Tom Pyzdek’s picture

By: Tom Pyzdek

In this four-part series, we take an in-depth look at how to design an effective work environment. Part one discusses the elements of continuous-flow work cells. Part two considers how to enhance the efficiency of such work cells. Part three explores the 5S methodology. In this, the last part of the series, we look at single-minute exchange of die (SMED).   

Changing from producing one part to another is an area worth special attention. This topic, like many in lean Six Sigma, is a big one. Many books have been written on the subject, so in this article, I’ll present a brief overview of the topic.

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By: LRQA Business Assurance

There is no doubt that the mixed and incomplete messages coming from regulators, markets, competitors, and stakeholders on how to address climate change make investment decisions for business more challenging and uncertain.

Nevertheless, many businesses are forging ahead with innovative and collaborative ways to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, despite little clear direction on global emissions targets emerging from the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties meeting that took place in Copenhagen in December 2009. This was the fifteenth meeting between the conference of parties (COP 15).

Some sectors with no global regulatory bodies are being proactive about making difficult decisions rather than waiting for a final global agreement from the regulators. These industries are designing and implementing energy-efficiency standards and emission-reduction strategies that will affect their activities around the globe.

This article looks at the climate change challenge for business and at what actions are being taken in the marine, aviation, and energy sectors.

Regan Arndt’s picture

By: Regan Arndt

As the push to alternative energy technologies continues, the demand for photovoltaic modules is expected to increase exponentially. This article describes the specific performance tests found in IEC 61215:2005—“Crystalline silicon terrestrial photovoltaic (PV) modules—Design qualification and type approval,” and IEC 61646:2008—“Thin-film terrestrial photovoltaic (PV) modules—Design qualification and type approval.”

IEC 61215 and IEC 61646 set specific test sequences, conditions, and requirements for the design qualification of PV modules. Other standards address the safety qualifications for PV modules, including IEC 61730-1, IEC 61730-2, and UL 1703, and are outside the scope of this article.

Performance testing under IEC 61215 and IEC 61646 requires a total of eight test samples, selected at random from a production batch in accordance with IEC 60410. Figure 1 and figure 2 show the sequencing of individual tests under each standard. Individual samples progress through different test sequences in parallel.

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By: Andreas Petrosino

Brothers Jürgen and Andreas Hellgeth are entrepreneurs with a passion. Their interests, both business and leisure, center on motor sports and off-road vehicles. Their successful business designing and building off-road vehicles began by creating special vehicles for their own use. A converted racing Unimog with a twin-turbo, midmounted engine even secured them the overall winner’s spot in the Dresden-Breslau Rally in 2008 (see figure 1). Given their off-road expertise and a growing demand for individualized details and customized vehicle bodies, the Hellgeths have built up a business that has gained a good name among its customers.

The snowy forests and mountains surrounding their Wurzbach-Rodacherbrunn facility in southern Thüringen proved the perfect place for building all-terrain vehicles—the dozens of test tracks right on the doorstep are frequently used for product testing (see figure 2). Today, the family’s business activities focus on customized special solutions for wheeled vehicles and the modernization, conversion, and sale of tracked vehicles.

Janice Tucker’s default image

By: Janice Tucker

When the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) develops a new guideline or updates an existing one, it is often accompanied by the availability of new training. In the case of the second edition of Consumer-Centric Warranty Management Guideline: A Guideline for Industry Best Practices (product code CQI-14), the goal of the training is to develop practitioners well-versed in the tools provided in the manual to implement a warranty process that delivers best practices.

The best practices in the guideline have been developed based on the collective experiences of team members in the North American automotive original equipment manufacturer (OEM), light vehicle market. From General Motor Co.’s perspective, this project is an opportunity to be proactive within the value chain, working with OEMs, suppliers, and customers to identify and reduce warranty issues, and an opportunity to save billions of dollars in warranty cost. The benefit of industrywide training will accelerate the learning curve and more readily enable culture change.

ANDREA LAHOUZE’s default image

By: ANDREA LAHOUZE

John Berger is no stranger to the benefits of training within industry (TWI). In 1995, when Berger was working for global manufacturing giant Emerson, he was challenged to move an entire product line of electro-mechanical sensors from Minnesota to Singapore.

At Emerson’s Minnesota plant, processes for manufacturing the sensors were documented, but didn’t include the institutional knowledge needed for a successful technology transfer. There are three modules of TWI: job instruction, job methods, and job relations. The job methods and job instruction training helped employees at the Minnesota plant to better document their processes so they would have clear-cut procedures for the new Singapore employees. Once the product line arrived in Singapore, workers there used TWI to maintain and improve future procedures.

Berger credits TWI with much of the move’s success. “TWI adds the ‘what, how, and why’ elements into the procedure so that the operators understand what they’re supposed to do, how they’re supposed to do it, and why they’re doing it,” says Berger. “The ‘why’ part of things really helps them to get the quality aspects locked into their heads about why it is important to do something [a certain way], vs. taking a shortcut.”

Tom Pyzdek’s picture

By: Tom Pyzdek

In this four-part series, we take an in-depth look at how to design an effective work environment. Part one discusses the elements of continuous-flow work cells. Part two considers how to enhance the efficiency of such work cells. Part three explores the 5S methodology. In part four of the series, we look at single-minute exchange of die (SMED).

 

The standardized approach to work is completely dependent upon maintaining discipline in the workplace. Procedures are useless if they are not maintained and followed. Change is not only inevitable, it is also desirable and pursued continuously. When favorable change has been discovered, it is made part of the standard.

Tom Pyzdek’s picture

By: Tom Pyzdek

In this four-part series, we take an in-depth look at how to design an effective work environment. Part one discusses the elements of continuous-flow work cells. Part two considers how to enhance the efficiency of such work cells. Part three explores the 5S methodology. In part four of the series, we look at single-minute exchange of die (SMED).

 

In part one of this series, I discussed the elements of continuous-flow work cells. In this part I will discuss efficiency enhancements. If the production capacity is less than the quantity needed per day, we would have a bottleneck, which we need to address so we can meet the required demand. In lean Six Sigma, a bottleneck is any process that has a cycle time that’s greater than takt time. It is possible to have multiple bottleneck operations. There are several ways of breaking bottlenecks:

Environmental Quality Corner with Ken Appel’s picture

By: Environmental Quality Corner with Ken Appel

For quite some time, polls have indicated that public approval for Congress remains at an all-time low. Congressional gridlock is difficult to watch for U.S. citizens who care about any issue and how our legislative process resolves the problems of our time—no matter what their party affiliation or how deep-felt their political beliefs.

However, it would be a mistake to read headlines about legislative stalemates and believe that government has ground to a halt. Quite the contrary. Anyone whose job is to oversee quality in government-regulated environments should be aware that administrative agencies generally are acting more aggressively whenever and wherever they can.

Steve Crabtree ’s default image

By: Steve Crabtree

Should companies take different approaches to managing employees of different generations?

This question has been top of mind for managers in recent years. For example, younger workers were a key focus during the 1990s, when a youth culture characterized many of the IT companies that were driving unparalleled economic growth. Recently, with the graying of the baby boom generation, managing older workers has become a common topic. However, a Gallup study suggests that when it comes to employees’ level of engagement with their jobs, it may not be the oldest workers who are most at risk—nor the youngest, for that matter.

Gallup’s measure of employee engagement consists of 12 items that consistently predict positive workplace outcomes, including increased retention, productivity, profitability, customer engagement, and improvements in safety and absenteeism. About 7,700 U.S. workers (excluding managers), selected randomly, were asked to respond to these items between Jan. 6, 2009, and April 5, 2009. The large sample allowed for close analysis of how engagement levels vary by demographic and job categories across the U.S. work force. (See figure 1.)

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