Lean Manufacturing Blog by Jay Arthur

Improvement Insights Blog

Latest "Manufacturing" Posts

Are We Bastardizing Six Sigma with Lean?

Got an email from one of my friends in the Six Sigma community about combining Lean with Six Sigma into a “bastardized” version of both. Here’s the email:

Jay- thank you for publically stating how Lean and Six Sigma are different yet, how they are gravitating toward each other because of their complimentary areas of focus. I can’t tell you how many times I have had this “discussion” with practitioners in the field who view them as competing or mutually exclusive disciplines. That is unbelievably counter productive and perpetuates the flavor of the week urban legend.

When I interviewed for my current job the interviewer said that (I am paraphrasing) he was waiting to see which one wins out in reference to all of these quality programs that are “out there.”

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

The New Customer Expectation For Everything

Posted by Jay Arthur in Lean, Manufacturing, Service.

When It Has To Be There Now!

Remember when the FedEx promise of “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight”?

Now Walmart, Amazon and eBay according to Wired (April 2013), are testing same day delivery in major markets, eliminating the need for “overnight” delivery. When you place an order, robots pick the order and it’s delivered to your door today, not tomorrow.

Amazon started in 2009 in 10 cities, Walmart in 2012 with four cities and eBay is focused on Manhattan.

I see similar behavior in home appliances. Sears, Lowes and many others can install a new water heater today as our daughter discovered recently.

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

The Art of Subtraction

In Matthew May’s new book, The Laws of Subtraction (McGraw-Hill 2013), he outlines some key concepts refined from his years with Toyota:

At the heart of every difficult decision lie three tough choices:

  • What to pursue versus what to ignore.
  • What to leave in versus what to leave out.
  • What to do versus what to don’t.

The key is to remove the stupid stuff: anything obviously excessive, confusing, wasteful, unnatural, hazardous, hard to use or ugly. This is the art of subtraction.

Isn’t that the core of Lean?

Posted by Jay Arthur in Lean, Manufacturing, Service.

Manufacturing Returns to the USA

In the March 2012 HBR, Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of GE, talks about bringing manufacturing back to America. “Today at GE we are outsourcing less and producing more in the U.S. We created more than 7,000 jobs in 2010 and 2011.”

GE, like many other companies, have found the offshoring manufacturing isn’t always the boon it was thought to be. In Choosing the United States, authors Michael E. Porter and Jan W. Rikin show that the initial costs of outsourcing are high and the expected benefit declines rapidly by year four. There are many “hidden costs” of offshoring including many indirect costs like the lessened ability to respond to shifts in demand and loss of intellectual property.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Lean, Manufacturing.

Where Are All The Jobs?

Yesterday I played golf at Fossil Trace with a man and his son. He said he’d been trying to get on the course for eight weeks on his one day off. Every week, his boss called the night before to ask if he could work on his day off. Because of the economy he didn’t want to refuse…so after eight weeks he just refused to answer his phone so that he could play golf with his son.

Today I was in line at Wendy’s with a tall, athletic young man. He said he was sure happy it was Friday, but his only day off is Sunday, but he’d been working straight through for the last 30 days.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Lean, Manufacturing, Service.

3,000,000 Cars and Trucks Recalled

According to Quality Magazine, recalls affect Honda, Ford and Chrysler:

  • Honda 1,500,000 Accord transmissions
  • Ford: 1,200,000 F-150 trucks with potentially corroded fuel tank straps
  • Chrysler: 300,000 minivans that might “accidentally” deploy the airbags.

Considering that it will probably cost at least $100 up to several thousand for a transmission, the total cost to repair could be $300 million or more.

Can you afford the luxury of even the tiniest flaw in your product or service? Not really.

Learn the Magnificent Seven tools of Lean Six Sigma at www.lssmb.com.

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

Obama Asks Factory Workers To Up Their Game

President Obama said he wants “the cars and planes and wind turbines of the future to bear the proud stamp that says ‘Made in America.'”

This means that those products have to be made more reliably and cost effectively in America than elsewhere. The only way to do that is by simplifying, streamlining and optimizing every aspect of manufacturing, not just the factory floor, using Lean Six Sigma.

Manufacturing employment has declined from 30% twenty years ago to less than 10% today. Even if manufacturing returns to America, Lean, robotic factories will be needed to achieve the cost effective solutions required.

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

Is Detroit Dying?

Detroit’s population fell 25% from 951,270 to 713.777 in the last ten years according the U.S. Census. And it’s not just because of the recession; speed, quality and perceived value play a huge part in the shift.

Don’t let this happen to your company or city!
Learn Lean Six Sigma and the art of self-defense.

Start with my free Money Belt Training at www.lssmb.com.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Manufacturing, Six Sigma.

Desktop Manufacturing

Desktop manufacturing will change the playing field in traditional manufacturing.

Posted by Jay Arthur in Manufacturing.