A colleague and I are helping a couple of local school districts implement continuous improvement in three areas: Facilities Maintenance, Nutrition Services, and Transportation. (We and they call it a “Lean Implementation”, but it’s more focused on employee involvement and problem solving that on some of the classical lean methods that most manufacturers would be familiar with.) Yesterday, I was on my way to a meeting of the Transportation Team, when I got a call from the manager letting me know that he would have to postpone the meeting because of some staffing issues. The team had held a couple of meetings that I hadn’t been able to attend, so he updated me on those.
Over the years, I’ve helped a number of clients with process mapping exercises. Now, process mapping is one of those things you can read about and look up on the interweb and still not get much help when it comes to actually doing it with a team. (That said, a good book on the topic is “Improving Performance: How to Manage the White Space on the Organization Chart” by Geary Rummler. ) I’ve learned some things that can help you.
In our last post, I said we’d look at a few more VSM’s and talk about the data on them by way of analysis.
Here’s a quick one.
Six months ago (yikes!) we were talking about how to develop and use Value Stream Maps. We had gotten to the point where we had put together a pretty good “Current State” map that included performance data. We said we’d look, in more detail, at the map and the data we had put together before we went on to creating a “Future State” map. And here we are…a mere SIX MONTHS LATER! So, let’s get going.
I just got through reading a newly published book, The Work of Management. It’s written by Jim Lancaster, the owner and CEO of Lantech, a maker of packaging and material handling machinery, including stretch wrappers, conveyors, and case-forming equipment headquartered in Louisville, KY.
It reads like one of those “lean novels” (An unfortunate trend started by The Goal…I don’t mind the idea of “lean novels” and they have their place, I suppose, but it’s clear that most folks who know about lean can’t write fiction worth a damn. I read one that actually included a sub-plot about the protagonist’s affair with a co-worker.) but it’s far more interesting given that it’s Lancaster’s story rather than an attempt to wrap a bunch of lean methods up in a fictional account. As such, the information and messages carry more weight, in my view.
One shouldn’t expect a “how to” treatise; rather, the book represents an engaging memoir of one manager’s efforts to change his company’s culture through the deployment of visual factory and standard work. That said, the book does a decent job of providing some detail as to what Lancaster did and how he and his team went about it. As such, it’s a good companion read to Daniel Mann’s Creating A Lean Culture.
Here’s a quick podcast, by my friend and colleague, Becky Morgan, about the silliness of focusing too heavily on the ratio of indirect to direct labor. Give it a listen.
Here’s my most recent YouTube video, “What Is 5S?” Yeah, it’s kind of DIY (I used a free screen cast software called “Screen-Cast-O-Matic”, which does a good job of very basic…very basic…screen cast capture, editing, and uploading to YouTube), but the basic message is good. I’ve come across a V8 powered screencast and video editing software that should up my game so look for future videos coming to your theater soon.
While you’re there, check out my other two videos by searching on Chagrin River Consulting. And, hey, subscribe to my YouTube Channel, why don’t ya?
I haven’t written much about error proofing in my several years of blogging about lean manufacturing. When I teach, I don’t go into error proofing much. The primary reason is that error proofing is (to my way of thinking, at any rate) very specific to a particular task, activity, or process. When I’ve looked at literature about error proofing, specific examples relevant to specific equipment or tasks are given. I always find myself thinking, “That’s great…if one has that type of equipment or is carrying out that particular task.”
One of my constant refrains is “Don’t implement lean as a cost reduction initiative. You’ll just screw it up.” Implementing lean as a cost reduction project is a sure fire way to failure but it’s probably the most common foundation for getting started. I think this comes from the idea that manufacturing operations are “cost centers” rather than “strategic value creation centers”.
In our last post, we talked a bit about 5S audits and argued that teams of operators should self-audit their own areas rather than having “external” audits conducted. In this post, we’ll go over the process for teaching teams how to audit themselves. I’ve also provided a download of the form I use for all this.