Showing posts with label video. Show all posts
Showing posts with label video. Show all posts

Monday, May 14, 2012

Lean Manufacturing Video Example - Sheet Metal Forming

This lean sheet metal forming video comes from the creators of the Napkin Project video. The video below shows a simple sheet metal forming operation from start to finish. There are three processes in this lean work cell. Instead of banging out parts at each step, loading boxes into WIP storage and moving them to the next process, the work cell follows a single piece flow, using conveyors to link the processes and creating a finished part every 60 seconds.

Read my analysis below the video.

The first operation is a blanking machine. No operator is required here as each blank gets automatically dropped onto a conveyor and sent to the next operation.

The next operator deburrs the part, adds some components and sends it along to the next operation.

The final operator forms the part and does a complete inspection with a poke-yoke check fixture.

By linking the processes, the manufacturer has reduced internal WIP to almost zero and improved the overall cycle time from order to delivery.

Using conveyors is a great way to link your processes if it's cost prohibitive to move machines. However, conveyors are typically frowned upon in a lean implementation. Conveyors create islands where it becomes impossible to share work. If these operators were working beside each other, the work cell could become more flexible if customer demand changes. If the demand was lower, you could run with one person, or if demand increased you could add a third person. With conveyors creating two islands, you are trapping the labour and reducing opportunities for kaizen activities.

Obviously, the manufacturer has taken an existing batch process, moved to single piece flow and seen tremendous results. The benefits are clear. Reduced inventory and faster delivery times. This alone will make any manufacturer more competitive. But lean doesn't stop here. Any process can be optimized and, when cost and space allows, moving to a flexible work cell is the logical next step.

What do you think? Have you used conveyors to link machines? When does it make sense and when do we throw them away?

I've added this video to my ever growing list of free lean videos.

Monday, April 30, 2012

McDonald's Lean Food Preparation System - Made for You

I have a guilty pleasure. I enjoy the occasional McDonald's cheeseburger. I have no qualms admitting it. Sometimes I just have a craving that needs to be satisfied. And McDonald's fits the bill.

Now, I've never worked at McDonald's, but I've heard stories. With over 33,000 locations worldwide, McDonald's needs a system to ensure they deliver standard products across their franchises at a fast food pace. If you want to learn standard work, a McDonald's restaurant is a good place to start.

The video below illustrates McDonald's "Made for You" kitchen system. I remember as a teenager the trick of ordering a sandwich with no pickles, just so you could ensure that it would be made fresh. By forcing the kitchen to make a special order, you would bypass the warming oven lined up with Big Macs ready to go.

Those days are over!

In the "Made for You" kitchen, there are no more warming trays. Each sandwich is prepared when the order is received from the customer. Yes, McDonald's sandwiches are lean! This lean kitchen production system targets under 90 seconds from order to delivery and that includes 11 seconds of waiting for the super fast toaster!

Of course, you might wonder how meat can be grilled in under 90 seconds. And you would be right to be a little suspicious, since they have diverted the inventory from Finished Goods to WIP. Instead of holding finished sandwiches under a heat lamp, they prepare the meat only a little bit in advance. The meat is kept in special "universal holding cabinets" that have been engineered to ensure the meat is kept at the correct temperature with minimal moisture lost.

With customers demanding a larger menu with more variety, McDonald's has met the challenge with the it's "Made for You" kitchen system. Sure, it's still fast food. But speed is a major one of their customers' requirements. I'm not here to judge whether you should or shouldn't eat at McDonald's. It's still a free country. Eat where you like.

But if you're wondering how McDonald's can deliver a hot Quarter Pounder with cheese into your hand with no onions and extra ketchup in under 60 seconds, you have to watch this video!

Unfortunately, this video is no longer available..

But I found another video, just like it.. I think it's the same one.

Here's a different video about the McDonalds "Made For You" implementation. Not quite the same thing, but there's a few additional tips here on change implementation in a large business.

I've added this video to my monster list of free lean videos.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Speed Up Your Quote Process - The Napkin Project

Ever wonder why it takes so long to come up with a quote? Where exactly do the sales figures come from? And the lead time? Who's analyzing the schedule to determine the lead time?

The video below gives you an in depth look at a unique quotation process. Manufacturing lead time, up front engineering and the final pricing are all covered in this clearly defined process. The sales team at DuFresne Manufacturing has revealed their secrets in outperforming the competition.

Take a quick look at the video and leave your feedback in the comments. How does your quotation procedure compare?

If the embedded video doesn't work, you can watch it on youtube at:

I've added this post to my list of free lean videos. It might fit in perfectly with a lean sales team kaizen event! :)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Lean Bucket Brigade Game

Three operators, five stations. At first glance the video below looked like a simple lean assembly line simulation. But after watching the video for a few seconds, I noticed something very interesting. Different operators were working at the same station depending on how far along the next operator was in the operation.

The video makers call this phenomenon a bucket brigade!

What exactly is a bucket brigade?

A bucket brigade is essentially a human chain used to transport something. The origins of this chain lie in fire fighting. Before pumps and fire hydrants, fires were put out with water from a bucket. Since you need more than one bucket of water to put out a large fire, buckets of water were handed from the person to person along a chain from the water source to the fire. Everyone worked together to get these buckets to the fire and to get the empty buckets back to the pond to be filled up.

You still see examples of this today, whenever workers are handling heavy objects. Volunteers putting up sandbag walls to protect against flooding often use this bucket brigade method to pass sandbags from the truck to the wall. Even roof installers use a bucket brigade to unload heavy shingles from a truck or skid.

So how does a bucket brigade work in production?

As you can see from the simple video below, when the last operator finishes an order or part, he walks to the next operator up the line and takes over. After the hand-off, this next operator does the same thing, going up the line to meet the first operator. The first operator then goes back to the beginning and starts a new order.

Simple, yet why would you use a bucket brigade?

This method is useful when you have unbalanced workflow. If one operator takes longer, the next one can pick up the slack, maintaining a constant pace. You don't have to worry about exhaustive time and motion studies. A bucket brigade naturally balances itself.

A bucket brigade is a flexible workcell. Without too much up front analysis effort, different numbers of operators can run the process. If the takt time is lower due to a drop in customer demand, the labour can be fluctuated to match.

Some consider when choosing a bucket brigade method of production. The workers must be aligned from slowest to fastest with the slowest at the front. This ensures that they do not catch up with each other and get blocked. Also, there must be enough work between the operators to ensure a clean hand-off.

Has anyone else used a bucket brigade method in their processes? Is there an efficiency loss with extra walking and hand off fumbling?

Bucket Brigade Video:

I've added this video to my list of free lean training videos, although it would also fit in well with my list of lean simulations, so I've added it there as well!

Monday, April 9, 2012

5S Before and After Pictures

Here's a great video if you're looking for 5S before and after pictures. Also highly relevant if you are wondering how to conduct a kaizen event. It's a fairly long video, almost 10 minutes, so give yourself a bit of time to digest the info.

The first few minutes shows the before situation. Lots of embarrassing pictures here, but I don't like to point fingers since I'm sure we are have areas like this in our own plants. Plenty of examples of things not having standard homes. Boxes on top of cabinets, under desks, and on top of other boxes. Left over scraps in piles.

As the participants clean up, you'll see the junk yard created outside where their lugging the unwanted items. The pile just keeps getting bigger.

5S isn't just about cleaning up, though. Aside from the 5S before and after pictures, there's some insightful comments during the closing session (start at 7:13 in the video).

  • Goal was to increase productivity in their Paint area.
  • Reduced work in process.
  • Reduced square footage usage.
  • Generated a whole wall of Post-its identifying problems.
  • Organizing the work space made things easier to find.
  • Lines on the floor to standardize the floor space.
  • Arrows on the flow indicate flow.
Hopefully,  they were able to standardize and sustain. Check out the video below:

I've added this video to my collection of free lean videos.

If you're interested in a 5S training game, check out the 5S Number Game.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Lean In a Tool and Die Shop

Can you make Lean work with low volume, high complexity processes? I have to admit, lean is easy to implement when you have a high volume process. Henry Ford linked his processes back in the early 1900's, creating today's automotive assembly lines and selling Model T's like there was no tomorrow. Volume definitely helps create flow.

Toyota's roots were in a low volume environment, namely Japan. The Japanese automotive market was and still is significantly smaller than the North American market. And so Japanese manufacturing spawned the lean hallmarks of small lots and reduced inventory.

So what happens when you take lean to the extreme? When you have a shop that only produces one of each item?

The video below shows how one tool and die shop implemented lean. A die shop makes large tools for stamping presses. They face the ultimate cost pressures as more and more of their customers look to China to get their tools made at half the cost.

According to the video, they used lean to grow their main advantage over their Chinese competitors, lead time. It takes four weeks to ship a large steel tool from China. And if a North American tool shop can improve their lead time even more, this advantage grows tremendously.

Some lean techniques mentioned in the video include workplace organization, standardization and layered process audits. Although each tool is unique, the process for making the parts for these tools is not. These work centers can be standardized and waste reduced.

The whole facility was reorganized to improve the flow between the processes. By reducing waste of movement and wait times, the overall lead time for each tool is reduced. Facility flow is important for any manufacturing process, even if you are making one-off items. Value stream mapping is a great tool for identifying the flow through the plant.

In the video, they mentioned spending half a million dollars on training, even forcing every manager to read the The Toyota Way! But they got all their money back and more after implementing lean techniques.

Here's the video:

Do you have any experience with Lean in a tool and die shop? What specific tools besides 5S can be used to improve flow in a low volume environment?

Monday, March 12, 2012

GE Lean Video? General Electric Motivates You!

Here's a little motivational lean video from GE. Yes, the same General Electric that outsourced most of their manufacturing to low wage countries. The guys at Evolving Excellence have been following GE's lean and non-lean escapades for quite some time.

Just last week, Kevin Meyer posted again about General Electric "reshoring" appliance manufacturing back to North America. It seems GE may have learned it's lesson and come back to where the customer's are. Or perhaps it's a billion dollars spent on public relations?

In any case, the video, which was fittingly released just after the above article, does say some positive things about lean. In fact it really pumps you up!

General Electric is a massive company and naturally, they have a massive marketing budget. . . with money to spend on professional quality video. Whether you believe that GE is on the forefront of lean (as they claim) or late to the party, they sure know how to make it sound good!

A few choice quotes from the video:
Lean manufacturing is a holistic approach to making things, from concept to completion. 
Lean manufacturing makes us more competitive than ever before. 
Looking at the video, you can see some signs of lean. Flow racks, single piece flow, simple tools and fixturing, visual flow charting. Hopefully, they'll see some value in their investment and continue to push lean throughout the whole GE organization.

I dare you to watch this video without getting excited about lean manufacturing!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Lean Production Techniques - Lockheed's F-35 Factory

I always like seeing different manufacturing facilities. It's interesting to view a factory and try to identify lean production techniques.

Not so long ago, I posted a video showing Boeing's 737 moving assembly line.  While Boeing's 737 production appears to be a lean success story, they've been building versions of this plane since the 1970's. I should hope they've been able to fine tune the process by now. With the newer launch of the 787 Dreamliner, Boeing fell into cost overruns and major schedule slippages. There's no doubt they use lean assembly techniques, as shown in the truly amazing video, but with an extremely complicated overseas supply chain contributing to their problems, Boeing has been exposed to be considerably non-lean logistically.

So how does Lockheed compare?

The F-35 has been making headlines due to the high cost and repeated schedule delays. Sounds familiar. How is Lockheed making this plane? Are they using lean production techniques or is this thing glued together by hand? 

The video below shows a brief overview of F-35 production. While I don't clearly see a moving assembly line like in the Boeing video, the Lockheed goal of one F-35 per day is impossible without it. According to this article, Lockheed will be using a moving production line for a military aircraft for the first time since World War 2. In fact, they cannot meet their goal of one airplane a day without the line moving 51 feet per day. This production rate should be achieved in 2016 or later. Right now, they are still ramping up, with a production rate of 4 per month.

Are lean production techniques bringing costs down in the aerospace industry? At a cost of over $200 million each, the F-35 seems to be a hard pill to swallow, but costs are actually in line with other aircraft (Eurofighter). Would it cost more without lean?

F-35 production video below:

F-35 Manufacturing from on Vimeo.

Check out my list of free lean videos for more videos like this!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Office 5S Video - How far do you go?

I dragged this office 5S video out of the youtube archives. The Wall Street Journal does an expose on office 5S, the pros and cons. Named, "Cluttered Cubicles Go Lean with 5S Rules," the video focuses on the clean up aspect of 5S and the strict enforcement by the 5S police.

Is Office 5S Even Necessary?

Coming from a manufacturing background, my focus has always been on the value added processes on the shop floor. Of course, I try to set an example by keeping my own work space clean, but waste that hits the bottom line is generally found in the factory. 5S in the office is often an after thought and sometimes a bit of a humorous activity!

When your value added activity is the office, then 5S is a bit more important. If you work in a bank, an insurance office or some other kind of transactional environment, and your bread and butter is made by shuffling papers around, then you better make sure you shuffle efficiently!

Just remember that the less shuffling you do, the more waste is eliminated. And proper office 5S can help.

Contrary to the Wall Street Journal's video below, office 5S doesn't just mean labeling a spot for a stapler and hanging your plants with proper clips (not staples). You don't want to drive your coworkers crazy!

Identify the Office Value Stream

In the office it's a bit more difficult to see where the value stream is, compared to a manufacturing floor. Many transactional processes are hidden in computer software and emails. However, it's important to identify the value stream, so you can focus your 5S efforts here. If a stapler is critical to your process, it might make sense to label it. But more likely your stapler is a small part of the value you present to your customer.

Consider highlighting key items like hand-offs, approvals, work in process, time sensitive material etc. These are the things that can improve your process.

 A clean office can improve morale, productivity and it looks good to your customer. But 5S is not about a pristine office. 5S is about making problems visible. When you highlight the critical parts of your process and make them visible using the 5S methodology (Sort, Set-in-Order, Shine, Standardize and Sustain) then you'll  be able to see at a glance when your process is deviating and take steps to address it.

Make your problems visible, so you can fix them!

A great training game to introduce the basic 5S concepts to your office is the 5S Numbers Game.

That being said, take a look at the video. What do you think is good 5S behavior and what do you think is taking 5S too far? I'd love to hear your comments!

I've added this video to my monster list of free lean training videos!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Toyota University Lean Video

Here's an interesting simulation from Toyota University. Having been in the "lean business" since before the term lean was coined, Toyota has developed all kinds of lean or TPS simulations over the years for internal training. Occasionally the "Toyota University" is opened up to outsiders, but mostly this is an in-house training centre used by Toyota and their suppliers.

This video shows one of the lean training simulations developed by the experts at Toyota. As you can see, the game uses toy car manufacturing (what a surprise!) to illustrate pull production. Different coloured kanban locations show which type of car is required.

You can see the last guy with the stop watch taking a car at specific intervals from the coloured locations. He is the customer. When the car is taken, the coloured spot is replenished with a car from upstream. This triggers the fabricators to build another one of that colour. A classic kanban set-up!

Has anyone had any experience playing this particular game? Has anyone "graduated" from Toyota University? Add your opinion to the comments below!

Toyota University Simulation Video:

 I've added this video to my list of lean games and simulations!

Please feel free to check out the following additional resources,

Monday, January 16, 2012

Single Piece Flow vs. Batch Production - Video

Single Piece Flow vs Batch Production

Most lean games and simulations run in phases, contrasting the traditional batch production techniques with lean single piece flow processes. Whether you use paper airplanes or pennies, these games are perfect for really showing people the differences. When you experience single piece flow in a hands on activity, it's easier to internalize the key parts, so it will come back to you when you're working on your own projects.

For those times you don't have the time or space to run a full-fledged game, however, nothing beats video. Sure, you can describe single piece flow by comparing Subway sandwiches to a batch barbecue party. Examples help to hammer the point home. But many people are visual learners and need to see for themselves.

The video below shows the primary benefit of single piece flow using a simple, graphical illustration. Single piece flow shortens the lead time. It's as simple as that. You can show this with a lean game and get your teams to compete against each other.

Or you can show this 47 second video! In "real time", you can see how quickly the customer receives their order. You can see the reduction in inventory. You can see less work in process.

And you can see the order fulfilled in 29 seconds vs 60. Half the time! Imagine how much time you save with a longer chain of processes.

Because the video's so short, you can easily work it into your session, between phases of a lean game or after a more intensive sit and listen session.

Just remember that when you shorten your lead time, you become more flexible. And in these uncertain economic times, who wouldn't value flexibility over heaps of inventory.

I've added this video to my list of lean training videos. Check it out and feel free to comment on your favourites!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Lean in Education - The kids are alright!

Lean in education? It's about time!

I found a series of great videos about Lean recently. They were made by students from a grade 7 and 8 class for their lean project.  I'm not exactly sure what I like most about these videos. Is it that someone is teaching Lean in school? Or maybe it's because these kids seem to understand it so easily. Not only is it a good learning experience for the kids, but they're actually coming up with small improvements to help their school. It's a win win.

In my internet browsing, I haven't found too many examples of Lean in education. Of course, every kindergarten teacher knows how to label their boxes so toys get put back properly. And I'm sure some large school systems are using versions of lean for optimizing their educational methods. But this is the first example I've found of lean actually being taught in the classroom.

As a project based activity, the children get to work on their own process improvement. Some children chose to focus on their own space, while others worked on systems within the school itself. They're learning valuable skills, from from conception of the ideas, problem solving, right up to the presentation of the project on video. I wish I could have done something like this while I was in school!

And they know their stuff! Visual controls, waste reduction, 5S and organization, standard work and checklists. It's all there. A perfect learning opportunity for them and for us.

Here's one of the projects focused on improving a bedroom work area. Not just tidying up, this guy's thinking about reducing motion, waste and 5S!

Improving the school is another added bonus. Every lean initiative has a focus, not just training. The projects done in the school seem to help out a little bit here and there. Not only are the children learning valuable skills, the school is gaining improvements. With all these small kaizens going on, the school culture is bound to change and improvements will continue outside the curriculum.

Here's another interesting project for organizing the school's PE room:

The next one shows a standard work developed for cleaning the class microwave:

There's a whole bunch more of these, so check out the CcsProductions7and8's youtube channel for all the videos!

So, what do you think? Is it time to introduce lean into the standard education curriculum? 

I've added this to my huge list of free lean videos, since we can all learn something from these! 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

5S Process Tip - The Easiest Way to Dispose of Red Tagged Items

The first step in the 5S process is to "Sort." This is simple. Take whatever you don't need and remove it from the work area. Only the tools necessary for the job remain.

The next steps in the 5S process are to "Set-in-Order" and "Shine." Soon your work cell will be lean and clean. But wait! Before you get there, you need to get rid of the items you took out of the area.

Using the red tag process, items are dutifully tagged, tracked and ultimately reused somewhere else, or trashed. But there are always some obviously useless items that don't need tagging. They will go straight to the garbage. Unless it is sensitive and confidential material, then it needs to be delicately removed, monitored, shredded and disposed. You can pay companies big bucks to come and shred all your stuff.

Or you can improve the 5S process with this elegant solution for disposing of sensitive material.

5S Process Tip: Blow it to Smithereens!

Please note: Using this method may make the "Shine" phase a little more cumbersome.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Single Piece Flow vs Batch Production - Stuffing Envelopes

When you have only one person in a work cell, what are the benefits of single piece flow? What's the difference between running in batch mode, or running one piece at a time? There's no inventory to build up between operations, so is there a benefit?

The video below shows a simple operation, stuffing envelopes, done with one person. You can compare the single piece flow version with the batch version, since they are being produced side by side.

Although there are four people in the video, they're working independently, so there's really only two processes to compare. On the right, the participants are stuffing envelopes one at a time, finishing each one completely before starting the next envelope.

The people on the left are batching the envelopes. First folding all the papers, then putting them in the envelopes, and then sealing them all.

You can immediately see the difference, with the "one at a time" process producing finished envelopes earlier. There's a huge benefit to the customer, since the lead time to delivery is significantly faster.

This is a simple exercise to perform in a training session using items commonly found in any office.

Unfortunately, this video has disappeared from youtube...

You can see more envelope stuffing games here.

Don't forget to tell everyone about yourself on my introduction page!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Value Stream Mapping - Current State vs Future State

Here's a Value Stream Mapping video example from the fictional "Naples Sailboat Company." You may remember the previous video I posted where they introduced kanban using simple plastic sailboats. In this video, the process is outlined with a current state Value Stream Map.

Using sticky notes and a whiteboard is an interesting method for value stream mapping. I guess you can move things around easier when you create your future state map. I prefer good old paper, since I get to keep a physical record of the map when we're done.

The video is a good example of how to walk through a process, highlighting where inventory is stored and how the information flows.

Current State Value Stream Map:

I like seeing before and after videos. Instead of just highlighting a problem, they usually give you a solution as well. In this case, we get to see an improved value stream map.

Future State Value Stream Map:

If you liked these videos, make sure you check out my huge compilation of lean videos.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Lean Goes Clay

I commissioned this fun little video to celebrate my purchase of a real domain name. Yes. is live, so update your links.

The clay people demonstrate some key lean principles, including 5S and single piece flow. And it's really short, so more of an entertaining interlude than a training tool. I'm aware of the irony of promoting flow with a "stop" motion video. Ha.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Value Stream Mapping - A 5 Part Video Series

Continuing the Value Stream Mapping theme, here's a 5 part video series on value stream mapping from Simplex Improvement. You may remember Simplex Improvement as the creator of the peanut butter and banana Standard Work video.

This Value Stream Mapping video series brings the same kind of extensive coverage and interesting analogies. Each of the five video sections is almost 9 minutes long, so there's plenty of information here, yet bite-size pieces to watch in multiple sittings.

Introducing value stream mapping, the first video talks primarily about the purpose of doing a value stream map. Comparing the process to a jigsaw puzzle, the value stream map is the picture on the puzzle box. When putting a jigsaw puzzle together, you need to focus on the complete picture to determine where the individual pieces fit in. Otherwise you have no targeted approach and your randomly trying to fit pieces together. A recipe for failure.

It's a great analogy. Unless you're putting together sky pieces, then good luck!

As well, we get to learn about the downfalls of the "Peanut Butter Spread" strategy, where instead of focusing our lean efforts on one particular value stream, we try to spread our efforts over the whole plant, making only marginal improvements that may not stick. I love these analogies, since they're easy to remember when teaching lean.

I've embedded the first video in the series below. When the video's completed, you can click to get to the next one in the series. Or head on over to Simplex Improvement to see them all.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

What is a Value Stream?

In my last post, How to Read a Value Stream Map, I didn't elaborate too much on what a Value Stream actually was. Your manufacturing or business process is a value stream. Your mailman delivering mail is a part a value stream. Any process that delivers value to the customer is a value stream.

Before looking at a value stream map, everyone needs to be clear about what a value stream is. This short and simple video does the job. It clearly describes the value stream as all the activities involved in bringing product to your customer, and then focuses on the next step: Identifying what adds value and what's waste.

The best part about this video is the animated bar showing the value stream. Some portions are green (they add value) and some are red (waste). As the narrator describes waste, the red bars are removed and the bar shrinks down, reducing lead time and cost.

Very smooth and clever animation. I feel like I'm watching my hard drive being defragged (does anyone still do that and who else besides me would get exited about that..).

At less than a minute, this video is a perfect intro to your value stream mapping session. Take a quick look and tell me what you think!


 I've added this video to my free list of lean training videos. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Video: How to Read a Value Stream Map

Value Stream Mapping is a lean tool that's used a lot at the beginning of larger projects. Many books have been written on the subject, including the big one by LEI's John Shook: Learning to See

Value Stream Mapping shifts the improvement focus from shop level kaizen activities, to larger, game-changing projects. VSM accomplishes this by looking at the entire value stream; the process from start to finish.

Generally, after looking at a big picture of all the processes, it's clear that the entire value stream could be improved. Value stream mapping will highlight how your processes are linked, how long it takes, where the inventory is and how the information travels.

If your stream doesn't flow, there's little value.  

At the end of a value stream mapping session, you'll have a handy one page document, the map. Usually this one pager is quite large and may consist of many pages taped together to form one page, but the entire stream is represented on one diagram. This picture generally has some funny symbols and conventions, which may be difficult to interpret for the uninitiated. Naturally, a value stream map is the perfect tool to initiate the masses.

The embedded video below is a perfect starting point for understanding the basics of a Value Stream Map, namely, how to read it.  Baby steps. Before you can write, you need to learn to read!

The video explains how a typical VSM is written, with process flowing left to right and information traveling right to left. They do skip over the timing aspect on the bottom, which I feel is an important part of value stream mapping, but perhaps that is a lesson saved for the advanced class.

Thanks to João Francisco who posted this video on his blog. For a lean game featuring value stream mapping, check out The Pizza Game!

I've added this video to my growing list of free lean videos!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Backpacks or Worksacks, CiloGear makes them the Lean way.

Interesting video showing the assembly of CiloGear backpacks. I guess technically they're called worksacks, but no matter what you call the product, you can definitely call the company Lean. They work out of a tiny work space that is smaller than the CEO's office of most major corporations.

It's a great example of what a small shop can do with the Toyota Production System. There's no fancy technology or sophisticated automation here. Yet cilogear assembles their packs to order, holding no finished goods inventory.

CiloGear is based in Portland, Oregon. From their website:
We are a lean manufacturer: we build packs when ordered. This doesn't mean custom, this means that we manufacture based on demand. "In Stock" means that we have all of the sub assemblies of the pack. Depending on how many packs we've got in the production queue, production time for an order can range from one day to three weeks.
When a pack is ordered, the order will trigger the system, a fancy dry-erase whiteboard. Each order has it's own box with a kanban card. The order picker draws parts from the supermarket (cardboard boxes). Some packs have over 300 components. When a component runs our, the kanban card is put into an empty box triggering replenishment.

Once all the components for the order are kitted in the box, the order is sent to assembly, a small room, where the pieces are stitched together into a backpack.

The assembled box is sent to final QA and for packing and shipping. A simple kanban system that just works.

No finished goods inventory!

Although this simple system works for a low volume, niche manufacturer making high end products,  the process can easily be scaled up if necessary, due to the solid base that their kanban system provides. A little 5S in the office might help, but it's clear that the system is visual and working for them.

Take a look.

Graham Gives Kyle a Tour of CiloGear from CiloGear on Vimeo.

This post has been added to my growing list of Lean videos.