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Levelled Production: Where to Start
By: Ian Glenday | June 25, 2014
"A fixed repeating pattern in production that involves more frequent short runs seems ridiculous and impossible to achieve," writes Ian Glenday. In his latest piece for the Post, Glenday offers a simple analysis tool ("the Glenday sieve") for getting started. More »
Levelled Production: Why Do It?
By: Ian Glenday | May 13, 2014
Ian Glenday explains how levelled production and "economies of repetition" make way not just for stability, but improved business performance. More »
Can lean management help with the start of production?
By: Michael Ballé | December 9, 2019
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,  Can lean management help with the start of production? More »
Ask Art: Why is Takt Time So Important in a Lean Turnaround?
By: Art Byrne | November 13, 2019
Takt time represents the beat of the customer, or, the rate of demand, says Art Byrne: "As the primary focus of the lean company is delivering more value to its customers than its competitors can, then conformity to their demands in a quick, efficient way is the main driver. Takt time is therefore what sets the tone for everything else.  " More »
I don’t get kanban -- I don’t work in production so how would it apply to one-off work?
By: Michael Ballé | July 29, 2019
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,  I feel that I still don’t get kanban. I don’t work in production, and I fail to see how stock replenishment would apply to one-off work. More »
KAIZEN CHALLENGE: Lean Technical and Social Quiz
By: Jeff Smith | June 26, 2019
In this kaizen challenge, lean coach Jeff Smith invites you to help determine the optimal lot size to run through assembly. Please share your thoughts! More »
What topics, tools, and techniques would you include in an MBA-level course on teaching lean concepts?
By: Michael Ballé | March 11, 2019
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach, I am designing an MBA-level course to teach lean concepts.    What topics, tools, and techniques would you include in a 7-week, 14-session course? More »
A Tool That Every High-Mix, Low-Volume Leader Needs to See
By: Greg Lane | May 9, 2017
"High mix, low volume operations are a difficult concept to grasp," writes Greg Lane. But it doesn't have to be - with a few simple tools and concepts, you can handle the constant changes typical of a HMLV environment. Today, Lane shares one of his favorites. More »
Accelerating Justice with Lean Forensics
By: Heather Jamieson | February 16, 2017
One of our most popular subjects on The Lean Post is the use of lean in unorthodox places. But one gemba that we have yet to discuss on the Post is crime laboratories. You might be surprised to learn that they are prime candidates for lean transformations, being the process-heavy environments they are. Heather Jamieson explains. More »
Kata Skill at Novice Level
By: By Beth Carrington | May 1, 2016
LEI IK/CK instructor Beth Carrington illustrates five common themes when you find yourself at Novice level. More »
Heijunka: Mastering the Peaks and Valleys
By: Jeff Smith | May 1, 2015
Struggling to run different types of products down one line? Lean coach Jeff Smith explains the lean manufacturing concept of Heijunka (or production leveling) by way of a story. More »
One Idea for Improving Hospital Emergency Room Care
By: Sami Bahri | June 12, 2014
Sami Bahri, dentist and author of "Follow the Learner: The Role of a Leader in Creating a Lean Culture," suggests an idea for improving hospital emergency rooms: level the workload across the ER and other departments. More »
Creating Continuous Flow (eBook)
By: Mike Rother and Rick Harris | August 15, 2013
This workbook explains in simple, step-by-step terms how to introduce and sustain lean flows of material and information in pacemaker cells and lines, a prerequisite for achieving a lean value stream.  A sight we frequently encounter when touring plants is the relocation of processing steps from departments (process villages) to product-family work cells, but too often these "cells" produce only intermittent and erratic flow. Output gyrates from hour to hour and small piles of inventory accumulate between each operation so that few of the benefits of cellularization are actually being realized; and, if the cell is located upstream from the More »
By: By Rick Fleming | June 1, 2013
This SlideShare presents a new Value Stream Mapping icon to indicate both current & future-state Improvement Kata skill levels for the supervisors and managers in a value stream. More »
Landscape Forms Cultivates Lean to Fuel Growth Goals
By: Tonya Vinas | February 11, 2009
Case Studies; Charts, Graphs and Diagrams
With single-item orders 80% of the time, adopting single-piece flow and cellular production made sense to management at Landscape Forms, a low-volume, high-mix producer of outdoor furniture in Kalamazoo, MI. Find out how the company continued to spread the lean conversion by taking on the harder challenges of reinventing the production schedule through leveling, implementing lean financial management, and creating culture that embraced change and More »
TPS versus Lean and the Law of Unintended Consequences
By: Smalley, Art | January 12, 2009
During a visit to former colleagues at a Toyota engine plant, Art Smalley met no change agents or black belts, nor saw value-stream maps, or U-shaped cells.   The reason, explains Smalley, a Toyota veteran and author of the Creating Level Pull workbook, is that Toyota's production system is not about tools but about reflecting long and hard on identifying the greatest need for improvement before reaching for a tool. It also devotes much more time to problem solving and developing people than most people realize. More »
Shigeo Shingo's Influence on the Toyota Production System
By: Art Smalley; | January 12, 2009
Isao Kato was in a good position to observe the early development of the Toyota Production System, the model for lean production. He developed training material at Toyota under Taiichi Ohno, regarded as the chief architect of the Toyota Production System (TPS). He also coordinated the work of Shigeo Shingo, an outside consultant and TPS contributor. Kato sat down with Art Smalley for this Q&A about the roles of Shingo, Ohno, Sakichi Toyoda, and Kiichiro Toyoda about the early development of TPS.  Kato’s comments in the Q&A led to a response on the Superfactory site from Norman Bodek, the first publisher More »
For Athletic Shoe Company, the Soul of Lean Management Is Problem Solving
By: Chet Marchwinski | June 24, 2008
Case Studies; Charts, Graphs and Diagrams
When it began a lean transformation in 2003, New Balance, the only athletic shoe manufacturer that still makes some products in the U.  S.  , focused on using lean tools to improve product flow through its five New England plants to retailers and final customers. Next, with help from the Toyota Supplier Support Center, management began organizing the change effort around problem solving and process improvement to create a culture that would engage the workforce while moving the company to higher level. More »
Knife Company Hones Competitiveness by Bucking the Status Quo
By: Tonya Vinas | June 5, 2008
Case Studies
Family-owned Buck Knives needed to reduce costs by at least 30% to keep its U.  S. operations open. In turning to lean, the company gained more than just improved efficiency. Leaders are making better decisions, and flexibility has given Buck a unique advantage even though it had more reasons than most companies to shun lean concepts. Despite the challenges, the company now does nearly everything differently from allocations of costs for shop-floor supplies to working with its key retail customer More »
New Facility, New Flow, and New Levels of Patient Care The wait is over for patients at the Clearview Cancer Institute in Alabama
By: George Taninecz | February 22, 2007
Case Studies; Charts, Graphs and Diagrams
Dr. Marshall Schreeder treats cancer and treatment processes at the Clearview Cancer Institute in Alabama. More »
Build Your “House” of Production on a Stable Foundation
By: Chet Marchwinski | February 14, 2006
Case Studies; Charts, Graphs and Diagrams; Images
Faced with downtime on key pieces of sophisticated equipment in a machine-intensive environment, Delphi's Plant 1 launched a successful improvement effort by focusing on rigorous problem solving to create basic stability. This Lean Enterprise Institute case study shows you what plant management, staff and employees did. More »
Pull Systems Must Fit Your Production Needs
By: Smalley, Art | October 11, 2005
Managers often stumble implementing a pull system because they don't realize there are three different kinds meant for very different production enviornments. LEI faculty member Art Smalley, author of the Shingo Prize winning workbook Creating Level Pull, describes the three in this article for SME's Lean Directions e-letter. More »
Lean Development
By: Ballé, Freddy and Michael Ballé | October 1, 2005
 Freddy and Michael Ballé, co-authors of the lean novel The Gold Mine, pull together their experiences with Toyota suppliers, contacts with Toyota engineers, and existing research to discern the four keys to the company's product development system and how it has evolved in recent years. More »
Lean Beyond Production
By: Taninecz, George | January 4, 2005
Read how Lean Thinkers, using the same lean tools that worked in production, now are making improvements and benefits off the plant floor, in environments as diverse as an insurance company, academia, or the front offices of the world's largest automaker. More »
Toothbrush Plant Reverses Decay in Competitiveness
By: Chet Marchwinski | December 16, 2004
Case Studies; Charts, Graphs and Diagrams; Images
Faced with competition from plants in China and Mexico, Oral-B's Iowa City plant was slated for closure. But the rapid introduction of a lean system, beginning with just-in-time production and pull, saved it by reducing lead times and inventory to cut costs while augmenting the plant’s advantage in service. More »
Creating Basic Stability
By: Womack, Jim | May 25, 2004
Columns; eLetters
On my recent walks through companies, I've had an important realization. I had been assuming that in most companies the process steps in a typical value stream are sufficiently stable that it's practical to introduce flow, pull, and leveled production right away. But I've been forced to conclude that a lot of us need to pay more attention to creating basic stability as we try to flow and pull. More »
Creating Level Pull
By: Art Smalley | April 12, 2004
Creating Level Pull shows you how to advance a lean manufacturing transformation from a focus on isolated improvements to improving the entire plantwide production system by implementing a lean production control system. "The workbook is unique because it is a step-by-step case study on how to implement a level, pull-based production control system,” says author Art Smalley. "This is a new step towards ‘system kaizen that is not yet well understood outside of Toyota.  " More »
The Wonder of Level Pull
By: Womack, Jim | March 31, 2004
Columns; eLetters
Many years ago in Toyota City I first witnessed the twin concepts of level production and the smooth pull of needed items throughout a complex production operation. My education occurred at a supplier of components to Toyota assembly plants that had created a small and precisely determined inventory of finished components near the shipping dock. Read more. More »
Triangle Kanban Calculations
By: Smalley, Art | March 11, 2004
This presentation by Toyota veteran Art Smalley, author of Creating Level Pull, shows how to schedule batch production using triangle kanbans. More »
Decoding the DNA of the Toyota Production System
By: Steven J. Spear and H. Kent Bowen | September 1, 1999
Steven Spear and H. Kent Bowen explain in the Harvard Business Review how the Toyota Production System can be tightly choreographed and supple.   The key is that Toyota's operations are a series of controlled experiments based on the scientific method. (Follow the link for how to obtain the full article from HBR.  ) More »
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