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What to Include in Your Lean Training - Part 4
Episode 22430th December 2020 • American Lean Weekday: Leadership | Lean Culture & Intrapreneurship | Lean Methods | Industry 4.0 | Case Studies • Tom Reed: Lean Enthusiast & President of American Lean
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Since it is near the end of the year and your company might consider Lean training, I thought I’d give you an early present and cover what to include in your Lean training. This is not an exhaustive list- I’m breaking the topics up over several weeks.

Up to this point, we have covered 12 other Lean topics- Lean History, VA vs. NVA, the 8 wastes, 6S, Current state and future state VSM’s, waste walks, PICK chart, RIE’s, A3’s, setting up an LPO and developing a Master Plan and RIE report-outs.

If you cover these topics, I know you will have a very solid start in educating employees on Lean topics that will benefit your company immensely! It’s helpful to add workshops for many of these topics to keep people excited and engaged when we can all get into a training room again!

1. Flow tools & balance

One of the most important elements of Lean is being able to flow products or processes. Think of a river. You don’t want a bunch of delays in the flow of product or information as items pass through your systems. Delays lead to increased lead time, which affects your customer and impacts cash-flow.

There are many flow tools to use in understanding how you build your product. The first high-level tool is value stream mapping. Then you can use process flow diagrams and product families to understand which parts belong in a family-based upon process commonality.

You can use resource calculations to calculate how many resources you will need to produce a certain volume of product. Once you understand how many resources are required, it’s important to lay out the resources in an efficient manner so your product can flow.

The closer you can come to the product process flow diagram, the better your flow will be, because the process flow diagram shows the most efficient way to build the product.

Spaghetti diagrams- where you follow a part through its current state, visually show the state of your current flow. It’s called a spaghetti diagram because, more than likely, your flow will resemble a bowl of spaghetti.

Now it’s time to develop a future state flow. You can try using cells- self-contained layouts where raw material enters and a complete part leaves the cell. These are great for supporting families of parts.

A key element for setting up a successful cell is balance. It’s important to set up a cell where each step in the operation has about the same amount of work content as the other ones. You want to produce a product from the cells based upon a Takt time- a German word for rhythm or beat. We base it upon customer demand and let you know how often you need to produce a product.

2. Pull Systems (Kanban)

You try to flow your product as much as possible, but when you can’t flow it, you can pull it using a visual signal called Kanban. Kanban is a Japanese word that means signal. It can be a card, it can be an X on the table.

It signals your operators when to do work or when to stop doing work. The purpose is to signal you only when more items are needed. If you don’t have a signal to product items, you don’t build.

This is a powerful tool for controlling inventory and WIP and works well in freeing up inventory dollars.

3. Setup reduction/TPM

You might think that setup reduction is only applicable to a machine shop. It’s applicable anywhere you have a setup. Maybe you need to switch between computer software to do your job. That’s a setup.

Regardless, teach the steps of setup reduction. 1. Identify what setup to focus on. This might be a high-moving part. 2. Video the setup. Use two cameras and video the setup. One closer to the setup where you can see the operator and one farther away so you can see where he/she goes. 3. Review the video and write down the setup elements. Mark them as VA or NVA. 4. Either eliminate the NVA steps or do them externally to the setup. Operators might shut the machine down, then go get the paperwork. That is internal to the machine. The machine must be off. Getting paperwork is something that can be done externally. It can be done while the machine is running. Move as much work as possible to do it externally. 5. Write new work steps and trial them to see if you have reduced the setup time.

Usually, you can reduce it by 50% because you see the operator gone 50% of the time getting paperwork, tools, material, clamps, etc. Teaching them to do those elements externally will reduce an extensive amount of the setup time.

TPM- Total Productive Maintenance. Total productive maintenance includes more than just preventive maintenance. Preventive maintenance is an element of TPM, but it also includes how often a machine is down, how long it is down for if it runs to optimum speed and these elements impact a measurement called OEE. Overall equipment effectiveness. Good OEE is greater than 85%.

4. KPI’s/Daily stand-up meetings

Becoming Lean entails a lot of visual management. You want to share information visually. You want employees to know exactly where everything goes and how they are performing without having to hunt someone down and ask questions.

Why do we keep score in ball games? So we know who is winning. The same thing goes for your business. Share KPI information on area performance boards so people know how they are doing.

Have daily stand-up meetings or huddles to review the performance and review your True North. This goes a long way to engage employees and change the culture.

I hope you can take these ideas on what to include in your lean training to make your company better in 2021!

As always, it is an honor to serve you, and I hope that you and your company are getting better every day!


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