Lean Manufacturing Concepts And How to Use Them Part I

In Lean manufacturing the top three concepts you need to know about are Muda (Waste), Mura (Flow), Muri (overburdening).   For why and how these three concepts became the focus of Lean Manufacturing read Is Lean Right for My Company.  Waste is defined as Transportation Inventory Motion   Waiting Over-production Over-processing Defects or the acronym TIM WOOD.  Flow is how well a product moves through it’s path with minimal issues and as fast as possible.  Overburdening refers to the people working.  Are you giving them too much work and how do you know if you are?  On the flip side you also want to understand how to determine value as well.

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Is Lean Right for My Company?

The answer is absolutely and Hell no!  Let me go in to detail as to why it’s both.  Lean manufacturing has a history spanning back over 100 years informally and formally since Toyota in the 1960s.  It’s grown to other industries and goes by names like Lean Healthcare, Lean Government, Lean for Offices, Lean for Services, Lean IT, Lean for Financial Industry, Lean Startup, Agile, etc.  In all its forms Lean is used as a way to deliver better service/products to the customer and reduce inefficiencies.  At least what most would consider Lean.  I want to introduce another framing and that Lean is designed to be competitive in your market.

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Daily Stand up Meetings


Daily meetings are a critical way to set your culture, make improvements, and get a touch on your operations.  Have you been a part of a day stand up meeting?  What did you notice about your daily stand up meetings?  How are you running the meetings?  Let’s first take the purpose.

Purpose of a Daily Stand Up Meeting

This will have to be up to you to decide what you ultimate purpose is but here are some to consider:

  • Performance related
  • Culture change
  • Communication
  • Teaching and Training
  • All of the above
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Lean Value vs. Lean Waste

People who practice Lean will tel you to to remove waste, make product flow, and reduce over burdening (via standardization).  These are great tenants and are the corner stone of nay Lean program.  One area that gets ignored is increasing the value.  Honestly Lean does a terrible job at focusing on increasing value and creating value beyond just reducing waste.  The good news is that there are several tools that will help focus on the value side.  Value refers to the job to be done for the customer.  The job to be done is what the customer needs/wants.  An example of this is a customer walks into a hardware shop and asks for a 1/4 inch drill bit.  The customer doesn’t want a drill bit, the customer wants a 1/4 in hole.  The job to be done is where you will generate value.

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Lean Line Design Line Requirements Part II

Now that you have have your Takt time and your Value Stream Maps the next step is to create your station map.  The first step is to figure out how many stations you need.  This is done by taking your total time in your future state map and dived it by 40% of the takt time.  Each station should be around 40% of your takt time for any particular value stream.  The 40% allows for flexibility and you will have more stations than people.  This allows for flexing production up and down based on volume.  You can use another number besides 40% but 40% tends to work well for most cases.  If your total time to build a unit is greater than takt time then use the calculation we just mentioned.  If it is less than or equal to takt then you have freedom to choose how you want to break apart the stations.

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Lean Line Design Line Requirements Part I

In previous posts on Lean Line Designs we introduced terminology  and introduced the concept of the current state map and future state map.   We are now at the point that we need to determine the line requirements.  The first step in determining a Lean Line Requirement is to determine the Value Streams the products fall into.  Simply create a grid with the rows representing different product types and columns representing process steps.  Simply put an “x” where the product requires a particular process step.

Product Categories



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