Lean Article

Mike Beels’s picture

By: Mike Beels

It’s amazing that, in this day and age, some manufacturers have not yet heard of “lean.” How are they surviving in today’s competitive market without it? The issue is that, in many ways, the customer sets pricing. If manufacturers want to be profitable, they must find ways to become more efficient and effective with their internal manufacturing processes.

Evan Miller’s picture

By: Evan Miller

Sponsored Content

PLZ Aeroscience is North America’s largest custom aerosol manufacturer and packager. It produces its own private-brand products and custom formulations, and provides contract filling for other customers. PLZ has been in business for more than 100 years and during the last six years underwent significant growth—and the inevitable growing pains.

Takehiko Harada’s default image

By: Takehiko Harada

Editor’s note: This is an excerpt from the book, Management Lessons From Taiichi Ohno: What Every Leader Can Learn From the Man who Invented the Toyota Production System, by Takehiko Harada (McGraw-Hill Education, 2015).

Gwendolyn Galsworth’s picture

By: Gwendolyn Galsworth

Visual scheduling is a plain, two-dimensional format that maps out which products, parts, or subassemblies need to be produced, and when, in what quantity, and in what order. Nothing could be simpler.

Jim Benson’s picture

By: Jim Benson

We are all cursed with “surprises” at work. We come in, sit down, get ready for the day. We select a task to start on, and about halfway through, it explodes on us. The seemingly simple task now has 30 subtasks all lined up, ready to destroy our day.

This is stressful. Since we’re likely already overloaded, this new surprise just adds more work to the day and delay to our backlog.

Harish Jose’s picture

By: Harish Jose

Today I’d like to talk about kaizen—specifically, the order for kaizen. The term has come to mean “continuous improvement,” but kaizen originally translates from Japanese as “change for better.” To help clarify this useful concept, I’ll present three different views for approaching kaizen: Taiichi Ohno’s, Shigeo Shingo’s, and Hiroyuki Hirano’s.

Ken Levine’s picture

By: Ken Levine

One poorly understood concept in lean Six Sigma is how much to “stretch” when setting S.M.A.R.T. goals. These letters are defined as S—specific; M—measureable; A—assignable, attainable, or achievable; R—realistic, reasonable, or relevant; and T—time-based or time-bound. Regardless of the different interpretations, what do we really mean by these terms?

Multiple Authors
By: Kimberly Watson-Hemphill, Kristine Nissen Bradley

Editor’s note: This is an excerpt from the new book, Innovating Lean Six Sigma, by Kimberly Watson-Hemphill and Kristine Nissen Bradley.

MIT News’s picture

By: MIT News

In March 2011, Leonardo Bonanni was preparing to defend his Ph.D. thesis about Sourcemap, software that lets consumers map every connection of a product supply chain on a digital map, when tragedy struck in Japan. Although the deadly earthquake and tsunami occurred half a world away, the events had an unexpected affect on Bonanni and Sourcemap.

Matthew Barsalou’s picture

By: Matthew Barsalou

The start of a failure investigation may involve brainstorming, but empirical methods will be required to actually identify a problem's cause. Implementing an improvement action without a confirmed root cause risks a reoccurrence of the issue because the true root cause has yet to be addressed.

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