Going to the Gemba

6 min read The term Gemba comes from Japan. It is translated to mean the actual place, or the place where something happened. When it comes to the workplace, the concept of Gemba is used specifically for encouraging supervisors, managers, and others in leadership to spend time not only in their offices but also out on the shop floor where work is actually done. This is a similar concept to a practice commonly known as, “managing by walking …

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Effective Lean Problem Solving

Business Meeting

3 min read Solving problems in a business setting is an important part of the Lean methodology. Using Lean strategies, a company can better identify what problems exist, pinpoint the root causes, and come up with the right solutions to get the best results. Learning about how to effectively use Lean problem-solving techniques can help any business to improve and become more efficient. Lean Problem-Solving Process When working to make improvements in any business setting, it is important …

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Continuous Improvement Tools

2 min read To achieve success with Kaizen – the Japanese philosophy of change for the better – it’s beneficial to adopt some of the tools in the continuous improvement toolbox. Kaizen Newspaper A kaizen newspaper is a document that lists current ideas, problems, solutions, and responsible parties. The newspaper is usually in spreadsheet or chart format and it is posted so everyone can see it. The document also indicates which phase of the PDCA cycle an idea …

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Going Lean: Push vs Pull Production

Pull system in a facility

2 min read Lean manufacturing aims to eliminate wastes and improve productivity, primarily by operating on a pull system known as just-in-time (JIT) production. The JIT method is opposite to push systems on the spectrum of supply chain management and can often be the barrier for a company going Lean. In a push system, production is scheduled to meet the forecasted rate of demand. Also known as mass production, the push method has been around for centuries and …

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Muda, Mura, and Muri: The Three Wastes

3 min read Identifying waste using the 3 Ms can help you more easily set goals and create conditions that avoid unnecessary repetition of efforts (muda), unevenness of those efforts (mura), or efforts that cause strain (muri). By focusing improvement activities on eliminating the non-value-adding parts of the production process, balance between capacity and load can be achieved. Muda refers to waste in the most basic sense: any activity that doesn’t add value. There are seven wastes of …

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The Final 5S Phase: Sustain

5S Sustain

2 min read Once you implement the 5S model in your place of business, you will see the improvements very quickly. By the time you reach the fifth and final phase, your space should be cleaned and organized and standardized procedures should be developed. But the key to key to long term success is simple – diligence. You need to sustain these results and your progress in order to have a successful 5S program. Here are some great …

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Kaizen Case Study: Siemens Oostkamp

kaizen case study

2 min read Siemens Oostkamp produces electronic components such as relays, connectors, and coils. The combination of fewer orders from their parent company and increasingly intense global competition forced them to look for new markets. On his first tour of the plant, the kaizen consultant asked the supervisors if specific information was available, such as failure rate or setup times, and the answer was always, “It’s in the computer.” But when asked to retrieve it, no one ever …

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A Lean Transformation: Tool Organization

Organized Wrenches

2 min read Going Lean means implementing a culture of continuous improvement, and constantly try to identify and eliminate the 8 types of waste: defects, waiting time, extra motion, excess inventory, overproduction, extra processing, unnecessary transportation, and unutilized talents. It’s critical in Lean to evaluate all areas in a facility for waste, even less obvious ones. One area you could save time and resources by using the right tools is your toolbox. Often times a box or bucket …

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Seven Forms of Waste – Lean Six Sigma

4 min read Understanding the Seven forms of Waste If you are looking into implementing lean six sigma principles, the first thing you will need to do is to look at the seven forms of waste. Having a good understanding of what each of them are, and how they can be addressed in your facility, will help to ensure you are able to operate more efficiently. When companies don’t take the time to really understand these seven forms …

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Poka Yoke Techniques that You Should Know

Poke Yoke

5 min read Poka Yoke Techniques to Help Eliminate Waste If you haven’t heard of Poka Yoke before, you might think you’ve accidentally stumbled onto the wrong website and are about to read a writeup on a strange dance phenomenon. In actuality, Poka Yoke techniques are the strategies used by professionals in order to minimize defects or mistakes in an industrial manufacturing setting. Like many Techniques of our time, Poka Yoke can trace its origins back to the …

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