Using 5s in maintenance to avoid burning down the plant
Operational Excellence

I always remember the 1st time I helped implement 5s into a factory. 5s (Sort, Set, Shine, Standardise and Sustain) is one of the many 'tools' used by organisations when moving to taking lean thinking. The driving force was actually from the maintenance department at the time rather than operations, which still surprises some people. People still t...

  527 Hits
If you want to really improve your productivity here is the one question you need to ask first!
Operational Excellence

I overheard a conversation in a café the other day between a few people sitting round a table in what I presume was an off site catch up for the management team. They were discussing some of the challenges that they were having and how tough things had been throughout the covid pandemic for them. They had managed to get through by being really cash...

  635 Hits
Continuous Improvement or Respect for people - what is more important?
Operational Excellence

This Week's Question  This is a question that comes up a lot in discussions when we're implementing some lean with clients, "If we want to have a lean culture what is more important, respect for people or continuous improvement? Surely, they are both equally important? " The Feedback No! It's kind of chicken in the egg, so if you think about i...

  741 Hits
Takt Time Vs Cycle Time - Which is more important for your lean journey?
Thursday Q&A

We put the call out to our Newsletter readers, on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter for questions. Questions that people are struggling with around ISO, Lean or leadership that they wanted help with and we got some fantastic responses that we have loved reading through and thinking about how we can help. We can't answer everything but we'll do our bes...

  498 Hits
Thursday Q&A - Understanding & Improving your 5 Why's Process
Thursday Q&A

We put the call out to our Newsletter readers, on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter for questions. Questions that people are struggling with around ISO, Lean or leadership that they wanted help with and we got some fantastic responses that we have loved reading through and thinking about how we can help. We can't answer everything but we'll do our bes...

  374 Hits
Improve your business by losing Tradition
Operational Excellence

In 1926 Henry Ford wrote the book Today and Tomorrow. It's a fascinating book and it's littered with insights that wouldn't be out of play in any modern lean discussion, little wonder since Taiichi Ohno took a lot of inspiration from what Ford did originally as part of a trip to the US, where he was also taken with the way US supermarkets operated ...

  880 Hits
Using kanban to help flow
Operational Excellence

Creating flow in your operation is the ideal state if you want to have a lean process. Anything that stops you flowing product (or services) from start to finish in your organisation is something you want to eliminate, if you can't eliminate it completely then you need to minimise it. It is fair to say that in general terms anything that stops your...

  742 Hits
How to create a culture of Continuous Improvement when you have no money.
Operational Excellence

What would you do if one day your accountant walked in and said Ok boss, we have no money and the bank is going to have to step in. They are going to keep us afloat and let us trade out of the problem, but we need to improve what we do. They want us to increase our productivity, reduce our money tied up in WIP & stock, oh, and they will not let...

  583 Hits
Lean and The Product Path Diagram
Operational Excellence

The great thing about lean is that there is always more to learn, there is always improvement in the thinking, the methodologies, the approaches, and the tools that get used. However, the underlying idea never changes, people somehow manage to complicate it when trying to explain what lean is and that perhaps is one of the things that make people t...

  2024 Hits
Get rid of the Sacred Cow of Best Practice
Operational Excellence

How many times have you heard that a new process or a business change was being done to align to 'best practice'? Other phrases in the same mould are 'that this new process or methodology has worked in many organisation before it'll work here' or even better, 'we work to 'industry standard'? They are all the same thing when it boils down to it, a s...

  1011 Hits
Lean and the art of Pre-Visualisation
Operational Excellence

Over the weekend I send some time down in Twizel which is in middle of New Zealand South Island. It is nestled not far from Mount Cook, NZ's highest peak and Queenstown, the adventure capital and is home to some of the most traumatic scenery and stunning views around, especially in autumn as the leaves turn golden and start to fall to the ground. I...

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Looking for Signals (how Visual Management can reduce tiredness)
Operational Excellence

I remember sitting in Biology back in high school (admittedly a long time ago) and the teacher explaining that our bodies were just a big battery for our brain. Sure, we have arms for reaching out and grabbing things, typically food, legs make us mobile so we can run away from the sabre tooth tiger and of course eyes to see the same sabre tooth tig...

  1389 Hits
The Effectiveness Lens - Why you should focus on being effective over being efficient.
Operational Excellence

Going through university I studied manufacturing systems which is a fancy title for industrial engineering. We were the guys who learned lots about figuring out how to be productive. After university I landed a great job in an electronics company working as, you guessed it, a production engineer. Our focus, we were told was to create processes and ...

  942 Hits
The One Critical KPI
Operational Excellence

There are a few things you need to know about Business Metrics or KPI's (Key Performance Indicators), firstly its that they are important, anyone who says any different clearly does not really understand how businesses work. KPI's help you understand how your organisation is performing, if you are winning or losing, getting better or getting worse....

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Getting an Understanding of the Critical Elements in Your Lean Journey
Operational Excellence

Recently I had the chance to catch up with Craig from Mango QHSE to talk about lean. More specifically Understanding of the Critical Elements in Your Lean Journey, what things need to be in place if you are going to have a successful lean transformation for your organisation.  When it comes to lean people get hooked on the tools, forgetting th...

  863 Hits
The 5 lean steps to stopping fire-fighting at work
Operational Excellence

The phone is ringing and you know it is going to be another unhappy customer, the only question is what are they going to complain about? Their product is late, there are defects in what they got, they got the wrong thing, there were too many or not enough. Every time the phone it is a complaint, another fire to be put out, another thing that you n...

  1340 Hits
Building the Lean Muscle
Operational Excellence

Last month I was having a chat with a friend about a problem they were having at their organisation. They had been trying to get their people involved in doing some continuous improvement, or any improvement work. They had sat everyone down and told them that they needed to find ways to get products out quicker. The issue was that their order book ...

  888 Hits
How to Create a Lean Layout
Operational Excellence

The other day I watched the movie The Founder with Michael Keeton who plays Ray Kroc the "founder" of the McDonalds restaurant chain. It is a great movie and it is pretty factual as biopics go, and as it turns out technically, he is not the founder of McDonalds, the McDonald brothers were (hence the name) and certainly worth a watch. It brought bac...

  1518 Hits

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