Lean Article

Rick Gould’s picture

By: Rick Gould

Ever since people could tie logs together to form rafts and use them to transport goods by water, seaborne trade has flourished and grown. Historians believe that the first international trade routes were developed 5,000 years ago between the Arabian Peninsula and Pakistan, while by the 18th century, trade routes spanned the globe. Transporting goods and people by sea is an efficient and cost-effective process, and today, shipping is big business with more than 90 percent of the world’s trade, in volume, carried by sea, according to the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

Although trade is beneficial, trading through ports is complex. When ships enter and leave ports, vital information about cargoes, crews, vessel details, and many other data must be exchanged with the authorities ashore. Access to accurate and complete data records is essential to making the right decisions at the right time. Ship operators are required to provide numerous types of records, certifications, and data relating to their cargoes, passengers, safety, environmental protection, and customs declarations.

Saligrama Agnihothri’s picture

By: Saligrama Agnihothri

Health-tracking devices and apps are becoming part of everyday life. More than 300,000 mobile phone applications claim to help with managing diverse personal health issues, from monitoring blood glucose levels to conceiving a child.

But so far the potential for health-tracking apps to improve healthcare has barely been tapped. Although they allow a user to collect and record personal health data, and sometimes even share it with friends and family, these apps typically don’t connect that information to a patient’s digital medical chart, or make it easier for healthcare providers to monitor or share feedback with their patients.

Dawn Bailey’s picture

By: Dawn Bailey

The spirit of service—for a small clinic started in 1913 to provide free care to Los Angeles (LA)—lives today in the servant-leader aspirations of 2019 Baldrige Award recipient Adventist Health White Memorial (AHWM), a 353-bed, safety-net hospital.

The community of two million people that AHWM serves is young, homogenous, and economically challenged. In addition, the hospital is surrounded by 35 active gangs, and it watched as many of its neighboring healthcare organizations closed or downsized during the Covid-19 pandemic.

East LA community served by Adventist Health White Memorial. Credit: Adventist Health White MemorialEast LA community served by Adventist Health White Memorial. Credit: Adventist Health White Memorial

But these challenges have not stopped AHWM from believing that it could transform the health experience of its communities.

John Preston’s picture

By: John Preston

‘This government is obsessed with skilling up our population,” said Boris Johnson in his recent speech on “leveling up.” There’s still a fair amount of uncertainty about exactly what the United Kingdom prime minister’s plan to level up the regions will involve, but manufacturing and skills seem close to the heart of it.

Silke von Gemmingen’s picture

By: Silke von Gemmingen

Due to digitalization in Industry 4.0, internal logistics is subject to constant change. Internal traceability—i.e., tracking goods in the warehouse or production facility—increasingly plays a key role. Manufacturers and consumers are placing more emphasis on the safety and quality of products. Costly and image-damaging complaints must therefore be avoided. Automation systems can help to optimize goods control here and at the same time facilitate and accelerate the work of the operators—saving time and cost.

An example of the successful implementation of a system for internal traceability in intralogistics can be found at Schnellecke Logistics. At the Dingolfing site in Germany, a scalable quality assurance solution from Pose Automation GmbH in Kleve ensures comprehensive photo documentation for incoming and outgoing goods inspection. The P.Portal used in a logistics hall takes over the analysis and documentation of the condition of the goods and uses bright USB3 vision industrial cameras from IDS.

David Cahn’s picture

By: David Cahn

Lean Six Sigma has improved manufacturing operations and processes for years now. Now the effect of the methodology is extending to supply chain and operations to help eliminate waste and reduce variation. Using lean to eradicate waste and Six Sigma to eliminate defects by reducing process variation creates a powerful tool for continuous process improvement and a resilient supply chain.

Building a resilient supply chain

An organization’s supply chain must be agile and quickly responsive to its customers changing needs. Companies that can deliver this will create a successful supply chain. In fact, there is a tool within Six Sigma known as critical to quality (CTQ) that requires organizations to measure progress in terms that customers consider critical.

Supply chain optimization

Today’s businesses must constantly seek out more efficient methods and processes. This has never been more evident when balancing demand, supply, and price optimization to sustain resiliency in this omni-channel world.

Emily Newton’s picture

By: Emily Newton

Effective equipment testing is essential for manufacturers of industrial equipment and end-users. Without testing, defects and damage can shorten the life span of equipment, cause unplanned downtime, and reduce the quality of finished goods.

This is especially true for businesses in sectors like food and beverage manufacturing, where equipment being in good condition is necessary to maintain safety and quality standards.

New industry 4.0 technology is transforming how businesses approach industrial equipment testing. Techniques enabled by innovations like AI and IoT devices can help companies automate testing processes and gather additional information on equipment performance.

IIoT enables new types of data collection

In some cases, new industrial IoT (IIoT) devices may make it practical to collect real-time operational data on parameters that were difficult or impractical to track automatically in the past.

Glenn Daehn’s picture

By: Glenn Daehn

Failure of a machine in a factory can shut it down. Lost production can cost millions of dollars per day. Component failures can devastate factories, power plants, and battlefield equipment.

To return to operation, skilled technicians use all the tools in their kit—machining, bending, welding, and surface treating, to make just the right part as quickly and accurately as possible. But there’s a declining number of technicians with the right skills, and the quality of things made by hand is subject to the skills and mood of the artisan on the day the part is made.

Both problems could soon be solved by artificially intelligent robotic technicians. These systems can take measurements; shape, cut or weld parts using varied tools; pass parts to specialized equipment; and even purchase needed materials—all without human intervention. Known as hybrid autonomous manufacturing, this process involves automated systems that seamlessly use multiple tools and techniques to build high-quality components where and when they are needed.

Doug Devereaux’s picture

By: Doug Devereaux

The premise for the NIST MEP Digital Supply-Chain Network project is familiar to MEP centers—many small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs) are often not ready for Industry 4.0 and don’t know how to implement it. Manufacturers with fewer than 50 employees often lag in digital supply-chain areas such as setting cybersecurity policies and leveraging data and information analytics.

The digital supply chain in manufacturing refers to the consistent and sustainable connectivity between the manufacturer and the lowest-level suppliers to the delivery of the product to the customers. It includes capturing operational data from sensors, machines, and other connected assets, but it also includes ERPs, sourcing, finance, and cybersecurity. A manufacturer that efficiently manages its digital supply chain has a head start on optimizing performance with better demand forecasting and automated inventory management, improved time to market, and lower-cost sources of raw materials.

Benjamin Kessler’s picture

By: Benjamin Kessler

Suddenly, supply chains are in the spotlight. The practical details of how products arrive on supermarket shelves, for example, gained unwelcome relevance amid last year’s wave of panic buying caused by Covid-19 disruption. At the same time, the environmental damage wrought by wasteful industrial processes came under intensifying criticism from consumers, civil society, and regulators. Businesses have stepped up their search for “zero waste” or circular economy solutions.

You could say that Luk Van Wassenhove, INSEAD emeritus professor of technology and operations management, has spent most of his 40-year career inadvertently preparing for this moment. A pioneer in sustainability research, Van Wassenhove worked closely with Xerox during the 1990s as it became one of the first companies to remanufacture and sell a new “green line” of copying machines.

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