From: Norman Bodek
Sent: March 27, 2005
I do thank those who sent me emails in appreciation of this series. As I visit
manufacturing companies in America I am aware of the need to more thoroughly understand
the fundamental principles of Lean manufacturing. It is primarily the unending elimination
of non-value adding wastes and continuing to involve all employees in those improvement
activities. Workers have so much talent that is never tapped into.
Lean is not just a set of tools to be used infrequently. It is not just
six-sigma, or 5S, or SMED, etc. it is the relentless quest to be the best. You do
everything, everyday necessary to remove those wastes. Mr. Ohno was ruthless in this
quest. Shingos favorite words were Do it! Neither one would accept any
excuses that it couldnt be done.
Ohno would teach very simply lowering the water reducing your
batch sizes to one piece flow. I have seen people reduce the batch size then stop. I still
see test inspection. Only zero defects is acceptable. You must find a way to 100% inspect
every singe part.
We only call it the Flavor of the month, because we do
something then we stop. You must be relentless.
We are using a section of Mr. Hiranos new book with Eight
conditions for flow production·"one-piece flow". The conditions are directly
from Hirano, the comments are mine. Please continue to give me feedback.
The first five conditions were:
Condition 1: To lay out facilities in
the sequence of processes
Condition 2: To make facilities small
and exclusive use
Condition 3: U-shape line·parallel
Condition 4: Working by standing
Condition 5: Multi-process
Condition 6: To
bring up the degree of processing one by one
As the old saying goes, Rome was not built in a day,
requires us to develop detailed plans with careful measures to see that we are improving
every single day. Everyone should have daily improvement goals. Everyone should be part of
improvement teams. I think it is a shame that we have not fully understood or adapted
quality control circles. There is enormous power in team activities and it helps make work
This past week I ran a series of Quick and Easy Kaizen workshops for
around 200 workers both salaried and hourly. In each workshop, I asked the attendees,
What is your favorite day of the week? I taught in total close to 200 workers
that they are empowered to make small continuous improvements at their job site. Most
people like Friday, a lot like Saturday, a small amount like Sunday and only one out of
the 200 liked a week day. We spend a good part of our lives at work and look forward to
the weekends crazy. Every day should be the best day of the week. And the feeling
does come when we are being creative, being productive at work.
Okay, to bring up the degree of processing one by one means you look at
making those daily improvements. How many of you run your shops on takt, time?
I remember on one of my visits to Citizen Watch in Japan seeing many
before and after pictures on set-up changes. Pictures would show how they went from 65
seconds to 30 seconds, from 45 seconds to 22 seconds, from 18 seconds to 9 seconds.
Improvement activities were made visual all over the plant.
The fundamental difference between batch production and
"one-piece" production is to bring up the degree of processing one by one. In
the case of batch production you look at the degree of your lot size while in
"one-piece flow" you look at the degree of processing one by one toward the
finished work. You look at each machine and see how you can eliminate all defects; improve
those machines so that they never mal-function; slowly eliminate the need for the person
to be attached to the machine by passing the persons function to the machine; and
even see how the machines can fix themselves. You also look at each person to improve
their motions; use both hands instead of one, reduce movements, eliminate extra steps, and
allow the persons intelligence to be responsive to changes and potential problems.
This past week I used a digital camera and took over a dozen pictures to
use in the workshops. It was very powerful for people to look this way at their worksite.
They came up with many improvement ideas. In fact, there was an avalanche of improvement
ideas. Just as our new book says All You Gotta Do Is Ask, and the ideas will
come flowing out!
Please do read my books The Idea Generator - Quick and Easy Kaizen, Kaikaku The Power and
Magic of Lean and our latest All You Gotta Do Is Ask. Go to http://www.pcspress.com