May 16, 2013

Steel Stories: Strange and Innovative Things We’ve Seen While Transitioning Metals Producers to Lean

Over the past 25 years we’ve worked with seven different metal producers:   five steel, one powdered metals, and one aluminum. We’ve worked with Sheet, Strip, Plate, Rod, Wire, Shapes, and Pipe; Carbon, Stainless, Specialty, and Silicon Steels; Coated, Painted; […]

January 4, 2013

Smoothing Customer Demand: Lean Manufacturing Topic of the Day

Variability of demand causes manufacturers a myriad of problems:   Idle time, and overtime;   excess inventory, missed deliveries, and missed sales; idle equipment and overloaded equipment; and the huge hidden cost of complexity. In a previous posts we discussed […]

September 5, 2012

Lean Manufacturing Topic of the Day: From “Make to Stock” to “Make to Order”

A “Make to Stock” company carries finished goods inventory in anticipation of an order.   Most such make-to-stock companies promise “off the shelf” shipment: typically either “same day” or “next day.” The problem, of course, is guessing what, and how […]

July 8, 2012

Lean Manufacturing Topic of the day: The Rubber Factory

How to Create Flexible Capacity “Our biggest problem is that our customers don’t read our forecasts!” said the VP of Operations. “We plan on them ordering 100 units, and they order 300.   The next month, we plan on 200 […]

April 25, 2012

Lean Manufacturing Topic of the Day: The High Cost of Complexity

We were dealing with a large, integrated, steel mill when we put together the following presentation for their management team.  It discusses, via example, the tremendous cost, quality, and delivery burden caused by complexity, as well as how “Lean Manufacturing” […]

February 29, 2012

Lean Manufacturing Topic of the Day: Making the Case for Multiple Shifts

Utilizing More of the Available Hours OK, so we’re a one-shift, five days / week, operation.  What’s wrong with that? Well, nothing is WRONG with that shift pattern.  But, changing to a multi-shift crewing pattern might offer some significant operating […]

December 6, 2011

Lean Manufacturing Topic of the Day: Lean Manufacturing and Government Contracts

Unique Lean Challenges and Opportunities for Government Contractors Being a supplier to the government and/or aerospace industries is not without its challenges, most of which involve extensive administrative, accounting, and tracking requirements.  Dealing with “difficult” bureaucracies, multiple regulations and agencies, […]

May 10, 2011

Lean Manufacturing Topic of the Day:  Facility Considerations for Lean Manufacturing

How to Build New, or Modify Your Old Plant to Optimize Lean Manufacturing The obvious first question is “Do we really need a new facility” i.e. have we fully utilized the current space? Are we using all available hours (24×7)? […]

April 17, 2011

Lean Manufacturing Topic of the Day:  The Hidden Costs of Procurement

Another look at the Make / Buy decision process? Lean Manufacturing defines “Value Adding” activities as those that do, in fact, add value to the final product.  They typically change the form, fit, or function of the product.  They are […]

April 8, 2011

Lean Manufacturing Topic of the Day:  How to Optimize Your Entire Plant

Optimize Your Entire Plant Attempting to optimize each operation actually sub-optimizes the whole In the early 1900’s Henry Ford perfected the assembly line.  Since that time, Toyota has further enhanced the concept through the use of a “pull” philosophy, essentially […]

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