Agile Factory

About this website

This website was created as non-commercial online library containing various information related to TOC (Theory of Constraints), lean manufacturing, agile manufacturing, kaizen, kanban, inventory reduction, 5S, POOGI (process of ongoing improvements) etc.

Often I am sharing this kind of information with my friends or colleagues. Before I sent them links or articles by mail. But I feel it would be more comfortable for both to share it through this website. Easy for me to update the web and easy for the others to access information anywhere anytime.

The site was created in November 2004. Even I am quite busy I try to update this web at least weekly.

Since the beginning of 2005 I run WIP reduction project in our company. Within 4 weeks we have reduced WIP to 15-70% of the value before and we still continue. I will share my experience with you. They are very simple and they really work. Cost is almost zero, just changing policy, rules, operator's mind.

What's new

January 13, 2007
Updated page about project management software

January 4, 2007
Updated version of our utility Acex StopWatch.

December 9,2006
In Microsoft Visio 2007 there is a template for Value Stream Mapping.

July 23, 2006
Today we released utility Acex StopWatch. This is simple but very useful utility for process engineers or supervisors helping them to measure  processes and balance their line, which bring benefit in increased output. Enjoy. Let us know your comments if you have.

April 24, 2006
New Lean book

May 1, 2005
New Lean books

April 18, 2005
The last is Condition No 8 by Norman Bodek: To make the flow clean
Terms used by Mr. Hirano are:
"Turbulent flow" used for a job shop when each item produced could be different.
“Tidy flow” used when products are produced in repetitive manufacturing when the line is “clean” and items are produced without defects, in takt time, in one-piece flow.
“Muddy flow” when parts are pushed forward from ...... Read here

April 13, 2005
Condition for flow manufacturing No 7 by Norman Bodek: Synchronization
Please consider viewing your future production facility in one-piece-flow.  Try not to find reasons why it can't be done.  Just feel that it is possible and slowly continuously improving every day, believe it can happen.   Mr. Ohno simply focused on reducing inventory, reducing the batch size.  As often written about him, he looked at inventory like a river covering all of the manufacturing problems: defective parts, machine problems, supplier delays, long set-ups, worker absenteeism, missing and faulty tools and jigs, etc. With excess inventory, with large batch sizes, factory problems like bad parts were simply discarded and you used another one from the excess inventory.  With lots of available inventory you were never really forced to get to the root causes of those problems...  Read here

April 9, 2005
WIP reduction rule No. 1: Set up WIP value max. limit
Maybe there is not manufacturing company without WIP reduction activities or even WIP reduction projects. The reduction of work in process seems to be very popular tool for improving company overall performance in order to cut the manufacturing leadtimes, increase flexibility, reduce cost and improve quality. I know there are many articles related to WIP inventory reduction. But almost all are written by consultants :)
There are also well known tools to reduce inventory. The most popular are kanban and DBR by Goldratt.
I am running WIP reduction activity in our company and I would like to summarize my experience, trials and fails, and of course results, and to document the way how we achieved the WIP reduction to reduce WIP to with help of many colleagues from several departments.
I think it might be usefull for you to read about our way.
The first step to reduce WIP inventory is to understand what is the actual level of WIP (WIP = work in process).
You might think it is an easy job for you. You will just look into the information system and it will tell you instant WIP value for any manufacturing line with the accurancy up to 2 decimal points as you use very expensive system.
But if you check the same figure a few hours later or if you do the next day, the situation might be totally different like in the chart below. In fact the WIP value is usually unstable. Look at the chart bellow. It is a part of one of our charts showing us WIP value at the end of each day... Read here

April 3, 2005
The 6th condition for flow manufacturing: To bring up the degree of processing one by one

March 28, 2005
The 4th condition for flow production:  Working by standing
The 5th condition: Multi-process operation·multi-skill operator

March 11, 2005
The 3rd condition for flow production (lean concept):  Make U-shape line / parallel line

February 28, 2005
Added big link directory, you'll find everything there

February 26, 2005
Eight conditions for flow production
Very interesting topic, don't miss it.

February 06, 2005
Read an interesting interview with Mr.Goldratt

January 29, 2005
Kaizen Tip No. 6: Keep the line height at the same level

January 15, 2005
Kaizen Tip No. 4: Use small information board at the mfg. line
Kaizen Tip No. 5: Limit the height of material of finish goods stored in the process

January 14, 2005
Updated Glossary

December 30, 2004
Kaizen Tip No. 3: Set your line to follow the process flow

December 30, 2004
Kaizen Tip No. 2: Keep in production area only necessary things

December 30, 2004
Kaizen Tip No. 1: Shop floor layout
Since today I will release series of Kaizen tips. It might help you to start think about your factory from the different angle. An each tip is a very simple message just to help you open your eyes.

December 28, 2004
How to get PDF from IBM AS/400 or iSeries cheap and easy
I will share with you cheap solution for getting PDF from IBM AS/400 (iSeries) based systems. Why to spend money for expensive solutions when there is cheap one and it works. Enjoy!

December 19, 2004
How to get Vendor Rating from Mapics data - cheap and easy
Personally I hate complicated and expensive solutions. Everytime I try to find out how to reach the target with low cost, easy-to-do and easy-to-use solution.
One of the issues I had to solve was to set up something giving to purchasing dept. "Vendors Rating" information to keep ISO/TS requirements. Some data could be found in MRP system Mapics XA6 but some like history of purchase prices were not.
Maybe somebody will solve the same or similar solution. Read the article

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