The core of lean is Respect for people, which means Valuing the work of others, collaborating on projects and in the workplace, Applying tools to drive continuous improvement, Sharing one’s knowledge with others (mentoring), Viewing mistakes, without blame, as opportunities to improve.
It’s all about continuous improvement such as Set a baseline. Figure out how to improve. Use the lean tools to improve. Execute the plan Revisit for review and further improvement. It’s called a PDCA cycle (Plan, Do, Check, Act)
It’s not just about Waste Elimination
• Waste elimination is an important aspect, but not the only one. The ultimate objective is to reduce cost of production, whether goods or services. Lean works in all kinds of businesses, as long as there is a differential between price and cost.
The 3W’s include Muda (Everyone knows this one). Visible waste, Mura (Unevenness in production), Muri (Over burdening)
The 7 Deadly Wastes (Muda) include Transportation, Inventory, Movement, Waiting, Over processing, Over production, Defect
Mura is when people hang around half the day, and then suddenly an urgent order comes in and everyone runs around like crazy. This is how companies end up paying overtime even when productivity is quite low.
Muri (Over burdening)
Pre requisites for a successful Lean journey-1 is 5S Everyone knows this one, so I’m not going to talk about it. Every housewife practices 5S, including sorting, labeling, visual control, keeping most commonly used things closest to hand. (except the part about throwing away what you don’t need). But what is important here is to introduce visual control, so if something is wrong or out of place, you can see it at a glance.
For example, if you have a tool board with the tool shapes outlined on it, you will see instantly if a tool is missing. And on lights and boards are an excellent means of visual control, widely used by Toyota and now by everyone else.
Pre requisites for a successful lean journey-2
A culture of collaboration and continuous improvement. This is where kaizen comes from.
Documented standard work procedures for all tasks. These are dynamic documents, not static. Whenever an improvement takes place, the appropriate SW document needs to be revised.
The Value Stream
The value stream is just a diagram which captures what you are doing. It includes walking, waiting, in process inventory between spaces. That’s the bottom row moving back to front. On the top row, moving front to back, you capture the information flow or signals as they actually happen. This is called a Current State Value Stream. Next, use your imagination and develop a Future State Value Stream, what you want it to be. Work towards it.
The ultimate objective is to reduce cost of production, whether goods or services. Lean works in all kinds of businesses, as long as there is a differential between price and cost
Standard Work Procedure (or SOP), Takt time, Standard work sequence, Standard work in process
Takt time is not cycle time. You can’t measure takt time with a stop watch. Whereas, Takt time = (time available)/(No. of units the customer wants)
Standard work sequence
This is the sequence in which a product is made, manually or in auto mode, including walking and waiting. When setting this up, one needs to minimize walking and waiting.
Standard work in process is defined as Process time/ takt time. If this is 1 or way the human brain is wired, this goes faster. That’s why races are always run counterclockwise.
In any organization, information flows front to back, and material (or services) flows back to front. This is the concept of a two bin (or two pocket) kanban. When you get an order, a kanban ticket is raised, and production fills it. Production sends the ticket on to Stores/Purchase, and they in turn fill the parts drawn by buying from suppliers, or making them on ancillary lines. On every line, whether main or ancillary, you try to achieve single piece work flow and match the takt time. You also need to be able to achieve quick changeovers between products. This has to be worked upon. The SMED concept comes from this. It does not mean that you are only changing dies, or doing it in 1 minute. It means you changeover as quickly as possible, and keep improving.
In a later article, we will discuss other Lean Principles, Heijunka, Genchigenbutsu, defect mitigation, Jidoka, and others.