From the Archives of a Common Sensei volume 33: Underlying All “Lean” Manufacturing Initiatives

The basic principles of effective “Lean” manufacturing (operations) initiatives must include two basic principles (as stated in the attached 1997 document from our Toyota (TIEM) experience):

  • Reduction of cost through elimination of waste
  • Make full use of workers (Associates) capabilities

In this volume of From the Archives of a Common Sensei, we speak to these and additional considerations to make the flow production (principle) work. Various forms of media are filled with discussions about flow, pull, balanced processing, Kanban, waste, JIT, etc., we will graphically show you the interfaced actions of the pull system and the framework for smoothing for just-in–time (in-time) production (processing).

In the attached “Goal/Means Relationship of a Pull Environment” document by Yasuhiro Monden (1983), starting at the bottom of the graphic, you can trace the critical considerations and interrelationships all the way from Improvement activities by Small Groups to Business wide quality control, Waste Elimination, Revenue Increase, and Profit Improvement.

The graphic illustrates the pathway to attainment of Increased Associate Morale and Respect for Humanity. It also illustrates the pathway to attain Just-in-Time (In Time) methods including Product/Service Sequencing and Workforce Flexibility/Workforce Leveling.

In the second attached document “The Framework for Smoothing” by Yasuhiro Monden (1983), starting from the bottom up, you are led through the Production (Process) Smoothing actions required from Flexible Machinery and Reduction of Production Leadtime to Just-In-Time Production leading to Enabling Production that is Promptly Adaptable to Demand Changes.

The Production Smoothing actions within the dashed line box in the graphic are fundamental to attainment of customer demand and building/completing products/services as required by customers.  The details within this graphic are often misunderstood and poorly applied.  The basics of the functions contained in this graphic can and should extend beyond the production/service processes, to include the entire supply chain (to be discussed in BLOG vol.34). 

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From the Archives of a Common Sensei Volume 20: THE KANBAN CALCULATION

If your organization is beginning the “LEAN Journey” or if you are having difficulty executing your Kanban ordering, perhaps this blog volume 20 will help you. These formulas for “standard/ordering” and “inter-process” Kanban were derived from work we did at Toyota Industrial Equipment (TIEM) during the early days of the 1990’s, but may also be relevant in your organization. As you might suspect, the standard Kanban calculation formula is generally meant for external ordering, and the inter-process Kanban calculation is generally used only when material is transferred (moved) internally. When reviewing these formulas to be used as guides, I have presented the suggested formulas and considerations. These formulas have been used in a variety of JIT and Kanban driven environments since I left Toyota (TIEM) and have helped create enormous value in the form of: shorter order lead times, shorter processing time, less inventory expense, less handling, less space, better quality, lower engineering costs, less overall waste, lower financial costs, etc. for those who choose to take deployment seriously. The use of Kanban must be executed with high discipline! Anything less is likely to result in errors and shortages of supply. The implementation of Kanban alone in an organization is not likely to produce the intended benefits mentioned above! This is where the culture of many organizations MUST be tackled at the same time (as discussed in our previous blogs). Every associate must understand the seriousness of their actions and the consequences of not performing their role in the overall process.

True value creation requires that every associate understand their role in executing to plan AND perform that role as intended!

Max Allway

As has been stated in other articles/blogs, this example of methods used or previously used at a Toyota operation are only meant as examples for consideration in your organization.  Hopefully you will benefit from this and previous “ideas” we have included in our blog postings.

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