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.

No Comments + Read More

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.

No Comments + Read More

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



No Comments + Read More

Paternalistic Managment Is Becoming Extinct

shutterstock_164665187Paternalistic management is a  type of command and control leadership style.  In this style of management all the decisions are made at the top and it’s everyone’s job to execute to those orders.  Think of it like a father child relationship.  The best places where this style works is when you have an industry that doesn’t change very often or very quickly, the work required isn’t complicated and there is a clear understanding of what needs to be done, and there needs to be heavy controls on operations to make sure you are maximizing your return.  Think of an industry like the shipping container business, there hasn’t been a major change or innovation in about 50 years.

No Comments + Read More

Lean Line Design Introduction

lean line designLine design is one of the best ways to get bottom line savings quickly with Lean.  A Lean line design is the process used to streamline a process to remove waste but doing it systematically.  Here are some terms you need to know before we get into how to do a Lean line design.

  • Takt Time – The pace we need units to come off the production line.  It is calculated by dividing the production time (usually in seconds) by the units required over that same time period.
  • Waste – Defined by the 7 wastes – (TIM WOOD) Transportation, Inventory, Motion, Waiting, Over Production, Over Processing, Defects.
2 Comments + Read More

Leading a Lean Transformation Part II

Complex_Tree_Fotolia_19993988_XSIn part I of Leading a Lean Transformation we explored the business results you can get by doing a Lean Transformation.  It’s not uncommon to see successful Lean Transformations improve a business by 30%.  However the success rate is very low.  Over 70% of change efforts fail the first time around and companies who try Lean report that 2% get the results they expected.  In the spirit of Lean we’ll first explore are the root causes of why it fails.

No Comments + Read More

Leading a Lean Transformation Part I

sprouting-plantA Lean Transformation is a way to changing your business.  Traditionally it’s about reducing waste, making products and services “flow”, and reducing excess burdening on people.  It’s hard for businesses to believe that by changing the way you look at a problem can change the way you perform.  Typically business will see a 30% improvement or better to their bottom line after 1-3 years of a Lean Transformation process.  Some other notable results from The Lean Way include turning a cost center into a profit center, a company getting on the INC 500 list, and reducing the costs by 50% to turn an unprofitable product into the most profitable one.  You can learn more about how the factors that influence a Lean Transformation on our information tab.

No Comments + Read More

Why 5s Isn’t Always the Best Place to Start (Hospital Case Study)

no 5 sMost Lean resources will tell you that 5s is the best place to start a Lena initiative.  Some will go one step further and say start where there is a need and go from there.  While both are good advice we still see a high rate of failure for Lean (70%-98% depending on the research study).  So why is the failure rate so high?  The answer is that we ignore the behavioral reasons to why we do things a certain way.  To understand this let’s first look at a little bit of history.

No Comments + Read More

Lean for Small Business


*photo from DeKalb Chamber of Commerce

Small Business is the life blood of most economies yet fantastic tools like Lean haven’t really taken root there yet.  Sure there is Lean Start-up which is fantastic for low to no capital start-ups that want to test what products will sell in the market place but what about the business that is out of start-up but isn’t big enough to have mature systems and processes?  We talked about the different phases of growth and what tools are applicable in each phase of growth.  Lean is all about how to generate a higher percentage of value creation vs. waste in a business and while Lean was founded by businesses in Phase III and Phase IV growth, the concepts are still applicable to businesses that aren’t that big yet.

No Comments + Read More