Just in Sequence Part 3 – What Can Go Wrong

This third and last post on Just in Sequence details all the things that can go wrong, and talks about how to fix them. The biggest problem is if the sequence of your Just in Sequence part does not match the main component that it should be sequenced to. This happens especially due to defects and rework. I also describe common options to deal with these problems – but be warned: all of them suck. As usual in lean, it is so much easier not to have problems in the first place than it is to deal with them afterward. Continue reading Just in Sequence Part 3 – What Can Go Wrong

Just in Sequence Part 2 – How to Do It

In this second post on Just in Sequence, I would like to talk about some details on the actual sequencing of parts: when to use Just in Sequence in the first place, which parts to sequence, and how to define the sequence. These are all organizational details to make Just in Sequence  work. In my next and last post of this series, I will describe how to handle problems with parts being out of sequence. Continue reading Just in Sequence Part 2 – How to Do It

Just in Sequence Part 1 – What Is It?

“Just in Sequence” (JIS) is a good way to supply material to high-mix, low-volume production. It combines well with “Just in Time” (JIT) and “Ship to Line” (STL), but neither are a prerequisite for Just in Sequence. In this series of posts I would like to talk about what Just in Sequence is, how it works, and what to be aware of. This first post details the basics of Just in Sequence production. Continue reading Just in Sequence Part 1 – What Is It?

Different Ways to Establish a Pull System – Part 2

This is the second post on different types of pull production. It features the less commonly known approaches of triangle kanban, drum-buffer-rope, reorder point (surprise, yes, it is a pull system),  reorder period (also a pull system), and FIFO lanes. In my previous post I showed you the kanban system and its variant, the two-box system, as well as CONWIP and the kanban-CONWIP hybrid.

Continue reading Different Ways to Establish a Pull System – Part 2

Different Ways to Establish a Pull System – Part 1

Rope pullingPull production is one of the most important aspects of lean production. Its key feature is to have an upper limit on inventory that is not to be exceeded. The most well-known way to implement a pull system is by using kanban cards. However, there are many others. In this short series of two posts, I want to give you an overview of the different ways to implement pull systems, and discuss the pros and cons of them. Continue reading Different Ways to Establish a Pull System – Part 1

Visual Management

Yet another hot topic in lean manufacturing is visual management. This can be very helpful in running a shop floor, but when done wrong it can also be quite wasteful and embarrassing. In this post I would like to show you the basic principles of visual management with a few examples. There is more to visual management than merely putting lines on the shop floor.  Continue reading Visual Management

Employee Motivation and Lean Implementation – Part 4: Respect for People

Motivating employees is not easy. In previous posts I described that the carrot and the stick approaches don’t work very well. What in my experience works best to improve the system is Respect for People!

This is actually a very important aspect of the Toyota Production System, and Toyota puts in lots of effort to show respect to all people. This includes not only employees (the focus of this post), but also customers, suppliers, neighbors, and pretty much everybody else it comes in contact with. At Toyota, it is actually called Respect for Humanity (人間性尊重, ningenseisoncho). Unfortunately, all too often I find this lacking in Western lean implementations. Continue reading Employee Motivation and Lean Implementation – Part 4: Respect for People