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Lean Articles

Solving the “Sustainment Problem”

Quick hit improvements achieved through event driven activities such as rapid-improvement events will only benefit the organization in the long term if those improvements can be replicated across shifts, lines and facilities.

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TPM before Lean

Total Productive Maintenance helps organizations achieve more than just equipment reliability, it also ensures a reliable process. By establishing a partnership between production, maintenance and engineering technical…

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Do You Have A Healthy Business Strategy?

As managers, it is a good practice to ‘pop’ your head out of the weeds and have a look beyond the day to day. What is the overall health of your organization? Does your business strategy rest on differentiation?

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Convincing the Unconvinced

This week I was reminded of some advice I received from a Japanese sensei early in my Lean career.  We were working together in an organization that had just embarked on the Lean journey. 

They were about 3 months into the effort when the Japanese sensei and I sat down to meet with the Plant Manager. The plant manager shared his frustration with the progress he was having getting his associates to accept the change…he proceeded to tell us that...

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7 Key Decisions for TPM Implementers

In any TPM implementation there are key questions that need to be asked and answered. There are no right answers—they’re all “how?” questions—but if the answer to any one of them is “We are not going to do this,” then the effectiveness of your TPM implementation is in serious doubt.

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Fixes that Fail – 5 Why or Six Sigma?

“Fixes that Fail” is one of the archetypes of systems dynamics – common patterns which we see in organizational change. It is probably the simplest of the systems archetypes, with just two feedback loops – the balancing loop where we fix symptoms (not root causes) and the reinforcing loop where the fix actually prevents us from finding a root cause solution or, in some instances, makes matters worse.

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The Cost Benefit of SMED

In 1988, when I first met Shigeo Shingo, the creator of SMED (Single Minute Exchange of Die), he asked me if I had been using his SMED System. I replied that I had in fact been using it in a machine shop where we had reduced changeover times from 90 minutes to 15 minutes – not bad I thought.

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Green TPM

Improvements in machine reliability and uptime are the benefits most people think of as the results of total productive maintenance (TPM). But what many people are gradually coming to realize is that TPM can also be a way of helping the environment.

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Going Green With Your Gemba Walk

Lean is all about learning and the Gemba Walk provides a perfect learning platform.  Use the Gemba Walk for more than just an audit.  Use it as a way to teach employees at all levels the basics of continuous improvement.

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Five Things to Consider on a Gemba Walk

The Gemba Walk is all about getting out into the workplace.  It affords company leaders, managers and supervisors a reliable, simple and easy means of supporting an improvement structure and encouraging process standardization.  The Gemba Walk is a key component in the sustainment of improvement.

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Departing On Time…

Downtime is costly in many ways, which is why executives in charge of Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) operations at Delta Airlines are implementing total productive maintenance (TPM) at their facility in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Making Sense and Saving Cents at Sensus

A key part of convincing management to take on any new endeavor is being able tostate the benefits to the company.  Let’s face it, upper management speaks another language and uses a different set of metrics, than what is spoken and used in operations.  In order to capture their attention, you too must speak and present in their terms.

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Assessing your TPM Progress

Making the Grade – Assessing your TPM Progress
The Roofing Products Group of manufacturer CertainTeed began implementing a TPM assessment process two years ago…

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Leadership – the Hidden Opportunity

Often we are asked by clients to help them with the implementation of a lean technique; one they feel will solve their “biggest problem”.  For example, some clients have asked us to assist them with the implementation of TPM believing their biggest problem was poor equipment reliability…

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Asset Depreciation

Imagine for a moment that you had a group of employees who sporadically slowed their work pace, or worse, randomly stopped working for hours at a time. Imagine running your facility never knowing whether you would get 8 hours, 5 hours or 5 minutes of work from them on any given day.

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