Browsing All posts tagged under »kaizen«

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 […]

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 […]

One by One

December 19, 2013

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Preface: A Christmas present from a lean-thinking friend, Brian Dandrea at Mass Mutual Insurance, is the inspiration for this week’s post. Those of you who have seen the Toast Kaizen video will remember the big batch of toast I make in my deluxe four-slice toaster. For years that toaster has been the metaphor for wrong-sized […]

Labor Dazed

August 30, 2013

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A century after the first Labor Day celebration, during a factory re-organization, I discovered firsthand the meaning of “territorial imperative.” Removing organizational boundaries within the shop is one thing, but when you venture into the ‘professional’ parts of the company that’s challenging the natural order!  One office manager, call him Tom, adamantly opposed the idea […]

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