Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Lean Philosophy

Does your organization incorporate lean philosophy properly?  Let's think about these questions . . .

• Pull/Demand Replenishment (internal) – does the plant or office pull materials using demand-based philosophies such as Kanban? Are the materials and/or information replenished based on real demand?

• Just-in-Time Supply – do the materials or information arrive just when you need them at the right frequency based on takt time?

• Material/Info Flow & Manufacturing/Office Layout – do the raw materials and WIP or office information/materials flow well within the plant or office from process to process without interruptions? Do they flow easily through the process without getting “stuck” constantly at bottlenecks? Do the materials or information “travel” unnecessarily long distances inside the plant or office?

• Kaizen/Continuous Improvement Environment – is there a philosophy of continuous improvement inside the organization? Are the process improvements performed through teams? How many actual teams exist inside the plant or the office?

• Single-Piece/Small Batch Production – does the plant or office produce items or information in small batches or use a single-piece philosophy? Or do they produce materials or information in large batches with time consuming change-overs and setups? An example for the plant would be batching actual work-in-progress materials. An example for the office would be batching emails prior to reading them or clearing them out of the inbox.

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