Buy More Robots? | Adams Nager | IndustryWeek

"More robots means lower unemployment and better trade performance. [...] The United States does not lose jobs because there is not enough work to be done but rather because U.S. industry is not competitive with foreign producers. More robots will help fix this."

Source: www.industryweek.com

Michel Baudin's comments:Really? If you are not competitive, just buy more robots! But wait... Haven't we heard this before? Isn't it what GM did in the 1980s? Under Roger Smith's leadership, from 1980 to 1989, GM spent about $40B on robots, and this investment didn't make it competitive.

It doesn't mean robots are bad, only that they are not a panacea. Toyota's Global Body Line is designed to use welding robots where they are justified, and manual welding where not, using the same fixtures.

In an auto parts plant in Japan, I remember seeing a machining cell with old machines served by robots. A few yards away were new, automated lines that didn't use robots.

It looked very much as if the old cell with new robots was the result of incremental automation, and that the lessons learned had been applied in the design of the new lines.

Robots are tools. If you know how to use them, they will help you; if you don't, buying more is just a waste of money.

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How Do You Address Employee Resistance to Lean Manufacturing? | Larry Fast | IndustryWeek

"In the first six to 12 months, get the turkeys out. Don’t drag your feet."

Source: www.industryweek.com

 

Michel Baudin's comments:

The problem with this approach is that, at the outset of Lean transformation, management doesn't know what it's doing. It's not the managers' fault, but the skills of leading a Lean transformation in this particular organization have to be learned along the way.

More often than not, the author's version of "addressing the issue early" means firing loyal employees for disagreeing with something you later realize was wrong. And the message it sends is not one of commitment but of a mixture of brutality, incompetence and disrespect.
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How to Do a Gemba Walk | Michael Bremer | Slideshare

 

"A 'how to' outline for executives trying to do an effective Gemba Walk"

Source: www.slideshare.net

Michel Baudin's comments:

No disagreement with what Michael Bremer is saying, but I would emphasize observation skills more.

One exercise Kei Abe came up with is the bug hunt. You take a team of managers to the floor and give each one 20 red tags. They they have 20 minutes to attach the tags to such "bugs" as frayed cables, devices held with duct tape, puddles of lubricant, misplaced items, etc. They usually have no trouble using all 20 tags.

I also ask people to be like the Count in Sesame Street and count people walking, machines not working, etc. These activities have a data collection and validation value in their own right, but they also focus the eyes of participants and make them notice details they would otherwise miss.

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Fairness to Frederick Taylor

Frederick Taylor is an easy target. In a tweet last November Michael Ballé, as "@Thegembacoach" attributed to "taylorism" practices that I have never seen advocated in Taylor's writings. Enough of Taylor's own work is questionable that we don't need to pile on other people's bad ideas. Along with the chaff , however, there is wheat, and we have more to learn from the enduring part of Taylor's legacy than from what has been discredited.

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1934-Model-A

Origin of One-Piece Flow at Toyota | Chip Chapados | LinkedIn

According to Chip Chapados, the concept of one-piece flow emerged from the need to rapidly detect defects in engine castings when Kiichiro Toyoda was reverse-engineering a Chevrolet engine in 1934, and it was originally called "one-by-one confirmation."

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Lean six sigma the oxymoron | Troy Taylor | LinkedIn

"In the beginning Toyota created TPS, then came Motorola in 1986 with their six sigma process. In 1988 John Krafcik coined the term Lean in his paper entitled“Triumph of the Lean production system” which was quickly popularised by Womack, Roos and Jones in 1991 with the publication of their book “The machine that changed the world”. Then in 2002 Michael George and Robert Lawrence junior published their book entitled “Lean Six Sigma: Combining Six Sigma with Lean Speed”.

Ever since this point organisations have been attempting to mesh the 2 methodologies into one business improvement technique and failing."

Source: www.linkedin.com

Michel Baudin's comments:

Troy speaks from experience. Mine is similar, but I am not as negative on Six Sigma as he is. I think of Six Sigma as an approach that is useful within a range of applicability and is limited in scope.

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When to Use "Kaizen Events" to Achieve and Sustain Results

This is a perennial topic in all groups related to Lean.  In the TPS principles and practice discussion group on LinkedInBertrand Olivar and Kris Hallan recently started new discussions on the sustainability of Kaizen event results and on the means of achieving them. Most contributors hold extreme positions, the majority saying that Kaizen events are a panacea, and a growing minority that they are worthless.

In this you-are-with-us-or-against-us atmosphere, it is a challenge to get a hearing for the nuanced position I hold, which I summarize as follows:

  1. Kaizen events are not part of TPS
  2. Kaizen events are a valuable tool
  3. Kaizen events are not a panacea.
  4. Content should dictate how projects are managed, not the other way around.

Because it is a recurring topic, I have already accumulated the a trail of posts about it, that are referenced at the end.

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Don't waste time on Strategy Deployment (Hoshin Kanri) | David Bovis

"Where people put the effort into it and understand the principles and why they work fully, Hoshin Kanri can unlock enormous potential throughout an organisation."

Source: www.linkedin.com

Michel Baudin's comments:

Great article. As a condition for success in implementing Hoshin Planning, at least in Manufacturing, I would add timing. The organization must be ready for it, and it is, for example, after a number of successful, local improvement projects have led people to say "These are great, but what do they add up to? And where do they lead us?" Hoshin Planning can then help them figure out their own answers and provide a structure for moving forward.

In the list of failure causes for Hoshin Planning, I would also add the lingering influence of Management-By-Objectives (MBO), which keeps managers obsessed with gaming metrics instead of doing the work. I think it is what you mean when you say that Hoshins should not be formulated in terms of metrics, but it should be made clear that Hoshin Planning replaces MBO; it is not an add-on to it.

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Does Historical Accuracy Matter?

Cuckoo clock from the Black Forest

The most famous line in The Third Man is Orson Welles's addition to the script:

"In Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love - they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock."

65 years later, Paul Krugman opened his editorial in today's New York Times with:

"Ah, Switzerland, famed for cuckoo clocks..."

With all due respect to Paul Krugman, I believe this fame came from the movie, because cuckoo clocks are not from Switzerland but from the Black Forest region of Germany.

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