Monday, December 13, 2010

Paper Airplane Lean Simulation - How to fold paper airplanes the Lean way

Paper Airplane Lean Simulation

This video series shows the differences between production methods, push vs pull, using something everyone is familiar with: Folding Paper Airplanes.

An inexpensive and easy lean simulation requiring only simple office supplies, it's perfect for your training needs. The videos describe everything in enough detail to facilitate your own lean game with paper airplanes.

With a historical approach, each run of the game simulates a different production technique:

  1. Craft Production
  2. Mass Production
  3. Lean Production
This first video shows two runs of the simulation, through craft production and subsequent mass production.




The commentary throughout the video provides excellent information about the roots and drawbacks of the various production methods.

While craft producers pride themselves on their high quality and attention to detail, the video explains the reality of the poor quality of craft production. As well, craft production requires a large investment in training, since each worker has to know the entire process.

Next, mass production improves the process by reducing unit cost and improving quality, but the drive to efficiency gains leads to overproduction in each process.

The second video shows the final run of the simulation, illustrating four lean production concepts:

  1. Quality at the source
  2. Level loading
  3. Pull 
  4. Pace
By using kanban, work in process is reduced:





Further runs introduce model variation, using different coloured pieces of paper, as well as a discussion of the benefits of a U-shaped cell.

This looks like an easy lean game to set-up and play. It clearly shows the benefits of lean manufacturing techniques and how to limit work in process in a simple way. 

Even without planning to play or facilitate the game, the videos are worthwhile to watch, as you can see the simulation unfold and the effects of the different production methods.


These Lean Paper Airplane Simulation Videos are created by the folks at simpleximprovement.com. They also have many other lean training videos dealing with other lean concepts like waste, heijunka and value stream mapping.

See many more games and simulations in my list of Lean Games!

8 comments:

  1. The idea is ancient (st line/ fwd flow) but the execution is brilliant

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great simulation! I am impressed with it's simplicity.

    Jess Reyes
    Caterpillar Inc

    ReplyDelete
  3. Simpler is easier and faster to run. Easy to show the basic lean concepts, like single piece flow.
    When you want to teach more advanced lean ideas like kanban or heijunka, you need a more complex game.

    Thanks for commenting!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Where can I find the instructions to build the plane?

    Thanks in advance

    Niels Leynen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Niels,
      I don't have the instructions for folding the exact airplane in the simulation above, but you may be interested in the following paper airplane simulation, for which I did create some instructions.
      Lean Paper Airplane Simulation

      The instructions for that one can be found here: Lean Paper Airplane Simulation Instructions

      Thanks for reading and I hope you find something you can use!

      Delete
    2. Hi Martin

      Thanks for your help. This is very useful for me.

      Niels Leynen

      Delete
  5. This video series shows the differences between production methods, push vs pull, using something everyone is familiar with: Folding Paper Airplanes. This video series shows the differences between production methods, push vs pull, using something everyone is familiar with: Folding Paper Airplanes.

    ReplyDelete