Lean Manufacturing Blog by Jay Arthur

Improvement Insights Blog

Latest "Manufacturing" Posts

Why Value Stream Maps Are Essential to Change

This 9 minute TED talk explains why Post-it Notes and a little collaboration can transform any company or industry including healthcare.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Lean, Manufacturing, Service.

New ISO 9001-2015 Standard Changes

Attended a presentation by Cavendish Scott about the new ISO 9001-2015 standard and changes coming next year. There are several key shifts:

  • From effective process management to process management with an added emphasis on “control” (i.e., statistical process control)
  • From”products” to “products and services” to include services
  • From “documents and records” to “documented information” to include digital information
  • From “management” to “leadership” because ISO requires leadership, not just management
  • From “HR” to “people” to include employees, customers and suppliers more fully

Companies will have two years to transition to the new standard.

Estimated publication date is September 2015.

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

Lean Startup and Six Sigma at GE

GE has adapted Lean Startup methodology (build, measure, learn) to accelerate new product creation while retaining Six Sigma to optimize operations.

In the new global economy, you can’t just innovate or improve, you have to do both.

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

The Plastic Breakfast Burrito

I had a breakfast burrito at the Marriott in San Diego last week. I cut it in half and took a bite. I realized there was somthing amiss when I pulled out a strip of plastic. I tried to pull it apart, but it wouldn’t break.

I showed it to the cafe staff and she said: “It looks like an onion.” But a cooked onion would pull apart; the plastic didn’t. I got my money back.

I can imagine that if a machine is cutting onions into strips that it would cut plastic as well. Then the plastic just looks like an onion strip in the egg.

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

Case of the Shrinking Shirts

We got a new washer/dryer in May, 2013. I noticed that some of my shirts seemed to be shrinking. My wife thought it might be the dryer, so she used delicate for the shirts.

Theykept shrinking.

Our daughter figured it out while she was visiting. She noticed s steam rising out of the washer when it was set to cold.

The installers had connected hot to cold and cold to hot. I mentioned this one of my wife’s sisters and she said: “Oh yes. We had that happen to us. Took us eight months to figure it out.” It only took us 13 months of shrinking clothes.

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

Water Heater Problems

Our one year old water heater stopped working last week. Had to call in a technician. The computerized circuitry had been fried, possibly by a thunderstorm.

The tech suggested installing a surge suppressor for the water heater just like you would for a computer. Sounded like he’d seen a lot of these since our most recent round of storms.

Doesn’t it seem silly that a AOSmith would create a computerized water heater that could be fried by lightning without installing a surge suppressor? The part was under warranty, so it was replaced for free, but I bet it isn’t cheap. And I had to pay $125 for the service call.

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

Gaming or Improving the System?

In too many companies, leaders and employees game the system by falsifying results to get the associated bonuses..

Most recently this involved the VA scandal on delays. 

In 2008 it was Wall Street.

If you use Lean Six Sigma effectively, you can get the results without fakery.

And you don’t have to know every technique and tool in the Black Belt Body of Knowledge to do it.

You don’t even need to know Six Sigma, you just have to use Excel to diagnose problems with operational delays, defects and deviation. Click here to learn more.

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

Creating a Culture of Quality

The April, 2014 Harvard Business Review has an article about creating a culture of quality. The authors found that a culture of quality will save $13,400 per employee per year. Surveyed participants also said it takes two hours to fix a mistake. Joseph Juran often said that companies lose a quarter (25%) of their revenue finding and fixing mistakes and errors, so this gives us a benchmark and a reason to embrace quality.

“Companies that take a grassroots, peer-driven approach develop a culture of quality. Traditional strategies have little effect.”

Four Factors that Drive Quality

  • Leadership – As Deming said: “The aim of superision should be the help people and machines and gadgets do a better job.

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

Can Your Culture Embrace Lean Six Sigma?

In his new book, The Year Without Pants, Scott Berkun talks about working at WordPress.

In Chapter 4, Culture Always Wins, Scott says: “Concepts like Lean Six Sigma are management ideas that became popular in huge waves, heralded as silver bullets for workplaces. The promise of a trend is grand, but the result never is. Rarely do the consultants championing, and profiting from, these ideas disclose how superficial the results will be unless they’re placed in a culture healthy enough to support them.”

Jack Welch spent decades creating a culture that embraces change at GE. Most companies have not.

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

Are You Up to Amazon Speed?

Amazon ships products within 2.5 hours of a customer order according to a September, 2013 issue of Fast Company magazine article: The Race Has Just Begun. Although this packing and shipping process has a lot of manual work, Amazon has cut the time for this process by 25 percent in the last two years. In some cities the order can be delivered on the same day.

“Bezos has turned Amazon into an unprecedented speed demon that can give you anything you want. Right. Now.” says J.J. McCorvey, the article’s author.

What would happen to your business if you cut the order fulfillment process by 25 percent?

Posted by Jay Arthur in Lean, Manufacturing, Service.