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May 25, 2012

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.