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Lean Manufacturing without stability - Rate it 1 to 5.

John B.

Registered Visitor
On a scale of 1 – 5 (1 being moderate, 5 being impossible) how difficult would it be to implement Lean Manufacturing techniques without stability through out the department. I define stability as follows (in no particular order):

1. Production level loaded.
2. Pull system.
3. Good parts from suppliers (internal & external).
4. Minimal set-up time.
5. Good process documentation.

Now, I am sure that in I missed one or more of the blocks in the “stability” foundation. But, whether the list is complete is not what is important, rather trying to implement the principles of LM without stability is difficult. Just how difficult is it? Impossible?


Thanks for taking the time to read my post.


duecesevenOS - 2009

5 I guess. What techniques are you talking about implementing? In my opinion, all of the definitions of stability that you gave are a direct result of implementing lean techniques.

If your asking, can you do JIT without a pull system - NO.

Can you make quality parts without specifications to your supplier - NO.

This is kind of like asking the question, can you use a computer without a mother board? Well yeah, you can still hit keys on your keyboard, your mouse still rolls, and the screen will display a little box with colors. But you can't use the computer without a motherboard because the motherboard is the computer. The most valuable techniques in Lean are the ones that create stability.


John B.

Registered Visitor

Thanks for the reply.

I like your example. Just putting Heijunka board and a few kanbans does not make for a lean manufacturing system. We have a very High Mix of product,28 end item part number (each pn has at least 125 components that go into it) that run through 5 assemlby lines. At least twice a day we have stand up meetings to address part shortages,quality concerns or schedule adjustments. We struggle finish one work order because of these issues. So we tear the set up down to run another PN, only to run into one of these problems again. As a result the Heijunka board is rearranged and the kanban bins are returned to stock partically empty.

This is what I mean when I say "stability", or in my case instability. The pull system never really gets started and we start "pushing" product through the department.


Bev D

Heretical Statistician
Staff member
Super Moderator
the things you list are part of implementing Lean.
as far the question of "stability" first and the other lean tools second - I recommend Jeffrey Liker's "The Toyota Way Fieldbook"
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