People are the Linchpin for the System

A tractor is the workhorse of the modern day farm.  Ploughing the field, harvesting the grain, or bailing the hay are all done with a tractor pulling a tool specifically designed for the task.  And the tool is connected to the tractor using a pin, often called the linchpin. In a world of Operational Excellence, […]

Five Whys – Not One Who

  Unlocking the value in an operation requires people. They are the only resource in an organization that can solve problems. There are two specific reasons that it’s necessary to focus problem solving on why a problem occurred rather then who had the problem. Engagement begins with why, and your problem is not a who. […]

You Are Either Getting Fitter or You Are Getting Fatter

Unlocking the value in your organization requires constant energy. Probably the most poorly understood factor in change efforts is that efforts cannot stop or the system will fall apart. There is a real lack of appreciation for what is required to keep changed systems operating in good health. A swimmer who stops all activity does […]

There is no OEE knob

Overall Equipment Effectiveness is a tremendous tool for comparing performance of a work center between shifts, machine to machine, or location to location. It does a great job of accommodating various rates and showing the impact of changeovers, equipment downtime and scrap. It asks the question; Is the equipment available to make the product at […]

Isolating Waste

World class organizations understand seeing waste is often the first step in eliminating it. However, seeing it does not necessarily mean it can easily be eliminated. In these instances, it is best to at least isolate it so everyone not only – CAN see it but – HAS to see it. Isolate Waste so Everyone […]

What to Expect from Setting Expectations

Great companies unlock incredible value by simply setting expectations. The lean practitioner will tell you that the value in setting expectations is to recognize and solve problems, but there is a benefit even before solving the problems. A benefit of about a 15% improvement in performance. The 15% of improvement by setting expectations comes from […]

The Power of Duct Tape, Bubble Gum and Shoe Laces

Continuous Improvement is by definition “continuous” and most improvement requires physical change on the shop floor. Reports may need run and a few forms created, but real change that effects the bottom line takes place on the shop floor or where the value is created. Work Class organizations are relentless at pursuing these changes and […]

Cure cuts while they’re small!

Lean operating systems unlock the value in business by working hard to solve problems while they are small. They avoid the slow demise of many operations cursed with “Death by a Thousand Cuts”. It is rarely one big event that causes a good operation to slowly drift into chaos. It is more likely an endless […]

Expectations for All: People, Processes, Equipment and Environment

Expectations for All: People, Processes, Equipment and Environment The conference table surrounded by aspiring operations experts fell quiet when the Sensei arrived. There were no PowerPoints, no hand-outs, no donuts. Just a flip chart and three markers: red, green and black. The Sensei asked, as he used the black marker to draw an x and […]

Avoid Causes That Are Dripping With Solution

Avoid Causes That Are Dripping With Solution  Science is committed to finding the cause of a problem before finding the solution. The same is true for operations. Too often a well-intended leader will disguise his understanding of the cause of a problem as really the solution he wants to see implemented. It sounds like this: […]