Tag: Agile

Thinking Outside of the Box

A spreadsheet of my construction showing how n...
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I am always intrigued to find evidence that supports the application of lean outside the realm of manufacturing.  This morning I was pleasantly surprised to find an article published by Bill Wake titled “Lean Manufacturing and Software” where Bill discusses software development from a lean perspective.  Even if you aren’t a programmer or software developer, the article offers some interesting insights and perspectives into a different application of lean principles.

Perhaps seeing this article should not come as a surprise to me.  Some time ago, I published “Lean Office with Excel and VBA” that was featured in an article on Daily Dose of Excel titled “Learn VBA to be Lean“.  Even more interesting were comments that included candid responses from some of the more well-known Excel guru’s including John Walkenbach, a renowned author of numerous books on Excel.

On another occasion, I attempted to demonstrate some basic lean tenets and Standardized Work in “22 Seconds to Burn – Excel VBA Teaches Lean Execution“.  Finally, “Lean Paralysis” makes reference to a simple software development decision to select a sorting algorithm.  When we consider the thousands of lines of code that comprise a software solution, it is noteworthy that each instruction is executed with a specific intent to present a solution to the user.

So, somehow it seems apropos to see an article on software development featured here.  On an even greater scale, this demonstrates unintended collaboration for the greater benefit of all.  Just as stories are an excellent way to communicate and teach new ideas, analogies and “surrogate” applications can also serve to help improve our current level of understanding.

We benefit from the software community where it becomes painfully clear that every instruction represents a step that brings us closer to the eventual solution.  The software development community benefits from lean to improve their software development process.

As I mentioned in “Lean – A race against time“, the application of lean has extended beyond the walls of manufacturing and is further demonstrated in “The High-Velocity Edge: How Market Leaders Leverage Operational Excellence to Beat the Competition” by author, and recipient of the Philip Crosby Medal, Steven J. Spear.  This book exemplifies how lean thinking has emerged in a diverse range of industries including health care, air lines, the US Navy, Automotive, Manufacturing, and Mining.  Even our own local governments are pursuing lean to improve government agencies and services.

I am impressed by what we can learn from others and look forward to learning more.

Until Next Time – STAY lean!

Vergence Analytics
Twitter:   @Versalytics
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The High-Velocity Edge Is Here!

Update:  Steven J. Spear has been awarded the Philip Crosby Medal for his book “The High-Velocity Edge: How Market Leaders Leverage Operational Excellence to Beat the Competition” according to a Press release from ASQ—the world’s largest network of quality resources and experts (Milwaukee, WI March 2, 2011).

We have raved about the book “Chasing the Rabbit” written by Steven J. Spear and have just learned that the book has been re-released under a new a title, The High-Velocity Edge: How Market Leaders Leverage Operational Excellence to Beat the Competition.  Recognizing that your time is a valuable commodity, we aim to provide information that is relevant to our readers and visitors.  This book provides much more information on certain topics than one could ever hope to achieve through a website or blog – hence our recommendation.

This is perhaps an unprecedented marketing strategy for what was an already very successful book.  In one respect this reflects the wisdom of Peter Drucker who suggested that there is a time to abandon the old (even if it is considered an award winning success) in lieu of the fresh and new.  The following are excerpts from the e-mail we received from Steve that explain the reasons for this change:

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

The High Velocity Edge shows the particular skills and capabilities that lead to broad-based, high-speed, non-stop improvement and innovation.  Master these and you achieve exceptional, rival-beating performance, even if facing intense competition. If you don’t, you watch as someone else wins

The book (and the website supporting it) are replete with examples of how these capabilities are developed and deployed in high tech and heavy industry, in design and production, in services like health care and in manufacturing.

There is Pratt and Whitney’s compression in time and cost of jet engine design, the Navy’s creation of nuclear propulsion  with breath taking speed, Alcoa’s achieving near perfect workplace safety, and the exceptional improvement of care in medical institutions.

Toyota features prominently as an example, both in showing how  successfully cultivating the capabilities introduced and illustrated in The High Velocity Edgeare the source of  tremendous competitive strength and also in showing how the capacity to develop such capabilities can be overburdened.

With the release of The High Velocity Edge, I’m testing new media approaches, being released on its website, to bring the book’s ideas into broader practice more quickly than traditional means alone allow.

Here’s a closer look at what is new.

New Title and Cover: Why a  new name and cover after three awards, versions in four languages, and flattering reviews?  Well, people do judge a book by its cover, and those who didn’t read the reviews or learn of the awards were too often left  wondering what was inside.  Not so with the new.

New material:  You’ll find a new preface and epilogue, drawing lessons about leadership, innovation, and operational excellence from  Toyota’s recent  struggles.

New media: I’m testing ways to  help  people master more quickly and reliably the skills that allow individuals and organizations to achieve broad-based, high-speed improvement and innovation.

On the way are an interactive web-based case study, an ‘open school’ course for those in health care professions, and a series of short tutorials to help people review what they’ve read and to help them teach what they’ve learned to their own students and colleagues. The results will be introduced on the book’s website.

Of course, there will still be postings, applying the principles of leadership, innovation, and operational excellence to current topics.

I certainly hope you find the new look, content, and format useful in pursuing perfection.

Please share your feedback, and let’s talk about how I can help you put these ideas  to use in your own organization.

Thanks!

Steve Spear

A high velocity organization is, in our opinion, a step above and beyond the traditional lean principles that are typical of most text books and seminars on this topic.  The High-Velocity Edge: How Market Leaders Leverage Operational Excellence to Beat the Competition will prove to be a worthwhile read and we highly recommend this to any company seriously seeking to take their organization to the next level.  We have also added this book to our recommended reading list.

Until Next Time – STAY lean!

Vergence Business Analytics

OEE: Frequently Asked Questions

We added a new page to our site to address some of the more frequently asked questions (FAQ’s) we receive regarding OEE.  We trust you will find this information to be of interest as you move forward on your lean journey.  We always appreciate your feedback, so feel free to leave us a comment or send an e-mail directly to LeanExecution@gmail.com or Vergence.Consulting@gmail.com

We have had an incredibly busy summer as more companies are pursuing lean manufacturing practices to improve their performance.  OEE has certainly been one of the core topics of discussion.  We have found that more companies are placing a significant emphasis on Actual versus Planned performance.  It would seem that we are finally starting to realize that we can introduce a system of accountability that leads to improvements rather than reprimands.

Keep Your Data CLEAN

One of the debates we recently encountered was quantity versus time driven performance data when looking at OEE data.  The argument was made that employees can relate more readily to quantities than time.  We would challenge this as a matter of training and the terminology used by operations personnel when discussing performance.  We recommend using and maintaining a time based calculation for all OEE calculations.  Employees are more than aware of the value of their time and will make every effort to make sure that they get paid for their time served.

Why are we so sure of this?  Most direct labour personnel are paid an hourly rate.  Make one error on their pay or forget to pay their overtime and they will be standing in line at your office wondering why they didn’t get paid for the TIME they worked.  They will tell you – to the penny – what their pay should have been.  If you are paying a piece rate per part, you can be sure that the employees have already established how many parts per hour they need to produce to achieve their target hourly earnings.

As another point of interest and to maintain consistency throughout the company, be reminded that finance departments establish hourly Labour and Overhead rates to the job functions and machines respectively.  Quite frankly, the quantity of parts produced versus plan doesn’t really translate into money earned or lost.  However, one hour of lost labour and everyone can do the math – to the penny.

When your discussing performance – remember, time is the key.  We have worked in some shops where a machine is scheduled to run 25,000 parts per day while another runs a low volume product or sits idle 2 of the 5 days of the the week.  When it comes right down to the crunch for operations – how many hours did you earn and how many hours did you actually work.

Even after all this discussion we decided it may be an interesting exercise to demonstrate the differences between a model based on time versus one based (seemingly) only on Quantitative data.  We’ll create the spreadsheet and make it available to you when its done!

Remember to take advantage of our free spreadsheet templates.  Simply click on the free files in the sidebar or visit our free downloads page.

We trust you’re enjoying your summer.

Until Next Time – STAY Lean!

Vergence Business Associates

OEE Topics for 2009

We changed our theme!

Today was another day to do a little maintenance. We spent a little time revamping our look and feel. We hope you enjoy the changes and find our site a little easier to navigate.  We updated our Free Downloads page to present another easier and more direct venue to get your files instantly using Box.Net. If you’re already familiar with WordPress, you know how great this widget is. Downloads could never be faster or easier.

We also took some time to update some of our pages. We would suggest, however, that the best detailed content appears in the individual articles that we have posted.

Upcoming Topics for 2009

  1. Tracking OEE Improvements:  We have noticed an increase in the number of requests to discuss tracking OEE improvements.  We have been working on a few different approaches even for our own consulting practice and look forward to sharing some thoughts and ideas here.
  2. How OEE can improve your Cost of Non-Quality.  It’s more than yield.
  3. What OEE can do for your Inventory.  Improvements should be cascading to other areas of your operation – including the warehouse.
  4. Innovation – Defining your future with OEE
  5. OEE and Agile – Going beyond lean with OEE.
  6. Best Practices – OEE in real life, in real time

If you would like to suggest a topic for a future post, ask a question, or make a suggestion, please leave a comment or simply send an e-mail to LeanExecution@gmail.com or vergence.consulting@gmail.com.  We do appreciate your feedback.

Until Next Time – STAY lean!

Vergence Business Associates

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