Posts from the ‘LEAN’ Category

Building A Case For Dual Use Facilities

We have to start using our existing infrastructure and get it to optimum use before we think of grandiose schemes for expansion.
Malls are use for only 60% of the time. Schools possibly 50%. Movie theatres 50%
Amphi theatres 35% and so on. You get the picture here



With the miniaturization of the factory space can we think of merging schools and factories
Hotels and homes
Parks and ?
We have to break out of the box and look at outlandish ways of living in this wonderful earth.


Making Others Dreams Happen – Taking That Gleam In A Visionary’s Eye To Reality

Making dreams happen is a two-fold process

  • The visionaries who dream great ideas and takes the concept to a prototype
  • The pragmatists who take it to market
It always surprises me to see my peers proclaim that a project or an idea is not viable mainly because they don’t understand it
What does it take for a project to succeed?
  • The right resources
  • Reasonable capital
  • A Team who believes that it can be done
  • The right seeds planted and watered
  • Empowerment
  • Engineering
  • Risk Management
  • A willingness to shoot from the hip when required
  • Lending a friendly ear to the soldiers
  • Not shrinking from going back to the drawing board
Creativity is the key
Great solutions come when your back is against the wall
Research and present your strategy for meeting Goals
Get buy in from the Team
Go for it and do not look back

Kaizen is a Gentlemen’s Sport – Time Studies Hit Below The Belt

Time studies are inhuman

Why do a Time Study when you can Kaizen with the Team

I don’t think any one likes to be timed or watched.

I wonder whether real Black Belts ever ask for time studies

Then how do you do the measure in DMAIC?

I call it self measurement

Without trust there can be no progress

Revisiting Pareto Charts – Process Improvement & Low Hanging Fruit – Instant Gratification

ASQ is a great place to browse and learn. The link above is a concise write up of the power of a Pareto Chart and how the same can be generated in Excel. You could do it with Minitab as well.

My first brush with a Pareto chart was in 2001

My assignment for the week was to increase the yield of a packaging line with a major manufacturer of diabetes bio-sensors.

I walked the line, talked to the operators and talked to one of the engineers

Here is the low down

  • The operators maintained a very clear record of the down time and frequency
  • The data was collected and stored in a database
Went and met the keeper of the database
He was thrilled and mentioned that he was waiting for the day when some one would come in and ask him for the data.
Got the data plugged it into Excel and created a Pareto Chart.
Passed it around the weekly meeting with a smug look
Here are the top hitters
  • Meetings
  • Repairs to literature folder
  • Have communication on the line and reduce wasteful meetings
  • Bring in the literature folder company rep and recondition the system
ROI or is it Return On No Investment?
  • Increase in yield from 75% to 95%
Is that instant gratification or what?
Well since then I have used the Pareto Chart any number of times with success and little effort
Who needs training courses?
Is that LEAN manufacturing or what?

Value Stream Mapping Is A Contact Sport – All You Need Is Post It Notes, Observe & Ask Questions

Value Stream Mapping can be used in any industry and in any situation.

There are innumerable resources on the web to teach your self

Just Google it and find out

All that you need is Post It Notes, walk to the scene, observe and ask questions

Soon you will be going Lean

Sure using Visio makes it even better

It is so easy you may wonder why you never tried it before

Who needs training courses?

Old Fashioned Process Improvement in South Bend, Indiana

There is a saying that some of the best engineers of the Good Old USA came from the Mid West. It was something to do with the long winters and time to think. I spent a substantial part of my interesting  journey through life in South Bend, Indiana which was the home of Studebaker. Worked for quite a few interesting companies in a very varied set of enriching assignments.

One such foray was with an Electronic Connector assembling shop. Their claim to fame was being able to assemble and supply at short notice connectors with a lot size as low as one. A major portion of these were hand assembled.

One of their engineers was a model railroad enthusiast and was well versed in Mechatronics. He invented and built an automated connector assembly machine in-house. It was an extraordinary machine and took the company to the next level.

I was hired to be part of the engineering team and built a couple of automatic connector gluing systems using a PC as a control system and doing digital I/O with the parallel port. Engineering was a fun effort with us playing designer & builder.

It is here I was introduced to an exercise in “Culture Change Management” with good old Mid Western Smarts.

The company hired an old-timer to run the operation and in the process change the culture and take it to the next level. Old man spent the first month of his time in the company with the operators in the shop floor. He was hands on, assembling and packing the connectors, learning, observing and making a strong connection with the Team.

Old man did not make any speeches or promises. He went through the system operation by operation and improved the process in an incremental and smooth way. Before anyone realized it the company received the required quality registration.

He was a friendly guy but very firm in handling the system. He did not talk LEAN or Six Sigma but kept a clean and efficient shop, shipped products on time with almost no returns.

He expanded the shop, increase business and ultimately built a brand new facility increasing the employment in the area.

It did help that he came from a similar operation, had full support of the owners in all his proposals and was willing to listen to experts in the field.

I am sure that there are many small companies in the USA doing this and more and keep the countries economic engine turning.