Lean Manufacturing Concepts Discussion

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NicroJ

#91
Re: Lean Manufacturing - Discussion on Concepts

I suspect that quality has suffered greatly in this manner. It's like a game of "Chinese Whispers" where errors accumulate as messages are passed on from "ordinary" web site to "ordinary" web site.
What errors?
 
A

artichoke

#92
Re: Lean Manufacturing - Discussion on Concepts

In addition to the errors I have already presented, it is worth adding how uncritical so many authors are in presenting material. Material is presented without ever questioning it's veracity. My first encounter with this was when I was studying for my doctorate. I encountered a paper presenting a set of experimental data. The data seemed curious, so I checked its source. After tracking back through a string of papers, I discovered that the original data set was actually theoretical !
I wonder how many people have actually read Bill Smith's original "groundbreaking" 1993 paper where he suggests that changing the specification “influences the quality of product as much as the control of process variation does”, or perhaps Evans and Bender's papers on tolerancing that form the basis for Mikel Harry's nonsensical "drifts" and the 3.4dpmo ? If people and especially authors, did their own basic research, I doubt that six sigma and Lean would be around today.
 
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NicroJ

#93
Re: Lean Manufacturing - Discussion on Concepts

In addition to the errors I have already presented, it is worth adding how uncritical so many authors are in presenting material. Material is presented without ever questioning it's veracity. My first encounter with this was when I was studying for my doctorate. I encountered a paper presenting a set of experimental data. The data seemed curious, so I checked its source. After tracking back through a string of papers, I discovered that the original data set was actually theoretical !
I wonder how many people have actually read Bill Smith's original "groundbreaking" 1993 paper where he suggests that changing the specification “influences the quality of product as much as the control of process variation does”, or perhaps Evans and Bender's papers on tolerancing that form the basis for Mikel Harry's nonsensical "drifts" and the 3.4dpmo ? If people and especially authors, did their own basic research, I doubt that six sigma and Lean would be around today.

Forgive me because I am not able to follow your thought process. With electronic communication that can be difficult. So if I have misunderstood you please forgive me.

The perception I am getting is you don’t believe six sigma or Lean work? Is it the data I present in my website itself? The data in my website is true, it is not theoretic at all because it has been proven out and I was involved when it was proven out in the company I worked for.

As I mentioned in my website Lean does not need really anyone with an education in order for it to be successful. It doesn’t require anyone with a college decree. Lean requires people with common sense AND it requires those who work with the product day in and day out.

For Lean to be successful it really only requires two things. First, it requires ALL of top and middle management to be comminuted to it. Second, and most importantly, it requires the employees themselves to be involved since they will normally come up with the best improvement ideas.

One of the biggest influences that affect manufacturing in a negative way, or to put it another way, not get the most efficient production is to involve engineers and/or quality people in the manufacturing process. The reason for that is they tend to put way to many processes or checks into the process then is needed. There is such a thing of “to much” quality checks/audits in the process.

The fact of the matter is many business have two many “educated” such as college etc. people involved with the manufacturing process. That’s a very bad idea because you want people with “real” experience. By that I mean people who have worked on the floor for many years. It is they who know the process the best and not over paid yes men running around trying to prove how educated and smart they are.

Many times higher education gets in the way of improvements and great ideas. Where Lean is very successful, if done correctly, is it takes out all the brain storming meetings that go on for months, behind closed doors, involving people who really don’t know what’s happening on the production floor. Lean forces the cream of the crop to the top, people who can think on their feet rather then research for months and still not make a decision.

Lean also forces management to accept the responsibility they have in the past continually tried pushing to those working on the floor, if you will. This is why many times, middle management absolutely hate the idea of implementing Lean because it puts their butts on the line, as it should be, because that is what they get paid for. Let’s face it, in many businesses middle and top management are lazy and don’t want to do any more then they absolutely have to in order to get their take home pay. They are to involved and concerned with their egos, from more power, then they are about the actual production of goods, let alone improvements unless they get full credit for the idea, refer back to ego.

The bottom line is, in my opinion, the only people who do not like or believe in Lean are those that are afraid of it, or just don’t understand it. You would be surprised at how many “educated” people don’t have a clue of what Lean really is since it’s based off very simple logic, easy to understand and does not require a college education, perhaps these are the people most afraid of it since it could put them out of a job…
 

Steve Prevette

Deming Disciple
Staff member
Super Moderator
#94
Re: Lean Manufacturing - Discussion on Concepts

The bottom line is, in my opinion, the only people who do not like or believe in Lean are those that are afraid of it, or just don’t understand it. You would be surprised at how many “educated” people don’t have a clue of what Lean really is since it’s based off very simple logic, easy to understand and does not require a college education, perhaps these are the people most afraid of it since it could put them out of a job…
I must say this thread has gotten a bit more contentious on finger pointing than makes me comfortable. I like a good discussion of ideas, but let's (and I don't think you are the offending party here NicroJ) see if we can discuss the ideas, not the merits of the individuals.

I do agree with most of your post, but I do not agree with the last paragraph. The current word "Lean" has multiple meanings depending on who you talk to. For myself, with a Masters Degree in Operations Research, there are some very specific tools within Lean that help improve efficiencies. And when it comes to trying to do a probability analysis of expected cost savings from inventory reductions versus the expected costs incurred if you have a stock-out (item not available), I'd suggest you need a person with some statistical background, preferably a degree. Yes, there are some clueless people with degrees, and there are some clueless people without degrees.

For those of us skeptical of Lean, we have seen too many instances of the latest buzzword ("reengineering", "six sigma", "lean") as an excuse to lay off people.

Now, in the case of Six Sigma, some of us statisticians are peeved that there are folks running around who claimed that for $30,000 they will give you a belt and you can get rid of all your company statisticians.

So, I'd like to continue to see a discussion of the issues, the ideas, the results you've seen, but I'd like to ask for a truce on the finger pointing and accusations I've seen traded.
 
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artichoke

#95
Re: Lean Manufacturing - Discussion on Concepts

I agree with Steve. Unless one subscribes to the thinking of Mao or Pol Pot, education is of great benefit to the individual, to companies and to the community. Education is the basis for Deming's point 13: "Institute a vigorous program of education and self improvement for everyone".

Industry experience is also useful ... for me its been about 30 years now.

There is such a thing of “to much” quality checks/audits in the process.
This is misleading. As Don Wheeler (Bachelor Physics and Mathematics, M.S. and Ph.D. Degrees in Statistics. Associate Professor University of Tennessee ) points out "The only appropriate levels of inspection are all or none."
 
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NicroJ

#96
Re: Lean Manufacturing - Discussion on Concepts

I apologize to anyone I may have offended. I don’t for a moment think education is not important or I wouldn’t have continued my own education in the many ways that I have, including self education.

I agree with both Steve and artichoke post. I would say I come from many years experience of working with other “educated” individuals who due to their education, and/or stature in a company tend to look down on people.

When we began implementing Lean it was tough all around. There was lots of stress in the Engineering department, Quality department, and Industrial Engineering department of which I was in when we first began implementing Lean.

For most those folks the idea of involving individuals on the floor was, in my opinion, almost as if these folks had been insulted. It was almost as if you could hear them saying out loud “you mean we should ask those people on the floor for improvement ideas?”

In other words, you have to be kidding, what could people on the floor tell us we don’t know since most, if not all, are not “educated” or as educated as we are.

That is where I come from with my statement that some, or perhaps many, depending on your company who are “educated” could become very upset about the fact that they are being put on the same level of “other” people (those on the floor).

The other part that is very tough, and I seen this at all three of the companies I was involved with in implementing Lean, is the fact that departments like Engineering, Quality, Industrial Engineering, etc. have to accept more responsibility. I like to say that they are “finally” having to accept the responsibility they have been paid for.

At these three companies it was typical to, if you will, throw the issue over the fence, onto the manufacturing floor and most, if not all, problems were due to “those” people on the floor. The other side of that was weekly or monthly meetings in where many of the above mentioned folks would give rosy pictures of what was happening. Once we were involved with Lean with standard work boards (depicting hourly production rates and issues) it became very clear it was not as rosy. The other side of that is it took just about all cover, or all excuses, that many of the departments would use.

While many companies may not be utilizing Lean properly, and maybe I am not depicting Lean properly in my website, it is the “Lean” we learned and it did work and worked very well. We did see productivity gains of well over 100%. We did shrink manufacturing floor space by 50 – 80% in most Kaizen events we had.

Most importantly many issues, design and quality issues, were for the first time actually being root caused correctly. In other words many of educated folks were actually finding the “real” root causes and putting issues to bed for good. Mass production is great at giving you the abilities to hide problems for years or decades, it’s great at being able to move responsibilities around, and its great and hiding many issues with waste.

Lean for us changed that and saved our main company. We were within approx. 6 months of closing our doors and Lean saved us. Not TQM or any of the other fancy programs and perhaps that is due to the consultants we had but in any regards Lean worked for all the right reasons and some of the issue I currently write about on my website are all due on real experiences. There is no hype, no errors, no illusions, and no misleading. While the Lean tools I have learned my not be the Lean of 20 years or longer it worked for us, it was very hard, it was very tough, very stressing but very rewarding and I am sold on it by first hand experience at three different companies in three different states.

I apologize for the mini-novel of a post this has turned out to be but I hope it makes my intentions a bit more clear and a better understanding of where I am coming from. Education is important and I know that first hand but the lesson I try to teach others like me is regardless how much education one might have it does not make one better then another. Different people are important at certain times but they are never important all the time, just depends on the situation one is in…
 
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NicroJ

#97
Re: Lean Manufacturing - Discussion on Concepts

This is misleading. As Don Wheeler (Bachelor Physics and Mathematics, M.S. and Ph.D. Degrees in Statistics. Associate Professor University of Tennessee ) points out "The only appropriate levels of inspection are all or none."

That one is a tough one but I would have to respectfully disagree with Don Wheeler. I know, who am I… :D

I personally do believe there are, or can be, appropriate levels of inspections. I do not subscribe to Don’s theory that inspections are all or none. I base this again on personally experience. We were like most companies where many in quality thought you could inspect quality into the product. In other words we did lots of finally inspections only to find out we had issues upstream in supporting departments such as machining.

Of course before Lean we might do some inspections up stream but still produce a lot of product and put the into inventory where they might sit for months. We used SPC and many other quality programs as well as kept records. Of course most of that could be pencil whipped and not caught for months.

With Lean and single piece flow, as best we could do it, you would soon find out if a part was good or not. We were also kind of forced into inventing better methods that were quicker and had much less chance of false readings. However at the end of the day with no inspections you will get bad parts. Nobody will ever be able to produce 100% good parts 100% of the time. On the other side there is such a thing of “to much” inspection and one has to find the right balance the will “best” insure them the product being shipped is good quality product.

Will some bad product get out? Absolutely because nobody will ever be capable of shipping 100% good product 100% of the time even if they do conduct 100% inspections at every stage of production…
 
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NicroJ

#98
Re: Lean Manufacturing - Discussion on Concepts

For those of us skeptical of Lean, we have seen too many instances of the latest buzzword ("reengineering", "six sigma", "lean") as an excuse to lay off people.
I can absolutely understand just what you mean. I have always made that very point to people I have discussed Lean with and that is in order for Lean to truly be successful it can not lead to layoffs.

I would agree a company could begin implementing Lean and see real rewards and then later lay people off. However, and I think we would all agree, that company will not be as successful or profitable as it could be. Once people see layoffs and they truly believe it’s related to Lean I can just about guarantee you most new ideas for improvements will cease. I also would think Lean would eventually fail because without the involvement and support of those on the floor Lean can not succeed, at least in my opinion, I can’t see how it would succeed.
 
G

gszekely

#99
Re: Lean Manufacturing - Discussion on Concepts

While I have learned a lot during the last few years from, SS, Lean, BPR,TQM and so on, I would put the question:
-In a well designed, prepared, implemented process is there room for all the above (in the fisrts let say 5 years supposing that there are no major changes in the manufacturing environment) or just for incremental continuous improvement.
-What's new in the above concepts, and I mean concept and not tools,
-Are these concepts really new ones,
- or just trying to give some answer, method to the changed manufacturing environment with the newly available technical options
- we can talk about "new" tools as well, but 30 yers ago, a well designed procees would have been taking into consideration the minimalization of all the wastes,mentioned by lean or other techniques, based on the best data and statistical methods available at that time, used today by SS. :confused:
Thanks for your opinions, if all the above is worth for it.
BR
György
 
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NicroJ

Re: Lean Manufacturing - Discussion on Concepts

In answer to gszekely post:

This is my personal opinion. I believe one reason Lean is a much better “concept” then the other mentioned programs, TQM, BPR, etc. is for one Lean does not rely on much data or statistics in order for an action to happen.

What I mean by that is in the typical manufacturing business they are to top heavy with management people. You have all these educated people who have been taught you must have data in order to make decisions, or at least, proper decisions.

There is such a thing of data overload, to much collection of data, and you often can collect more data then is necessary and that data will paint a false picture of the reality at hand. I know this because I have seen this. I have seen it take many, many months for anybody to make a decision because they are “waiting” on data.

Data collection can also, many times, be a smoke screen, or a reason to not do anything, to not act, and to not stress about an issue because the answer generally is “we are waiting for more data in order to properly analyze the situation”

Lean, or at least its concepts and tools it brings along, are based on real time, what is reality telling you at this moment? I have seen many, and I mean many, examples of where a person on the floor working the process, has been able to root cause a problem and come up with a solution within hours or days only to find out that many, many months later engineering or quality come to the same conclusion based from data that wasn’t really needed had they acted real time.

I am not saying data is not important but too many people for too many reason use it as a crutch because in many instances they just do not have the needed experience or education to make a call when it’s needed.

Lean, when done correctly forces departments such as engineering or quality to act in real time and not hide behind the curtain of data.

Lean forces the issues to the front where they can no longer be hidden for months, years or even decades. Lean forces management to actually do their jobs and fulfill their responsibilities. Many companies I had been involved with one way or the other, were your typical companies “WE NEED TO SHIP THE PRODUCT” get it out the door and we will worry about other issues later.

It’s been that way for decades and in just about any country you can think of. Lean concepts and principles you could say, or I would say, are not based on anything more then common sense. You could look at Lean just about being developed from people working on the floor more then anyone from a management level.

Lean is not really something you could ever imagine many in management would have ever developed because it’s too simple and it does not rely much on data to make decisions. It’s about common sense and not worried about offending someone’s ego.
 

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