The Best Time to Kick Off a Continuous Improvement Initiative

Prosperity is perhaps one of the greatest obstacles to continuous improvement in manufacturing. When things are going well, we don’t feel the need to make improvements quite as keenly. For example, instead of focusing on removing waste in our factories to become more cost competitive, we might opt to add capacity so we can keep up with demand. There really is no better time to make improvements than when things

Kaizen vs. Kaikaku

Kaizen vs. Kaikaku: 2 Approaches to Lean Manufacturing That Can Transform Your Factory   The Lean Manufacturing world is littered with new terminology, and given the discipline’s origins, it’s not surprising that some of these words and phrases are Japanese. Being “fluent” with these words to the point that you can bring them up in casual conversations with coworkers is half the fun. Even better, these words have the power

Three Ways Leaders Create Lean

Three Ways Leaders Create Lean  “Relentless” leadership and team empowerment drive lean change For those of you who have heard this before, it bears repeating. For those of you who have not, this is important – leadership is the single most important component to lean success.  It is exciting to talk about bottom-up change and expect that a ground swell of individuals in virtually every level of the organizational chart

Turn Your Gemba Walk into a Power Walk

Gemba is a term that is increasingly familiar in the manufacturing world. Loosely translated from Japanese, it means “the place where the work is done.” The originators of the Gemba Walk – the practice of walking the shop floor to identify waste – knew that manufacturing process issues could not be identified or solved in the conference room or behind a desk. Management needs to visit where work is done

What Sandpaper Will You Use? – Part One

What to Use to Get the Most of Your Demand-Driven Changes Demand-driven manufacturing leaders are always refining their tools and tactics to ensure they’re spending their time wisely. This blog marks the first in a three-part series about using the tools of TOC, Six Sigma and Lean to help manufacturing leaders gain the most benefit from their demand-driven transformation. Three in One TOC, Lean, and Six-Sigma should all be part

Guest Blog Part 3: Listen to the Process

Through this guest blog series, my intent is to share some of my experiences implementing supplier quality and Lean manufacturing initiatives by focusing on eKanban systems. My first post offered advice for planning an eKanban rollout (advice that could be applied across any Lean manufacturing project). In my second installment, I reviewed strategies for rolling out an eKanban project that have proven successful for me. In this final entry, my