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Six Sigma

What is Six Sigma?

2 min read In the manufacturing world, quality rules the day. Producing high-quality products that both meet company standards and customer expectations consistently is what manufacturing engineers dream about, what occupies their thoughts whether they’re in the office, at their kids’ ballet recital, or on the train heading home. Making high-quality products is tough enough, but to do it again and again with efficiency and uniformity, with minimal reworking needed? The challenge feels insurmountable. Lean manufacturing, an umbrella term for a series of methodologies that seek to deliver high-quality products or services as efficiently as possible, identifies waste as the enemy of any

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what is gemba

What is Gemba?

3 min read Gemba, a term first used by Toyota, means going to the real place where the action is. In the 1980s, ‘In Search of Excellence’ author Tom Peters popularized the concept when he talked about management by wandering around (MBWA). Like MBWA, Gemba walks take management to the front lines to see daily happenings. Gemba, however, is more focused. Find Where Value Is Created Gemba refers to “the real place,” the location where value is created in your business. In an industrial environment, that place is often the manufacturing floor where you create the products you sell to your customers. By

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Introduction to 5S

Introduction to the 5S Method

2 min read If your company is like most organizations, you’re searching for a competitive edge. Something that will reduce costs, increase sales, and make you more agile in a changing business environment. You’ve found it. Simply put, 5S is a systematic approach to workplace organization. But it’s also much more than that. 5S is about efficiency, competitiveness, and survival. It is a deceptively simple system that creates an organized and productive workplace. It’s not just about cleaning up and eliminating toolboxes. 5S creates a workplace environment that can adapt and succeed. Chaos and unproductivity are your enemies; organization and efficiency are your

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kaizen continuous improvement

Kaizen and Continuous Improvement

2 min read The best thing about kaizen – and the biggest reason that every company should adopt it – is that it does not rely on expensive, innovative solutions. Just the opposite is true. The core principle of kaizen is to make small, immediate improvements in the processes and standards of the workplace. But not just one improvement. Looking for ways to make small improvements should be part of everyone’s job, every day of the week. And after a period of time, all of these small improvements will add up to better working conditions, a higher degree of safety, more efficiency, and

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The Tools of Lean

2 min read Lean, the manufacturing methodology, impacts nearly every aspect of the business in order to reduce and eliminate wastes while maintaining or improving quality. Lean can be worked into virtually any part of a business and in any area in a facility. The scope of Lean is broad and can sometimes be seen as abstract. To achieve the goals of Lean and accomplish its objectives, there are many tools at your disposal in the Lean tool box. The following are just a few tools that you can use when implementing or practicing Lean: → 5S: 5S is a tool used to organize

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Introducing the House of Lean

2 min read Lean manufacturing is a systematic methodology used to reduce wastes in the process while improving productivity and sustaining or improving the value of the product for the consumer. Many concepts, principles, and strategies fall under the umbrella of Lean The concepts and principles of Lean manufacturing are often referred to as a house: a strong foundation of leadership and employees, the walls of the house that optimize processes, and finally the roof that signifies customer focus. The Foundation Just like any other house being built, the House of Lean will need a strong foundation. The foundation of the House of

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Understanding the Terms of Lean

2 min read The principles and strategies of Lean manufacturing are mostly derived from the Toyota Production System. Because this system is was developed in Japan, there are many Lean terms that are also Japanese terms like Heijunka or Jishuken. There are also a few English words in the Lean vernacular including Value Stream Mapping and Bottleneck Analysis. It can be difficult to fully grasp the concepts of Lean manufacturing without understanding the terms, so this post focuses on several common terms you will likely see or hear along your Lean journey. → 5S: 5S is a visual management and organizational system that is

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The Wastes of Lean

2 min read Taiichi Ohno, the pioneer of the Toyota Production System, formally identified common wastes found in manufacturing and coined it as the 7 Wastes of Lean. The 8 Wastes of Lean is simply an extension and update of Ohno’s original philosophy. Lean manufacturing breaks down different categories of waste: Muda, Mura, and Muri. Literally translated from Japanese, Muda means useless, and the original 7 Wastes of Lean fall under this category of the 3M’s. What are the 7 wastes of Lean? The seven wastes commonly found in workplaces are not industry specific and can be found in nearly any facility. The

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What is Lean Manufacturing?

2 min read Lean is business model often used in manufacturing industries that works to identify and eliminate waste while still creating value for customers. Lean encompasses a variety of things and Lean manufacturing terms, tools, and practices are mainly derived from the Toyota Production System and was first coined in the 1980s by John Krafcik. The toolbox of Lean Organizations practicing Lean has a toolbox chock full of helpful tools when it comes to finding waste and getting rid of it. Below are some of what can be found in in the Lean set of tools: 5S: 5S is a systematic organizational

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Improving Lean in the Workplace

1 min read The methodology of Lean can be successfully implemented in a number of workplaces across industries including manufacturing, healthcare, offices, and government. The concept of Lean focuses on improving processes while involving workers from all levels, but still having the customer’s satisfaction in mind. The Toyota Motor Company worked to develop many of the concepts that are at the core of Lean and it was referred to as the Toyota Way. Nowadays, the terms Lean manufacturing and Toyota Production System are often used interchangeably with each other as the goals and core components are very similar. Lean and the Toyota Production

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