Wednesday, February 29, 2012

87% Less walking happening in Lethbridge

Not all the changes required huge outlays of funds.
Using principles of lean manufacturing to improve flow, Mr. Quinton arranged to move all the grinding operations, which had been spread throughout the building, into the back, along with the ovens. The move led to a travel-time reduction of 87 per cent, he said. 
That is an awesome reduction in motion achieved by Sandberg Labs in Lethbridge.  Also great to see that the Quintons thought long and hard about investment and put it into steps that reduced over processing:
With the old, manual method of testing feed, “it had to be smartest chemist to figure out what was going on,” explains Mr. Quinton. “The most expensive person was tied up all day for 10 samples. Now the system is so automated that any technician can run it, while the chemist still does quality control.”

They didn't stop there they went after duplication, more over processing, over production, defects and even added some poke yoke.
“Sometimes we were using three or four different systems for the same sample,” Mr. Quinton says. “There was a lot of duplicate data, which made it prone to error. We were catching those but it caused delays. Now with the receiving person entering all the data once, we’ll be able to do bigger volumes with accuracy.” The new software also registers acceptable limits on results and automatically flags any out of range. 
 The whole article is at the Globe and Mail.  Lean does not have to be complicated and my bet is that the Quintons wouldn't even describe what they are doing as Lean.  And that is a good reminder for the rest of us.  Implementing Lean should not be about perfect 5S or going from push to pull it is about increasing value add for the customer.  Something the Quintons seem to be doing very well.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Neat ≠ Organized

Listening to Dave Allen seminar and this nugget of wisdom was shared
Neat ≠ Organized
There is a reason why 5S is done in the sequence Sort, Set, Shine...  To Set and to have not Sorted is only to make neat, it does not make Organized.  Even with many proficient Lean organizations I often see areas where Sort has not been done well.  In these situations the occasional or just in case tooling is still front and center.  Of the whole range of drivers or wrenches is kept when only a fraction are used.  The Sort step has to be done with bravery teaching those involved to challenge if a tool or the amount of parts are really needed.  In fact much great Lean work comes from asking do I really need this tool and exploring how that tool can be eliminated.  This is when 5S kicks off from being an organizing tool to a Lean tool that drives waste out of work.