It’s not the MOVE, it’s the CHANGE!
Now, sometimes it is just the right thing to do to change locations and facilities. It may be demographics, accessibility, physical limitations, and a host of other good reasons. But, many times it is not the move that is needed it is the CHANGE that is needed. That is where there is a great opportunity for businesses that want to RENEW (remodel) their attitudes as much as their facilities. Is it going to cost a lot of money? Yes. (It must be feasible and justified) Is it going to be disruptive? (It is a pain – aren’t most things that produce BIG results?) YES. Will you wish you had done it years ago? YES!
It takes Leadership
So, what is the catch? The CATCH is the same thing it always is with ‘big change’ – it is leadership. Big change is not for the timid. It is for the guy/gal who wants to do what they know is right. It is for the leader who has a true desire to see how good they can be. It may be for the leader who has one last chance to save his job or perhaps all the jobs of all his/her employees, associates, and friends in the company. But, bottom line, it is up to the leader. Failure will be precipitated by the leader who changes his facility but not the company’s attitude about how they are going to do business from this point forward. If you cannot ‘inspire it’, ‘live it’, and ‘demand it’, then do not undertake this change. If you can, then you need to seriously consider RENEWLOCATION as an option to take your company into an improved future.
How do I get started?
What are the first steps of RENEWLOCATION? First, you better go off into the woods, to the mountain top, to your church, and inquire deep inside about your ability and desire to make a change of this magnitude. If you think you are ready, you have the ‘right stuff’, or you have no other choice, then, gird your loins and get ready for a fun-filled ride to the future. If you know your business needs it, but you just can’t do it, then you can: One, submit your resignation or accept a non-leadership position; or Two, just go back to your old plant/way of doing things and wait to get fired or see your business collapse around you. If your answer is “Let’s get going!”, then you have to start your analysis and justification for the events you are about to put into action. This begins with two things: a good VALUE STREAM ANALYSIS; and, an in-depth Feasibility Study. With these two tools you can gather the information and data you need to make informed decisions, build a plan of what you want to do, and provide a well thought out and easily presentable justification for yourself and for those who you might just have to go to for money or approval. With this homework done, you sure will look good, won’t you?
Give It Some Thought
Why don’t you take your trip to the mountaintop and give RENEWLOCATION a little more thought. It may be just what you need to get a New Business without changing addresses.

Maintenance Evaluation: “Do I Need One, and Why?”

In order to answer the above question, an organization must take a step backwards and look at its maintenance program from the outside in. In most circumstances, it is generally quite difficult to garner an objective impression due to ingrained organizational constraints and misconceptions, not to mention the ever-present human defense mechanism of self-preservation.

A properly performed maintenance evaluation should look at the entire maintenance organization, as well as its supporting organizations, from top to bottom, leaving no stone unturned. The need to study inter-departmental relationships, as well as the ability to gather and analyze critical data, is crucial to the success of the evaluation effort.

The collected data is used to determine an organization’s performance as compared to accepted norms. Sometimes, this effort can be hampered by the belief that any negative data will provide a negative view of the personnel and/or organization, either in part or in whole. This is when the self-defense mechanism usually kicks in, resulting in data that is inaccurate or, in some cases, “slanted” to provide a skewed, false-positive result. The end result is a maintenance evaluation that is both corrupted and ineffective. This is not to say that a maintenance evaluation only searches out negative information. An objective evaluation process will identify areas in which an organization is performing well, as well as those areas in which there is a visible need for improvement. The result is a qualitative and quantitative look at existing maintenance practices and their overall impact on the organization.

Our experience has shown that an objective evaluation, when performed by an outside third party, is an indispensable first step in developing a proactive, world-class maintenance organization.
To determine if an in-depth maintenance evaluation is necessary, serious thought should be given to the following basic questions:
“What is the level of emergency work at my facility?”
In general, a high amount of emergency work is indicative of maintenance practices that have failed or are on the verge of failing. Insufficient preventive maintenance practices, poor planning and scheduling habits, and procedural non-compliance issues are generally the primary causes of emergency work, just to name a few. Best-in-class performers maintain their emergency work level at 5% or less of their overall maintenance workload.
“What is the level of ‘wrench time’ within my maintenance organization?”
Wrench time, or the amount of time that a craftsman is ‘on the wrenches’, is a vitally important indicator. Wrench time is not a measure of how busy a craftsman is, but rather it is a measure of the craftsman’s productivity. Wrench time can be impacted by many factors, including the amount of time spent waiting for parts, traveling to and from the jobsite for tools or materials, or waiting for equipment to be made available for maintenance. At best-in-class performers, the measure of wrench time is approximately 60% when compared to the typical eight-hour shift. The following chart indicates this value, as well as the values for the national average and the typical industrial finding.
“What is the level of overtime at my facility?”
Overtime is another important indicator with regard to maintenance. Increased levels of overtime are indicative of inherent problems, which, if gone unchecked, will further undermine the maintenance effort. Some of these problems are insufficient wrench time and poor planning and scheduling practices. Typical best-in-class performers maintain a 4% or less overtime level when compared to the amount of overall maintenance manhours.
The above questions are just a sample of the information that is analyzed during a detailed maintenance evaluation exercise. If your answer to any of the above questions exceeds the best-in-class norm in a negative manner, then perhaps your organization could benefit from an in-depth maintenance evaluation. The key to improvement is first understanding where one is at with regard to established norms. A clear understanding can only be obtained through an objective analysis of existing programs and practices.

What’s Your Definition of 5S?

For those who are not familiar with 5S, here’s a quick definition. 5S is more than a housekeeping program. 5S is an integral part of the Lean process. 5S is Sort, Straighten, Sweep, Schedule, and Sustain. 5S is simple in concept but it takes dedication and hard work to make it happen. 5S is the difference between ordinary and extraordinary companies.
What if They Did Not Use 5S?
If you doubt the importance of 5S, take a look around at folks who use it every day and consider what the implications would be if it did not exist. Let’s take a trip to the local firehouse. What’s the condition of the facility and equipment? Why is that? Can you imagine a fireman causing his crew to be late getting to the scene because he cannot find the keys to the truck? Or the equipment he needs to save a life is missing or needs repair.
OK, so you say it’s not likely that I will need the fire department, how about a trip to the dentist’s office. How are things kept there? Suppose the surroundings were dirty, how would you feel about the quality of the service provided? What if your dentist says, ‘Well I can’t find the tool I really need, I’ll use this instead and see if I can make it work’.
OK, OK, you haven’t been to the dentist in a while, let’s take a trip to your local home improvement retailer. You have a project you’re anxious to finish and, when you enter the store, you find it difficult to move through the store because of the inventory stacked in the aisles. Eventually, after walking through the store for thirty minutes, you find out that in the midst of all this stuff, the item you needed is in the backroom and it will take fifteen more minutes to get to it. You get the picture. And yet, many manufacturing companies try to operate under poor conditions repeating similar wasteful events many times each day.
A Dozen Reasons to Implement 5S
Since lists are popular today, how about these for reasons to implement 5S
12.Improve quality
11.Improve setup times
10.Improve productivity
9.Improve safety
8.Reduce inventory and supply costs
7.Recapture valuable floor space
6.Contributes to “how we feel” about our product, our company, and ourselves
5.Make your plant customer ready at all times.
4.Help participants to see change as something positive and even fun.
3.First step in implementing lean to make processes more visible and clean out the ‘trash’.
2.You can achieve a competitive advantage.
 ...and the number one reason to implement 5S is...
1.It Can Be Done Today!
It’s Contagious! You can take it home with you
Remember, it was mentioned earlier about making both professional and personal resolutions. You can use 5S in your personal life as well. Something exciting happens during the 5S process and employees get motivated to improve their surroundings. Often, employees are known for taking their work home with them, so to speak. How many times have you looked for hours to find something you’ve misplaced in your home? Maybe it was the car keys, maybe it was a tool you needed, or maybe it was a list of reminders. A colleague recently confided that he no longer ‘cleans his garage’, he now 5S’s it. Once they understand the 5S process and what it can do, employees get motivated. They say, 'Yeah, we can do this, this is exciting’.
Getting Started
It’s not one of the 5S’s but maybe it should be. Starting is the first step in the 5S journey. Unfortunately, it is also the step usually not taken. Most companies never decide to start. The decision they make is to talk about starting, or to have meetings about starting, but they never start. That is, make the commitment that changes the culture, becomes real, and creates a new level of success. But you can decide that the New Year will usher in a sweeping change in your facility if you resolve to Start on 5S today.

niedziela, 28 sierpnia 2011

World Class Manufacturing - Definition

World Class Manufacturing is a different set of concepts, principles, policies and techniques for managing and operating a manufacturing company. It is driven by the results achieved by the Japanese manufacturing resurgence following World War II, and adapts many of the ideas used by the Japanese in automotive, electronics and steel companies to gain a competitive edge. It primarily focuses on continual improvement in quality, cost, lead time, flexibility and customer service.

World Class Manufacturing is a process-driven approach where implementations usually involve the following philosophies and techniques:

-Streamlined flow
-Small lot sizes
-Families of parts
-Doing it right the first time
-Cellular manufacturing
-Total preventive maintenance
-Quick changeover
-Zero Defects
-Just in time
-Variability reduction
-High employee involvement
-Cross functional teams
-Multi-skilled employees
-Visual signaling
-Statistical process control

Companies engaging in World Class Manufacturing strategies focus on improving operations, strive to eliminate waste and create lean organizations. This often results in higher productivity. But these companies also focus on speed of total throughput from order capture through delivery setting new standards for delivery without the heavy dependence on inventory. Sequential methods of performing work are being replaced with concurrent methods to compress time, and functional and hierarchical divisions of duties are being replaced by team-driven activities.

The Issues

World Class Manufacturing is a process-driven approach to improving manufacturing operations. It is often confused to mean standards of quality and image such as Rolls-Royce or Rolex.

It is in direct conflict with traditional capacity-driven manufacturing mentality found in western culture. The implementation will often surface resistance to change and "we've alway done it this way" arguments. The worse resistance is usually found in lower and middle management, but can also can be found in the mindset of workers as well. A case for change has to be created along with high employee involvement.

Capitalization is also a major issue when new equipment is required for quick changeover, faster cycle times, and flexibility in operations. Executives may take a piecemeal approach to save on investment costs as an alternative and find themselves disappointed with the lesser results.

Just like anything else, World Class Manufacturing is no panacea, nor should it be embraced as a religion. It is an operational strategy that, if implemented properly, will provide a new dimension to competing: quickly introducing new customerized high quality products and delivering them with unprecedented lead times, swift decisions, and manufacturing products with high velocity.

Pragmatic Applications

World Class Manufacturing techniques have been proven over and over, time and time again and offer alternatives to the traditional capacity-driven approaches of mass production and economic order quantities. Most WCM techniques can be applied in most process and discrete product manufacturing companies in both the factory and office. Benefits can be substantial depending upon the starting point. The best way to approach WCM is through rationalization of operations and identification of opportunities. Most of the time, payback periods tend to be 2 years or less.