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Lean and TPM Tips

TIP #70 – Lean – Mistake-Proofing

Don’t over look Mistake-Proofing (or Poka-yoke) as a critical component to your Lean implementation. Mistake-Proofing devices are often low cost and easy to implement devices that aid in source inspection and error prevention by identifying red flag conditions that commonly provoke errors. Mistake-Proofing devices ensure that errors are prevented at the source, or not allowed to move on to the next operation and become defects.

Conditions and processes where quality problems often originate, and therefore offer opportunities for applying Mistake-Proofing devices, include areas involving data or work instructions (is it available, updated, and located at the point of use?), methods or standards (are they clear, and again, updated and located at the point of use?), equipment (is the equipment reliable?), materials (is the quality of the raw materials up to spec?), and operators (do the operators have access to SOP’s, are the SOP’s being followed, do the operators have proper training? Also, the operator’s level of training, performance, and work experience will affect quality within and across shifts).


TIP #69 – Lean – Problem Solving Tip

The first step in problem solving is to be certain you have a good understanding of the current situation. To ensure your solutions get to the root cause, you must understand the process where the problem initially occurred. When starting to diagnose a problem, don’t rely on verbal reports to provide the details. Go to the work area, observe the situation, solicit help from the people in the area, and collect hard evidence for yourself. Just like any good detective, gather the facts first hand; it will help you gain a better understanding of the problem which, in turn, will allow you to better focus your solutions.


TIP #68 – TPM – Visual Cues

Use registration marks on bolts to keep equipment visual. This way, when doing pre-shift checks, the operator can tell at a glance if bolts need to be tightened without having to take the time to check each one.


TIP #67 – Lean – Value Stream Management

“Maximize the benefits of Value Stream Management by developing a concise protocol with the upstream suppliers (raw material) and downstream customers (finished goods). Studies indicate organizations have made gains in optimizing internal value streams but miss a significant opportunity by not optimizing inventory and relationships in the extended value stream.”


TIP #66 – TPM – Maintenance Tip [thanks to Idcon Inc.]

If your hydraulic systems leak, make sure you have the right fittings.

Did you realize that fittings for hydraulic units are very different from regular fittings for air and instrumentation? The hydraulic fittings have much deeper and thinner threads in order to be more resistant to leakage. The fitting nut is also longer. The thin threads on the hydraulic fitting make them very sensitive to tightening and will easily deform when over tightened.

So, if you are experiencing hydraulic system leaks, check to be certain you are using the correct fittings and that your fittings have not experienced thread damage.


TIP #65 – Lean – Keys to a Successful Five “S” Implementation

  • Gather baseline information in the actual place, not in the meeting room
  • Get everyone involved
  • Get authorization at a facility-wide level
  • Managers should set direction
  • Managers should stay involved
  • Establish a daily routine
  • Keep it simple!

TIP #64 – TPM – General

Remember, TPM (Total Productive Maintenance) is a generic term. Just as important as personalizing the TPM Rollout Plan to fit your organization’s specific needs is creating a name for your Rollout that is unique to your culture.

TPM is a company-wide initiative that requires support and input from all employees to be successful. Help generate participation from all departments by having a ‘contest’ for most creative name for the company’s initiative, possibly one that doesn’t suggest the process is limited only to the maintenance department. For example, other organizations have selected such names as ‘Basic Equipment Care’ and Total Equipment Care’ for just that reason. Encourage your employees to come up with ideas that are unique to your culture, product, environment and make them all part of the process!


TIP #63 – Lean – How to Maintain the First 3 “S” –

  • Uniform standards
  • Clarity about what is and is not normal
  • Create and use checklists
  • Establish a simple action plan
  • Make everything visually apparent

TIP #62 – TPM – Preparatory Stage

Like most group endeavors, especially ones that require change, success often depends on everyone having a common understanding as to the value behind the change, how the change will actually be implemented, their role in the implementation and the commitment of the company/management to the change. The preparatory stage (or lack thereof) can guarantee the success or failure of a TPM implementation, yet it is often undervalued for the sake of expediency or cost and that can be a critical mistake.

To ensure your effort gets off on the right track, consider these six steps during the preparatory stage of the TPM process:

  1. Launch an educational campaign to introduce TPM to the organization
  2. Create an organizational structure to promote TPM
  3. Announce upper management’s decision to introduce TPM
  4. Establish basic TPM policies and goals
  5. Form a master plan for implementing TPM
  6. Kick off TPM

(The above list is taken from “Implementing TPM The North American Experience” published by Productivity Press and authored by Robinson and Ginder.)


TIP #61 – Lean – 5S

The 1st “S” – Sort is about asking a series of questions…What is it?…How often is it used?…How many do we need?…Do we really need this many?…Do we even need it all?…Anyone should be allowed to ask these questions via a “Red tag” BUT only “Process Owners” should have the final ANSWER!


TIP #60 – Lean – Kanban Calculation:

In order to calculate the number of kanban required in a value stream for a product, you must; determine the products average daily demand and demand variation, understand the frequency at which “the customer” orders the product, determine the replenishment lead-time of the product, quantify the risks associated with anomaly demand spikes and supply reliability, and finally determine the quantity of the item per container.

The mathematical expression for determining the number of kanban required using the above factors is:

No. of Kanban = Average Daily Demand x (Order Frequency + Lead Time + Safety Time)

Container Quantity


TIP #59 – Lean – When to use kanban:

Many organizations think implementation of a kanban system is a must, but the first thing we must understand about kanban pull is that it is not the preferred methodology for controlling production or replenishment in the value stream. The preferred methodology is “flow”, the continuous advancement of material through the value stream in a lot size of one. Only once a detailed analysis of the value stream proves that continuous flow is not readily “doable”, should you move to implement kanban pull system.


TIP #58 – Lean – Standard Wk – CEDAC

In order to perform flawless work, we must meet two conditions:

  • The right work procedures (standards) must be established.
  • Everyone involved must understand and thoroughly practice these procedures (standards).

CEDAC A Tool for Continuous Systemic Improvement
Ryuji Fukuda
English translation copyright 1989 Productivity Press


TIP #57 – Lean – Pilot Project

When the planning phase is complete and it’s time to select equipment or an area for an initial application or pilot project, it is critical to select equipment/areas with high impact.

Many Lean/TPM implementers are hesitant to do so in case their initial efforts fail or are not as effective as they’d like, but don’t forget that that is the point of kicking off an implementation effort in a selected area vs. plant-wide: making mistakes in a “controlled environment” is part of the learning process and as such can help you glean valuable lessons that you can translate to the next phase of the rollout.

Look for equipment/areas that: are highly visible, are a constraint to the process, will make an impact to the performance of the line or flow once improvements are made, have motivated workers, and have no back up equipment in place.

Work out the kinks in the process in the pilot area and then work to replicate the process as you move forward with your Lean/TPM deployment.


TIP #56 – Lean – Continuous Process Value Streams

When implementing Lean in continuous process value streams, too often organizations focus exclusively on the implementation of TPM. TPM, properly centered on improving OEE at constraint assets, is a vital piece of the improvement puzzle. But it is not the only piece. Consider this; your continuous process value stream is only as strong as its weakest link. Frequently, the weakest performance link is not asset-based. To get the biggest bang from your improvement buck and ensure your improvement effort is delivering the promised business impacts, be certain to include your upstream (suppliers-in) and downstream (customers-out) material and information flows in your improvement efforts.


TIP #55 – Lean – Counter-measures

Process improvement is problematic and counter-measures to right an improvement project can mean the difference between success and failure. Introducing counter-measures is an established discipline of a well defined Project Management process. Often, a well-defined project will stall when confronting an obstacle or barrier to execution. Frequently a project can be salvaged through course-correction and the introduction of counter-measures to examine the project charter. If you have hit-the-wall with a project, check-out the charter, resolution may be as simple as redefining boundaries, measures of success, adjusting milestones, or looking for signs of project creep [many projects tend to grow and become unmanageable].


TIP #54 – TPM – Maintenance Scheduling

Changing a pump or welding new pipe can be daunting tasks in and of themselves, but add in the environment in which these tasks are performed and the task becomes just that much more difficult. Planners and Schedulers must recognize the fatigue factor when adjusting time frames for particular jobs.

Fatigue factor is a standard allowance of time added to jobs when the mechanic is faced adverse conditions such as weather. For instance, replacing a pipe on an oil transfer line in the middle of winter in Northern Alberta, Canada were temperatures can reach -40 or greater will have a far different effect on the time allotted to complete a job than doing that same job in the summer in 75 degree weather. The fatigue factor will be different even though the job is essentially the same.

Remember Fatigue Factor and be sure to time your jobs appropriately.


TIP #53 – Lean – Changeover

Instead of assuming that changeovers are inevitable, look for ways to produce multiple parts without changeovers. Such efforts will, with surprising frequency, result in a no-touch system that requires no changeovers at all.

If changeovers are absolutely unavoidable, efforts should be focused on developing automatic one-touch pushbutton changeovers.

“A Study of the Toyota Production System” Shigeo Shingo


TIP #52 – Lean – Standard Work

Standard Work – documented reliable methods and procedures – is the culmination of Lean Production. Once you have implemented the other tools in the Lean production toolkit, including 5S and Visual Controls, Quick Changeover, Mistake-Proofing, TPM, Jidoka, Cellular manufacturing and Pull production/Kanban, and Load leveling and line balancing, you are ready to implement Standard Work.

Keep in mind too that Standard Work is on-going in that it also functions as a diagnostic tool, exposing problems and creating a process for the continual elimination of waste from the workplace.

Once in place, here are 10 Guidelines to help maintain Standard Work in the workplace:

  1. Establish SOP’s throughout the factory, with the support of top management.
  2. Make sure everyone understands the importance of SOP’s.
  3. Make sure workshop leaders are confident in the SOP’s they teach.
  4. Post visual displays to remind everyone of the importance of adherence to standards.
  5. Post descriptions of the SOP’s so workers can compare their own work to the standards.
  6. If necessary, bring in a third party to resolve any misunderstandings.
  7. Hold team leaders accountable for maintaining Standard Work.
  8. Remember that continuous improvement is an ongoing process; continually look for new ways to improve the existing standards.
  9. Conduct small group activities regularly to gather new ideas and identify problems as they arise.
  10. Continue to pursue a higher level of Standard Work.

Source: Standard Work for the Shopfloor, Shopfloor Series, created by The Productivity Press Development Team. Copyright 2002 Productivity Press.


TIP #51 – Lean – Kanban Launch

Kanban Kaizen is proven effective as a reliable kanban implementation approach. During this 3 to 4 day event, the process owners perform the necessary calculations, physically design, test and implement a fully functional kanban system to “link” the selected processes. Participants gain practical insights in the concept of kanban and buy-in to the new system thus enabling future system sustainment.


TIP #50 – TPM – Focused Improvement

When organizations begin to implement focused improvement activities in their facilities, many get caught up in what is known as the “diabolical circle”. The diabolical circle is tantamount to a dog chasing its own tail, there is a lot of activity, but no real progress is being made. Focused Improvement activities are most successful when implemented systematically by cross-functional teams. And we find the following procedure extremely effective for avoiding (or breaking out of) the diabolical circle!

  1. Select a topic
  2. Form a cross-functional project team
  3. Register the topic
  4. Implement improvement(s)
  5. Evaluate the results

TIP #49 – TPM – Bearing Storage

An estimated 16% of all premature bearing failures are caused by poor fit, poor storage practices, and being unaware of the availability of the correct mounting tools and methods.

The ‘infinite life’ theory for rolling bearings states that under good operating conditions and provided the fatigue load limit is not exceeded, bearing life can exceed the life of the machine.

It is important that operations personnel follow ‘best practice’ procedures and avoid common pitfalls that can jeopardize bearing life and lead to unscheduled downtime. A storage tip: if packaged properly, rolling bearings can be stored effectively for several years in a cool, clean, low humidity environment free of dust, shocks and vibrations. Rolling bearings should only be stored lying down and, preferably, with support for the side faces of the rings. If kept in a standing position, the weight of the rings and rolling elements may cause permanent distortions, because the rings are relatively thin-walled.


TIP #48 – Lean – Kanban

“In implementing the kanban system, care must be taken not to overdo it. In other words, the fewer the number of kanban, the better.

One of the functions of kanban is to transmit information to the preceding process indicating what the current process needs. If there are too many kanban, the information is no longer accurate. For example, many parts are needed for a sub-assembly process, but if there are too many kanban pieces, one does no know which part is needed at the moment.”

“Kanban – Just In Time at Toyota”
Edited by Japan Management Association
Copyright 1985


TIP #47 – Lean and Green

“Worried about being behind on your carbon offsets? Your Lean implementation and conversion will ameliorate that; remember a key Lean focus is Resource Management — Resource Management improvement leads to a more Sustainable Economic Model and in the end Natural Capitalism.”


TIP #46 – Lean

“Adapt, Adjust, Adopt – that’s the mantra of those who do not want to be left out of realizing the benefits of Lean techniques because they do not see a perfect match. It’s well known that most Lean improvement techniques have a genesis in discrete manufacturing. However more fundamentally all have underlying principles that are “adaptable”, basic techniques like SMED (single minute exchange of die) have been used to advantage in process industries and administrative activities. 5S and Value Stream Mapping are almost universally applicable. Take a good look at your business process, defined the repeatable portions, and either “adapt” the technique to your situation or “adjust” your situation to the principles of the technique, in either case “adopt” the techniques for enhancing the improvement opportunities in your organization.”


TIP #45 – TPM – Rotating Equipment

60% of ‘rotating equipment’ downtime is caused by loose fasteners. Consider posting a one-point-lesson on or near each piece of your ‘rotating equipment’ to verify fastener and bolt tightness. Equipment may include: pumps, generators, mixers, compressors, calendars, turbines, and extruders.


TIP #44 – Lean – Setting Goals

In “Out of the Crisis”, W. Edwards Deming writes, “Goals are necessary for you and me, but numerical goals set for other people, without a road map to reach the goal, have effects opposite to the effects sought.”

What this means, is this. It is nice to say, “We will reduce defects by 10% this year.”, but without identifying the root cause of the defects and creating a strategy to address these root cases in a reasonable and realistic way… you only succeed in creating frustration in your workforce. In other words, workers tend to be discouraged and less helpful in initiating positive results.

Remember this when you set your goals. Do your homework. Be sure you provide a clear and understandable pathway to obtaining any goals, and make sure those goals are both realistic and obtainable.


TIP #43 – TPM – TPM Champion

Many criteria need to be in place in order for a TPM initiative to be successful, including a full time TPM Steering Committee and TPM Champion. It’s critical that the TPM Champion have the right characteristics to help drive and sustain the TPM process as part of daily work.

An ideal TPM Champion/Coordinator should possess: project management experience; an understanding of the machinery involved in production and how the processes work; excellent organizational and communication skills; the respect of and credibility with production associates, maintenance and management experience; an understanding of the facility’s organization and how to get things done within the organization’s framework; a true belief in and passion for TPM, an understanding of what a successful TPM implementation entails, and the ability to communicate this knowledge to others in the facility on an ongoing basis.


TIP #42 – Lean – Team Leaders:

In lean “a team leader is the teacher”.

In the classroom, the student/teacher ratio is extremely important. If the ratio of students to teacher is too large the teacher is more likely to lose control, the flow of information is disrupted, and individual satisfaction of the student is lost. A properly functioning lean workplace works much like a class room so it is important to keep your team member/team leader ratio in balance. Having more teams with fewer members will help to keep everyone engaged and involved. A good rule of thumb would be to keep teams to about 7 members.


TIP #41 – Lean – Mentors:

Good mentors and coaches recognize and take advantage of ‘teachable moments’. They leverage on-the-spot learning — anywhere, anytime — as opportunities to transfer knowledge. The better and more frequently you mentor, the better your employees will be prepared to add value.


TIP #40 – Lean – Standard Work:

When you believe that standard work does exists; go to work place and look for adherence. There is a 50% chance you will not see it! For a standard work best practice to be reliable it must be communicated and everyone must use it. Remember, absent of adherence to standard work there can be no improvement.


TIP #39 – Lean – New Equipment Purchase:

Purchasing and assimilating a new piece of equipment into your production process can be tricky. Much time is spent reviewing the financial side of adding equipment, but equal time should be spent to ensure that the equipment you purchase does the job for which it is intended. To help with this, don’t leave the purchasing decision solely in the hands of the financial team.

Assemble a team of engineers (including production engineers, design engineers, maintenance engineers) as well as shop-floor workers (those that will be asked to operate the new equipment) and maintenance staff (those that will be responsible to maintain the new equipment) and get them into the act. Having a cross functional team involved in the design, selection and start-up of a new piece of equipment will help to ensure you made the best purchase for your needs.


TIP #38 – Lean – Data Collection:

Things to keep in mind when designing a data-collection process include:

  • Determine ahead of time what will be measured/what data will be collected (see Tips #21 and #36 for sample metrics)
  • Determine ahead of time how the data will be interpreted and used
  • Involve all employees in the data collection process and keep it simple – use basic graphs and charts to track and display the data (i.e. bar graphs, histograms, Pareto charts, scatter diagrams, etc.)
  • Automate the data collection process whenever possible to eliminate human error and ensure the data is as accurate as possible

TIP #37 – Lean – Choosing Metrics:

There is no shortage of things to measure, so when deciding which Performance Metrics to use:

  • Choose metrics that reflect your company’s performance. This usually involves a mix of process, financial and behavioral metrics (see Tips #21 and #36 for examples of process, and of financial and behavioral metrics, respectively).
  • Be mindful of the total number of metrics you’ve selected – choosing too many can be difficult to track.
  • Consider: what will be measured, how frequently, by whom, how the measurements will be charted, and what will be done with the data once it’s been interpreted?

TIP #36 – Lean – Measurements:

If the saying “you get what you measure” is true, then selecting the correct measurements can be critical to Lean success. In Tip #21, we introduced several process measurements for your consideration, but there are others you should take into account as well, including Financial Measures (cash flow, direct and indirect labor costs, inventory carrying costs, ROI, gross margins, and sales) and Behavioral Measures (adherence to policies and procedures, error reporting accuracy and timeliness, and joint recognition activities).


TIP #35 – Mapping:

To gain control over your processes, you must understand the “three actuals”:

  • The actual place or location in which a process occurs
  • The actual employees working in that location
  • The actual process in that location
  • Mapping the processes will help you understand all three actuals.

Source: Lean Enterprise Memory Jogger, copyright 2002 by GOAL/QPC. 


TIP #34 – Kaizen:

Although kanban systems are a very effective way to fine-tune your production levels, they work best only after you have implemented value stream mapping and one piece flow. This is because kanban systems minimize your stocking levels and use visual management, error proofing and total productive maintenance to ensure that quality parts and materials are delivered when a kanban triggers their flow through the production process.

Source: Lean Enterprise Memory Jogger, copyright 2002 by GOAL/QPC.


TIP #33 – Kaizen:

After the excitement of completing a project or kaizen, remember to perform what is referred to as the most significant part of the process. The debrief. Use a formalized session with the team and contributors to capture the key lessons learned. What worked, what didn’t and what can be replicated in future projects or kaizens. Make it a scheduled meeting, everyone has input in a “no blame” environment, analyze the execution as related to the objectives, do a cause and effect, capture the lessons learned then celebrate your success.


TIP #32 – Strategy:

In today’s difficult times, we felt this was a timely TIP and wanted to share it. It comes from an article titled Tell Me What You Do, Not What You Make by Kurt Schroeder which appeared in  Manufacturing.Net

“Many companies today are so attached to their products they struggle to define other valuable capabilities that other markets may need. If you want to sustain and potentially grow your business in tough economic times then you need to clearly understand what you DO, not what you make. Once you understand what your capabilities are, you can then go into the broader market and find what markets have need for those capabilities.”


TIP #31 – Quality:

To achieve zero defects, both source inspection and mistake proofing are needed. Remember that, although it is necessary to have efficient inspection operations, they are of little value to the process. Even the most efficient inspection operations are merely efficient forms of waste.


TIP #30 – Value Stream Mapping:

Determining Product Families can be tricky, remember that product families are defined by styles that share similar process steps, machinery and labor requirements. Analyze product volumes, sequence by annual volume, list part numbers by decreasing annual volume and calculate how many part numbers account for 80% of your total annual volume. Analyze products by production sequences, list all of the process sequences and group common process/resource routing.


TIP #29 – Cell Design:

When you are developing production cell designs, consider using post-it-notes to represent the equipment. This way the machines can be “moved” around a whiteboard to get the best layout prior to making the actual moves. You can even cut-out your own templates using post-it’s to better represent the actual size of the equipment.


TIP #28 – Lean Transactional::

When considering where to start your Lean Transactional efforts, remember that your product development process has considerable impact on your product’s cost. Getting the waste out of your product development process will result in lower product costs allowing you to pass the savings on to consumers, which in turn could increase your market share.


TIP #27 – Getting Started:

While blasting into kaizen events all over the business to get immediate rewards may sound like a good approach to Lean, it is not. You should create a lean executive committee and have someone facilitate the team through a basic lean overview. With this new knowledge a plan needs to be developed with a timeline on when and where the changes will be made. This way you can roll out the program in an organized fashion. Remember, education of the entire workforce is necessary for a proper implementation.


TIP #26 – Culture:

Most organizations understand that implementation of a 5S program will help them achieve a cleaner, better organized workplace, but a carefully planned, well executed 5S program can do much more. Properly implemented, the 5S program can change the culture of an organization, allowing true process ownership and creating an empowered workforce. Due to the team based structure of the 5S program it provides an opportunity for natural teams to begin taking control of the change process ensuring sustained results. As the teams mature, they take on additional responsibility in the continuous improvement process allowing the organization to move toward achievement of its Lean goals.


TIP #25 – Getting Started:

Just getting started in Lean, consider this…the first thing we recommend is to identify, educate and train a core group of Lean champions. Once the group is in place, the next step in the process is to collect data and information on your current state. To do this, we recommend the Value Stream Mapping process. The Value Stream Mapping process will allow the leadership team to “see” the flow of product families and determine improvement opportunities. Value Stream Maps will guide the implementation of your lean program and keep improvement efforts aligned with the strategic plan of the company.


TIP #24 – Culture:

Teams are an integral part of any continuous improvement program and are crucial to sustaining the gains you have achieved. And, not just teams for the sake of doing teams but teams that are made up of empowered process owners that have been educated and trained and have a stake in a successful outcome. Today’s leaders must continue to provide the “what” and “why” while allowing process team members to decide the “how”.


TIP #23 – Culture/Communication:

One of the key components of Lean implementation in any business is communication with associates. When a Lean effort is announced, a Direct Communication Program must be created to provide a variety of means to broadcast what you are doing and how the company is progressing. It should communicate what is driving the need [or business case] for the Lean Program, i.e. ‘why is change necessary and how ‘we will all benefit’, the results, the rate and pace of change and all of the many total employee involvement activities and projects.

How is this done? It’s done via Visual Management Systems, large and small group meetings, Gemba walks, newsletters, social networking, book study groups, etc. The simple act of communication will not only keep your employees informed but also keep them engaged.


TIP #22 – Culture:

Some companies share the savings from their lean implementation efforts with the employees on a one time basis while others build quarterly or annual recognition payments into their budgets for improvement goals met or exceeded. Sharing the savings is a very powerful tool that speeds the lean implementation process. When starting a recognition program, be careful to stay away from the old individual incentive systems as they are contrary to the “lean team” approach to processing. In these old systems, each individual worked for their personal benefit and were oblivious of the overall performance of the process. You will need to develop a recognition system that benefits the team and also supports individual contributions giving you the best of both worlds. .


TIP #21 – Key Performance Indicators:

Some organizations begin their lean roll-out without identifying the key performance indicators that would answer the question, “What do we want to get out of our efforts”? Establishing a baseline, tracking your progress along the way and having a well defined goal are all critical to sustaining your effort. What are the goals driving your effort? Customer Satisfaction, Equipment Reliability, On-Time Delivery, Right the First Time, Process Effectiveness, or some combination there of? Understanding your goal will allow you to develop a measurement system to track your progress.

Some measurements to consider include:

  • Value Adding Ratio used to measure labor contribution.
  • Value Adding Ratio per Square Feet used to measure effectiveness of plant and property.
  • Mean Time between Failure (MTBF) used to measure equipment reliability.
  • Mean Time to Repair used to measure equipment maintainability.
  • CpK used to measure equipment and/or process capability.
  • OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness) used to measure equipment process effectiveness (the 6 Big Losses).
  • Dock-to-Dock used to measure manufacturing lead time from receiving dock to shipping dock.
  • Value-Adding Ratio used to measure value-add vs. non-value add activities.
  • Right the First Time forces you to measure the quality performance at each operation not just at the end of the line.

TIP #20 – Cell Design:

If posting cell performance is taking too much time, then you might be posting too much information or making the posting more complicated than it need be. Cell performance should be posted every hour to assist you in your supervision of the cells. The hourly posting will provide you with information that will tell you where you need to spend your time. The output of the cells can be monitored each hour and you can react immediately to quality or quantity issues instead of waiting to the end of the work day. To lessen the “posting time” the assignment should be given to one of the cell leaders or to the last person in the process who should be able to post the information on the board which is placed in or near the cell. A simple whiteboard with markers will do the trick and should not take more than a few seconds to update each hour.


TIP #19 – Kanban:

Kanban is a very powerful Lean tool and often times suggested for implementation to early in the lean journey. When kanban is implemented before your processes have been stabilized, it will act inaccurately exacerbating the production and inventory replenishment issues kanban was meant to control. Your processes must be in control and meeting takt time at least 80% of the time before a kanban system is implemented. Once this is achieved, the kanban will provide a very easy method to plan inventory and reduce the needs for those detailed production schedules.


TIP #18 – Equipment Engineering:

Applying the Lean principles to the design and manufacture of your equipment is a powerful way to reduce the complexity of its operation and enhance the achievement takt, flow and pull. Today, most engineers are focused on new product design but spend little or no time on the design of the machines and the process that will be used to make those products. The concepts of early equipment management and application of Lean principles to process design will allow your design engineers to create truly Lean Machines that improve the manufacturability of new products and ensure they reach the market on time.


TIP #17 – TPM:

The formal announcement of management’s intent to embark on TPM seems a simple task, but it must be positioned and structured correctly for maximum impact on the organization. A general announcement from the plant manager should be followed up with structured inter-department and team communication with each communication providing more and more detail about the program in terms of what’s in it for the employee and how it will impact what they do. Employees recognize the significance of the event only if management delivers a clear, consistent message and will buy-in if they fully understand the impact on them individually.


TIP #16 – TPM:

For optimal results from early equipment management, you should determine the fabrication method and equipment format early – when modifications can still be made easily at the development and design stages. List goals and gather ideas for factory-friendly products; consider and include new fabrication methods in product designs to foster development and design of more appealing products.


TIP #15 – TPM:

Basic training for production and maintenance personnel should emphasize on –the-job training and self-development in the workplace. At the same time, a sustained, long-term skill-development program tailored to the needs of the individual and individual workplaces is essential to enable people to cope with today’s rapid technical progress and advancing automation. In the long run, the best way for a company to achieve their objectives is to develop people with excellent skills and abilities, tap into their unlimited potential, and encourage them to take on greater and greater challenges.


TIP #14 – TPM:

Label gauges so abnormalities can be detected by anyone at a glance and from a distance. This simplifies training in autonomous maintenance programs and enhances efficiency when conducting route-based PM inspections.


TIP #13 – TPM:

When you are performing TPM audits, use the data collected to drive the focus of the TPM Steering Team. Your data should point you to the weakest application area of your implementation. Start your effort there. Once that area has been improved, move on to the next weakest application area. This method of focusing on the weakest area will allow you to achieve the biggest gains in the shortest timeframe.


TIP #12 – TPM:

Companies when implementing Lean use TPM as a tool to increase Overall Equipment Effectiveness. TPM does drive OEE, but proper implementation of all of the pillars of TPM will stabilize the manufacturing processes in an operation so that the activities of Lean can be successful and sustained.


TIP #11 – TPM:

When selecting a pressure gauge, a good rule of thumb is to select a gauge that is 2 times the operating pressure. The operating range should occur with-in the middle 50% of the scale.


TIP #10 – TPM:

When you embark on an Autonomous Maintenance program remember the goal is not simply to clean away accumulated dirt and grim from the equipment. The ultimate goal of Autonomous Maintenance is to stabilize equipment conditions and prevent additional deterioration. Cleaning the equipment allows you to get up close and inspect its condition. Inspection leads to the discovery of less than ideal equipment conditions that could cause breakdowns or unsafe operating conditions. Then once abnormalities have been detected, they can be corrected. To ensure you achieve the best results from your Autonomous Maintenance efforts, take the time to clearly communicate that it is more than just a cleaning activity.


TIP #9 – TPM:

When a piece of equipment in your facility fails, don’t rush right out and immediately repair or replace it, use the failure as an opportunity to identify the reason for the failure (search out the root cause) and to look for opportunities to make efficiency and energy saving improvements. Create a team to survey the area where the failure occurred looking for efficiency and energy savings opportunities that could be realized through simple repairs or minor equipment modifications. Once the team has done an analysis use this new information to inform your repair or replacement. In many cases the team will identify several opportunities that will lead to significant and long term cost savings.


TIP #8 – TPM:

Most organizations schedule their PM activities based on a specified time period, but this may not be the most affective approach. Machine parts wear at different intervals, therefore, periodic maintenance or overhaul intervals should be determined by the machine parts with the shortest lives. This suggests a switch over from time based maintenance to condition based maintenance.


TIP #7 – TPM:

Leaders need to set clear expectations, delegate with clarity, hold people accountable, follow-up, and model the expected behaviors.


TIP #6 – TPM:

Operators work the hardest when things go wrong (they have to make decisions or get other people involved in taking some action). If the “things gone wrong” were eliminated, operators could focus on continuous improvement. Using their expertise to do continuous improvement, if given the time, is what makes operators feel as if they are empowered. Implementation of the Pillars of TPM eliminates the “things that could go wrong” by introducing a systematic step-by-step process that contains built-in improvement, sustainment and, problem solving activities.


TIP #5 – TPM:

Are your operators involved in maintaining your equipment? Daily equipment care is a vitally important component of your improvement initiative and your operators are your best defense against equipment breakdowns. When asking operators to identify defects during cleaning and inspection processes, it is important to set-up a communication feedback loop so that operators know when the defect has been completed, repaired or put on hold. This gives greater ownership of the process to the individual, keeps them informed, and keeps them engaged.


TIP #4 – TPM:

75% of your total maintenance budget can be tied up in spare parts and the management of those spare parts. A look inside most spare-parts stores will show that inventory levels are higher than necessary; in some cases parts are kept on hand for equipment that is no longer in use or extra inventory is carried that is not needed. To help eliminate this problem, consider reducing the amount of permanent stock items and increasing the number of planned-purchased items…and be certain to include your spare parts in your waste reduction efforts.


TIP #3 – A3:

Keep them simple. The tendency is to over complicate or focus on the format. It’s the content and “storytelling” that are the critical outcome of the process. Make sure the problem statement actually reflects the current state, and likewise, the target condition is a realistic and achievable goal. Also, it’s best to avoid the temptation to work up the A3’s on a computer — create them by hand as this allows you the flexibility to make them a working document and edit as you go in a more “hands-on” way.


TIP #2 – Leadership:

A critical tool for plant leaders is the Gemba Walk. Pushing yourself away from the desk and out onto the shop-floor to observe current improvement processes allows employees and teams to see your concern and support for improvement initiatives. One tip for performing a Gemba Walk in a plant is to choose a particular initiative, let’s say ‘5S’ is your current focus. Perform your Gemba walk focusing only on 5S processes. When complete, choose the area or idea that best exemplifies your expectations, then set that area or idea as the new standard and set expectations that everywhere else in the facility move to comply with that new standard. In a week or so, perform another Gemba walk with the same focus using the new standard as the measuring stick.


TIP #1 – Lean- Management Buy-in:

If you have tried verbally to convince your management to give Lean a try and found your words falling on deaf ears, here is something you might consider. Choose a pilot area in your facility, enlist support of shop floor associates, map the process of a value stream, identify and eliminate waste in the process and document your efforts. Then, bring your results to a management meeting and show them what Lean can do. In showing management the positive results you have achieved they can no longer ignore the power of Lean and they can no longer argue that Lean won’t work in your environment. So, if you can’t talk them into giving Lean a try, show them – actual results are a very powerful persuader.

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