Category: Lean Enterprise

Lean People for a Lean Enterprise

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Lean! Lean! Lean! They’re chanting it in corporate boardrooms around the globe. Lean Manufacturers, Lean Enterprises, Lean Supply Chains and Lean Extended Value Streams are in various stages of construction by companies looking for competitive advantages in tough markets. Yet, the reality is that only a few companies have achieved any significant measure of Lean-ness. Why are companies struggling to get Lean? Is it lack of top management commitment? I don’t think so. CEOs, CFOs, company presidents and the entire executive staff are all on board. The top guys want all the bottom line savings and increased flexibility that Lean…
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Leaning Your Supply Chain in a Down Economy

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Now is the perfect time to eliminate the waste in you supply Chain Every time we turn on the news or pick up a paper, another bank has closed, or another company has been taken over or gone out of business, or another friend or associate has lost their job. So why would you want to take on another major task like “leaning your supply chain” in this economy, and with limited resources? Why not wait till things get better; until you have the time and the people to do it right? The answer is, now is the perfect time…
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Observe, with a Stopwatch

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Observation using a stopwatch and clipboard is an unnatural act, never the first tool selected to support improvement projects. In this article, we will make a case for time centric observation, covering the why, when, what, how, who and uses. Observation for the purpose of gathering facts is the basis for all Lean improvement initiatives. The practice of Gemba (actual place) and Genchi Genbutsu (go see, actual place and actual thing) is at the heart of lean. Many organizations gain a competitive advantage by implementing a continuous improvement culture based on facts from observation, rather than assumptions and hearsay. Why…
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Opportunity for Operations in Troubling Times

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Though it is hard to visualize it while you are struggling to turn a profit, there are opportunities to be found amid our current economic troubles. The trick is to identify the opportunities and to have the knowledge and foresight to take advantage of them. It is not news to anyone that we are in an economic crisis. Every day the newsman tells us stories about layoffs, retrenchments and collapses. Correspondingly there are lots of articles being written about what individuals and companies can do to survive or even prosper in a climate like this. This article and the others…
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Performance Measurement for a Customer Focus Strategy

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Introduction Many organizations are in a perpetual state of change. Changing markets, changing competition, changing organization structures, total quality initiatives and reengineering are often the rule rather than the exception. Often these initiatives fail to yield the desired results or, in the extreme, fail entirely. The reasons for this failure, of course, can be many and multiple. However, one that often stands out is the lack of change in the performance measurement system as the needs for measurement change. The recommended solution is often to establish new measures appropriate to the new techniques employed and appending them to the existing…
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Driving a Winning Culture

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In my 20 years of experience in working with multiple companies across multiple industries and globally, there is a lot of talk about culture; however, little to no impact – bottom line results. On the other hand, I’ve seen companies with an existing, winning culture and I’ve also seen one built – both types of situations drove bottom line results. The distinction between the so-so (and ugly) cultures and the winning culture is perseverance of implementing and maintaining the core elements of culture. The reason the ‘talk’ rarely turns into a winning culture is that it isn’t backed by solid…
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Point Kaizen vs. Systemic Change

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Ultimately, the goal of a lean initiative is to produce more output at a higher quality with shorter lead time using fewer resources. Not all lean initiatives accomplish these goals. A common reason for disappointment is management’s lack of clear goals, combined with a failure to understand the difference between point kaizen and systemic change. Kaizen is the Japanese word for continuous improvement. Point Kaizen refers to an intensive transformation event where a single workcell is overhauled and “made lean” in the span of a few days. Many folks believe that Lean is Point Kaizen, but really it is only…
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Customer Focused Supply Chain Management

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Supply Chain Management (SCM) was introduced in the 1990’s as a buzzword often used by logistics and software providers to describe the integrated network of product, information, and cash flow between the various entities in a supply chain. SCM has been embraced by many non-supply chain professionals simply as a new and faster way of acquiring goods and services using integrated software tools and global logistics. Today, SCM is widely recognized as a better way of doing business in a complex global economy. Traditionally, Supply Chain Management has focused on negotiating long term agreements, cost reduction, outsourcing, third-party logistics, and…
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Single Minute Exchange of Dies: Set Up Reduction, Change-over Reduction Leads to $13 million in Potential New Revenue

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A recent 5-Day improvement project lead by Sr. Consultant and Lean Specialist Carlos Conejo, lead to a 66%, 68%, and 75% reduction in set-up and change-over time on three separate printing and die-cutting presses for a corrugated cardboard facility. Single Minute Exchange of Die (SMED) is a cornerstone of lean manufacturing and helps improve productivity by enabling smaller batch sizes and increased production flexibility while reducing lead time. SMED separates setup time into “internal” and “external” activities. An internal activity is one that can only be done with the machine stopped, such as attaching parts, hoses, bolts, tooling, etc.. External…
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Balance the Line, Save Some Time and Cut Wip– All Without the Computer

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LEAD TIME is defined as starting when the need for a product, part or service is recognized and ending when that product, part or service is available for use at the point of use. For example, manufacturing lead time would run from the time a shop order is issued until the product is available for shipment. In many manufacturing situations the bulk of this time elapses while the product is sitting around waiting for something to happen. This time is called non value added time, as opposed to value added time when the product is having work performed on it.…
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