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  • By Mikkel Smith
  • Flexkom – Danish consultancy company – recently opened a new Lean Academy in Denmark coveren all the Scandinavian countries. The new Lean website contains all the best Lean courses within several businesses. If you are based in Scandinavia and work with Lean – please visit the new website.

    Direct links to courses at Flexkom Lean Academy

    Below you’ll find direct links to the most popular courses – sorry in Danish!

    Lean and HRM work perfectly together.

    Read article at Your Lean Forum >

    How does flow minimize waste in production?

    Flow minimizes waste in the following ways:

    • Waste: Over-production. Flow improved the leadtime and thereby the need for forecasting is removed (maybe still necessary at a higher level). With short leadtime over-production is not necessary – production is “make to order”.
    • Waste: Transportation. By creating flow the need for transporting goods to/from shelves/stocks and transporting goods between processes is removed.
    • Waste: Waiting. Because processes are stabile (a condition for flow) and in time-balance, neither processes nor persons should wait for other processes.
    • Waste: Excess processing. Flow can not remove this waste. It is a management job to identify the customer needs and only meet this demand.
    • Waste: Inventory. Flow removes all need for inventory.
    • Waste: Rework or correction. Flow will not remove rework or correction, but the stabilization process before flow was created, demands that time spend on rework and correction is minimized.
    • Waste: Motion. A lot of unnecessary motion is cause by a lack of flow. With flow parts are automatically moved to the process.

    Results using preventive maintenance

    • Productivity improvement – up to 30%
    • Reduction of scrap and repair time
    • Stabile processes
    • Reduced maintenance cost
    • Reduction of general waste (waiting time)
    • Reduced time for re-planning – when maschine breakdown
    • Reduced stocks because of reduced uncertainty
    • Improved customer service

    The technical part of Lean

    To many companies Lean is all about the tools – 5S, OEE, Kanban, Kaizen etc. The tools themselves are very effective and can give significant results in a production. But many companies tend to forget, that to make the tools become a part of the company-culture, then the organisation have to have training and more training in using these tools. Too many internal/external consultants run the process using the tools when they are on the shop floor – and forget to train the foremen, planners, production technicians and operators – those who should use the tools when the consultants have moved on. On the other hand it is difficult to blame the consultants, as they are under pressure from the company management.

    Short term Lean is like “peeing in your pants”

    When companies implement Lean as mentioned above it only works for a while – the time the consultants are on the shop floor. After the consultants have left the organisation might still use the tools, but only because Lean-audits force them to do so.

    Many are disappointed with Lean

    Questionnaires show that many companies are disappointed with the effect of Lean. They are told that they can gain 30% increase in productivity, reduce stocks with 30% etc. Actually some “Lean-projects” reach very good results after a short time, but after the consultants have left the organisation gets back to normal. Maybe the productivity has increased – but not a 2-digit number.

    Allow time enough for Lean – or accept short term results

    When companies choose to boost a Lean-implementation the overall result for the company might be negative. The long term effect on productivity, capacity, stocks etc. is moderate but visible. Some workflows are changed, some change over times are reduced etc. But at the same time employees might be stressed and irritated with the quick change. They have properly not be involved in the decision process at all and only feel that something has been change “for the sake of the company”. Yes maybe there are some results for the company, but if the consultants have had the time to involve the operators, they might also have changed to the better for the operators.
    A more long term objective and more involvement will for sure give a better understanding for the organisation. Take a machine (bottleneck) where OEE was continuously measured when the consultants where present. After they have left the operators do not see “why” – and soon the OEE-measure has stopped. If the operators where trained in etc. OEE the measure would have continued and the results would have been long term!

    “Allow time enough for Lean – and remember change management!”

    By Mikkel Smith
    Flexkom – Download Lean tools