Tag: operations excellence

Lean Quick Reference Guide

Lean Quick Reference Guide

This guide is intended to be used as a reference to support a Lean implementation.  Implementing tools alone does not lead to a successful transformation.  It is vital for long-term success to focus on people and culture.

There are many more tools that could have been included in this guide.  25 Tools have been listed below however please feel free to suggest tools that you would like included in this guide to make this a more robust and valuable tool. You can send your suggestions to info@focusedimprovement.ca.

TOOL TOOL DESCRIPTION HOW DOES IT HELP?
5S Methodology to organize and keep the work area organized.

1.Sort (eliminate that which is not needed)

2.Set In Order (organize remaining items)

3.Shine (clean and inspect work area)

4.Standardize (write standards for above)

5.Sustain (regularly apply the standards)

Improves safety.  Organizes workplace, and helps reduce waste.
Andon Visual feedback system that indicates production status alerts when assistance is needed and empowers operators to stop the production process. Acts as a real-time communication tool.  Help bring immediate attention to production line stoppages/problems so they can be instantly addressed.
Bottleneck Analysis Helps identify the constraint – which part of the process limits the throughput. Helps focus prioritize the efforts, defines the benefits and by removing or lessening the impact of the constraints improves throughput.
Continuous Flow Manufacturing where work-in-process smoothly flows through production with minimal (or no) buffers between steps of the manufacturing process. Eliminates many forms of waste (e.g., over production, over processing, defects, motion, inventory, waiting time, wasted resources and transport).
Gemba Walks It is the action of going to see the process, understand the work, ask questions, and learn. Helps to staff understand the full breath and impact of the problem, gathering data from all sources and make the decision quicker.
Level Scheduling A form of production scheduling that purposely manufactures in much smaller batches by sequencing (mixing) product variants within the same process. Reduces lead times (since each product or variant is manufactured more frequently) and inventory (since batches are smaller).
Policy Deployment Align company strategy to the tactics of middle management and the actions performed at the process/plant/business levels. Ensures that progress towards strategic goals is measured, communicated, consistent and thorough.  Sets clear and accountable actions and direction.
Autonomation Design equipment to partially automate the manufacturing process (partial automation is typically much less expensive than full automation) and to automatically stop when defects are detected. Helps employees monitor multiple stations (reducing labor costs) and combined with Gemba Walks many quality issues can be detected and improved immediately.
Just-In-Time (JIT) Pull material or information based on customer demand and when needed rather than pushing parts through production based on projected demand. Helps reduce inventory levels. Improves cash flow and reduces space requirements.
Kaizen or Rapid Improvement Event A focused activity where a small cross-functional team tackles a problem in a structured format to solve and implement process improvements. Methodology to make rapid process improvements, reduce defects, increase throughput, generate teamwork and get employee buy-in.
Kanban (Pull System) A method of regulating the flow of goods both within the factory and with outside suppliers and customers. Based on automatic replenishment through signal cards that indicate when more goods are needed. Eliminates waste from inventory and overproduction. Can eliminate the need for physical inventories (instead of relying on signal cards to indicate when more goods need to be ordered).
PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Adjust) An iterative methodology for process improvements:

•Plan – establish a plan and expected results

•Do – implement the plan

•Check – verify results achieved and log learnings

•Adjust – adjust your plan

Helps increase the knowledge around an improvement opportunity by applying the scientific method.  Translated to PDCA:

•Plan – develop a hypothesis

•Do  – develop expected and run an experiment

•Check – evaluate results

•Adjust – adjust the experiment and  try again

Poka-Yoke (Error Proofing) Design error detection and prevention into processes with the goal of achieving zero defects. Helps remove expensive defect identification via inspection and improves flow/throughput
Root Cause Analysis A problem-solving methodology that focuses on resolving the underlying problem instead of applying quick fixes that only treat immediate symptoms of the problem. Helps to ensure that a problem is truly eliminated by applying corrective action to the “root cause” of the problem. (i.e., Fishbone, 5Y’s, etc.)
Single Minute Exchange of Die (SMED) Reduce changeover time to as minimal as possible by:

•Converting setup steps to be external (performed while the process is running)

•Simplify internal setup (e.g., replace bolts with knobs and levers)

•Eliminate non-essential operations

•Create standardized work instructions

Helps reduce process downtime,  manufacture lot sizes, reduces inventory, and improves customer responsiveness.
Six Big Losses Six categories of productivity loss that are almost universally experienced:

Breakdowns, Setup/Adjustments, Small Stops, Reduced Speed, Startup Rejects and Production Rejects

Helps provide a framework for attacking the most common causes of waste in a process.
SMART Goals Goals that are: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Specific. Helps to ensure that goals are effective.
Standardized Work Documented one of the most powerful lean tools.  It is to document the current best practices including Takt time, work sequence, and standard inventory.  Standard work documents are “living” and serve as a baseline for Kaizens. Helps eliminate waste by consistently applying best practices. Forms a baseline for future improvement activities.  Standard work documents are written by employees performing the task.
Takt Time Takt time is the average time between the start of production of one unit and start of the next unit.  The production starts are set to match the rate of customer demand. Takt time helps a simple, consistent and intuitive method of pacing production. It is easily extended to provide an efficiency goal for the plant floor.
Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) TPM is a holistic approach to maintenance. It focuses on proactive and preventative maintenance to maximize equipment uptime and performance. Helps create a shared responsibility for equipment, encourages greater employee involvement, increases uptime, reduces cycle times, and eliminates defects.
Value Stream Mapping (VSM) A tool used to visually map the flow of information, process steps and data from production. VSM helps map the current state of a process, exposes waste and provides a roadmap for improvement through the future state.
Visual Factory Visual indicators, displays, and controls used throughout manufacturing plants to improve the communication of information. Helps make the state and condition of manufacturing processes easily accessible and very clear – to everyone.
Waste Anything in the process that does not add value from the customer’s perspective. Eliminating waste is one of the Lean tenants.  Reducing waste is one of the goals of Lean.
Key Performance Indicator (KPI) Metrics or performance indicators which measure important variables. By selecting the right KPI’s it helps align and align strategic goals, helps expose opportunities, and sets expectations/targets which actions can be measured against.
Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) Framework for measuring productivity loss for a given manufacturing process. Three categories of loss are tracked:

·Availability (e.g., downtime)

·Performance (e.g., slow cycles)

·Quality (e.g., rejects)

Provides a benchmark/baseline and a means to track progress in eliminating waste from a manufacturing process. 100% OEE means perfect production (manufacturing only good parts, as fast as possible, with no downtime).

About Focused Improvement Consulting: Focused Improvement Consulting is a boutique consulting company that solves ‘tough’ process and business problems. Our team of business and Lean Six Sigma experts work shoulder to shoulder with your employees and act as catalysts for change to build a culture of continuous improvement within your company. We analyze the challenges that your business is facing and design a solution that is uniquely suited to resolve your problems. Our goal is not to be with you forever but for the right amount of time so that your team learns the skills, tools and most importantly the behaviors to deliver improved results year after year. Please contact us for more information at info@focusedimprovement.ca.

9 Challenges to achieving operations excellence

Jitendra Badiani

In our line of business, we are privileged to have business leaders share their experiences, methods, and practices utilized to implement and operations excellence. This inside peek gives us an excellent opportunity to develop a useful list of the challenges faced by business leaders when trying to implement operations excellence practices.  Below is a short list and I encourage you to share with us challenges you might be facing in your implementation that are different.  You can send your challenges to info@focusedimprovement.ca.

  1. Linking process improvement with top-level business strategy – However well-intentioned business leaders are in implementing operations excellence practices; it is very important to link the process improvements with the top-level strategy of the business. Improvement of processes will not have its intended effects if they improve processes that do not align with the strategy of the business.
  2. Sustaining change – Sustaining change is a big challenge for business leaders. Therefore, to ensure sustained change, it is important to incorporate a culture of continuous in the company’s “DNA.”
  3. Overcoming too much short-term focus – It is very difficult for companies dealing with day to day business challenges to focus on process improvements. Process improvements typically lead to long-term impact and take more effort to sustain the change. It is important for business leaders to learn to overcome the short-term focus and keep motivated to pursue operations excellence measures.
  4. Cost/budget limitations – sometimes implementing operations excellence requires a large outlay upfront. Although the process improvements will pay for themselves, it is important to keep in mind that the business must effectively finance this process improvement in the short-term, which is not always the easiest thing to achieve.
  5. Overcoming resistance – Since implementing operations excellence ideas requires changing the way people do their jobs, it is common to experience resistance from all levels of the organization. Being able to overcome this internal resistance then is key to ensuring the success of the process improvement measures.
  6. Maintaining executive buy-in – Of utmost importance is to ensure and maintain executive buy-in to the implementation of an operational excellence program. If the executive does not buy-in, the entire organization will have trouble buying into them, and sustained change/improvements will inevitably fail.
  7. Ensuring a customer-centric focus throughout the business – One of the central tenets of Lean thinking is to have a customer-centric focus throughout the business. A focus on the customer is challenging to maintain in practice since a lot of processes; methods are ingrained into peoples routines/daily work.  Bringing a customer-centric focus necessitates changing those ways of working.
  8. Deploying new technologies – Deploying new technologies can be challenging due to the investment required up front for implementation as well as the changes in ways of working and personnel that it normally entails.
  9. Skills shortage – Recognizing what skills are lacking within the organization and have the wherewithal and capability to fill those gaps can be quite challenging for business leaders.

At Focused Improvement Consulting, we recognize all the challenges that are faced by companies looking to implement operations excellence measures and specialize in getting our clients to face these challenges head-on and achieve operations excellence despite these challenges. For more information on how we can help your business achieve operations excellence, please get in touch at info@focusedimprovement.ca.