Lean By Doing

Lean By Doing

Early along, as a student of the Toyota Production System (TPS), now referred to as “Lean,” I struggled with some of the concepts and systems.  For example, Shigeo Shingo’s claim that a four-hour machine setup could be reduced to less than ten minutes made me a skeptic. “Perhaps,” I thought, “when Mr. Shingo talked about … Continue reading

Space Junk

Space Junk

Last weekend in the Nantucket ferry terminal, I passed a defunct phone booth, the ornate wooden kiosk kind that was used twenty years ago to frame a payphone, provide a modicum of privacy, and hold a phone book.   It appeared that this particular phone booth had been re-purposed to hold a suggestion box; or maybe … Continue reading

Consult with Humility

Consult with Humility

A friend and colleague remarked to me recently “You know the Lean market has become mature,” implying a depth and breadth of Lean understanding in industry that I have rarely seen myself. Standardized work, for example, almost always looks like time setting to me, an occasional and cursory exercise by industrial engineers to shave seconds … Continue reading

Profitless Part Proliferation

Profitless Part Proliferation

I wrote a post a little more than five years ago about Variety Reduction Program (VRP), an amazing but little known product design optimization tool.  At the time I referred to VRP as an idea whose “time had not yet come.”  Last week, as I gave a short presentation on VRP, I realized that five … Continue reading

Traditional Lean?

Traditional Lean?

Twice in the last month I’ve heard the phrase “Traditional Lean” used in public presentations.   In neither case did the presenter explain the expression, but one displayed a slide with a Venn diagram showing the overlap between Lean and Six Sigma.  I suppose this means that he defined Traditional Lean as meaning Lean plus something … Continue reading

Eye of the Beholder

Eye of the Beholder

Many moons ago when I was just getting started on my lean journey, I visited a large automotive supplier to benchmark pull systems.  My own factory had started a pilot kanban between two work centers and I was hoping to gain some insight from a more experienced source.  To my disappointment, when I was escorted … Continue reading