Search the Elsmar Cove!
**Search ALL of Elsmar.com** with DuckDuckGo including content not in the forum - Search results with No ads.

Interesting Topic Lean Manufacturing Concepts - Is 'Lean' hype?

Is 'Lean' hype?


  • Total voters
    61
  • Poll closed .
D

duecesevenOS - 2009

While I have never had the oppurtunity to witness lean done right but there must be a logical order to implement lean concepts that was not used by my previous employer.
Everything I've read and in my experience the place to start is with flow paths. Map out the flow of material and parts for your process (your process might be the entire plant or an "island" to start with). How often do the flow paths cross? Is your flowpath clearly defined?

This can be pretty simple but effective stuff. This is how you start building a visual factory. In my case we split up our major assemblies by color coding (we have four major product categories and simply put four different colors out there). We purchased new containers for parts so that the parts could be easily identified as what they were. Multi colored duct tape is awesome for labeling areas (after your sure you can do some more permanent painting).

After you get your flowpaths clearly defined, your probably going to realize that there are bottlenecks and areas where flowpaths cross. Try to diverge all of your flowpaths. In our case it would have been totally impossible to keep our flowpaths seperate without a simple at the work station scheduling tool. **poof** we need kanbans...kanbans need other things to keep going like preventative maintenance...so on and so forth...gonna realize you don't want to shut down your line for the same reason again so root cause analysis...

In our case. We went out to our floor and said that we were going to keep everything seperate and not cross contaminate product made on different machines, different days, so on. All of the other parts of TPS came out of necessity to follow that one constraint.
 

psyched1

Involved In Discussions
We are talking stealth lean here with a company that hates any type of Japanese terminology. The majority of management rose from the ranks and have been here 28+ years so new ideas do not come easy.

I have successfully integrated flowcharts into the Quality System however optimization of these flow charts has come very slowly. I usually will point to the flowchart and ask where the process failed during corrective action meetings.

I believe with our new Build (Kanban) Board which will go up next week we may be able to swing the culture. I already have my people attempting to pull from design and production which is really annoying those groups. They were accustom to Quality sitting back and hanging out rather than pulling work. Should we have some success I will push for 5S and set up Kaizens in the future.

After reading wmarhel's attachement I can see that we misinterpted the meaning of just-in-time inventory.
 
Last edited:

Helmut Jilling

Auditor / Consultant
I'm a supporter of Lean because I've actually seen companies make money doing it. (Can one say that about ISO?)

It''s not the program, it's the attitude....

Absolutely. I have seen many examples where ISO helped. ISO principles are the framework for Lean to be effective. They provide standardization.

I think you answered your own question - "It''s not the program, it's the attitude.... "
 

Helmut Jilling

Auditor / Consultant
We are talking stealth lean here with a company that hates any type of Japanese terminology. The majority of management rose from the ranks and have been here 28+ years so new ideas do not come easy.
I appreciate the sensitive and careful approach you are taking to make it work in your company.

However, it is interesting that you say - "new ideas do not come easy," yet it is usually these same type of people who always blame outside factors for company difficulties.

They claim to want continual improvement, but don't want to change...

Keep up the good work, and wishing you success.



I believe with our new Build (Kanban) Board which will go up next week we may be able to swing the culture. I already have my people attempting to pull from design and production which is really annoying those groups. They were accustom to Quality sitting back and hanging out rather than pulling work. Should we have some success I will push for 5S and set up Kaizens in the future.

Sounds like a great step for you.
 

Bev D

Heretical Statistician
Staff member
Super Moderator
Yes and No.

It is not hype IF you are in a stable manufacturing environment AND willing to spend 10 good years on it.

It is hype IF the board of directors want it done in 6 months AND rename the company Toyota2....
again this is accusing a perfectly good of car of drunk driving... Lean (or TPS) is a THING. it either is or isn't real. what you describe as hype is a 'fake' attempt at implementing LEAN. the IMPLEMENTATION is hype. Lean is not.

I can claim to be genius. but the fact that I am not a genius doesn't mean that geniuses dont' exist.
 

Bev D

Heretical Statistician
Staff member
Super Moderator
While I have never had the oppurtunity to witness lean done right but there must be a logical order to implement lean concepts that was not used by my previous employer.
...and there in lies the exact source of your issue with Lean - you do not yet truly understand it. (for example - it's actually easier to implement in mass manufacturing than a job shop - in my experience.) you are judging it from your bad experience and what I would term (not meaning to insult) ineefefctive training/education in the methods. there are subleties and nuances to the seemingly simple methods are have not been well communicated from the Japanese and are often glossed over by so-called Lean consultants. I have been 'doing' Lean for 16 years startign at Honda of America Manufacturing, studying with and from some of the best in the world and I still don't consider myself an expert. One thing I have learned over teh years is that TPS has many paradoxes that make the seeming simplicity actually complex - which is why it needs to be taught and by a good teacher not a hack. (thank you Dr Deming for pointing that out years ago!)
 

psyched1

Involved In Discussions
This is why I come to the cove to learn from experts. :truce:

Yes our training was done by a state funded contractor who spent two days recreating a factory that built an electronic gadget that turned on a small light bulb. In that time we tried three different system mass production with forecasted schedules to lean one piece draw systems. Obvioulsy the lean system was excellent.

When some of us began to ask questions about how we were not facing realistic properties in the training (design flaws, machine downtime and poor product from suppliers) we were ignored shut down and the instructor moved on. :whip:

The lean guru's next step was to move into the assembly area (a final process) and do Kaizens. Our throughput to the test tank (final inspection regulatory requirement) was improved however test tank failures were not addressed only assembly failures. This group never got to the root cause of the problem and didn't seem to care as long as they showed increased throughput.

Since my departure they have had two major recalls due to poor design. (Using a plasic washer as a critical componet without reliability testing in cold temperatures :lmao: ) the warranty returns have dramtically increased but then again with lean they are capable of putting out more bad products quickly.

There is no Kanban, 5S, SMED or even design for manufacturability so I believe the first step to any lean system is to establish a solid quality system with design controls similar to QS or TS requirements requiring FMEA's, Control Plans, reliability testing and capability studies then integrating lean concepts.
 
D

duecesevenOS - 2009

I really like Bev's drunk driving analogy so I'm going to continue with it. So the TPS implementation is failing because your (I don't mean you specifically, please don't take offense) not doing the root cause analysis, poke yoke, and other quality steps, and then you blame it on TPS. That's like blaiming the perfectly good vehicle for getting stuck on a muddy road even though you didn't try putting it in four wheel drive.

TPS/lean/demingism (whatever you want to call it) works. It's a perfectly good vehicle to bettering the capabilities of your factory. It's all about making the vehicle run in your environment.
 
D

duecesevenOS - 2009

By the way. The circuit board factory simulation is a great activity if it is done with good teachers. Our company has about 2100 employees and has been continually doing a three day class every month for the last 3 years (the circuit board is basically one day of it). It can really help to have everyone get this type of training and not just management/engineering. Wage roll people can really take things into their own hands and "own" their process if you give them the knowledge to do it.

I work in a very old facility where the majority of people have been around for 15-30 years. When I took the 3-day class, I had to make our circuit boards along side a maintenance guy of 40+ years. He was definately hard to teach and stubborn but by the end he was pretty well on board. When it comes down to it's base form, leaning a facility puts the operators in charge and turns all of supervision into servants there to facilitate production. Most operators love that idea, they just don't believe it.

First thing I noticed about TPS as an engineer was something that should have been obvious to me before. I am non value added material unless I make peoples jobs easier and more efficient.
 
Top Bottom