Home > Forums
Topic Title: starting new manufacturing area
Topic Summary: Manufacturing
Created On: 10/18/2017 06:10 AM
Linear : Threading
Send to a Friend Send to a Friend
Search Topic Search Topic
Topic Tools Topic Tools
View similar topics View similar topics
View topic in raw text format. Print this topic.
10/20/2017 09:30 AM
Print this message

Author Icon
DuncanRoss
Duncan Ross



I am looking for some advice on where to start on implementing Lean.

I am relative new Lean, but keen to learn as much as possible as I believe that there are many advantages to the way of Lean thinking. I think the best way to lean is to do.
(I am also new to this site and sorry if this topic is in the wrong place or has been answered elsewhere)

My situation is that I am working for a startup which is currently manufacturing a small number of prototypes. Our manufacturing area is small (fits in one medium size room) and we have been manufacturing for ~ 1 year. We are basically a clean slate. I want to set the foundations correctly so that when we ramp production we already that Lean thinking implemented

I am looking at starting the setting up the manufacturing area up with 5S. Then try and maintain that so it becomes everyone's habit to maintain the area and then move onto the next idea.

So basic questions
1) Is it too early to implement Lean?
2) Is 5S a good place to start? If not what would you suggest?
3) What would the next step be?
4) What would be a great place to improve my education in Lean?

I thank you in advance for any help or suggestions

Duncan
10/25/2017 04:47 PM
Print this message

Author Icon
MarkRosenthal
Mark Rosenthal



Originally posted by: DuncanRoss
I am looking at starting the setting up the manufacturing area up with 5S. Then try and maintain that so it becomes everyone's habit to maintain the area and then move onto the next idea.


That isn't necessary a bad place to start - but be really clear what problem you are trying to solve before pushing 5S as a solution. If people aren't feeling a problem with having what they need to do the job, then I'd take a different approach. (Whether they actually have a problem is not the issue. If they don't feel it, then they aren't going to support your effort.)



So basic questions

1) Is it too early to implement Lean?

No. My caveat here is that "lean" isn't something you "implement."
The tools that we associate with "lean" are the outcome of a pervasive mindset focused on always solving the next problem(s) that are interfering with smooth problem-free flow. Always: "What problem are you trying to solve?" with whatever change you are proposing.


2) Is 5S a good place to start? If not what would you suggest?

See above, and reply to next question.

3) What would the next step be?

- What would be the ideal, perfectly smooth, problem-free, defect-free workflow?

- Always keep that in mind. (It will change as you learn more - the bar should always be getting higher in your mind.)

- Look at your current workflow, especially what the people doing the work have to do to get the work done. Where is it harder than it should be? What extra stuff do they have to do above and beyond that idealized version you have in mind? Write some of those things down.

- Pick off ONE easy one.

- TRY an experiment to either learn more about the problem, or see if you can fix it. Don't make wholesale changes yet, just try it. Once you have evidence that the idea is worth pursuing, then keep dialing it in until it is an easy and natural part of the work. This is where 5S comes in... IF people are having to go get or go find stuff, for example, or sort through a drawer, then apply some of the 5S techniques to solve the SPECIFIC problem you are seeing. Don't just wholesale "implelement 5S" You'll end up there, but if you want it to actually stick without a struggle, it's one thing at a time, make that stick, then the next.

- Lather, Rinse, Repeat. Engage others with the same process and questions, Practice the thinking until it is second nature to see anomalies, call them out, and test ideas to smooth things out.


4) What would be a great place to improve my education in Lean?

Jeff Liker's "Toyota Way" series of books is a good start for understanding the kind of culture you are trying to build, I especially recommend "The Toyota Way to Lean Leadership" and "Toyota Culture" as well as the most recent "The Toyota Way to Service Excellence." (Everything in that book is as applicable to manufacturing as anything else.)

Mike Rother's "Toyota Kata" and related material (there is a Toyota Kata section here on lean.org) gives good insight into the principle of practice until you master the underlying thinking pattern. Just don't confuse Toyota Kata with a "tool you implement." It isn't. Think of it as a teaching method. Liker's "Service Excellence" book has a pretty extensive chapter on it as well. There is also a good article by him in the most recent edition of AME Target Magazine.

You can, of course, IM me if you want, or reply here.
10/25/2017 04:47 PM
Print this message

Author Icon
MarkRosenthal
Mark Rosenthal



1) Is it too early to implement Lean?
No - because this isn't something you "implement," rather it is a way of seeing and thinking about the relationships between your people, their work, the problems, and your challenges.

2) Is 5S a good place to start? If not what would you suggest?
What problem are you trying to solve?
Be really careful about implementing solutions that you have to justify.

3) What would the next step be?
What would your ideal, smooth, problem-free workflow look like?
Get really clear about that.
Look at the current workflow. What makes it less-than-smooth or not-problem-free?
Write some of those things down.
Pick off an easy one.
Experiment with small changes that would eliminate that problem.
Lather-Rinse-Repeat.
Always striving to move toward the smoothest possible flow of people, their work, the things they need (stuff, information, etc).
Practice until this is second nature, and everyone is thinking that way.

4) What would be a great place to improve my education in Lean?
Jeff Liker's "Toyota Way" series of books is a good benchmark.
Mike Rother's "Toyota Kata" and related web sites, etc, is a great source of structure for practicing the thinking patterns.
However - don't confuse the tools with the thinking behind them. Just implementing the tools on their own, or from a checklist, is going to be rote and mechanical, and doesn't teach the members of the organization how to interact with one-another.
10/25/2017 04:47 PM
Print this message

Author Icon
BharatM
Bharat Mimani



Ross,
Congratulations & wishes of luck to your start-up company.
For start-ups its pretty difficult to jump into lean. Usually, resources are scarce and processes are not really established. Simply put, these are the advantages of a startup, but implementing Lean in such a scenario can be chaotic at times.
Nevertheless, some practices of lean can be implemented straightaway. Establish certain practices that shall ensure the adoption of lean practices in the future. For instance,
1. Establish & drive 5S - you are spot-on with this. However, I doubt if you will get to sort & standardize everything at such a nascent stage of the organization.
2. Implement practices of thorough Industrial Engineering. This is a basic block for Lean implementation, and usually start-ups skip this. Before they realize, they are already in mass manufacturing and then industrial engineering losses hit them like a sledgehammer. My strongest opinion is to implement it. If you do not want to incur full-time costs of an engineer, hire an agency (like us) - This is not a sales pitch.
3. Always keep a tab on the inventory. Start with minimal analysis, but ensure that it happens, e.g., Inventory Ageing, Turnaround, Salvage levels, rejections, etc.
4. Account manpower costs - make sure all manpower is assigned & responsibility is owned by each department.
5. Track & observe travel costs - Startups usually bleed here. Define travel budgets, policies & authorization matrix. Use technology like VC to avoid travel.

It is not too early to implement Lean, but lean implementation should not become a "Cost Centre". While some steps would be strategic in nature, make sure that the "Lean Cell" is creating money, rather than merely saving during the infancy days.

Logically, as you grow, inventory & industrial engineering shall take centre-stage for Lean implementation. It should be followed by PFMEA & Kaizen exercises, which shall lead to Projects & Ramp-up. Eventually, procurement, supply chain and Operations shall be torch bearers of Lean practices in the years to come.

To learn more about Lean, read books & articles based on Japanese production systems. Do not be tempted to believe that technology is the only key to lean. In order to have a clear vision, always know what is the Value Addition to be done by your organization, how to do it most efficiently, with minimum resources and maximum productivity. Through your journey of Lean, you shall also learn about environment, industrial manpower policies, safety, healthcare, employee engagement and management principles. You will have to use every aspect to make your organizational leaner everyday.

I hope my reply helps you and brings some clarity.

Regards,

Bharat
10/26/2017 12:08 PM
Print this message

Author Icon
DuncanRoss
Duncan Ross



HI Bharat

Thanks for your advice, I am keen to continue my lean journey and have got some practical things to try. See how they go and then improve

It is certain a difficult time to try jump into lean. But we have no in build processes and people can't say "This is the way we have always done it". We are the first people so a clean slate. There certainly is not a lack of problems.
Previous experiences has shown that keeping track of inventory is a key thing and I have that under control (most of the time).
What is a main headache is the time people spend looking for tools and equipment. We also have let a load of junk build up and round the lab and on work stations. And everyone feels this pain. So I think this is the first area to try and improve to get the perfect (or better) work flow.

Cheers

Duncan
10/26/2017 12:08 PM
Print this message

Author Icon
DuncanRoss
Duncan Ross



HI Mark

Reading your reply has made so much sense to me.

"- Look at your current workflow, especially what the people doing the work have to do to get the work done. Where is it harder than it should be? What extra stuff do they have to do above and beyond that idealized version you have in mind? Write some of those things down.
- Pick off ONE easy one.
- TRY an experiment to either learn more about the problem, or see if you can fix it. Don't make wholesale changes yet, just try it. Once you have evidence that the idea is worth pursuing, then keep dialing it in until it is an easy and natural part of the work. This is where 5S comes in... IF people are having to go get or go find stuff, for example, or sort through a drawer, then apply some of the 5S techniques to solve the SPECIFIC problem you are seeing. Don't just wholesale "implelement 5S" You'll end up there, but if you want it to actually stick without a struggle, it's one thing at a time, make that stick, then the next.
- Lather, Rinse, Repeat. Engage others with the same process and questions, Practice the thinking until it is second nature to see anomalies, call them out, and test ideas to smooth things out"

The above idea of picking off small things and basically getting small wins is a great idea. Then building on that. I plan on using this idea.
To be honest the idea doing a big change made me a bit scared but a small bite size chunk is more manageable.

Thanks also for the suggestion of reading material. I will certainly look into that.

Duncan
Note: These forums are moderated by the Lean Enterprise Institute. All posts are reviewed within 24-48 hours prior to appearing on the site. Views expressed in these forums do not necessarily represent the views of the Lean Enterprise Institute.