Visually Lean

Lean From The Get-Go by Derek Korn.

This short article does a nice job of illustrating several interesting lean concepts in practice.

Work areas that are compact, but not cramped, not only promote efficient motion, but also improve scheduling accuracy by allowing a more precisely predictable determination of a job’s total cycle time. This total cycle time is not just the time a machine is producing chips; it takes into account all factors involved in part production, such as setups, inspection, secondary operations and so on.

One important lean production concept is to reduce the physical distance traveled. Most distance traveled must be non-value added and therefore should be reduced. Lean operations also have shown eliminating clutter creates significant gains.

2. 5S Organization This idea of a more predictable motion is also a function of 5S organizational principles, which are direct extensions of the visual factory theme and staples of any lean push. Just what the 5S’s stand for can differ from shop to shop (they typically represent sort, shine, simplify, standardize and sustain).

3. Setup Photos – Each time a new job is set up, R&D takes photos of the fixtures, tools – anything that will be helpful in setting up the job again so there is no wheel-reinvention the next time that job comes through the shop. These photos, along with standardized work sheets, are included in each manila job folder.

One great thing about some lean concepts is they are not complicated to understand. It doesn’t take weeks of training to understand what to do. The hardest part is deciding to take the time to apply lean concepts. As the article starts:

Culture shock is one of the biggest obstacles to implementing lean manufacturing into an existing shop. Getting experienced shop workers to adopt a lean waste-ridding mindset often isn’t the easiest thing to do.

More Lean Thinking Articles from the Curious Cat Management Improvement Library.

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