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Month: May 2016

The Lean River System – Part 3: A Financial Model

The Lean River System – Part 3: A Financial Model

Now that we have identified that a “river system” is a very good model for helping us conceptualize and understand what a “Lean system” looks and behaves like, how do we begin to quantify this concept in terms of some group of measurables? What can we measure to determine if we are making real progress in our efforts for a Lean transformation? What can we use to help us make good decisions? Since most of us are in, or firmly…

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The Lean River System – Part 2: And the TPS House

The Lean River System – Part 2: And the TPS House

At this time I would like to delve a little deeper into the use of Ohno’s river system to model the inner workings of Lean/TPS. I will start by going back to the TPS House. (If you have not already done so, I suggest you read the three part “What is Lean” series at the beginning of this blog). Here is the basic TPS House once again. Familiarize yourself with the various components of the roof, pillars, floor and base….

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The Lean River System – Part 1: What is It?

The Lean River System – Part 1: What is It?

Let’s go back, once again, to the basic foundation of the Lean/TPS system: Thus the underlying principle behind TPS/Lean is the systemic creation of the shortest possible lead time for the continuous flow of materials and information in order to generate the highest quality and lowest cost. Over the years I have noticed that the idea of “flow” in a processing environment (any system that contains discrete process steps to produce products or services) is harder to grasp for some…

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What is Waste? – Part 3: The 3M’s – All are Important but One is Special

What is Waste? – Part 3: The 3M’s – All are Important but One is Special

In “What is Waste? – Part 2” I covered the concepts of Muda, Muri and Mura (the 3M’s): where do they come from and what do they mean? Muda encompasses total “waste” and, based on my analysis, was meant to refer to the term for “heat” (Q) in the first law of thermodynamics by the Toyota engineers. And Muda is the product of two components, Muri and Mura, which refer to the two thermodynamic parameters that constitute “Heat” (Q); “temperature”…

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What is Waste? – Part 2: Where Did Muda, Muri and Mura Come From?

What is Waste? – Part 2: Where Did Muda, Muri and Mura Come From?

In the last post “What is Waste – Part 1: Why Waste Energy?” we covered the origin and meaning of “waste” in the Toyota Production System and I made some assumptions as to the thinking of the Toyota engineers (including Ohno) when they came up with the idea of “waste” and “work”. I even brought in the ideas and principles of “thermodynamics” to explain their thinking and rational. Let’s dig a little deeper! (But you may want to review that…

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What is Waste? – Part 1: Why Waste Energy?

What is Waste? – Part 1: Why Waste Energy?

For the sake of needed repetition, let’s return to the Lean Principle: Thus the underlying principle behind TPS/Lean is the systemic creation of the shortest possible lead time for the continuous flow of materials and information in order to generate the highest quality and lowest cost. We need to create the shortest possible lead time for the flow within our system, whatever system and flow that may be. And how do we do that? Taiichi Ohno has told us in…

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What is Lean? – Part 3: More “Hows”

What is Lean? – Part 3: More “Hows”

In the last post we left off after covering the two pillars of the TPS House: JIT and Jidoka. Here is the basic TPS House once again: Just as the twin pillars of JIT and Jidoka are there to support the roof (Goal: highest quality, lowest cost and shortest lead time), the “hows” in the TPS floor are there to support JIT and Jidoka. And the placement of these three “hows” indicate which pillar they are there to support. On…

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