Browsing All Posts filed under »Old Lean Dude«

Permutations

April 18, 2014

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For many years I worked for a manufacturer of pressure and temperature switches, a small company with a very big product selection. In our product catalog there were roughly three-dozen distinct product families with hundreds of standard products, each available with thousands of optional configurations. The average order quantity per line was two pieces. In […]

The Road To Lean

April 4, 2014

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An old TV series I watched recently reminded me of an experience I have had many times in my work. In this I Love Lucy episode, Lucy is ordered by Ricky to create a schedule to make her “more efficient.” A schedule board, posted in their home is a “best practice”, but without the best […]

Lines

March 17, 2014

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As any conference-goer can attest, the shortest distance between two points is not a straight line when that line is the lunch line.   At Lean conferences like the ones I attend it’s especially incongruous to hear stories all morning about customer service and flow, and then later stand in a long line at the lunch […]

Turkeys

February 25, 2014

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Across a large swath of the U.S., the winter has been especially cold, snowy and dreary this year.  So here’s a post with a link to a cheery video at the end, just to pick my spirits up – and maybe yours too. The English language can be confounding.  For example, the word turkey is […]

Can’t See

February 13, 2014

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My friend and mentor, Gifford Brown, told me a remarkable story some time back about a visit to his plant in 1987 by Shigeo Shingo in which Shingo, with the help of set-up people, operators and a tool maker, demonstrated (in the space of a day) how machine set-ups could be reduced from four hours […]

Knowledge Work

February 3, 2014

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An engineering manager whom I worked with twenty-five years ago challenged me one day, “You know, Bruce, if all employees were engineers, you wouldn’t need mistake-proofing.”  At the time, I was too stunned by his comment to even respond.  But happily, the memory provides good fodder for another post. There persists a notion today in […]

Nice Round Numbers

January 24, 2014

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I was working recently with a company that is targeting inventory reduction as a top priority.   I stressed that reducing the causes of inventory is a better perspective.  The analogy of inventory as a deep river that covers many rocks (wastes) is one most of us are familiar with, and one that I experienced firsthand […]

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