Lean Quotes

Lot Size Reduction

“If we reduce batch sizes by half, we also reduce by half the time it will take to process a batch. That means we reduce queue and wait by half as well. Reduce those by half, and we reduce by about half the total time parts spend in the plant. Reduce the time parts spend in the plant and our total lead time condenses. And with faster turn-around on orders, customers get their orders faster.”

– Eliyahu M. Goldratt, The Goal

Continuous Improvement, Motivation

Detect, Stop and Fix it!

There is one think that could be incredible easy  to do but is also incredibly challenging to practice.  I am talking about stopping the line when we are producing out of specifications.  People don’t like the responsibility of stopping the lines because they are afraid of the supervisor reaction.  In most industries, the throughput per day is one of the most important performance indicators, so when we talk about stopping the line they supervisors go nuts!

During our lean introduction class we discuss about the lean building blocks and obviously we mention “Quality at the Source”.  We explained why we should not pass any bad products to the next station and while everybody agree it make sense, when we go back to the production line, some people just don’t stop the line!

From this group, I know they split into two smaller groups:  those that are thinking about the daily production numbers and those who are just not used to work with quality in their minds.  Today I will talk about the second group.  In traditional factories, people learn the quality department is responsible for quality, is not their “thing”.  When we switch from daily throughput and efficiency to OEE as indicator of performance usually the people start to understand better why creating quality is so important.

For our packaging department for example, the extra effort of not sending bad product to the next stations has minimized the help product on their area to the point on which they have been operating for the last six months with 100% First Time Quality Rate.  That quality rate is definitely a boost for their OEE.

Before they understood the concept of detect – stop and fix; it happened very often that operators let go defects to the next station, and some times defects even make it two or three stations down the line before somebody detected them.  After training and a daily follow-up people started to put more attention to details and to inspect their own production.  After they learned to detect and stop, the fixing part was easy.  Those operators mistakes and lack of attention lead to hold product and down time while clearing the line and/or reworking the bad products.  They learned that keeping the quality as their main focus lead to excellent quality rate which also helps to improve their daily throughput by eliminating down time related to line clearance and reworking.

It takes time for people to understand and live by our motto:  “Practice teamwork:  Detect, Stop and Fix – Do not pass defects to the next station”.  The temptation to look to the other side and pretend that “I don’t know” is there, supervisors and managers needs to follow-up every day  and motivate people to continue this new way of doing things.

“Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.” – Steve Jobs

Kanban, Lean Quotes

Quote of the Month – 03

“Kanban is like the milkman. Mom didn’t give the milkman a schedule. Mom didn’t use MRP. She simply put the empties on the front steps and the milkman replenished them. That is the essence of a pull system.” ~ Ernie Smith, Lean Event Facilitator in the Lean Enterprise Forum at the University of Tennessee