Tagged with continuous improvement

Doormats

Doormats

One of Shigeo Shingo’s popular status quo targets was engineers, whom he placed in three categories: Table engineers—those who just sit around a table and talk about problems Catalog engineers—those who think the solution to every problem can be found in a catalog Nyet engineers—those who say no to every request. (Nyet is Russian for … 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

Bump and Grind

Bump and Grind

Here’s a personal reflection from my distant past, but which might still be a current state for some of you. When I began working in manufacturing back in the pre-Lean era, the quoted lead-time for my company’s products averaged twelve to sixteen weeks. By the 1980’s, however, many customers began to routinely object to our … Continue reading

Ludicrous Speed

Ludicrous Speed

Mel Brooks fans will remember Spaceballs, his jocular jibe at the Star Wars epic. In pursuit of a rebel ship, evil Lord Dark Helmet (Rick Moranis) orders his crew to accelerate their craft beyond the speed of light to “ludicrous speed.” While time travel remains science fiction, our ability to process and transmit data has … Continue reading

True North Pole

True North Pole

Many years ago a small expedition to the North Pole was funded by several American toy manufacturers, anxious to better understand how Santa’s workshop achieved such incredible productivity and just-in-time delivery. “How can Santa produce all those toys in such a short time?” one manager questioned in disbelief as the small group of managers furtively … Continue reading

Mistake-Proofing Mistakes

Mistake-Proofing Mistakes

There is a popular lore provided by Shigeo Shingo, that the original name for mistake-proofing (Poka-Yoke) was “fool-proofing” (Baka-Yoke). Shingo chided managers at Panasonic for using the latter term, as it was disrespectful to workers, essentially calling them fools. Shingo substituted the word “mistake” for “fool”, because, as he aptly noted, making mistakes is part … Continue reading