Tag: Lean Process

Toyota Recall: Quality versus Quantity!

There has been much speculation about what went wrong and what is still right at Toyota.   It has even been suggested that Toyota may have become blinded by the desire to be the number 1 automaker in the world.  This suggests that quality and quantity are interelated and that one will suffer at the expense of the other.  We would argue that this is simply not true in this case.  The question is, “What failed?”  Was it the product or the process?

Background Video:

We found an informative video about the Toyota acceleration issue that provides a little more insight than you may have read in the papers.   Click here to watch the video:

An Expert Opinion

We received another e-mail from Steven J. Spear, author of “Chasing the Rabbit“, that presents his perspective on what went “wrong” at Toyota.  Steven identifies 3 strategic areas that Toyota will need to address.  As we stated earlier, we don’t support the idea that Toyota grew too quickly.  The ability to effectively and efficiently produce  a product in mass quantities may be more challenging for the manufacturers but this should not have an impact the design or function of the product itself.

If a manufacturing defect was found to be the reason for the recall, we would agree that growth and increased demand for product may be a factor.  We’ve all been in situations where overtime is required to meet demand and the effect (stress and fatigue) this can have on employees over extended periods of time can be cause for concern.  All reports suggest that the recent flurry of recalls are driven by design or design related issues – NOT how quickly or how many vehicles were actually made.

The e-mail from Steven Spear follows:

Dear Colleagues,
What went wrong with Toyota is the flip side of what went right over so many decades. In the late 1950s or 1960s, Toyota was a pretty cruddy car company. The variety was meager, quality was poor, and their production efficiency was abysmal.
Yet by the time they hit everyone’s radar in the 1980s, they had very high quality and unmatched productivity. The way they got there was by creating within Toyota exceptionally aggressive learning. They taught employees specialties, but more importantly, they taught people to pay very close attention to the “weak signals” the products and processes were sending back about design flaws, and then responding with high-speed, compressed learning cycles to take things that were poorly understood and convert them into things that were understood quite deeply.
That allowed Toyota to come from behind, race through the pack, and establish itself as the standard-setter on quality and efficiency and complex technology. But since then, things have affected Toyota in terms of their ability to sustain this kind of aggressive learning. 
These include:
·      A rapid expansion in the number of people who had to be developed into aggressive learners with faster rates of business growth.
·      A rapid increase in the need for aggressive learning as the technological complexity of products and plants increased as well.
For more on this problem of overburdening the innovative capacity of an organization, please see my interview, “3 Questions: Steven Spear on Toyota’s Troubles,” conducted by the MIT News Office.
Best wishes,
Steve Spear

• “3 Questions: Steven Spear on Toyota’s Troubles,
   Interview with MIT News Office.
• “Toyota: Too Big, Too Fast,” by Gordon Pitts
   in The Globe and Mail (February 5, 2010)
• “Learning from Toyota’s Stumble,”
   e-article at HarvardBusiness.Org.
  for preface, forward, intro, and blog.

Click here to get your copy of Chasing the Rabbit!

Our Opinion

We would support the idea that Toyota must revisit their advanced engineering and design processes to make sure that products released for production and the public in general are safe and robust.  If there is any weakness in the problem solving community, it may just be the disconnect between events that occur in the real world and the events that the Toyota engineering and design communities choose to acknowledge.  We would also suggest that any event that results in the loss of human life must be immediately and thoroughly investigated and evaluated.  To this end, perhaps Toyota’s size is compounded to maintain an effective communication strategy and is another area that should be revisited.

Tragedies occur on our highways every day and some of us may be tempted to categorize many of these accidents as “operator error”.  We have learned by working with Toyota and other automotive companies that “operator error” is not an acceptable root cause.  What is it that the operator did or didn’t do and, of course, why?  Consistent with Toyota’s “Plan versus Actual” thinking, the Advanced Design, Development, and Engineering strategy will be subject to a significant transformation as Toyota reflects on this experience.

Toyota has done a remarkable job of instituting manufacturing processes that we now know as lean.  In this respect, it is important not to confuse Toyota’s manufacturing strategy with design of the product itself.  Although design and process recalls may be related they can also be separable and unique.  Maple Leaf Foods announced a significant recall when deaths were linked to meat products found to be contaminated with listeriosis.  The recall in this case was directly attributed to the cleanliness of the equipment (process).  Stork Craft Drop-Side Cribs were also subject to recall in November of 2009 for products with manufacture and distribution dates spanning almost 16 years.  In this case, the product design, material selection, and installation methods were at fault.  History is rife with examples, including many from the original North American (Detroit) automakers.  

Most companies take responsibility for the quality of the products and services they provide.  We don’t accept the idea that, as consumers, we are vulnerable to a company’s ability to meet demand.  We expect Quality and Quantity – not one or the other.

Now that the Olympics have started, there will be other news that will keep us pre-occupied for the next few weeks.  During this time, the automakers can fix their respective problems and start selling cars again.

 Until Next Time – STAY lean!

OEE for Multiple Parts – Single Machine (Multipart Processes)

How to Calculate OEE for Single Machine and Multiple Parts.

Flexible manufacturing provides the advantage of producing many different parts on the same piece of equipment.  The same is true for processes such as stamping presses, molding machines, or machining operations.

The first question most often asked is, “How do we calculate OEE for a piece of equipment that is capable of manufacturing multiple parts?”  The overall OEE for a stamping press, molding machine, machining process, or other “multipart” process is easily calculated using the same formulas presented in our previous posts “How to Calculate OEE” and “Practical OEE“.

We presented three machines running at various rates and producing unique products.  We demonstrated how to calculate the OEE for each part individually and for all parts collectively.  The machines A, B, and C could very easily be parts A, B, and C running on one machine.  The application of the OEE formulas presented for these three machines is the same for multiple parts running on the same machine.

We have prepared two Excel spreadsheets that demonstrate how to calculate OEE for a single machine that produces multiple parts.  We have also created a separate Excel spreadsheet that will show you how to calculate OEE for Multiple Departments and Multiple Machines running Multiple Parts.

Calculating OEE for any period of time, department, or group of equipment is a simple task.  With the understanding that OEE measures how effectively Net Available Time is used to produce good parts at the ideal rate, the formula for any OEE calculation follows:

OEE (Any Category) = Total SUM of IDEAL Time / Total SUM of NET Available Time

Once this basic premise for OEE calculations is clearly understood, any combination of OEE summaries can be prepared including OEE summaries by Shift, Operator, Manager, Division, Process, and Process Type.

FREE Downloads 

We are currently offering our Excel OEE Spreadsheet Templates and example files at no charge.  You can download our files from the ORANGE BOX on the sidebar titled “FREE DOWNLOADS” or click on the FREE Downloads Page.  These files can be used as is and can be easily modified to suit many different manufacturing processes.  There are no hidden files, formulas, or macros and no obligations for the services provided here.

Multipart OEE – Confronting the Challenges

Most manufacturing environments are challenged with the task of minimizing inventories requiring more frequent change-overs or setups.  By far, the greatest challenge of multipart equipment is managing the change-over process and is usually reflected in the OEE Availability factor.

We recommend including setup or change-over time as part of the unplanned downtime calculation.  Then, by definition, one method to improve Availability is to reduce change-over or setup time.  Reductions in change-over time will also be reflected by improved Availability.  The Availability factor is now a useful metric for tracking improvements.

According to our definition, change-over time or setup time is measured from the end of the current production run (“the last good part made”) to the start of the next production run (“first good part produced”).  We have worked with some manufacturers that decided to do change-overs on the off shift so that they could avoid the down time penalty.  They clearly didn’t get the point – deferring the time when the change-over is performed doesn’t change the time required to perform it.

Several programs such as SMED (single minute exchange of dies) are available and, when coupled with best practices for quick die change (QDC) or quick tool change techniques, can greatly reduce the time lost during your tool change events.

We will consider posting best practices for SMED or QDC and would welcome any reader comments in this area.

We always welcome your feedback and comments.  Feel free to send us your questions or comments to leanexecution@gmail.com

Until Next Time – STAY Lean!