Lean Tools and Techniques
Kaizen is the Japanese word for improvement. In the Lean world, Kaizen means a set of activities that involves people in continuously eliminating waste.
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• It focuses on the value-adding activities, distinguishing it from waste.
VSM differs from process mapping in the following ways:
• It usually uses a broader range of information.
• It is usually at a higher level (5-10 activities).
• It often has a wider scope, frequently spanning the entire supply chain.
• It can be used to identify where to focus future improvement activities.
1) Do it yourself
• Gather your own data; don’t believe what is provided by others
• If you see it yourself, you understand it better
• Don’t divide the flow – you must understand the end-to-end activity
2) Use a pen
• Sketch out the flow as you go
• Modify on the fly
• Focus on the flow and inter-relationships, not on making it look nice
3) Review it quickly
• ’Walk’ through the process to get a sense of the flow and sequence
4) Detail the analysis
• Capture relevant process data as you go (e.g. cycle time, wait time, changeover time, number of people etc.)
2) Identify the non-value adding activities:
• small and repetitive activities
• flow interruptions
• necessary non-value adding activities
• unnecessary value adding activities
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It’s important to find the real causes of waste, in order to be able to eliminate them permanently. Some root cause analysis tools are:
• 5 WHY
Using brainstorming, this tool brings a group into the factors that can cause a problem.
The ‘Ask Why Five Times’ technique is helpful in delving into a problem to find its root cause.
Asking these five questions helps with putting the problem into context.
• By eliminating what is unnecessary and making everything clear and predictable, clutter is reduced, needed items are always in the same place, and work is made easier and faster.
1) SMED (Single-Minute Exchange of Die): a methodology that aims at reducing changeover time.
2) Poka-Yoke: mistake proofing. This is an important technique that prevents avoidable errors from occurring.
3) Kanban: a methodology by which a customer process signals a supplying process to produce a product/service, when needed.