Lean Article

Kelsey Rzepecki’s picture

By: Kelsey Rzepecki

As the global economy grows, it’s more necessary than ever to stay on top of efficiency. Keep up with increasing production demands by implementing a continuous improvement method to streamline the workflow.

Continuous improvement is an ongoing effort to improve products, services, and processes. It starts with small, incremental changes, and over time it adds up to produce major improvements to productivity, quality, and cost savings. A 5S system is an effective improvement tool to guide this process.

5S—A method of improvement

5S is a Japanese management approach originally developed by Toyota as part of its lean manufacturing system. It helps correct inefficiencies and ensure smooth operations by keeping the workplace clean, functional, and orderly. It’s also designed to support a workplace culture of continuous improvement. 5S is one of the easiest ways to build a foundation for operational success because it consists of simple planning, and it can be implemented quickly in every aspect of a business.

Nicole Radziwill’s picture

By: Nicole Radziwill

Even though most businesses have invested in quality management and performance improvement, each organization is unique. People, processes, and machines must be coordinated to achieve desired outcomes. This is not easy.

Whether you’re in discrete manufacturing, a process industry, or a service environment, it’s likely that you face challenges like:
• Variability in customer satisfaction and experience
• Resource constraints that impact quality and performance
• Inconsistent and/or inefficient processes
• Availability, reliability, and timeliness of information for decision-making
• Effectively prioritizing tasks and activities
• Organizational silos that reduce the speed and quality of decision-making

Furthermore, you may have more visionary goals like promoting sustainability throughout your environmental, health, and safety functions, or promoting sustainability in the supply chain. It’s hard to pursue these things when there are problems getting in the way of customer satisfaction, occupying the time of your managers and your staff.

Eric Stoop’s picture

By: Eric Stoop

The frequently referenced learning pyramid asserts than an average student retains 75 percent of information learned through practice, compared to just 5 percent of what he hears in a lecture. Although experts may dispute the relevance of these figures when applied to modern society, all of us can agree that we learn and retain more by doing than by being told in a classroom.

Depending on the maturity of your organization, launching or expanding a layered process audit (LPA) program can be complex and difficult to sustain. Which is why using a whiteboard in a meeting room may not be the best choice to kick things off.

An effective LPA program provides daily verification of high-risk processes, connecting leaders with front-line operators to develop a culture of coaching, feedback, and continuous improvement. Rather than scheduling a presentation, a kaizen event can be far more effective to get things off to a strong start, especially for plants just starting out.

In this article, you’ll learn about kaizen events and how they can help you get started on your LPA journey.

Anthony Chirico’s picture

By: Anthony Chirico

Perhaps the reader recognizes d2 as slang for “designated driver,” but quality professionals will recognize it as a control chart constant used to estimate short-term variation of a process. The basic formula shown below is widely used in control charting for estimating the short-term variation using the average range of small samples. But what exactly is d2 and why should we care?

L.H.C. Tippett

To find some answers to this question, we need to consult the 1925 work of L.H.C. Tippett.1 Leonard Henry Caleb Tippett was a student of both Professor K. Pearson and Sir Ronald A. Fisher in England. Tippett pioneered “Extreme Value Theory,” and while advancing the ideas of Pearson’s 1902 paper of Galton’s Difference Problem,2 he noted that the prior work of understanding the distribution of the range for a large number of samples was deficient.

Tippett proceeded to use calculus and hand calculations to integrate and determine the first, second, third, and fourth moments of the range for samples drawn from a standard normal distribution. That is, he calculated the mean, variance, skewness, and kurtosis for sample sizes of size two through 1,000 by hand.

Mike Richman’s picture

By: Mike Richman

Our industry embodies many aspects, but “Big Q” quality generally involves issues affecting management, measurement, and methodologies. This week on QDL, we covered all of them, and more. Let’s look closer:

“Ripped from the Headlines: Tariff Fallout”

U.S. manufacturers are currently dealing with the unexpected negative repercussions of the federal government’s trade wars. In this piece we look at an NPR story about a struggling nail factory and consider steps that companies closer to home are taking to address rising prices for material.

Interview: Eric Gasper

Gasper is the presenter of the upcoming webinar, “The Importance of R&R Studies,” on Nov. 6, 2018, at 11 a.m. Pacific, 2 p.m. Eastern. In this interview, he previews the webinar and discusses how to better assess the health of your measurement system.

Kevin Meyer’s picture

By: Kevin Meyer

During the late 1990s, I was working in the Silicon Valley for a medical device company, responsible for a drug-infusion pump manufacturing operation. I had just completed a crazy period where I had also “temporarily” (months and months...) led the advanced engineering department after that manager had transferred to a different location. I was finally settling back into one job when I was offered a position to run the company’s largest molding facility in a different state. Of course I accepted, without asking more than a couple questions.

A month later I arrived at a large operation with 60 heavy presses in a monster cleanroom, running at full capacity, 24/7/365, to make medical device components for other company operations throughout the world. And it was several months behind schedule. Downstream plants were shutting down every week, the scrutiny (called “help”) from corporate was enormous, and I knew I wouldn’t be sleeping much for a while.

How do you increase capacity, quickly, when you’re already pushing every machine to the limit, around the clock?

Brian Maskell’s picture

By: Brian Maskell

If you are a CEO of a manufacturing company with many value streams, it’s impractical to think that you have the time to review all the performance measures of every value stream in your company. Yet you need to know the operational impact of lean on your entire organization.

The traditional solution to this issue is to roll up or aggregate measures so the CEO sees just a few numbers to get a pulse of performance. However, rolling up value-stream measures doesn’t work because the aggregation of value stream measures really doesn’t mean anything. Each value stream is really a separate business unit with different products, customers, and operational issues. Because each value stream is an independent business unit, performance should be measured against future-state targets, which may be different for each value stream.

What I tell manufacturing CEOs and executive management teams is to focus on one measure: flow, as measured by inventory days or inventory turns. I believe this is the best indicator to let the CEO see the effectiveness of deploying and using lean practices, tools, and methods.

Sylvie Couture’s picture

By: Sylvie Couture

In 2012, CMP Advanced Mechanical Solutions, a leader in the design and manufacture of sheet metal enclosures, mechanical assemblies, and machined systems, burst onto the Industry 4.0 scene with its avant-garde use of the visual work instruction software VKS. This software allowed the company to create detailed digital guidebooks aimed at training and guiding shop floor operators.

Specializing in high-mix/low-volume assemblies, CMP had implemented the software in the hopes of reducing the amount of errors that were occurring during the manufacturing process. Within a year, the company noticed a sharp drop in the number of external defects, as well as a 20-percent increase in productivity. Now CMP is moving forward with its use of VKS and applying it to the crucial inspection process.

Mike Richman’s picture

By: Mike Richman

One of the highlights on our calendar each year is the first Friday in October, which is Manufacturing Day here in the United States. This event offers us the perfect opportunity to celebrate the centrality of manufacturing as a driver of the economy, innovation, automation, education, and lots more.

For the past two years, we at Quality Digest have celebrated Manufacturing Day with our Virtual Test and Measurement Expo. This year’s live two-hour broadcast included an impressive technical demo, a drop-in on a Manufacturing Day event on the East Coast, and multiple interviews with the trainers, educators, and application engineers who are sharing best practices and helping develop the next generation of industrial professionals.

Following is an overview of our coverage; if you want to see the entire show for yourself, click here.

Dan Jacob’s picture

By: Dan Jacob

LNS Research published its research, “Driving Operational Performance With Digital Innovation: Connecting Risk, Quality, and Safety for Superior Results” to address fundamental challenges quality and safety leaders face today. 

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