What is A3 thinking

A3 thinking- Definition

Forces consensus building; unifies culture around a simple, systematic methodology; also becomes a communication tool that follows a logical narrative and builds over years as organization learning; A3 = metric nomenclature for a paper size equal to 11”x17”

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Originally posted 2012-08-26 06:56:00.

What is 5S and 6S

5S and 6S are the basic tools for organizing the workplace. They are the used for improving the work place culture. They are used organization of the workplace, the name comes from the six steps required to implement and the words (each starting with S) used to describe each step: sort, set in order, scrub, standardize, and sustain which are called as 5S and the Sixth S is added which is safety in the later stages
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Originally posted 2012-08-26 06:53:00.

Thinking of waste and avoidence of waste – some early thoughts

Continuing from the previous success of Arsenal of Venice in the great tradition of manufacturing there are some early thoughts into the lean and lean manufacturing. There are some early thoughts on avoidence of waste which have contributed greatly in their times.
The Great American Author, Scientist, philosopher, Benjamin Franklin has recorded in his poor Richards Almanac, about wasted time. He also mentioned about increasing profits by reducing costs He added that avoiding unnecessary costs could be more profitable than increasing sales: “A penny saved is two pence clear. A pin a-day is a groat a-year. Save and have.”. The same  thoughts continued in his book “The way to wealth”. Here he attacks carrying unnecessary inventory. here is the text  “You call them goods; but, if you do not take care, they will prove evils to some of you. You expect they will be sold cheap, and, perhaps, they maybe bought  for less than they cost; but, if you have no occasion for them, they must be dear to you”. Another statement form the same book “remember that many have been ruined by buying good penny Worth’s.”  If you look at these statements clearly, these were preaching avoidance of waste and the resulting profitability.
The concept further studied by Franklin Gilberth, who saw that some movements which are waste in the job of a mason. He Saw that the masons bend to pick the bricks and this takes considerable time. Gilberth came up with the scaffold, which reduced the movement and made the bricks available at a waist height. This has resulted in the speed of work.These are some clear early thoughts on eliminating the waste. These became foundation for the lean journey today. In fact, Henry Ford, who was one of the fore fathers of lean thinking got his inspiration form Benjamin Franklin.

The history of lean manufacturing continues. Next we will see the effect of industrial revolution which started around 1750 on the journey of lean.

I would request readers to add the history wherever possible.

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Originally posted 2012-08-19 12:38:00.

Lean and Arsenal of Venice – earliest example of production excellence

I have started this blog when i was having lot of time. of late, I am getting busy day by day. But i have decided that i will re organize my calendar and spend some time on this blog. suddenly i read about lean and Arsenal of Venice which was earliest known example of production excellence.
While talking about re organization, I looked at some value addition in what I am doing. Some of the things which I looked in this reminded me of Lean and Lean tools.
What is “Lean”?
Lean is way to determine value sought by customers, offer value through an end to end process, value stream, by engaging everyone touching the value stream to reduce waste, variations and overburden throughout the value stream.
There are some early examples in the history of production excellence using lean techniques (Mass production). One such instance which will really surprise is on the Venetian Arsenal, which is ship building facility in the city of Venice. Comparing the facts on the efficiency of this great production facility, to some of today’s companies will be a great surprise and a question arises on are we really moving forward.
Enough of awe, now about the facility. (All these facts are in the range of 1100 – 1700 AD)
The Venetian Arsenal, which was the largest industrial complex in the northern part of Italy. It has about 110 ha area, occupying almost 15% of the area of the City of Venice. This facility is responsible for producing bulk of the Naval and Merchant power of the Venetian Rulers in the Mediterranean ares.
Initially the facility worked only to maintain the privately owned ships. this changed by 1320 when the Arsenal Nuovo was built. This facility is equipped to both construct and maintain the state-owned naval ships and the merchant ships.
Here are some facts of this great facility.
Number of workers – 16000
Rate of production – One ship Per Day
Number work in Progress – 100 galleys .
New thinking – from the main hull first technique to frame first technique
consultant – Galileo Galilei

The Arsenal Nuovo used the Mass production and assembly techniques divided into 3 main processes. Framing, Planking and Cabins and Final Assembly. All these production systems are used in early 1500s and these are not seen till the industrial revolution in the late 1700s.
This seems to be the first thought of Lean and Mass production, Assembly lines, Process identification, employee specialization, continuous production etc. many thoughts were in fact used, which were the buzzwords of the Lean today.
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Originally posted 2012-08-15 17:41:00.

What is 5S Methodology

The 5S methodology is a technique used to establish and maintain quality environment in an organisation. The name stands for 5 Japanese words
Mr. Hiroyuki Hirano, international consultant called the “5S’s” the Japanese “S” words
Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu and Shitsuke). The English translation for these words are Organisation, orderliness, cleanliness, standardised cleanup and discipline.
1. Seiri (organisation)
Organisation means clearly distinguishing between
•What is required and to be kept
•What is not required and to be discarded
Sort out items and discard the unnecessary
5 questions about Seiri:
1.Do you find items scattered in your workplace.
2.Are there boxes, papers and other items left in a disorganised manner.
3.Are there equipments and tools placed on the floor.
4.Are all items sorted out and placed in designated spots.
5.Are tools and stationery properly sorted and stored.

Orderliness means organising the way required things  are kept so that anyone can find and use them easily. Arrange a place for everything. Everything in its place.
2. Seiton (orderliness)
5 questions about Seiton :
1.Are passage ways & storage places clearly indicated.
2.Are commonly used tools & stationery separated from those seldom used.
3.Are containers & boxes stacked up properly.
4.Are fire extinguishers & hydrants readily accessible.
5.Are there grooves, cracks or bumps on the floor which hinder work or safety.
3. Seisoh (cleanliness)
Clean your workplace thoroughly.
•Cleanliness is closely related to the ability to turn out quality products.
•Cleanliness means sweeping floors and keeping things in order.
•Cleanliness also entails saving labour by finding ways to prevent dirt, dust and debris from piling up in the workshop.
•Cleanliness should be integrated into daily maintenance tasks to combine cleaning check points with maintenance check points.
5 questions about Siesoh:
1. Are the floor surfaces dirty.
2. Are machines and equipment dirty.
3. Are wires and pipes dirty or stained.
4. Are machine nozzles dirty by lubricants and inks.
5. Are shades, light bulbs & light reflectors dirty.
4. Seiketsu (standardization)
Standardized cleanup means that organization, orderliness, & cleanliness are being maintained.
Maintain a standard.
Standardized cleanup differs from the first 3S.
5. Shitsuke (discipline)
•Discipline means always following specified (& standardised) procedures.
•Train people to be disciplined
•Discipline refers to social and safety conventions, such as friendly greetings among coworkers and wearing work uniforms, name tags and helmets.
•All of these contribute to safety, a clean work environment, and a positive work attitude.
•The first four S’s can be implemented thoroughly without difficulty if the workplace is maintained. Such a workplace is likely to enjoy high productivity and high quality.
•Discipline is a pivotal factor of the production system as a whole
The first three pillars can be thought of as activities whereas standardisation is a state or condition at certain point of time.

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Originally posted 2011-03-24 10:04:00.

TAKT time, Lead time and Cycle time

While we are implementing lean we come across three mostly used terms for calculating the Time Spent i.e, Takt Time, Lead Time and Cycle time . Often people get confused of these terms and use Takt Time, Lead Time and Cycle time interchangeably. eventhough they are distinct.

These are used to Optimize the workflow and also to calculate on the capacity to meet the customer demand. Little confusion in this will lead to confused production line.

Now let us get to the details of these.

Lead time : The most simple of these words. The clock starts when we have an order from customer and ends with the time the order is delivered to customer. Let us say we have the order on 15-Sep-2018 and and delivered to customer on 20-Sep-2018. In this case, the Lead time if 5 Days.

Cycle time : Cycle time is the time taken for Production of one Unit. In other words its the time taken from Start of Production to Shipment. Let’s Say, we are able to produce 400 units in 100 days, the Cycle time is 100 /400 = 0.25 Days per Unit.

Takt Time : This tells you how much time you can take. It is the rate at which we can Produce to meet the customer demand. In other words, this is the time available with us to produce one unit. Lets say we have a demand of 200 Units from customer and this is to be delivered in 100 Days. In this case, the Takt Time is 100/200 = 0.5 Days Per Unit.

Using these times, we can simply ensure the production is planned to optimize the resources and meeting customer demands.

Spaghetti Plot – Visualize the process inefficiencies caused by layout

Spaghetti Plot is a method of viewing observations to visualize possible flows through systems. Flows depicted in this way appear like noodles, hence the coining of this term Spaghetti Plot.
This method of statistics was first used to track routing through factories. Visualizing flow in this way can cut inefficiency within the flow of a system. In regards to animal populations and weather buoys drifting through the ocean, they are drawn to study distribution and migration patterns. Within meteorology, these diagrams can help determine confidence in a specific weather forecast, as well as positions and intensities of high and low pressure systems. They are composed of deterministic forecasts from atmospheric models or their various ensemble members. Within medicine, they can illustrate the effects of drugs on patients during drug trials.
Spaghetti plot is one of the main tools used to lean the system especially focusing on the layouts in the shop-floor. In process flow, focus should be on the number of touch points. Spaghetti plot gives a visual indication of the inefficiencies in the system caused by the layouts and flow. The aim is to focus on reducing the number of touch points and travel time in the process by optimizing the layout.
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