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Comments for The Lean Thinker

Thoughts and insights from the shop floor.

Last Build Date: Sat, 24 Feb 2018 18:22:13 +0000


Comment on Takt Time – Cycle Time by Mark Rosenthal

Sat, 24 Feb 2018 18:22:13 +0000

Fredrick - Oops - yes, I knew it was two days, but I mis-typed. It was a late night at the end of a long day. :) The principles remain the same. I'm happy to discuss all of this in any level of detail you like. If you click "Contact Mark" on the right sidebar, that will email me directly. Mark

Comment on Takt Time – Cycle Time by Frederick Unger

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 02:40:01 +0000

Mark, Thank you for the quick reply. Our cycle time for each station is 2 DAYS, not hours. But, I do understand what you are saying about stopping the whole line so everyone is idle the same amount of time and to put pressure on the failure point.

Comment on Takt Time – Cycle Time by Mark Rosenthal

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 17:47:34 +0000

Fredrick - From the top: When you say one "widget" every 11 days, but each station has 2 hours for their process, it sounds like your line is 22 days *long* but you are trying to complete one unit every 2 hours. Is that correct? If so, then your takt time (or more specifically, your target or planned cycle time) is 2 hours. As I understand your comment, this is what is happening: You have a very long series of work stations, each with two hours of work to do. The total time through the pipeline is ~ 11 days. The idea is for the line to index every two hours. If a station in the middle of the line encounters a part shortage the following occurs: The stations DOWNSTREAM (closer to the customer end) of the line continue to work, which opens up a gap in the line. The stations UPSTREAM (closer to the beginning of the line) of the line are idled until the part arrives. When the part arrives, the UPSTREAM stations work overtime to catch up. The DOWNSTREAM stations, since they continued their work and emptied out their part of the line, must wait until the line upstream of them fills again. I have a couple of thoughts here. 1) Just to be clear, this isn't anything close to what Toyota does. They would never open up a gap in the line - and you can readily see the reason. Eventually, everyone on the line is idled for the same amount of time. In your case, you are delaying idling the downstream people, but eventually they, too, will have nothing to do. 2) The entire point of line stop is to force attention onto the problem so there is pressure to fix it. If you have chronic part shortages that are shutting you down, then there should be a major effort to get to the bottom of the cause(s). See my post "a morning market". That organization aggressively addressed their part shortages and, over about 8 months, fixed the problem. 3) Toyota has small buffers all over the plant. However, their intent is not to simply allow production to continue if there are problems are unresolved. Those buffers are there so they are *encouraged* to signal problems, knowing they don't immediately idle everyone. However, if the problem is not resolved within a very few minutes, buffers fill (or empty) and successive sections of the line are halted. In your case, however if your delays are on the order of 5 days, which is half the length of your line, buffers would not help very much. The buffer would fill (or empty) pretty fast, and you would be in pretty much the same situation you are today. In the end, I don't have enough information to make a judgement about what your management intends to accomplish with their policies. But unless there is a concentrated effort to figure out why the line stops occur and address them, what you describe is *not* what we could call "lean."

Comment on Takt Time – Cycle Time by Frederick Unger

Sun, 18 Feb 2018 17:45:39 +0000

Mark, I am one the employees in a rather large assembly operation. One widget every 11 days. Each station has 2 days for their process. There is some overlap in each station as one or more workers will finish the station task and another is prepping/starting another widget piece in the station. If at any point, a supplier is unable to feed us a part for a certain process station, they (management) shut down the whole line until that part arrives. Then we start again where we left off. Then we work overtime to “catch up”. Is there room in this SixSigma thing for a BUFFER? During the shutdowns, the workers are farmed out to all corners of the facility doing god knows what. All the while, any station ahead of the delayed part are allowed to continue building until the widget is complete. Now, 5 days later the part arrives and everyones process continues, except the folks that were left to continue their respective process are now idle until the other processes feed them product to continue. Why can’t the earlier processes continue up to the “failure point” instead of just jamming the brakes on the whole shebang? Since our process is so elongated, it makes sense to all us laymen to buffer (our words) Shutting down makes sense when each station is 55 seconds. We get that. Thank You for your time. Fred

Comment on KataCon People: Skip Steward by Dwayne Butcher

Mon, 22 Jan 2018 16:02:50 +0000

There are only a handful of people pushing the boundaries of Kata like Skip and his amazing team. Trying to learn from his many experiments is like drinking from a fire hose! Keep up the good work Skip, and thanks for sharing Mark. See you at KataCon4!

Comment on Only Action Reveals What Must Be Done by Mark Rosenthal

Wed, 03 Jan 2018 01:46:47 +0000

Thomas - You are correct. Thanks for pointing it out. Fixed. :)

Comment on Only Action Reveals What Must Be Done by Thomas Sortino

Tue, 02 Jan 2018 22:51:05 +0000

Hello Mark I like the reference, and the alignment I see with the Scientific Method. Question - is there a typo in the second sentence of the third quoted paragraph? The first "when" - should that be "what"? Thanks for expanding the conversation!

Comment on Overproduction vs. Fast Improvement Cycles by Mark Rosenthal

Thu, 07 Dec 2017 11:58:26 +0000

Hi Bill - Nice to hear from someone from those days. I don't know if you have seen these (they are 10 years ago), but there are a couple of old posts that give some a glimpse of what was going on behind the scenes among the KOS Directors. If I recall correctly, early in this discussion with Earl was the first time Paul's "rules" were written down and codified: A little later on, we had a pretty significant epiphany here:

Comment on Overproduction vs. Fast Improvement Cycles by Bill Iacovelli

Mon, 04 Dec 2017 21:16:42 +0000

Regarding the phrase "Small Changes" Doesn't Mean "Slow Changes": I don't no how many times Paul Cary preached the mantra "small steps...but quickly"! Still rattles around in my head going on nearly 15 years!

Comment on Only Action Reveals What Must Be Done by Lonnie Wilson

Fri, 01 Dec 2017 17:33:58 +0000

thanks Mark, that was an interesting string of thoughts that applies to us and all we do.....consciously or unconsciously