The fallacy of bottom-up Lean initiatives – Part 1

Yes, Lean initiatives can be started bottom-up, but I doubt they’ll get very far and last for long. Here is why. Bottom-up Lean initiatives, e.i. improvements, are opportunities for improvement found by shopfloor people, line leaders or shop management. “Improvement” is most often understood in a broad meaning and bring up suggestions ranging from make … Continue reading The fallacy of bottom-up Lean initiatives – Part 1

From Obeya to wallpaper show room

When visual management turns into useless wallpaper Having an Obeya is the latest - fashionable - sign an organization takes Lean seriously. The name itself sounds performing as is it is so strongly related to Lean. Obeya may sound both exotic and performing, but is nothing more than a “big room”. (I assume the perplexed … Continue reading From Obeya to wallpaper show room

When enough is… enough

This is a behavior I’ve noticed quite often in food industry, in chemical or pharmaceutical plants: cleaning and sanitation processes (mainly their duration) are extended beyond the standard procedures at the expense of costs and production capacity. Fear of harming In the regulatory-constraint industries like food, chemical or pharma, people on shopfloor are trained and … Continue reading When enough is… enough

What data for changeover monitoring and improvement?

Maximizing the exploitation of critical Capacity Constraint Resources (CCRs), so called bottlenecks, is crucial for maximizing revenue. Changeovers usually have a significant impact on productive capacity, reducing it with every new change made on those resources that already have too few of it. Yet changeovers are a necessary evil, and the trend is going for … Continue reading What data for changeover monitoring and improvement?

We are all Lean now. What’s next?

Every once in a while, for nearly 30 years, the question arises: “what’s the next big thing after Lean?”, suggesting that the askers are done with Lean. We write July of 2016 and it seems that everybody is Lean now. Many people have been repeatedly exposed to Lean methods and tools, have been involved in … Continue reading We are all Lean now. What’s next?

Respect for people starts with saying hello

Lean respect for people principle is somewhat difficult to grasp in first place. While some gurus say it is not (only) about saying hello, I do think respect for people definitely starts with the basics of politeness, especially saying hello. Respect or signs of reverence have long been unidirectional, from the lower ranking to the … Continue reading Respect for people starts with saying hello

Is Lean about eliminating waste or not?

Some thought leaders and Lean promoters stress the fact that Lean is about eliminating waste while others seem to get away from this idea. Could some have been wrong? Is there a shift in Lean Thinking? What is Lean finally about? Is Lean about waste elimination or not? Well, yes and no. Defining waste Waste is … Continue reading Is Lean about eliminating waste or not?

Theory of Constraints, Lean and aviation MRO

In a previous post, “CCPM helps shorten aircrafts MRO”, I explained the benefits of Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM) for reducing the aircraft downtime during their mandatory and scheduled MRO. If CCPM is great and helps a lot meeting the challenge, it will not squeeze out every potential improvement, thus time reduction, on its own. … Continue reading Theory of Constraints, Lean and aviation MRO

Leader Standard Work

The very first time I heard about “leader standard work” and “scripted day” I was puzzled. Production manager myself at that time, in my view management must be ready for fixing things and react to all the random events that rain down onto a factory shopfloor. How could a day made of fixing unexpected problems be … Continue reading Leader Standard Work