Bodo Wiegand heads the Lean Management Institute, which is the German affiliate of the Lean Enterprise Institute. In his latest newsletter, on Wiegand’s Watch, he explains how he feels manufacturers should respond to the German government’s Industry 4.0 initiative.
The Routledge Companion to Lean Management is now available for pre-ordering. It is a compilation of contributions from multiple authors, edited by Torbjorn Netland, and Chapter 8 is my overview of Lean Logistics. The other co-authors include Dan Jones, Jim Womack, John Shook, Jeffrey Liker, Robert Hafey, John Bicheno, Glenn Ballard, Michael Ballé, Mary Poppendieck, and many others whose work I am not familiar with.
From a Gustave Doré print
“95% of companies report that they are using spreadsheets to augment their ERP system for planning. I asked a good friend that I have known for 20 years to share his experiences with the proliferation of work-arounds and ad-hoc planning “solutions” that we tend to see in most companies that run MRP. My friend cannot specifically name the products his company makes because the market is dominated globally by only two players (he works for one of them). The sales of this company are between $100M – $500M (US) annually. Read about his experiences and let me know if you can relate.”
Sourced through LinkedIn Pulse
Michel Baudin‘s comments:
The issues listed by Chad Smith’s friend are not specific to Excel. His company’s MRP or ERP system does not meet the functional needs of the Planning Department, and its members supplement it by crunching data extracts from it on their personal systems, in their own ways. The manager does not control what formulas are used, and does not know how diligent each member is at keeping the data up do date. The planners happen to be using Excel, but these problems would not be solved if they replaced Excel with any other single-user tool: they should all work on the same data, not individually ordered extracts of inconsistent vintage, and the planning logic should be shared, not buried in private spreadsheets.
It is a seemingly simple question, but one that is not asked as often as it should be. It challenges managers to consider the responses of other stakeholders and think beyond immediate consequences. It checks their “bias for action,” and makes them take a pause to think farther than one move ahead.
If you outsource an item, for example, will the new supplier eventually morph into a competitor? What know-how might you lose? How will it affect employee morale? Are you putting your quality reputation at risk? The question is an invitation to work through multiple scenarios of responses by your suppliers, your work force, and your customers, reaching into the future.
“If there is ever a time to discuss the similarities between plant leadership and politics, perhaps during an election year is as fitting a time as any. Some time ago I was attending a class at Columbia University, and over a conversation at lunch with a professor, we discussed what a day in the life of a plant manager was like (I was a plant manager at the time). After a bit of conversation about my typical day, the professor said, ‘It’s like you really are running for election as town mayor, aren’t you?'”
Sourced through from: Plant Manager/Town Mayor
Michel Baudin‘s comments:
In my presentation on the Lean Leadership Role of the Plant Manager at the Lean Leadership Summit last month, I used the ship captain as a metaphor, but the plant manager as town mayor is enlightening as well. The abstract of my talk was as follows:
The plant manager is like a ship captain, in daily contact with a team that may range from a handful to thousands of people, and accountable to an organization that is remote and has entrusted him or her with a valuable asset. The plant manager is the voice of top management to the plant and of the plant to top management, and represents the company to the local community. Of course, the plant manager must know how to pay bills on time and let maintenance use qualified technicians to fix forklifts, but there is more to the job, particularly about Lean leadership. The plant manager implements corporate policy but does not make it. If top management has adopted Lean, the plant managers can make it succeed or fail.
The following question arrived this morning about 3-shift operations in a factory: “Is it a good idea to have both the ‘leaving’ and the ‘upcoming team’ together having the shift handover and line meeting all at once?”
In principle, having a handover in person at each work station would be valuable, but is often impractical. If, for example, a shift is behind schedule, a gap between shifts gives it an opportunity to catch up but a shift overlap doesn’t. And when the shift is on schedule, the gap can be used for maintenance. There are also logistical issues with overlapping shifts: during the overlap, your facility must accommodate the populations of both shifts at the same time. This means an oversize parking lot, crowded hallways, and a crowded shop floor.
A shift overlap for line management, on the other hand, is easier to arrange, starting as the production supervisor level, even with a gap between shifts.
Joseph Paris and I debated this issue in the Operational Excellence group on LinkedIn, where he started a discussion by posting the following:
“Riddle me this…
If the Japanese way of management and their engagement with employees is supposedly the best, yielding the best result, why is there such a lack of trust among employment across the spectrum; employers, bosses, teams/colleagues. From Bloomberg and EY.
Lifetime employment sounds like a great thing, but not if you hate where you work. That seems to be the plight of Japanese “salarymen” and “office ladies.” Only 22 percent of Japanese workers have “a great deal of trust” in their employers, which is way below the average of eight countries surveyed, according to a new report by EY, the global accounting and consulting firm formerly known as Ernst & Young. And it’s not just the companies: Those employees are no more trusting of their bosses or colleagues, the study found.
France is implementing a new law requiring “hardship accounting,” for the purpose of giving special pension benefits to employees whose jobs impose physical, environmental and rhythm constraints beyond a given threshold in 10 categories. This is causing a dispute between employers, who balk at the detailed record keeping required, and the government, which insists that a duly voted law must be obeyed. What I find disturbing in this tug-of-war is that I hear no voice saying that the existence of hardship jobs is abnormal and that they should be eliminated. Giving special treatment to the holders of these jobs is better than nothing, but it is an immediate countermeasure, not a long-term solution.
In How Google Works, on pp. 163-165, executives Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg give rules for running meetings, that are worth pondering, because they clearly know the topic. They rules are for a software organization, but it doesn’t mean they are not relevant in Manufacturing.