Dakkota Systems’ instrument panel factory is joined at the hip to Chrysler’s Windsor minivan assembly plant.
See on www.autonews.com
See on Scoop.it – lean manufacturing
“Aerofil Technology Inc. (ATI) began its operations in Sullivan, MO, in the fall of 1988 with two small aerosol lines and less than 50,000 sq ft of space. Since then, ATI has greatly expanded and now serves clients around the world. Its capabilities, customer base and facility size have grown exponentially during the past 25 years. Today, ATI is a Lean contract packager with a continuous-improvement culture with approximately 350 full-time employees and 16 production lines in a 400,000-sq-ft facility.”
See on www.packagingdigest.com
“…Nakagawa, who has been a TPS practitioner for four decades, doesn’t believe in seeing things on his computer screen -he prefers to go where the action is. “Can a computer smell? Genchi Genbutsu is very important because only on-site will your sensory organs be alert – smell, sound, vision,” he says….”
Perhaps, Mr, Nakagawa has not heard of Google Nose, the app announced on April 1.
In all summaries,TPS has two pillars, but never the same. In this article, the pillars are “respect for people” and “continuous improvement.” To Ohno, they were Just-in-time (JIT) and Jidoka, with JIT covering production control, logistics, and supply chain management, while Jidoka was a complete approach to the engineering of production lines where humans interact with machines.
You could try to implement Ohno’s JIT and Jidoka without respect for people or continuous improvement, but it would not work well. Conversely, if all you focus on is respect for people and continuous improvement, you won’t get TPS either. You need both, and, perhaps, two pillars are not enough.
Broadly speaking, the two pillars in this article are about management; Ohno’s pillars, about technology. As TPS is based on the interplay of management and technology, perhaps these are its real “two pillars.”
See on economictimes.indiatimes.com
The articles by Art Smalley‘s and Mike Rother about Standards in The Lean Edge puzzle me, because it seems we all mean different things by “standard.” On a manufacturing shop floor, in particular, I don’t see Standard Work as a basis for comparison, the best way known to perform a task, or a target condition. Instead, it is a set of rules published for the purpose of ensuring that different people perform the same tasks in the same way. This is consistent with the Wikipedia definition of a technical standard.
A process can only produce a consistent output at a consistent pace on different shifts in the same plant, as well as in different plants, if it is performed on the same materials, with the same equipment, and by the same methods. That is what standard work is supposed to accomplish, and it is, for both human and technical reasons, more difficult than meets the eye.
So here are a few thoughts I would like to share on this subject:
When operators on a manufacturing shop floor remain on the same job for years, they come up with their private tricks on how to perform it. They attach “cheater bars” to wrenches, rearrange parts around their stations, and develop the ability to detect anomalies by sight, sound, touch, or smell. By default, as operators perceive this knowledge to be the key to job security, they make sure it remains hidden away in their heads.
It leads to a situation that economist William Lazonick called Craft Control, in which management leaves the organization of work on the shop floor to the operators. The focus of Frederick Taylor’s “scientific management” was to replace craft control with managerial control, and it entailed the detailed specification of all operations by specialists. For decades after Taylor’s death in 1915, the management of American manufacturing companies engaged in a tug-of-war with labor to put an end to craft control, and ultimately failed, resulting in shelves of binders full of specs that nobody pays attention to, except external auditors.
Human resource policies that involved laying off whenever business slows down were an incentive to retain rather than share information. And leaving operators on the same job for years made the specs unnecessary except to train new operators but, when you tried to use them for this purpose, more often than not you found them to be obsolete.
TPS/Lean pursues managerial control too, but in ways that differ as follows:
See last July’s post on What are standards for? for examples and details. These differences do not make it easy to implement, but they remove the key obstacles that account for the earlier failure.
A3 instruction sheets above work stations help supervisors notice discrepancies between the standard and the practice of the operators. When there is such a discrepancy, however, the supervisors must investigate it rather than always “retrain” the operator to conform to the standard. The operator may in fact have improved the process; this improvement needs to be documented and the standard updated so as to propagate this improvement to all other operators doing the same process. When walking through a shop floor that has such posted instructions, one should check the signature block to see when it was last updated. If it was five years ago, the sheet is useless. In fact, It should have been updated in the last six months.
In The Birth of Lean (p. 9), are Taiichi Ohno’s own words on the subject:
”…the standard work display panels [...] let the foremen and supervisors see easily if the operators were adhering to the standard work procedures. [...] I told everyone that they weren’t earning their pay if they left the standard work unchanged for a whole month.”
Changing specs once a month for every operation seems a hectic pace, leaving operators barely enough time to master the new method before changing it. Perhaps it was justified in Toyota’s single machine shop, that Ohno was running in the early 1950s. Managing revisions in a networks with dozens of factories worldwide that is Toyota today is a different kind of challenge.
Posting too many instructions, maps, charts, forms, before-and-after pictures, etc., is counterproductive. The result is visual clutter rather than visual management. Producing, posting, and maintaining displays is work, and it should be done selectively, when it has a clear purpose and is worth the effort.
In daily life, we use complex products like computers, cars, or kitchen appliances without posted instruction sheets. We can, because these products have been engineered for usability and mistake-proofed. Usability engineering is the art of designing human-machine interfaces so that users find the right actions to take without prompting or instruction; it is widely applied to household appliances, based on techniques described in Don Norman’s The Design of Everyday Things. In Taming HAL, Asaf Degani expands on these techniques for application to airliner cockpits and ship control rooms, and Chapters 1 and 2 of Working with Machines summarizes them as they apply to production equipment. Usability engineering is about making mistakes unlikely, but not impossible; this is why, whenever possible, it is supplemented by mistake-proofing. The following pictures illustrate one of the usability engineering principles. In Pixar’s “Lifted,” the young alien taking a test cannot tell which switch to press; Don Norman shows an example of a control room in a nuclear power plant where technicians have replaced identical joysticks with different beer keg handles to make them easier to tell apart.
Toyota in recent years has been pursuing a reduction in the amount of information posted on the shop floor. They simplified the tasks to eliminate the need for posted instructions, which also made it easier to train new people. This has been going on in several plants worldwide for several years, resulting in continuing improvements in quality and productivity. Instruction materials are kept off line and brought out as needed, like a car’s owner manual.
Anywhere but possibly inside Japan, finding local roots for Lean is useful to defuse nationalism when implementing it, but it is also risky. You start by giving a local pioneer credit for what he actually did. Similarity of his insights with Lean then becomes enough to label him a “precursor.” It may be a stretch, but it is a white lie, and it makes local engineers and managers so much more receptive! Further down this slippery slope, however, the local precursor becomes a “pioneer” and soon there is nothing to Lean beyond what he came up with, at which point his legacy impedes Lean implementation more than it supports it. This is where Lean is attributed to Henry Ford.
In reality, while the founders of Toyota learned everything they could from foreign sources in early days, they and their successors are the ones who put the Toyota Production System (TPS) together and made it work, before the term “Lean Manufacturing” was coined. A Toyota alumnus told me that he never heard Toyota people claim they had invented anything; after all, they are in the car business, not the production system business. What is unique about their work is that they have integrated all the pieces — borrowed or not — into a system that outperformed the competition. As part of its 75th anniversary celebration, Toyota published the following illustration of its overall system:
They also published a detailed timeline of the development of TPS from 1945 to 2005, highlighting the key challenges the company faced in each period, and the solutions it adopted in Just-In-Time and Jidoka. Each item has a short explanation in text, and is illustrated with cartoons, technical drawings, and photographs. It is an excellent and balanced account of the technical content of TPS, and I recommend going through it to understand how the pieces fit together.
Based on this timeline, other details contained in the 75th anniversary website, and a few other sources, I compiled the following summary, going back further in time, and emphasizing international exchanges. What I find most striking about this timeline is that the foreign inputs to TPS, primarily from the US and secondarily from Germany, were over by the mid 1950s, almost 60 years ago, and that, since the late 1970s, the flow is in the opposite direction, with the rest of world learning from Toyota.
TPS is still a work in progress. It has been and still is primarily an original development. The bulk of TPS has come from the minds of inventor Sakichi Toyoda, his son Kiichiro, engineers Taiichi Ohno and Shigeo Shingo, and hundreds of thousands of Toyota employees over decades. A trade secret until Toyota started training suppliers in the 1970s, TPS was revealed to the world with the publication of Taiichi Ohno’s book in 1978.
The American influence, particularly Ford’s, is readily acknowledged and played up in Toyota’s official literature. The German contribution, while not hidden, is in small print. Takt is a central concept in TPS, and it came to Toyota from the Mitsubishi Aircraft plant in Nagoya, which had learned it from German aircraft manufacturer Junkers. After the subject of Takt came up in a LinkedIn forum a few months ago, I pulled on this linguistic thread to see what came out, and I was surprised by the magnitude of it, essentially a whole production system for aircraft, including some principles of supply chain management. It is summarized in the following blog posts:
Toyota’s study of automotive technology also included reverse engineering a 1936 DKW from Germany, and Toyota’s first postwar model, the 1947 SA, looked like a Volkswagen beetle.
Why Toyota designers chose to imitate this particular car at that particular time is another mystery, but not relevant to the key point here, which is that all of this borrowing from abroad is ancient history.
Mikiharu Aoki kindly sent me his 2012 book on mistake-proofing (Poka-Yoke) in Toyota factories. I had asked him for it out of curiosity about new developments in this field.
The classics on Poka-Yoke are Shigeo Shingo’s Zero Quality Control (1986) and Productivity Press’s big red book (1987), both of which are useful but leave you hungry for more examples that do not date back to the 1960s and 70s.
In Make No Mistake (2001) Martin Hinckley reused many of the same examples, but added a few using more electronics, discussed the relationship between mistake-proofing and statistical methods, and included a directory of suppliers for tools and devices. I spot-checked the websites of a few of them and, 12 years after publication of the book, found they were all still around.
While Taiichi Ohno and Shigeo Shingo were men of my grandparents’ generation, Mikiharu Aoki is my contemporary. He is not a founding father of the Toyota Production System, but he has worked in its modern incarnation for 26 years before becoming a consultant. He has written several books – only available in Japanese — and all but one with ”Toyota” in the title.
Part I is a discussion of the steps needed to implement Poka-Yoke; Part II, 72 actual examples explained through conceptual diagrams and cartoons.
Part I, about 1/3 of the book, first discusses 5S, standard work, process capability, and one-piece flow as prerequisites to mistake-proofing. It then distinguishes the categories of mistake-proofing devices, such as the ones that physically prevent mistakes versus those that prevent defectives from escaping to the next process. It describes the use of Andons to trigger responses to problems detected by mistake-proofing, and expresses a preference for devices that involve direct, mechanical contact with work pieces over sensors and electronics, because their operation is visually obvious.
On the other hand, I did not see recommendations on how you organize the implementation of mistake-proofing, monitor progress, and make sure that the devices do not deteriorate or fall out of use over time. This is not covered either in any of the other books I have seen on the subject.
The examples in Part II are more similar to those in the older books than I expected. The tangs used to prevent mounting the button in the wrong position on a music player control panel are a classic, and the same method is used in my HP inkjet printer to prevent mounting ink cartridges in the dock for a different color.
In the following case is also consistent with the older Poka-Yokes: the outer dimensions of products are used to tell them apart and make different sets of parts available for assembly.
Clearly, the way it works, and whether it works, is obvious. By a method that relies on differences in the outer dimensions of a product is only applicable where such differences exist. With car engines, they do; with computers, they don’t, and many different configurations of the same product are mounted in the same chassis. In such a context, you have to resort to bar codes, QR codes, or RFID tags and the computer systems that go with them.
I expected to see more use of this kind of technology in current Poka-Yokes, but I understand that Aoki’s book is about car manufacturing and that you want, as much as possible, the devices to be invented on the shop floor by production people.
Among Aoki’s books, the one without Toyota in the title is called “All about car factories” (自動車工場のすべて, November, 2012), and its purpose is to explain in an integrated manner both the production process and production control sides of car making. Aoki also included it in his package to me, but I have not had a chance to look at it yet. I will keep you posted.
Most facilities that fail in a lean implementation have failed to create stable process flow. And by stable I mean statistically stable — a process that is predictable. (Wanna Sabotage Your #Lean Implementation Effort?
The way I read Lonnie’s article, he is saying that neglect of the engineering dimension of Lean manufacturing is the primary cause of implementation failure. I agree. It is a long article, but worth reading.
See on www.industryweek.com
Ford and Toyota Celebrate Historic Milestones Assembly Magazine (blog) However, the just-in-time concept was not fully realized at Toyota until 1954, when the supermarket supply method—the idea of having subsequent processes take what they need…
See on www.assemblymag.com