The Lean CEO newsletter is published monthly to over 40,000 subscribers. Learn more or subscribe here.
Inside Lean CEO
Copyright © 2012 Lean CEO.
From the Editor
Welcome to the Lean CEO newsletter!
This month's feature article is by regular contributor Bill Waddell, reinforcing one of the core concepts of lean: reducing time and inventory.
The featured book is the second edition of Gemba Kaizen by Masaaki Imai. You might want to check out a section beginning on page 105 - the story of how visual controls helped turn around a company run by yours truly!
Gemba Academy has been adding to its portfolio of over 250 lean training videos by also offering a series of free webinars. The next webinar is on June 18th by Mark Hamel and is the second part of "Kaizen: From System to Principle-Driven." More info.
Finally, on a somewhat personal note, congratulations to Dave Hogg for receiving the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal for promoting lean manufacturing. I met Dave through AME when I was first starting my lean journey many, many years ago and he has been a constant mentor, source of encouragement, and friend.
Begging for Lean Thinking
By Bill Waddell
I don't plan this stuff - it just happens, but this seems to be airline lean week. Any doubt about how badly the airlines need lean thinking has to be cleared up by this article from the Wall Street Journal about the airlines.
"Airlines began aggressively padding schedules in 2008 and 2009 so that even late flights technically arrive on time." Scheduling a flight to take 2 hours and 15 minutes even though you know it will only take two hours sounds a whole lot like building two weeks of lead time into a manufacturing production schedule to increase the likelihood of shipping on time even though it really only takes a day to make something.
Time and inventory are just two sides of the same coin - pouring more inventory into the factory to compensate for problems just adds to the overhead expense, degrades quality and makes the underlying problems nigh unto impossible to solve. Seems as if extending flight times is exactly the same thing - with exactly the same results:
"You can do all sorts of things to make up for poor performance," said Robert Isom, chief operating officer at US Airways, referring to padded schedules. "But you sacrifice efficiency, the passenger experience, the employee experience and profits."
Lean folks know well the water and rocks analogy in manufacturing:
Inventory is the water in the stream, while the rocks are all of the problems creating excess costs, poor quality and missed deliveries. Old school thinking was to make sure there was always enough water to keep things flowing without having the rocks disrupt flow. MRP, in fact, was created specifically to be a tool to make sure there was always enough water to make problems appear to be invisible.
Gemba Kaizen, 2nd Ed.
By Masaaki Imai
Written by Masaaki Imai, pioneer of modern business operational excellence and founder of the Kaizen Institute, Gemba Kaizen, Second Edition is an in-depth revision of this renowned, best-selling work. The book reveals how to implement cost-effective, incremental improvements in your most critical business processes. To thrive in today's competitive global economy, organizations need to operate more effectively and profitably than ever before. Developing problem solvers, increasing productivity, improving quality, and reducing waste are essential success factors. Proven strategies for achieving these goals are included in this pioneering guide.
The next free webinar is on June 18th by Mark Hamel and is the second part of "Kaizen: From System to Principle-Driven." More info.
Key Upcoming Events
Upcoming events that must be on your calendar:
Lean CEO maintains a comprehensive list of hundreds of upcoming events and workshops.
Evolving Excellence Blog
Join over 10,000 readers who get their daily dose of blunt manufacturing and business reality by subscribing to the Evolving Excellence blog!
Recent posts in the Evolving Excellence blog include:
The 10,000 members of the Lean CEO LinkedIn Group are discussing a variety of topics including:
Lean-oriented news stories from the past month.