How to Implement Lean Manufacturing: Simplify and Solve – Value Stream Mapping and Team Problem Solving: Part 7

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.

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Book Review: The Work of Management

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.



“What is 5S?” Video

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?

Error Proofing

Error proofing

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.”

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Operations are NOT “Cost Centers”!

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”.

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Teams Should Conduct Their Own 5S Audits: Part One

We all know that an important part of sustaining 5S is auditing or assessing the status of 5S at any given point in time.  The internet is full of 5S audit forms.  In many cases, audits are carried out by “outsiders”…folks from outside the department that’s being audited.  It’s kind of like being back at school where we turned our test in and got back a grade.  If the grade was good, we were relieved.  If the grade was bad, we huffed indignantly, sure that the teacher had it in for us.  5S audits shouldn’t be like that.

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