Browsing All posts tagged under »lean manufacturing«

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 […]

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 […]

Clearing the Bar

December 2, 2013

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When I was fifty years younger and fifty pounds lighter I tried my hand at pole vaulting, a peculiar track and field event that involves running at full speed with a heavy pole (at that time still rigid aluminum) in hand, planting the pole at the last second with jarring force on the body, hurling […]

Half Full or Half Empty?

November 8, 2013

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I’ve always felt the need to accentuate the positive, something I think I picked up from my mother.  In tense situations she would always interject “Isn’t it a beautiful day,” a comment that usually generated laughter and reduced tensions.  While this seems like an admirable quality, I discovered one day that it should not be […]

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