Monday, June 29, 2020

Point, Flow & System Improvement

By Pascal Dennis (bio)

Important that we understand the difference.

Leaders at all levels are responsible for leading improvement commensurate with their scope & span of control.

It makes little sense for a front line Team Leader to hunt the Great White Whale of System Kaizen.


Similarly, it's suboptimal for a Senior Vice-President to focus her attention on solely Point Kaizen - when she should be looking for Moby Dick.

(Caveat: she certainly needs to sponsor, motivate & check Point & Flow kaizen in her zone.)

So here are some working definitions of Point, Flow & System improvement.

Point Improvement
  • improvement in a point in the value stream, e.g.
    • Machine changeover,
    • Material handling
    • Quality - (e.g. damaged to packaging, contamination)
    • Ergonomics
    • Standardized work - lack of, wrong content/sequence/timing etc.

Flow Improvement
  • improvement in several points in the value stream - that lead to an overall VS improvement (e.g. in Lead time, throughput, quality, inventory turns)
    • Flow improvement comprises several point improvements
    • A + B + C + D = overall VS improvement, where A, B, C & D might be
      • Machine changeover,
      • Material handling
      • Quality - (e.g. damaged to packaging, contamination)
      • Ergonomics
      • Standardized work - lack of, wrong content/sequence/timing

System Improvement
  • Entails continuing to ask Why until we uncover systemic causes to recurrent problems
    • Usually entails macro systems around Man, Machine, Methods, Materials
    • Can also entail core business processes - e.g. Budgeting, Forecasting, Info systems etc.

Happy fishing,

Pascal

In case you missed our last few blogs... please feel free to have another look…

Andon – Putting Quality at the Forefront
Lean Outside the Factory - Reverse Magic!
The Beauty of Making Things
What is Breakthrough?, Part 2



Monday, June 15, 2020

Andon – Putting Quality at the Forefront

By Al Norval (bio)

In a couple of recent blogs we’ve talked about Jidoka or Built in Quality at the Source. While it sounds easy, putting it into practice is very difficult. One of the primary reasons for this is it requires a fundamental change in our thinking or as we say a change in our Mental Models.

Let’s start by asking what is Jidoka?

It’s one of the pillars of the Lean Production System and can be defined as:

Providing machines and operators the ability to detect abnormalities and immediately stop work, then call for help and problem solve. At Toyota, it is also known as "autonomation with a human touch". Jidoka allows us to build quality into each process and to free up people from the need to “watch” machines work.

By following this, Jidoka allows machines to do what they do best, which is to detect abnormalities & stop the process and for humans to do what they do best which is to solve problems.


The key connection between the two is Andon which can be defined as:

A signal that notifies operators, supervisors, and maintenance of problems that are occurring at different places throughout the organization or facility. Typically a worker pulls a cord that lights up a signal board when he or she detects a defect. The best Andons will dictate real-time action.

A call for help has gone out. How the organization responds to this depends upon the Mental Models of the organization. If they respond quickly and swarm all over the problem correcting the defect before re-starting the line, they are experiencing the Mental Models of:
  • Problems are gold, treasure them!
  • Don’t pass junk down the line

If on the other hand, they either don’t respond or come out and play the blame game, they are demonstrating the traditional (non-Lean) Mental Models of:
  • Problems are garbage, bury them
  • Make the numbers or else

I encourage organizations who are thinking about putting in an Andon system, to work on their human response system first. Ensure you have the capability to respond quickly and problem solve quickly before attempting to go to line stop.

To succeed Andon, Jidoka and in fact all the Lean Tools require a change in our thinking which is only accomplished when we change in our mental models. Where is your organization’s thinking? Where is your organizations mental models? I’d love to hear from you.

For more on Mental Models, please see Lean Pathways.

Cheers

Al


In case you missed our last few blogs... please feel free to have another look…

Lean Outside the Factory - Reverse Magic!
The Beauty of Making Things
What is Breakthrough?, Part 2
What Does Breakthrough Mean? - Part 1



Monday, June 1, 2020

Lean Outside the Factory - Reverse Magic!

By Pascal Dennis (bio)

A few years back, I had the pleasure of taking my teenage daughters, Katie & Eleanor, to Las Vegas.

We'd hoped to see the great magician, David Copperfield, who I'd seen make tigers, elephants and the like disappear. On TV I saw David make the Statue of Liberty disappear.

Sadly, he was out of town & we had to settle for Cher...

Anyhow, somehow I made the following connection. (Must have been the desert air...)

Lean's next frontier is the office -- sales, marketing, engineering, design, planning & scheduling, finance and so on.

Deploying the "profound system of knowledge" here requires us to perform reverse magic.

David Copperfield makes visible things, invisible.


We have to do the opposite & make the invisible, visible.

Office work, is what Peter Drucker called "knowledge" work - most of it is hidden in the box knows as a computer.

Our job is to take it out that box and put it up on the wall, where everyone can see it.

Otherwise, waste multiplies exponentially, and our office processes become our constraint.

Here's a challenge for you:
  • Review total lead time for your top three value streams,
  • Where is most of the delay -- in operations (factory, hospital ward, laboratory etc) or outside operations?

If you're like many organizations, most of the delay in outside operations.

Yet where do we spend most of our improvement work?

So...let's work our magic and make the invisible, visible.

Best, Pascal

PS That's what The Remedy is all about.


In case you missed our last few blogs... please feel free to have another look…

The Beauty of Making Things
What is Breakthrough?, Part 2
What Does Breakthrough Mean? - Part 1
Suggestion boxes vs Quick & Easy Kaizen



Monday, May 18, 2020

The Beauty of Making Things

By Pascal Dennis (bio)

Poesis is the Greek work for 'making things'.

Not coincidently, it's also the word for poetry.

A good piece of writing is like a fine piece of cabinetry, an elegant circuit board, or a beautiful engine.

Steve Jobs famously insisted that everything should be beautiful in the IPod, IPad, IPhone -- even if the customer couldn't see it.

A great carpenter feels the same way about the back of a cabinet.

This insight informed my life and the arts I've committed to:
  • The art of management, and
  • The art of writing

But do North American high school students appreciate the beauty of making things?


Have they been given proper guidance? Or do they stumble, by default, into barren general arts programs?

I understand, for example, that there are almost a million unfilled skilled trades positions in America.

Good jobs in fields like mechanical, construction and information technology.

A chance to make something beautiful, to learn & practice a great art.

My sense is our kids don't have a full picture of what's possible.

Can I appeal to our friends and colleagues in the Continuous Improvement community to help?

Please spread the message every chance you get.

Making things is COOL.

Pascal


In case you missed our last few blogs... please feel free to have another look…

What is Breakthrough?, Part 2
What Does Breakthrough Mean? - Part 1
Suggestion boxes vs Quick & Easy Kaizen
What is Intellectual Capital?, Part 2