Lean Manufacturing Blog by Jay Arthur
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HealthLeaders Printing Problem

Imagine my surprise when I got to page 42 of the January, 2011 issue of HealthLeaders magazine and discovered that pages 43-50 were upside-down and reversed (page 50 was next to page 42).

I wouldn’t want to be the printer who has to pay the magazine a credit for that mistake.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Manufacturing, Six Sigma.

Motorola Citrus not talking to email

I recently upgraded from a simple cell phone to the Motorola Citrus. Imagine my surprise when, after hours of fiddling with the thing, I just couldn’t get it to take the POP and SMTP servers.

Using OTHER, I input my account, but when I changed the pop servers from my website name, qimacros.com to the pop.1and1.com email servers, it failed to connect and asked if my email uses POP. When I clicked POP, it had reset the servers to my website naame: pop.qimacros.com.

As a software geek, I knew this had to be a software problem. I tried to see if there was a software upgrade for the phone.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Manufacturing, Six Sigma.

Toyota Recall

With all the hype about Toyota’s recall, I think the media are overlooking a few key points.

1. The CEO of Toyota publically apologized for the safety issues and went to work on resolving them.

I haven’t heard the CEO of AIG (or any of the other financial institutions) apologize for driving us into the Great Recession. They’re still taking billions in bonuses for their stupidity.

2. Based on their culture, Toyota will make sure these mistakes never happen again. They will build it into their design process using something like failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA) to mistake proof these elements of their design.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Manufacturing, Six Sigma.

Lean Six Sigma for Manufacturing?

In Chris Anderson’s new book, FREE, he that almost 30 years ago (1981), the Fortune 100 companies all made something. Now, only 32 do. The other 68 traffic in ideas.

While Lean Six Sigma developed to help manufacturing, it has failed to keep up with the times. It’s still mired in the manufacturing model of reality. What are the new opportunities for Lean Six Sigma?

  • Back office operations like orders, invoicing, purchasing, and payments.
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Information Technologies

Anderson argues that much of the economy no longer produces atoms (i.e., products) but manages bits and bytes of information (e.g, Google, Wikipedia).

Posted by Jay Arthur in Lean, Manufacturing, Six Sigma.

Lockheed F-22 Fighter Repair Problems

The Washington Post reported that mean time between critical failures in the F-22 is only 1.7 hours pushing it’s cost fly to $44,000 per hour. On average, the Post reports, only 55% of the fleet is available to fulfill missions.

In Six Sigma terms, that’s a 45% defect rate or less than two sigma.

The 4-50 Rule: The most common cause of maintenance problems: the radar-absorbing skin is vulnerable to rain and abrasion. Rain and abrasion seem like things that should have come out in a failure modes and effects analysis somewhere along the line.

What are the root causes of this problem?

Posted by Jay Arthur in Manufacturing, Six Sigma.

Create Your Own Stimulus Plan

According to the July-August 2009 Harvard Business Review survey (How Bleak is the Landscape?):

  • 27 percent of businesses are streamlining product or service offerings
  • 34 percent are reengineering processes
  • 37 percent are improving products, services or customer support.

Shouldn’t your business be using this opportunity to improve the value chain?

Posted by Jay Arthur in Lean, Manufacturing, Service, Six Sigma.

Lean Aircraft Maintenance

Monday I tried to fly out of Denver on United to Chicago. They loaded the
plane and we sat for three hours while they tried to figure out why one
of the gas gauges wasn’t working. After two hours, they let people get
off to get something to eat.

When we finally arrived in Chicago perhaps 60 people got in line at a
bare-bones customer service desk at 10pm. How much did the delay,
rerouting, hotels and meals cost? Too much I suspect.

It seems to me that:
1. If the aircraft isn’t ready, no one should board.
The woman next to me missed her connection to London, when there was a
non-stop to London at the next gate!

Posted by Jay Arthur in Lean, Manufacturing.