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May 25, 2012

Lean and Manufacturing Basics

In order to improve competitiveness and profitability, a Company must have basic technique and important strategy which is in lean manufacturing and processing. A Manufacturing Company need to reduce unnecessary work practices and reduce wastes, this is the fundamental function of lean manufacturing. Due to turbulent concerns and political affecting all countries, companies are facing challenges to be able to keep their efficiency and profitability. Lean manufacturing and processing not totally eliminate the seven “forms of waste” within the systems and the work environment, that the principle of lean manufacturing. The seven “forms of waste” are motion, waiting, transportation, over processing, defects, inventory and scrap. Even in good performing company lean manufacturing and processing aims to drastically improve the competitiveness of struggling or a troubled, restore and to boost it, not only to reduce operational costs that is lean and manufacturing and processing principles. Lean and manufacturing processing learning is basically become mandatory for global and major companies. To be able to survive the hard and rough company challenges ahead in the era of complete globalization, companies must to act right away. Lean manufacturing and processing Enjoying huge benefits of reducing operational costs and moving along is what companies get with lean manufacturing and processing. That could further help company to grow organically and expand by using the save amounts from generated savings. However lean manufacturing and processing is now very easy to adopt and implement. To be able to ensure efforts is succeeded the company should religiously and really pay particular attention to details. There is no doubt that by adopting lean and manufacturing and processing principles, many companies are surely and apparently on the rise. Companies that aren’t doing lean manufacturing and processing’s the techniques and the strategies properly most of the time they are not aimed results and achieving target. Companies’ efforts and capital infusion initiative futile and wasted is surely made if ineffective and insufficient of lean and processing principles. Its principle would not stand on its own that it should be noted also. Companies should strive to attain their goals harder to embrace and adopting lean manufacturing. Learn about lean manufacturing and processing Learn more about lean manufacturing and processing is what companies to really get involved advised by experts. It really makes sense because it can surely help companies get on with current challenges and concerns affecting all institution around the globe. To learn more about lean processing techniques and principles, companies have many ways on how to do it. Experts and professionals who can really help the companies maximize and attain the benefits of such strategies can be hired by the companies. Companies will entail additional investments and additional costs by hiring lean manufacturing and processing experts. Companies shouldn’t really mind it because the implementation of lean manufacturing and processing benefits will surely offset the minimal costs of learning it. In another way to intently and specifically learn manufacturing and processing techniques and principles, key personnel can be designated by the company. Many companies around the world are currently practicing it. Companies had the personnel to learn manufacturing and processing principles by attend seminars and literature about it. Everything that personnel key learned he will relay the message and everything to the whole staffs. The entire organization must be distributed and communicated the knowledge and the skills, which is the important thing to do. The benefits achieved by the companies are much more significant compared to cost of learning manufacturing and processing, all companies should learn it.
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Andon Boards in lean manufacturing

Andon can be defined as "visual control" device that shows machine, process status or line. Most lean manufacturing systems need this device as it is very useful to reduce production waste in all levels. By using andon boards, a company can monitor and ensure productivity easily. Manufacturing warehouse use this tool to see order status or priorities in an instant way even from more than 100 feet away. This device can also function as early warning devices since audible alarms or warning messages are installed in the device. In short, it can be said that this communication tool leads to a better coordination of orders, priorities and parts in a lean manufacturing system. This good coordination finally leads to a better customer service. The use of andon boards replaces the role of traditional communication tool in lean manufacturing systems. With this device, now a company doesn't need to use clip boards, white boards or emails to communicate. Mostly, the boards are able to project a number of 4" characters. If you wish the device to display smaller characters, it is also possible. Andon boards can display 2.1" high characters for a company with smaller areas or less viewing distance. You can also install Windows applications inside the displays. Thus the applications will operate on the boards just like when they run on a PC. HMI applications like Wonderware, Iconics, GE Cimplicity and Visual Plant can also be operated on this device. With the benefits of andon boards, the device has enhanced lean manufacturing tremendously. Therefore, this communication tool has to be developed further to reduce more waste. The older ones usually display only data with fixed and restricted to single word headings. In addition, the data is lost when the display changes. To improve the performance, Gemba Solutions have developed the new andon board called OEE Impact Andon Board. This device offers flexibility and displays that users can configure with a PC. The new OEE Impact Andon Board will give another dimension for lean manufacturing. Its software will inform you how you fare against target by calculating TAKT times. This device can also view progress within work shifts or within a specific period of time. In addition, this latest communication device will inform historical summary that reports targets, down-times, reject. The new products are very helpful since they help a company knows how well their production is going. The EOO Impact Andon Boards can also use powerful software to track problem areas in case the results are less than what you expect.
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lean manufacturing

A lean manufacturing implementation has as one of its major goals reducing and eliminating waste. The waste that Lean solutions seek to eliminate takes several forms. And for each form of waste there is a specific tool that lean manufacturing consultants use for identification and analysis and, ultimately, elimination. Let's look at just a couple. Because the goal of Lean implementation is, among other things, to eliminate waste, the first object is to identify the areas or forms of waste in a particular company. Generally, though, here's what lean manufacturing examines first with respect to waste: unnecessary human motion, non-value-added conveyance of product, over-production, excess inventory, under-utilized space, over-processing, unneeded waiting, and poor utilization of talent. Two of the most easily addressed and corrected involve human motion and conveyance of product. Unnecessary Human Motion Whenever employees are engaged in non-value-added motion, within the context of production, waste occurs. Very often, both managers and employees are unaware when this kind of wasteful activity occurs. And that's why a spaghetti diagram can be so useful. This is a tool/technique used to identify and so eliminate the waste of unnecessary human motion. It involves, in the initial stage, a consultant's following an employee for between 30 minutes to two hours. In order for this to work properly, consultants have to explain to the employees, in order to obtain accurate data, exactly what is being done and why, making sure to emphasize that processes and layouts-not individual employees-are being evaluated. What happens is that that the work path taken by the employee(s) during this period is mapped out to determine efficiency and contribution to value-added activity. Here, then, are the well defined steps in producing a spaghetti diagram to eliminate unnecessary human motion: 1.The date, the time(s), and the specific process being mapped must be noted. 2.The group should be informed about what is going on and a volunteer called for. 3.The actual work paths of this volunteer taken throughout his shift are traced out on the map. 4.Any stops are noted and sequentially numbered, as well as the time duration for each stop. 5.Anything involving over-reaching or "non-comfort" motion is noted. 6.Any inherent disruptions in the work path and flow should be especially noted. 7.The reason for trips must be recorded. By means of this spaghetti diagram consultants can determine where motion is wasted and formulate a plan to eliminate that waste. Non-value-added Conveyance of Product The analytic tool used in a lean manufacturing implementation to find and eliminate the waste that results from the non-value-added conveyance of product is most often a "process walk." In this, the movement of a product is followed across all processes-from initial quality inspection through compounding through filling through all successive segments of the process to the final product ready for shipment. And here's what the process walk entails: 1.Literally walking at a brisk pace to follow the product through its production processes. 2.Asking questions of the people involved to find out origin of the part/ingredient, its next destination, and the means of conveyance. 3.Having employees assist in the observation of processes. 4.Recording delays for preparation and meeting requirements in moving the product from one location to the next. 5.Making a point to mark on the record material-handling delays. With this tool consultants can locate waste and bottlenecks and propose Lean solutions to promote process efficiency. The right lean manufacturing consultants with the right analytic tools can make your lean manufacturing implementation a profitable success
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A 20 Step Roadmap for lean manufacturing

Lean Manufacturing is being utilized by businesses of all sizes today. Although it took a few years to become mainstream, the success stories from mid-size to large corporations have pushed lean manufacturing down to very small organizations. Most of the large corporations employ a few lean experts. Many mid-size and most small businesses do not have lean manufacturing expertise in the company. It is common that a few individuals have attended a lean manufacturing seminar or read a few books, but lack the expertise to develop a roadmap. The reason most courses and seminars do not teach a "roadmap" is because the tools are best applied to problems or bottlenecks, rather than forcing the tool use on the opportunity. For example, a machine that sets up once per week in 30 minutes probably doesn't warrant a week of SMED activity. However, a roadmap can be used with common sense. Lean manufacturing has been called "common sense manufacturing", although not always "common practice". Lean Manufacturing Roadmap: Form team (mix of lean manufacturing and relevant business experience) Develop communication and feedback channel for everyone Meet with everyone and explain the initiative Begin to train all employees (lean overview, 8 wastes, standard operations, kaizen, RCPS, PDCA) Facility Analysis - Determine the gap between current state and a state of "lean" 5S - It is the foundation of lean. Workplace organization is critical for any lean initiative TPM - begin total productive maintenance early (used throughout lean) Value Stream Mapping - Determine the waste across the entire system 7 (or 8) Waste Identification - Use with value stream mapping to identify system waste Process Mapping - a more detailed map of each process Takt time - determine need to produce on all processes, equipment OEE & 6 Losses - determine the losses on all processes and equipment Line Balance - Use if necessary with takt time and OEE SMED - push setup times down to reduce cycle time, batch quantity, and lower costs Pull/One Piece Flow/Continuous Flow Analysis - utilize kanban and supermarkets Analyze Quality at the Source Application - poor quality stopped at the source Implement Error Proofing Ideas Cellular Manufacturing/Layout & Flow Improvement - Analyze facility and each process Develop Standardized Operations - concurrently with SMED, line balance, flow, layouts Kaizen - continue improving operations, giving priority to bottlenecks within the system The specific implementation plan should be developed from the facility analysis. The analysis identifies areas of opportunity in every area of the business, including sales, service, engineering, maintenance, production, quality, shipping, and administrative functions. Some lean manufacturing projects within a lean initiative require the tools of six sigma to find the improvement answers. The lean manufacturing team needs to be trained to understand when the lean tools must be supplemented to either solve the problem or maximize the improvement. Kaizen events may use all of the lean tools (and some six sigma tools) to meet the team's objective. Kaizen events are conducted on an ongoing basis to achieve a state of "lean". For example, a process may need a quick throughput improvement. The kaizen blitz could include focused SMED (single minute exchange of die) and OEE analysis. The kaizen might have an objective to reduce setup time from 80 minutes to 60 minutes in 4 days. It is important to keep an enterprise view with the analysis and roadmap. No single operation should be improved at the expense of the entire system. For example, if a bottleneck is happening at Process B, improving Process A prior to B only hurts the system worse. A larger scale example is improving throughput if shipping cannot handle the volume. Although many improvements cause bottlenecks elsewhere, forcing a larger known problem is rarely a good idea. The roadmap above is only one example. It could be shown with many different variations. However, there is a logical sequence to many of the tools. Value stream mapping is almost always conducted very early on in the process. The 5S system provides a foundation for most other tools. TPM is large and plays an important role in OEE improvement, and therefore must be started early. The key is to have a plan and get started. The path to lean will not be straight and it never ends. Don't let the pursuit of perfection get in the way of being "better" today.
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Six Sigma Mistake Proofing

Mistake Proofing (or Poka-Yoke as it is known in Japan) is one of several control concepts where the solution is not dynamic by nature, as is the case with a closed loop feedback control system. It should be noted that poka-yoke is very consistent with the fundamental aims and philosophy of Six Sigma and has wide applicability in manufacturing, engineering, and transactional processes. It involves actions designed to eliminate errors, mistakes or defects in our everyday activities and processes. The methodology involves complete understanding of the cause and effect relationship and identification of the simplest remedy that can be applied to eliminate the occurrence of that particular error in the future. Sometimes this involves an addition of a simple feature, the creation of a check list, a change in the sequence of operation, a highlighted field on a form, a software message that reminds the operator, or some other way of helping to ensure that mistakes are going to be totally eliminated or substantially reduced. Often, Mistake-Proofing focuses on errors produced by humans, whether it is the machine operator, the person filling out a form, or someone packing materials, etc. While this source of error can be large, it is also possible to apply Mistake-Proofing methodology in many other aspects of our business. The emphasis should be put on modifying processes so those mistakes are impossible to make, instead of blaming employees for making mistakes. The point is we must improve all aspects of our Business to be robust to mistakes or errors, no matter what the source. The traditional application of Mistake-Proofing is in a production environment where a change is made to an assembly sequence or a tool to prevent an error from being made. Examples include: o A stop is added to a drill press o A hydraulic ram is added to align a component during assembly o A lever is designed into an assembly fixture to index the part o A pin is added so the part cannot be installed backwards Mistake Proofing is the primary form of Control for transactional procedures in that it can be used to prevent a process from going out of control or to bring a process back into control. Some examples include: o Fields on a data entry form are highlighted as being critical o An authorization procedure is introduced to control spend o A check list is created to ensure all items are taken into account when planning a training session o A new policy is developed to ensure that expense claims are completed properly
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May 16, 2012

Employee Empowerment VS Lean Manufacturing

The management concept of employee empowerment can be defined as the creation of an environment in which people at all levels feel they have real influence over standards of quality, service, and business effectiveness within their areas of responsibility. It is a strategy and philosophy that enables employees to make decisions about their jobs. In an organization where this style of management is not natural, adopting a management style that embraces empowerment will be a difficult but critical change in order to succeed in the effort of implementing Lean Enterprise Thinking. Organizations that support empowered people have some common characteristics: - There are few management layers in the organization - Wide spans of control exist with relative responsibilities and accountabilities - A process-based organization structure is used as opposed to a purely functional based structure - Management stands behind people being empowered Most experts who are familiar with implementing Lean in an organization will probably state something to the effect of "... the major inhibitor to get a lean environment is the inability to trust the workforce and really give up a certain level of control in order to give people the power to implement their own ideas and be respected as experts in their area..." . Without this level of trust within the workforce, those who know best how to improve the operation will not feel they can make the changes required to eliminate all of the waste possible and the thought of continuous improvement will not become a way of thinking as it must for Lean to be truly successful. Empowering the workforce does not mean that management gives up control and lets people do whatever they please. Instead, guidelines and boundaries need to be set so that everyone knows the limits of how they can operate. A process needs to be established that allows management to set the direction for the organization but lets the workforce finds unique ways to achieve these goals and objectives. By letting the workforce be free to implement ideas within their work areas, management will find that the organization is much more productive than by following the direction of a few select individuals. The trick is to leverage one's self though the talents of everyone involved. The process of adapting an empowerment style of operating within the organization is not solely the responsibility of management. True, a manager needs to learn to let go without giving up total control, but in order for empowerment to work, the employee must accept it and the responsibility that goes with it. In short - they have to take it. However, not all are willing or able to do, or they do not know how and what it means, so care must be taken to educate and transition those involved. Changing to a mode of operating that truly empowers the members of an organization is a difficult transition to make but is one that can be accomplished. It does take time and having a coach can be a real help. Everyone involved should be patient and realize that the organization is learning a new way to operate, but once it is successful with this transition, the organization will have taken a major step towards to Being Lean and not just Doing Lean.
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May 12, 2012

The Characteristics of a Lean Enterprise

While Lean can be beneficially applied to any process within an organization, its greatest benefit comes when it is applied across the enterprise. that Lean thinking can be applied by any company anywhere in the world but that the full power of the system is only realized when it is applied to all elements of the enterprise." Over time, it can be said that an organization that implements Lean becomes a Lean Enterprise. While there is no precise definition of a Lean Enterprise, I believe those organizations share common characteristics. A Lean Enterprise can be defined by these 15 characteristics: 1.Customer Focus - The external customer is both the starting point and ending point. Maximize value to the customer. Optimize not around internal operations, but around the customer. Seek to understand not only the customer's requirements but also their expectations of quality, delivery, and price. 2.Purpose - The purpose of an organization encompasses your vision (where you want to go), your mission (what you do), and your strategies (how you do it). Focus on purpose, not tools. 3.Organizational Alignment - You want people to understand their purpose, not just their job description or the tasks that are assigned to them. All the people involved need to have a common understanding of the organization's purpose, and practical understanding of the consequences of failure and the benefits of success. 4.Knowledge - People are the engine of the company, so it is vital to build knowledge and share it. This includes explicit knowledge (like that from books) as well as tacit knowledge, involving soft skills. Knowledge is built through the scientific method of PDCA. 5.Questioning - Encourage a questioning culture. Ask why several times to try to get to the root cause. Encourage everyone to question. "Seek first to understand, then to be understood," said Stephen Covey. 6.Humility - The more you strive for Lean, the more you realize how little you know, and how much there is yet to learn. Learning begins with humility 7.Trust - Build confidence in your promises and commitments. Building trust takes time. 8.Empowered employees - Give frontline employees the first opportunity to solve problems. All employees should share in the responsibility for success and failure. 9.Flexible workforce - As the Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said "The only constant is change." Flexibility is the ability to react to changes in customer demand. The key to success is to maintain redundancy and hence flexibility within the core competency. 10.Partnership - Use teams, not individuals, internally between functions and externally with suppliers. Employees are partners too. As Covey says, "You must find a win-win, never win-loose, solution and if you can't you should walk away." 11.Simplicity - Lean is not simple, but simplicity pervades. Simplicity is best achieved through the avoidance of complexity, than by 'rationalization' exercises. 12.Process - Organize and think by end-to-end process. Think horizontal, not vertical. Concentrate on the way the product moves, not on the way the machines, people, or customers move. 13.Improvement - Continuous improvement is everyone's concern. Improvement should go beyond incremental waste reduction to include innovation breakthrough. 14.Prevention - Seek to prevent problems and waste, rather than to inspect and fix. Shift the emphasis from failure and appraisal to prevention. Inspecting the process, not the product, is prevention. Use poka yoke to mistake proof process errors. 15.Visualization - Visuals translate performance of every process into expected versus actual, throughout the management systems. It is regular, frequent, and factual data driven. Visuals provide the opportunity to quickly spot and take action at the earliest point that performance has not met what was expected. A Lean Enterprise is not created quickly. When a business applies lean thinking, culture, and methods throughout the entire organization and beyond its four walls to customers and suppliers a Lean Enterprise is formed.
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May 4, 2012

Logistics and Supply Chain

Most entrepreneurs and business leaders would have heard about Logistics and supply chain management. A business has to manage all of the systems within itself and has to deal with several factors within the productivity line in order to cope up with orders, withdrawal, refunds, relations, and other issues. The Logistics and supply chain management is generally a method in business that includes planning, controlling, data collecting, carrying and storing, other services, communication services and network which enhance product quality and promote improvements as well as further developments from the beginning of a productivity line to the end of a productivity line to ensure that customers at the end will receive the best of all. The management itself cares about feed backs in order to compute out the percentages of likes and dislikes so that products can be improved or produced to supply the demands and wants of the customers. The supply chain managements allow relationships within a business to flow smoothly. A relationship between a purchaser and a manufacturer is also one of the chains within the supply chain management. There are different kinds of supply chain management in logistics which vary from case to case due to different demands and situations. Its complexity in management could also vary from each other depending on the size of a business and the numbers of items manufactured. Elements of the Supply Chain Logistics and supply chain management has numbers of elements that are linked together to allow a smooth flow of productivity. The chain begins with a supplier always, and ends with a customer once the whole system is processed. 1. The customer or purchaser starts off by purchasing and deciding on items needed for sale offered by a company. Then, by contacting a sales department of any specific companies or suppliers, the amount of items needed, the date of delivery, and a specific receiving place should be written down or noted down once asked and ensured. If products are needed to be manufactured, the sales order will include additional fees and requirements that are needed to be fulfilled by the production facility. 2. The requirements by the customer's ordered sales will be combined with other orders. The production facility would also have to make plans and discuss about several topics in relation to productivity to ensure customers high quality products and make sure not to jump out or move away from the deadline. Plans include records of what is needed to be bought; items that are needed to be manufactured, and raw materials. 3. The purchasing facility receives all the information and raw materials; what is left are for them to follow the orders made by the customers and know what is needed. The purchase facility then sends all information including orders to selected suppliers to deliver raw materials and other things that are needed to the manufacturing department for them to complete the production of products within a required time period. 4. Once raw materials are accepted and received by the suppliers, they will have to check for quality and accuracy; if approved, materials will move into a warehouse. The suppliers will then send an invoice to the company the amount of materials delivered; these materials will be kept in storage until they are called out by the production department. 5. When the time has come for products to be produced, raw materials will be called out to the production department to complete orders. The finishing products ordered by customers are manufactured by raw materials that were once purchased from suppliers. Once production is done, all products will be sent back to the inventory or storage and will later be delivered to the customers. 6. After finished products are moved into warehouses and kept in storage, the shipping facility will determine which method to use in order to ship all products efficiently and consider the costs of transportation to minimize as much expenses as possible plus, deliver all products on time. Once all finished products are delivered successfully, the company will send an invoice repeating the amount of products delivered, time, date, and what products are delivered. A Healthy Operation To make sure the supply chain management will work well it is important to have associated technology and tools. In order for a business's productivity to improve, operate efficiently, and have the highest level of customer satisfaction, the supply chain management has three main activities where businesses and different parts of companies have to focus on: strategic, tactic, and operational activities. 1. Strategic activities- the company has to consider the size of the whole system, the location, partnerships with suppliers, products needed to be manufactured, and other factors that will affect the whole organization. At this level, managers will have to look closely at strategic decisions whether or not it covers the whole entire system. 2. Tactical activities- Tactical decisions include various techniques and ways to reduce costs and use up its benefits for the system. These decisions might include performing ethical practices, working with logistics companies for suggestions and tips, and get advices in order to reduce transportation costs and warehouse or storage costs. 3. Operational activities- Decisions are made daily within the system from the beginning of the productivity line to the end of the line of production. Operational practices include making plans, schedules, purchasing agreements with suppliers, taking orders from customers, and moving products into warehouses. Technology and its Effects on Businesses In order for a business to succeed and be able to compete with other businesses (especially international businesses) it is a must to have technological devices, tools, and a working or an operation system. Technology has now become our daily tools we use in life; without technology, businesses wouldn't flow or run efficiently in our modern world today. Behind the scenes, every large businesses have technological systems and one of them is called the Enterprise Resource Planning. This expensively purchased software does so many things that will squeeze down the need for employees and reduce costs as a long-term effect. This software will monitor the whole supply chain system and keep records of all information which includes date of purchase, time of purchase, amount of orders, and other information set by the settings of the software to ensure safety and accuracy.
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