Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Lean - Common Sense Systematically Applied

I am not an expert in lean. But I do have 30 years of experience in Print and often seem to have some common sense. Today I came across the Evolving Excellence Blog. They seem to be experts in lean and have lots of common sense.

I lifted this section from one of their blog posts. It's most definitely worth the click. Plus they just published a book using POD. You can learn more about it on Amazon.

From Evolving Excellence

The Staples Option:

Let's keep in mind that this is a relatively small company, single site, simple supply chain, simple widgets. So instead of SAP, how about...

First get some people together and go through a value stream mapping exercise. Nothing fancy... just figure out what you're currently doing. Take a few hours to think about it, to identify non-value-added activities, and kill those wasteful activities. Whiteboard

Next, run down to Staples. Buy a nice big whiteboard. While you're there, pick up a some markers and erasers, a webcam, and a copy of QuickBooks (Manufacturing Edition). Grab some pizza for your team to celebrate their accomplishment (and a keg of beer if your HR group hasn't tied you up in your underwear yet).

Back at the plant, mount the whiteboard on the shop floor where it will see the most traffic. Draw the flowchart on it. As a lean company you want to pull jobs from customer orders, so think about how the chart flows. Put little labeled magnet tags on the flowchart to indicate jobs. Webcam Remember to include your suppliers so you can trigger raw material orders. Get everyone on the shopfloor together and explain this visual method, and how it is everyone's responsibility to manage the board.

Now take the webcam and aim it at the board and connect it to the company's network so anyone, such as sales and customer service, can remotely view the board at any time to see the status of anyQuickbooks job. Take your copy of QuickBooks, spend a couple hours setting it up, create a couple of user accounts for shipping and receiving people (of course receiving is done right to the point of use on the shop floor...).

Cost? A couple grand... maybe.


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