About our Courses

TaktTimesHomepageLogoWhen working with Kei Abe in the late 1980s and 90s, I prepared a number of briefings for client teams starting a variety on manufacturing shop floors or in support departments, introducing technical tools and recommending targeted approaches to project management.

In 1995, for UC Berkeley Extension, I pulled together these presentations into a 2-day course on The Details of Lean Manufacturing, which later grew into a series of courses also offered through the University of Dayton, the Hong Kong Productivity Council and several training companies worldwide, while being used for internally at companies like Boeing, Raytheon, Honda, or AGCO.

Over time, both authorship and delivery of these courses grew to involve colleagues like Kevin Hop, Christophe Caberlon, and Hormoz Mogharei. We are now working to supplement in-person classroom delivery with on-line offerings.

Our courses are organized around the needs of manufacturing professions and projects rather than tools. For example, we don’t have a course on Visible Management, but we cover the subsets of visible management needed in logistics, assembly, machining, or fabrication.

The available courses are:

For detailed course outlines, instructor availability and pricing, please send an inquiry. We will respond within 24 hours and work with you to understand the details of your requirements.


1. Lean Logistics

Book cover Lean LogisticsUnlike most seminars on logistics, this course is focused on lean manufacturing and the lean supply chain. It covers both physical distribution and information flows –inside a plant and between plants — and the lean approach to managing customer-supplier relations. It gives you details on milk runs, returnable containers, or consolidation centers. Then it shows you different types of pull signals and their range of applicability, and the integration of a pull system with production planning, forecasting, and scheduling. Finally, it gives pointers on setting up and sustaining collaborative supplier-customer relationships and supplier-support systems.

 Who should attend

  • Materials Managers
  • Production Control Managers
  • Logistics and Distribution Managers and Engineers
  • Plant IT Staff
  • Third Party Logistics Managers

Companion book included

Copies of Michel Baudin’s book Lean Logistics, will be provided.

2. Lean Assembly

Book cover Lean AssemblyDo your products move through assembly in “hurry up and wait” mode? Do operators spend more time handling than assembling? Do they sometimes mount the wrong parts? Do some struggle to keep up while others wait? Does your line layout prevent them for helping each other? Whether you are improving existing lines or designing new ones, this course gives you ideas, techniques and tools — based on lean principles — to remedy these and other dysfunctions affecting your profits.

You will learn how to analyze and improve assembly operations using video recordings and tools available on every engineer’s PC. And you will gain insights through examples of solutions in industries including automotive, aerospace, electronics, household appliances, and personal products, and in applications ranging from high-volume/low-mix to mass customization.

Who should attend

  • Manufacturing Managers
  • Manufacturing Engineers
  • Industrial Engineers
  • Process Engineers

Companion book included

Copies of Michel Baudin’s book Lean Assembly, from Productivity Press will be provided.

3. Working with Machines

Book cover Working with MachinesOperations involving human-machine interactions include most of manufacturing processes upstream from assembly, but also many operations outside of manufacturing, from flying airliners to performing MRIs in hospitals. In fact, as machines become pervasive, performance in all sorts of business operations is more and more dependent on the ability of operators and technicians to set up, start, stop, monitor, troubleshoot and program increasingly sophisticated machines.

Excellence at working with machines is key to manufacturing in advanced economies. Most successful manufacturing processes in advanced economies are neither fully manual nor fully automatic. Instead, they involve interactions between small numbers of skilled operators and machines that account for the bulk of the costs.

We start from the human interfaces of individual machines to the linking of machines into cells, the management of monuments and common services, autonomation, maintenance, and production control. This course combines the concepts learned from Toyota with the usability engineering developed by researchers like Don Norman and Asaf Degani.

Who should attend

  • Lean champions, facilitators or consultants
  • Manufacturing Managers
  • Manufacturing Engineers
  • Industrial Engineers
  • Process Engineers

Companion book included

Copies of Michel Baudin’s book Working with Machines, from Productivity Press will be provided.

4. New plant and new line design

New plant design Saint-Petersburg class pictureHave you outgrown your current plant? Do you see moving to a new plant as an opportunity to change your production system? Are local governments competing with incentives for you to locate your new plant in their city or region? Is the low cost of the labor force at a location offset by lack of skills and access to transportation? If you are wrestling with such issues, this course will provide you tools and techniques to ensure a long and profitable future for your new plant.

As the largest investments in manufacturing, new plants and production lines should be evaluated thoroughly and their implementation managed rigorously. In reality, however, steering committees have no consensus on market demand, design teams are instructed to “fit everything within available space,” and equipment is ordered before processes are developed. And the managers expect the new facility to be Lean, even when they have made no effort at Lean in the old one. The course will help students avoid these pitfalls. It is the distillation of industrial projects that involved clients and other consultants. The ideas presented are always the result of a collective thought process, and given in the spirit of experience sharing.

This course will be most useful for the following:

  • Lean champions, facilitators or consultants
  • New plant or line project leaders
  • Manufacturing engineers on new plant projects

5. Cell Design: the key to one-piece flow

MB in cell at TREMEC, MexicoCells are pervasive in lean manufacturing. They are found in assembly, machining, and even fabrication. Cell conversions are typically the first pilot projects in a lean manufacturing effort launched to demonstrate spectacular improvements in productivity, quality, and flexibility. In fact, the cell concept is so powerful and so attractive that it is easy to believe it to be a panacea; but in fact, many processes are too long to fit within a single cell, and some operations require “monument” machines that cannot be dedicated to a product or a family. This course walks you through the details of engineering and operating a cell, monitoring performance, and managing cell implementation projects. If you have not implemented cells before, this seminar will show you how to do it successfully; if you have cell implementation experience, this seminar will reveal ways to tackle issues that have made you struggle. Beyond implementation, this seminar also covers managing a cellular shop floor — from rebalancing staffing among cells in response to demand-mix changes to making continuous improvements.

Who should attend

  • Manufacturing Engineers
  • Industrial Engineers
  • Process Engineers
  • Production Supervisors

6. Managing in a Lean environment

Just because you have implemented cells, achieved quick changeovers, organized milk-run logistics, and aligned your operations by product families/value streams does not mean you are done. This seminar will help you address new challenges: How can you hold on to your accomplishments? Use them to increase sales, profits, and market share? And then go further? Outstanding lean manufacturing plants can lose their edge if there is changeover in the work force, or if management does not sustain change.

If specialized “lean engineering” groups make improvements that aren’t understood by those who run operations, success is an illusion, and staff ultimately will revert to previous practices. This seminar will help you set up the production organization to support lean manufacturing so you can achieve your goals and grow your business. You’ll learn how to define each department’s role, make it effective in supporting lean manufacturing and then boost its efficiency. You’ll discover how to get new workers up to speed on lean manufacturing; manage implementation projects to ensure ownership among all stakeholders; and create a culture of continuous improvement and problem solving. In the end, you’ll be able to get your company to the next level — and the next, and the next.

Who should attend

  • CEOs
  • Division managers,
  • Plant managers responsible for plants with a lean manufacturing effort under way.

7. Project and Program Management for Lean Manufacturing

Is your lean initiative been stuck in “analysis paralysis,” with plans and visions generated  for two years without any change occurring on your shop floor? Or do you have a “popcorn implementation,” with uncoordinated kaizen events occurring in various sections of your plant without a coherent view of where they are leading? Have you successfully reduced setup times on your key machines only to see it creep back up within six months? Or are you simply not seeing the benefits that you expected out of lean?

If you are worried about these issues, this course will give you tools to address them. First, it reviews the basic tools of project management currently applied in factories, their limitations, and how they can be applied in lean manufacturing programs and projects. Some of the more advanced tools are taught in universities but rarely applied in factories, and when they are, it is most often only for management presentations. We examine how and to what extent they can also be applied to the daily management of lean manufacturing programs and projects. In addition, we describe ariety of management methods that are specific to lean manufacturing and conducive to success in a variety of project types, all needed at different stages of the program, that have been developed over the years by lean implementers. Finally we review case studies of both successful projects and unsuccessful projects.

Who should attend

  • Manufacturing Managers
  • Manufacturing Engineers
  • Industrial Engineers
  • Process Engineers

8. New Product Introduction

This course covers the transition from prototype to full production in a lean manufacturing environment. A new product has been developed. The design engineers are past the concept and initial design phases. They think they are finished with it and they are ready to involve Manufacturing. They believe the product is ready for production. Now comes the difficult part – the transition to full production and into the market for anxious customers with high expectations for value and quality. Can you deliver the goods? Most organizations struggle to meet these expectations. The first 6 months of production are behind schedule, costs are over budget, the product is full of defects, warranty claims are climbing, and you are praying for nothing to happens that might trigger a recall. We will show you how world leaders in new product introduction like Honda and Toyota do it right, and what the 10 key issues are to their success in bringing new models to the market on time, within budget and with great quality from the first day of production.

Who should attend

  • Managers of New Product Introduction Projects
  • Process Engineers
  • Manufacturing Engineers
  • Industrial Engineers

9. The Journey to Perfect Quality Through Lean Manufacturing

If your quality-improvement initiative has stalled out, find out why – and what it takes for quality now and into the 21st century. This course focuses on lean-production quality-assurance methods that will let you achieve those “dream levels of quality” you’ve been unable to attain with traditional methods that have evolved over the past 20 years. You’ll learn how lean organizations achieve their three-orders-of- magnitude advantage by integrating existing statistical methods, zero defects quality control (ZQC) methods, cellularization, pull systems, and many other tools. If you feel your plant has “hit a brick wall” and that further quality improvement is a struggle, this course will give you the techniques to get to quality levels your customers now demand.

Who should attend

  • Plant managers
  • Quality managers
  • Production managers/supervisors
  • Process engineers
  • Manufacturing engineers
  • Quality engineers/technicians
  • Team leaders.

10. Inquire about our courses

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