Demand Segmentation – one size fits none

We know better than to try to force fit strategies yet time and again we find businesses planning and managing their processes with a ‘one size fits all’ approach.  Hospital services, insurance underwriting, pharmaceutical production, consumer electronics assembly, integrated supply chain services all struggle with finding the right balance of specialization and common process.  At… [Read More]

Kamishibai – Work Observation Card

Kamishibai or Work Observation Card is a management tool for starting and improving Leader Standard Work,. Kamishibai, in Japanese means …. paper drama and has come to mean, in the Lean world, a self audit or observation and reflection.  Kamishibai Cards are checklists carried by leaders as part of their standard work as a way… [Read More]

Visual Office

Where do you want to work?  If you’ve ever been to Disney or Epcot you may remember the experience.  You park your car or get off the tram, you don’t need to be able to read a map or the signs, you just follow the walkways and it just seems obvious where to go and… [Read More]

Table top simulation – dock operations

Simulation is the act of imitating or mimicking the behavior of some situation or some process by means of something suitably analogous.  The imitation of a process can be used for debugging, and validating process design changes or use to communicate or train associates. Simulations can be used for: process design testing new ideas debugging… [Read More]

Total Flow Management

Euclides A. Coimbra and his associates at the Kaizen Institute have created a wonderful and detailed work on the application of continuous improvement to supply chains.  Here is a full exploration and application of lean from end to end of the extended value stream that they call Total Flow Management.  Two thumbs up! Some of… [Read More]

Replenishment Strategies

Determining an appropriate production model starts with Demand Profile and Demand Segmentation.  High volume low variability items, and low volume high variability items behave very differently.  How to decide if a particular product is a candidate for a one piece flow cell or a craftsmen job bench?  Look to the coefficient of variation for a… [Read More]

Building a Lean Fulfillment Stream

    Hot off the press from the Lean Enterprise Institute … Page 12 & 13 have a brief description of Coefficient of Variation and a SKU Scatter Diagram (weekly volume vs. SKU stability).  10 weeks usually isn’t sufficient for meaningful or statistically significant calculation of standard deviation.  25 data points would be better, and… [Read More]

Demand Profile

Maslow’s hammer, or a golden hammer is an over-reliance on a familiar tool; as Abraham Maslow said in 1966 in A Psychology of Science, “It is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.”  So, must every product in every business segment be set… [Read More]

Improve Turnaround, Shutdown, and Outage Duration: After Action Review

The practice of After Action Review, AAR, comes from the military, as in the US Army’s TC25-20 “A Leader’s Guide to After-Action Reviews” 9/93.  The approach is a classic example of Plan/Do/Check/Act and after an activity, while events are still fresh we ask five questions as follows: What was the plan? What actually happened? What… [Read More]

Guest Post – Minarai: apprentice, beginner; learn by observing

Guest post by Larry Loucka about minarai: apprentice, learner on Mark Hamel’s blog Gemba Tales: As I ready myself for a new mentoring relationship in a few weeks, I’ve been pondering roles and approaches. What will I do the same, what will I change as I help facilitate a new lean transformation? My job, as… [Read More]