Category: Advanced Lean Manufacturing

Advanced Techniques are essentially enhancements or improvements to the existing fundamental process or system.

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February 2nd is Groundhog Day! A great day for Lean Thinking.

Although there is no correlation between a groundhog seeing its shadow and the arrival of Spring-like weather, groundhog day is a tradition celebrated by many in Canada and the United States. If the groundhog casts a shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter; otherwise, Spring arrives early.

Perception is a matter of perspective. What we perceive and believe to be true directly influences our thoughts and behaviours. Whether the groundhog sees its shadow does not change the meteorological and officially recognized 1st day of Spring, which arrives when the sun moves across the celestial equator from south to north, a phenomenon also known as the Vernal Equinox.

This year, the first day of Spring is March 19, 2020, as this is a leap year. Otherwise, March 20 is the first day of Spring on non-leap years. We’ll believe it’s Spring when the weather aligns with our perception of what Spring is.

For others, Groundhog Day overshadows Candlemass, a Christian holy day recognized from the early 300’s AD and has deeper roots than any groundhog day celebration could ever have.

Some may have no idea what groundhogs are or never had the opportunity to see one. Others may simply recognize Groundhog Day as the name of the classic hit movie “Groundhog Day” (Columbia Pictures – February 12, 1993) with a great cast of characters including Andie MacDowell, Bill Murray, and Chris Elliot.

What does this have to do with lean thinking?

Meetings, events, training, seminars, charts and data may attempt to convince us that we are a lean company, but when we see and feel the difference, we’ll know its real and the true never-ending journey to lean begins.

Another takeaway is ensuring everyone is on the SAME page! Its not a movie, not a religious event, and definitely not a dream. Enjoy the journey.

Until Next Time – STAY lean!

Related Articles and Resources

The Goal for OEE in 2020

What is your goal for Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) in 2020? I suggest keeping it simple:

A continually increasing trend in OEE over time.

OEE can be an elusive metric unless you understand what it measures: Ideal Run Time vs Actual Run Time expressed as a percentage. The formula “Availability x Performance x Quality” categorically quantifies, expressed as a percentage, how OEE is affected by each factor.

Read “How to Calculate OEE – The Real OEE Formula With Examples” for a thorough introduction and explanation to calculate OEE correctly.

Correctly calculating OEE is only the beginning. To continually improve OEE over time is where the journey truly begins. As the formula to calculate OEE suggests, it cannot be treated in isolation.

Micro Lean and OEE

Although OEE is not necessarily considered a “lean” metric, the opportunities for improvement may very well be. To improve OEE, identify opportunities where the most significant increases exist and focus on the sub-trends for Availability, Performance, and Quality.

An opportunity to improve exists for every factor that is not 100%. As suggested by our post “Micro Lean in 2020,” the devil is in the details. The culmination of many small improvements can compound to yield significant positive results.

In practice, Availability and Quality tend to be the primary areas of focus. TPM (Total Preventive Maintenance), SMED (single minute exchange of dies), Quick Tool Change, and Six-Sigma represent best practices serving as mechanisms for change to help address these issues in kind.

As new initiatives, these programs quickly address the significant issues. The challenge is to seek opportunities for improvements continually. When viewed through the lens of “single-piece flow,” the opportunities are endless.

More advanced tools such as Va/Ve (Value Analysis / Value Engineering) and QFD (Quality Function Deployment), DOE (Design of Experiments), and TRIZ may help to explore opportunities that are not immediately obvious to the untrained eye.

The key is to recognize the goal and keep it in focus. The fun begins when we accept the challenge to maintain a continually increasing trend in OEE over time.

Until Next Time – STAY lean!

Related Articles and Resoures

How To Calculate OEE – The Real OEE Formula with Examples, Versalytics.org

Calculate OEE > A list of articles here on Versalytics.org

Micro Lean in 2020

Lean thinking affects all facets of an organization. Every person, activity, product, service, process, system, or method represent an opportunity for continuous improvement.

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If the devil is in the details, then lean thinking extends to understanding and improving the “little things” we do every day, not just as teams, but as individuals too. Lean thinking embraced at a personal level can collectively bring significant change to the company as a whole.

Lean companies are not immune to complacency. If it is indeed a journey, the pursuit of perfection through the elimination of waste never ends. Unfortunately, significant improvement opportunities also fall victim to Pareto’s law as the “low hanging fruit” becomes harder to find.

Lean initiatives identify and address high dollar opportunities at the onset. As time passes, the motivation and interest to pursue the minor and few remaining opportunities begin to dwindle.

Lean thinking at the micro-level gives us cause to become aware of, and to review, the activities and habitual routines we perform every day. Many small steps can make for a much-improved workplace. “The Best Way To Measure Your Personal Brand Success,” by Pia Silva (Forbes contributor – August 1, 2018) also supports this manner of thinking.

The “little things” from a company perspective may represent “big things” from an individual perspective. We can make the company a better place when we make improvements to our workspace.

Micro-lean for 2020 may be the next best thing. As has been said many times before, “There’s always a better way and more than one solution.”

Until Next Time – Stay Lean!

Versalytics

Related Articles and Resources

The Best Way To Measure Your Personal Brand Success by Pia Silva (Forbes contributor – August 1, 2018).

Timeouts and Incubation Periods

pexels-photo-169573

Programming is fun until … you hit a wall, and the solution seems out of reach. Rather than sit and wait for a solution to appear magically, it’s time to take a break.

A timeout may be the answer to finding the solution. If you’ve ever experienced that moment when the answer to a question suddenly pops into your mind when you weren’t even aware you were thinking about it, then you’ll understand the benefits of a much needed timeout.

The time between understanding the problem and discovering the inevitable solution is the incubation period – the timeout. The critical element here is a clear understanding of the problem. Then let your subconscious mind work on the problem for you while you change your focus.

The Zeigarnik Effect will serve to remind you of the unfinished business in due time. In the meanwhile, go for a walk or take a nap to clear your mind. When you return, a fresh eyes review may offer more than expected.

Until Next Time – STAY lean!

Related Articles and Resources

On the cutting edge of software

Updating software applications is a routine maintenance practice that many choose to ignore. While many of my applications are set to update automatically, I want to be sure they are current.

I prefer to update my core software packages manually and with good reason. Some updates can be “buggy” and blindly upgrading could shut an application or system down. Code that worked in one version may now refer to deprecated functions or features.

Integrated Development Environments or IDE’s and programming languages continue to evolve. Incorporating and taking advantage of new features and capabilities can make writing code that much more effective and efficient.

I use the suite of IDE’s by JetBrains and appreciate the value my subscription brings to make code that much easier to write and manage. Integrated version control is certainly one of the features that I have learned to depend on over the years.

Performing regular updates also makes it easier to keep up with changes as they occur as opposed to learning them in one sitting several releases later. There is always a risk to being on the cutting – or bleeding – edge of technology, but the rewards may be even greater.

Until Next Time, STAY lean!

Microsoft Excel 2019 VBA and Macros

I received my paperback copy of Microsoft Excel 2019 VBA and Macros, by Bill Jelen and Tracy Syrstad, on December 31, 2018. I finally managed to work my way through it cover to cover and highly recommend this book for anyone wanting to learn how to be more productive with Excel using VBA.

This book presents a wide range of topics where you will learn how to take advantage of VBA and the new features available in Excel 2019. With the assumption that you already know how to use Excel, this book helps you to understand and take advantage of the many capabilities and features of VBA itself to enhance your experience as a user and to create effective and efficient applications.

If you want to increase your productivity with Excel 2019, then I highly recommend getting your copy of Microsoft Excel 2019 VBA and Macros. This is another welcome addition to our growing library of Excel books.

  • ISBN-13: 978-1-5093-0611-4
  • ISBN-10: 1-5093-0611-0
  • Pages: 585

Accompanying Excel workbooks with code, data sets, and bonus macros are available online for download.

Until Next Time – STAY lean!

JIRA Development Cookbook – Third Edition

JIRA Development Cookbook – Third Edition by Jobin Kuruvilla, September 2016, 598 pages. This book is available from Amazon in Paperback and Kindle Edition.

  • ISBN-13: 978-1785885617
  • ISBN-10: 1785885618

Delving into JIRA requires a minimum $10.00 per month expense per user after a free 7 day trial. The question is, does the expense justify the return?

We shall soon find out.

The Logitech CRAFT Keyboard is by far the best keyboard to grace my desktop. Protect your investment with the Hard Travel Case by co2CREA

Until Next Time – STAY lean!

Karakuri is Lean

Karakuri is a mechanism that uses gravity, springs, and gears instead of external power sources to manipulate objects as a means to “save energy”, and is a key element of Kaizen that when put into practice, can translate into significant productivity and efficiency gains including:

  1. Eliminate overwork
  2. Eliminate waste
  3. Eliminate uneven workflow
  4. Improve safety
  5. Improve quality
  6. Improve productivity
  7. Improve maintenance

Karakuri is also a tradition innate to Toyota’s culture since its inception and the practice extends to companies throughout Japan. It is interesting to see the tools that can provide a significant benefit to your operations without the necessity of adding overhead beyond the initial investment and routine maintenance that may be required.

Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.

Archimedes

Eliminating or at least minimizing the need for external energy sources results in a net reduction of operating expenses. A gravity flow rack is certainly one of the more primitive and obvious examples of Karakuri as demonstrated by this video of an AMS MRS Rack Storage. Check out the video in the “Related Articles and Resources” below to see how Karakuri can help to simplify and improve your operations.

Until Next Time – STAY lean!

Versalytics

Related Articles and Resources:

Lean – Have it Your Way

It’s easy to determine whether the leadership of a company truly embraces lean thinking.  One of the more frustrating “tells” is the insistence of leadership to precisely follow the path others have taken.

The underlying notion of achieving the same or similar results may be appealing but it does not address why the specific path or methodology was chosen by a given company to begin with.  Many automotive companies have learned that lean is not a simple matter of copying and duplicating the practices of a company like Toyota.

If lean is indeed a journey, it is only fair to say that any competitor or other company you have chosen as a model to follow is still in the pursuit of perfection to achieve the ever elusive ideal state.  Since we don’t or can’t possibly know what their ideal state could possibly look like, implementing the best practices of other companies is merely nothing more than a starting point.

To be a “copy-cat” or “me too” company does little to differentiate you from the competition.  What advantage or benefit will the customer realize if you are just like all the others?

The tools of lean and six sigma are not the concern here.  Rather, the concern extends to the very systems and processes of the organization and business itself.  It is the underlying thinking that forms the foundation on which the organif the underlying thinking and assumptions

Innovation is Lean Thinking by Design

Differentiation is a trait best demonstrated by a company like Logitech.  While some companies simply attempt to make products faster and cheaper, Logitech’s appeal is to offer something more in the product itself.

Consider Logitech’s recently introduced flow technology where a single keyboard and mouse combination can seamlessly switch between two computers as though they were one.  Spending a little more money on a premium or advanced product offering is still cheaper than having to buy three of each and also offers the benefit of having more available desk space.

As another example, Logitech recently released the MX Vertical Mouse, an ergonomically designed mouse that improves performance, productivity and reduces the risk of injury that may occur due to prolonged use of the device.  Although the design changes are only slightly radical, they demonstrate the never-ending cycle of continuous improvement.

Systems, methods, processes, and procedures are present in every facet of an organization or business.  Consider how lean thinking can be applied to increase their effectiveness, improve performance, and ultimately eliminate waste.

As I’ve said before, “What you see is how we think.”  I contend that Lean thinking is best demonstrated by what differentiates your company from the competition.  The greatest value may be found in those elements that defy logic and the small things that set you apart to position your company ahead of the curve.

Until Next Time – STAY lean!Versalytics

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