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Using Visual Management Systems To Reach Your Lean Goals

What role do visual management systems play in achieving lean goals? Their primary purpose is to make it very clear whether everything is performing as planned. Lean uses the principles of standard work to deliver consistent quality and velocity from a process. Visual control systems are put in place to easily identify any out of standard conditions so that they can be rectified as quickly as possible. By reacting to these abnormal conditions quickly, and then preventing them happening again, it becomes possible to run a very smooth, efficient lean process and be cost effective.

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Lean Maintenance Training Can Help Your Organization

Lean maintenance training will help you learn how to effectively eliminate waste in your projects and day-to-day facility maintenance operations. A well designed program will teach you how to create a lean project from start to finish, how to develop strategies that instantly gain the support of top management executives and how to plan and execute a project that receives minimum resistance and maximum results.

If you want to learn how to uncover and eliminate unnecessary waste in your organisation and enhance your knowledge of lean maintenance a course may be just what you need. People who have taken the course report they reduced their company’s operating costs and increased up-time while decreasing maintenance costs.

Successful graduates learn methods for uncovering waste, redesign procedures to increase productivity and are able to sell lean projects to management while delivering results quickly. There are lean maintenance courses for all levels of maintenance personnel including managers, supervisors, maintenance workers and maintenance engineers.

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OEE - Overall Equipment Effectiveness

Overall Equipment Effectiveness, or OEE, is a measure used to evaluate the losses in a production process. It gives an indication of the utilisation of a manufacturing operation.

Calculating OEE

OEE is calculated by multiplying three factors together. The three factors that are used in the OEE calculation are:

The OEE calculation then is shown below:

OEE = Availability x Performance x Quality

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What is Lean Six Sigma?

In order to answer the question, what is lean six sigma, it is first necessary to understand the two constituent parts which are lean manufacturing and 6 Sigma. These are two different business improvement methodologies that have become popular due to the many documented successful implementations.

What is Lean Manufacturing?

Lean manufacturing is a process improvement methodology based upon the highly acclaimed Toyota Production System (TPS). The main focus in lean manufacturing is the removal of waste from a value stream. Waste in this instance is defined as anything that consumes resource but does not add value for the customer. By removing the waste in a value stream it becomes possible to only produce the right material, in the quantity desired by the customer, at exactly the right time. This results in a process that is more efficient and delivers product to the customer more quickly. The elements within a value stream that add value for the customer tend to represent a very small percentage of the total process. Therefore focusing on removing the waste, or non-value adding elements represents a significant opportunity for improvement in many businesses.

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5S Lean - Common Problems (And What You Should Do About Them)

Although 5S lean is generally considered to be one of the fundamental building blocks in a lean process, it is also, in my experience, easily misinterpreted and poorly implemented. By exploring the problems with 5S, maybe we can address some of the underlying issues and produce better results in the future.

What is 5S Lean?

5S lean is a term used to describe workplace practices aimed at improving visual control in a factory and helping to reduce waste. The name 5S itself is based on the 5 Japanese words for the stages of the process which all start with the letter S. They are:

Seiri (Sort)
Seiton (Set In Order)
Seiso (Shine)
Seiketsu (Standardise)
Shitsuke (Sustain)

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What is 6 Sigma - The Lean Process Guide

Answering the question what is 6 sigma can be difficult due to the large amount of literature on the subject. Some authors focus on 6 sigma as a quality metric whereas others define it as a business management philosophy. Below are some examples:

Six Sigma has evolved to become very much an all-encompassing management tool for change and customer quality.

Six Sigma: SPC and TQM in Manufacturing and Services

Six Sigma: A comprehensive and flexible system for achieving, sustaining and maximising business success. Six Sigma is uniquely driven by close understanding of customer needs, disciplined use of facts, data, and statistical analysis, and diligent attention to managing, improving, and reinventing business processes.

The Six Sigma Way: How GE, Motorola, and Other Top Companies are Honing Their Performance

Six Sigma implies 3.4 defects or mistakes or errors or failures per million opportunities. Here Sigma is a term used to represent the variation about the average of a process. The focus of ‘Six Sigma’ is not on counting the defects in processes, but the number of opportunities within a process that could result in defects.

World Class Applications of Six Sigma: Real World Examples of Success

A disciplined method of using extremely rigorous data gathering and statistical analysis to pinpoint sources of errors and ways of eliminating them.

Six SIGMA: The Breakthrough Management Strategy Revolutionizing the World’s Top Corporations

Fundamentally, 6 sigma is a vehicle that allows a company to focus on their customers and to create competitive advantage through consistently reliable products. Originally it was simply a measure of quality, but since its creation over twenty years ago it has evolved into a business management philosophy. Drawing upon various subjects such as statistics, change management, project management and team-working, 6 sigma provides a disciplined, data-driven methodology of eliminating variation from processes.

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Lean Manufacturing Tools

Many of the lean manufacturing tools have increased in popularity as a result of the recent growth in lean deployments in both manufacturing and transactional environments. Like many other business process improvement methodologies, lean manufacturing has a wide range of tools associated with it. Some of them are more conceptual: guiding principles if you will, whereas others are tangible devices that support lean production.

The following post will explore a number of the popular lean manufacturing tools and explain the basic premise. This is not intended to be an exhaustive review. Think of it more as a glossary – use it to see which tools and techniques fit your particular need and then explore those topics further. Over time we will be adding links from this page to more detailed explorations of each of the subjects.

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4 elements you need on your Value Stream Map

A value stream map is a tool that is used in lean manufacturing to document and analyse a business. The technique originated at Toyota, where it is called material and information flow mapping. The value stream map represents the business processes from wall to wall. Sometimes this is known as the order to delivery process. This covers everything from receipt of an order from a customer, through procurement and production, to delivery of a finished item. The value stream map (VSM) is used to identify waste at the value stream level, such as excess inventory or transportation.

The value stream map captures the process as a snapshot in time. Obviously as the processes run, the inventory levels will change as transactions occur. However, the value stream map is enough to highlight where the problems are. In order to do this fully though, there are four elements required in the value stream map.

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The 7 Wastes of Lean Manufacturing

There are 7 wastes of lean manufacturing that are commonly referenced. Before considering these 7 types of waste though, it is important to consider what is meant by the term waste. Waste can be defined as any activity that consumes resources but creates no value for the customer. It is an activity that the customer is not willing to pay for. Within most business processes, the activities that actually create value as perceived by the customer make up a small percentage of the total activities. Reducing the number of these wasteful activities represents a significant opportunity for businesses to improve their performance. Elimination of the 7 wastes of lean can reduce costs, increase profits, improve employee engagement, reduce rework and improve delivery time.

Muda. It’s the one word of Japanese you really must know. It sounds awful as it rolls off your tongue and it should, because mud a means “waste,” specifically any human activity which absorbs resources but creates no value: mistakes which require rectification, production of items no one wants so that inventories and remaindered goods pile up, processing steps which aren’t actually needed, movement of employees and transport of goods from one place to another without any purpose, groups of people in a downstream activity standing around waiting because an upstream activity has not delivered on time, and goods and services which don’t meet the needs of the customer.

Lean Thinking ~ James P. Womack & Daniel T. Jones

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DMAIC Process | Six Sigma

Today I want to talk about the DMAIC process which is another process improvement cycle other than PDCA. The reason for this is to explain some of the differences and hopefully allow you to distinguish between which is the best approach for any given business problem.

The DMAIC process is not really a lean method, it comes from six sigma. Six sigma is a quality improvement methodology focusing on reducing variation in processes that was made popular by Motorola. The DMAIC process is an acronym of the five stages:

The DMAIC process is used within six sigma to fix a problem with an existing process. This is different from DMEDI which is used for a problem where a process does not exist. DMEDI stands for Define, Measure Explore, Develop, Implement.

To determine if DMAIC or DMEDI is the correct methodology to use, answer the following question for the problem in question: does a process exist currently? If the answer is yes, then DMAIC should be used. If no process exists, then a new one should be developed using DMEDI.

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