Mike Thelen’s picture

By: Mike Thelen

As is the case with any lean implementation in a traditional environment, culture change is the most difficult obstacle to success. A company can hire consultants, develop work teams, and begin lean initiatives, but if it only talks the talk, the initiative soon becomes just talk.

Why do we do lean? We often get so focused on making improvements that we forget why we are making improvements. It becomes a “make an improvement for improvement’s sake” mentality. We shouldn’t forget the guiding principles of our actions, meeting customer needs (internal, external, shareholders, and community) and respect for people. The improvements should be following the rules in use:

  1. Highly-defined activities.
  2. Clear and binary customer/supplier connections.
  3. Simple and direct flowpaths.
  4. Continuous improvement using the scientific method.

Meeting customer needs Our motivation should always be to meet a customer’s expectation. At one time, there was a definition of quality that can be summarized as make exactly what the customer wants. Why should I make a watch that is water-resistant to depths of 300 feet, when my target customer will never use the watch in more than a sink full of dishes?

Mike Thelen’s picture

By: Mike Thelen

As is the case with any lean implementation in a traditional environment, culture change is the most difficult obstacle to success. A company can hire consultants, develop work teams, and begin lean initiatives, but if it only talks the talk, the initiative soon becomes just talk.

Why do we do lean? We often get so focused on making improvements that we forget why we are making improvements. It becomes a “make an improvement for improvement’s sake” mentality. We shouldn’t forget the guiding principles of our actions, meeting customer needs (internal, external, shareholders, and community) and respect for people. The improvements should be following the rules in use:

  1. Highly-defined activities.
  2. Clear and binary customer/supplier connections.
  3. Simple and direct flowpaths.
  4. Continuous improvement using the scientific method.

Meeting customer needs

Dave Heberling’s default image

By: Dave Heberling

When my daughter, Anna, was in the fifth grade, her teacher asked the students to write down their personal goals. Anna’s goals are still displayed in our home, so we obviously feel that there was something special about this assignment. Not bad for a fifth grader, huh? Could you do better? How? Is there a similar list of goals posted for you and for your company? If not, you could learn something from a 10-year-old.

It recently dawned on me that Anna’s list cuts to the heart of what manufacturers strive for and what many quality gurus recommend. I’ll try to explain the connection.

Please consider the importance of having your goals or objectives clearly identified for all to see. (If you can’t explain where you want to go, how can anyone tell if you’re making progress?) In manufacturing, we also like our goals to be concrete and measurable, so we can quantify how much progress we’re making. We’d also like to widely distribute convenient status reports, sometimes known as metrics.

Let’s consider Anna’s goals:

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Mark Rosenthal
The idea of doing the little things consistently over time is a powerful one that we often overlook in our hurry to show a spectacular result this week. We don’t get results from the big action we...
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Joseph J. Caylor’s default image

By: Joseph J. Caylor

As a consultant, I have been asked numerous times by management teams that are considering quality management systems (QMSs) such as ISO 9001, QS 9001, ISO/TS 16949, AS 9001, or TL 9000, “What’s in it for me? Companies complain that QMSs, such as ISO 9001, take up their employees’ time and cost too much money. They question the value that a QMS offers for their investment.

I answer in terms of money—the language of upper management—“The only reason your company should implement a QMS is to reduce costs. Your QMS should pay you back more than you put into it. Doing it for any other reason is a waste of time and effort.”

They further complain that customers force compliance and expect lower prices in the future. I tell them, “Those customers requesting compliance have a QMS in place at their companies, and they know a QMS can reduce costs. That’s why they want you to implement a QMS. If you can reduce costs, then they expect you to pass a portion of the savings on to them in reduced prices.” Many executives don’t understand this, and they look at ISO standards, technical standards, and test laboratory standards as expenses instead of ways to reduce costs.

Joseph J. Caylor’s default image

By: Joseph J. Caylor

As a consultant, I have been asked numerous times by management teams that are considering quality management systems (QMSs) such as ISO 9001, QS 9001, ISO/TS 16949, AS 9001, or TL 9000, “What’s in it for me? Companies complain that QMSs, such as ISO 9001, take up their employees’ time and cost too much money. They question the value a QMS offers for their investment.

I answer in terms of money—the language of upper management—“The only reason your company should implement a QMS is to reduce costs. Your QMS should pay you back more than you put into it. Doing it for any other reason is a waste of time and effort.”

Joseph J. Caylor’s default image

By: Joseph J. Caylor

ABC Company Work Instruction

Purpose: To initiate a DMR for internal nonconformance, subcontractor nonconformance, rework, or sorting.

Work description: A DMR is used to determine the nature of defect(s), establish a temporary remedy, determine the apparent root cause, establish corrective action, and do preventive planning for internal nonconformance and subcontractor nonconformance.

Safety considerations: Observe all written and oral safety instructions, appropriate checklists, and guidelines. Practice safe workplace practices.

Maintenance: None

Special Procedures: None

Back to the article “What’s in It for Me?

Joseph J. Caylor’s default image

By: Joseph J. Caylor

ABC Company Work Instruction

Purpose: To initiate corrective and preventive action for customer complaints, vendor nonconformance, and internal quality audits.

Work description: A CPAR is initiated to determine apparent root cause, corrective action, and preventive planning for customer complaints, vendor nonconformance, and internal quality audits.

Safety considerations: Observe all written and oral safety instructions, appropriate checklists, and guidelines. Follow safe workplace practices.

Maintenance: None

Special Procedures: None

Back to the article, “What’s in It for Me?

Joseph J. Caylor’s default image

By: Joseph J. Caylor

ABC Company Work Instruction

Purpose: To determine root cause for external nonconformance (customer complaints), internal nonconformance (rework, sort, subcontractor), and quality audit nonconformance findings.

Work description: Nonconformance-generated CPARs and DMRs are analyzed for apparent causes and root causes to determine corrective and preventive action to eliminate the problem and continuously improve the manufacturing process.

Safety considerations: Observe all written and oral safety instructions, appropriate checklists, and guidelines. Follow safe workplace practices.

Maintenance: None

Special Procedures: Check previous customer, internal, and quality audit CPARs and DMRs before proceeding with root-cause analysis.

Unstructured Methods

Intuition

Networking

Experience

5-Whys

 

Abe Eshkenazi’s default image

By: Abe Eshkenazi

With increasing productivity and focus on efficiency, good manufacturing jobs can still be found in the United States, but they are becoming more complex, and the people who succeed in the field need advanced training, education, and support.

According to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, manufacturing output in the United States rose by 58 percent between 1993 (the year NAFTA was approved) and 2006, a greater rate of growth than the 42 percent increase in the 13 years prior to the passage of the trade deal.

As U.S. manufacturers face a declining economy and increasing global competition, workers need every advantage to ensure that they’re secure in their jobs and that they and their company are succeeding.

Following are the top five ways to succeed at your job in the manufacturing sector:

1. Keep your training up to date.

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