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PROCESS ORIENTATION

By Drive, Inc. on Saturday 15 September 2012.

Both the process and the result that is achieved (paying attention to what is done and how it is done) are important. The result will not change unless we change the process. Process Orientation comes with the understanding that it is the processes that yield results. Many managers focus purely on the results regardless of the process followed. Have you ever heard someone say, “I don’t care how you do it, just get it done!” If we focus on the processes that yield the results, we are more likely to be able to improve those results over time instead of getting what we get and not understanding why.

UPSTREAM MANAGEMENT

By Drive, Inc. on Wednesday 15 August 2012.

A couple of years ago, I was in the Amazon rain forest riding on the Amazon River. It is the second longest river behind the Nile River and is approximately 4,000 miles in length and can be up to 120 miles wide. Although it was a very fast and huge river, it was amazing to me how there were “out houses” on piers along the banks where people would go to the bathroom and they were arranged to drop the waste right into the river. The stench was awful and yet, just a few feet away, kids would be playing in the water. Approximately five miles downstream, after cruising past several of these “out houses,” we met a tribe that lives near the water. Their drinking, bathing, and cooking water all come from this river. These indigenous people seemed to ignore the close proximity of human waste entering the water and being delivered directly to them. I guess you could say it was a case of, “out of sight, out of mind.”

CAREFUL – DON’T SPILL THAT COFFEE!

By Drive, Inc. on Saturday 14 July 2012.

It’s early morning, and you are on your way to work. Following your normal routine, you stop at the local Starbucks and pick up that delicious Grande Caramel Macchiato, walk back to your car, and once inside put the cup of coffee in the conveniently located cup holder – and the rest of your commute is enhanced by that energizing beverage.

Non‐Blaming, Non‐Judgmental: Irritation or Motivation

By Drive, Inc. on Friday 15 June 2012.

Things rarely work out entirely as planned. Economists call this scarcity: No one gets all they want, of everything, every time. Every one of us has formed a core belief about what it means when the unexpected, or setbacks, happen. This thinking shapes our next move and how those around us react. It determines what happens next.

OBSERVE WHAT IS REALLY HAPPENING

By Drive, Inc. on Tuesday 15 May 2012.

Genchi Gembutsu is a Japanese word that can be translated as “to go and see.” This phrase is used to encourage people to go out to where the work is being done and observe what is really happening. All too often, we see managers trying to solve the problems in the process by sitting in the conference room, which is not where the problems are occurring. By going to the floor to “see for oneself,” one can uncover a much deeper understanding of the problems.

MASTER MANUALLY BEFORE AUTOMATING

By Drive, Inc. on Saturday 14 April 2012.

Too many times we have seen companies implement very expensive and sophisticated automated solutions to solve their problems. Some common examples of this improper implementation can be seen in the following:

TOTAL SYSTEMS THINKING

By Drive, Inc. on Thursday 15 March 2012.

I had an interesting discussion with a department manager at a client today. For the purpose of this newsletter (and to protect his identity), I’ll call him Zeke. Zeke’s company is part of a multinational conglomerate and he found himself continually frustrated by the company’s many functional silos. He was frustrated by an IT department that refuses to make simple improvements that would have an incredible impact on productivity. Why? Reason given, “Because we don’t have the resources.” I would submit to you that any organization that only looks at the resources needed to do an activity and does not consider the benefit (cost savings, margin contribution, cost avoidance, cash flow) is doomed to eventual failure. It might take a while, but that kind of thinking will kill the entrepreneurial spirit and will eventually kill a company.

VAVE: VALUE ANALYSIS VALUE ENGINEERING

By Drive, Inc. on Tuesday 14 February 2012.

We work with numerous companies that functionally separate design and manufacturing. Typically, they are separated geographically and through the reporting structure; not meeting up again until we reach the senior VP level or above. We also observe that the cost savings focus for both groups is kept separate. However, sometimes we have the opportunity to work with the design and manufacturing group cross-functionally to enhance design and improve cost. This process, known as Value Analysis – Value Engineering (VAVE) allows us to realize cost savings that we simply do not get working alone in the functional silos.

STOPPING TO FIX PROBLEMS

By Drive, Inc. on Saturday 14 January 2012.

I am often asked, “What is the most important principle of Lean manufacturing?” By far, the most important principle is stopping to fix problems. It is perhaps also one of the most misunderstood principles, and not an easy one to implement, because it involves changing Management behavior. The big misconception is that “stopping to fix problems” means “stopping production to fix problems.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Toyota knows better than anyone that you had better satisfy the customer… and the customer doesn’t want a delay in receiving their goods or services from us while we are fixing our problems. Rather, the first step of robust problem response is the restoration of flow. Any manufacturer that can’t figure that out will not be in business very long. Instead, “stopping to fix problems” means “stopping Management to fix problems.” Management usually thinks they are too busy to fix problems. Why Management? Management sets direction, Management controls resources, Management can remove barriers, and Management has the responsibility to grow competent problem-solvers.ding of the problems.

TRUE NORTH HORIZON

By Drive, Inc. on Thursday 15 December 2011.

I’m in St. Louis today, and there is a reason why I can’t see the Statue of Liberty from the top of the Gateway Arch. As it turns out, the earth is spherical in shape and due to the curvature of the earth our line of sight is limited to only a few miles – at best. Even from an airplane we can see very little of the earth. When I fly home tomorrow and the jet is approaching Greenville, SC, I will not even be able to see Asheville, NC, only about 60 miles away. Of course, this is a surprise to no one reading this article. When we discuss this concept in manufacturing many find True North statements to be surprising and daunting. “True North” is a position from which it is impossible to improve. Some example True North statements are: •100% Value-added time •Zero opportunities for defects (100% of potential failure modes error-proofed) •Zero risks for injury

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