We are a small company that last month turned 10 years old. As we continue to look forward we take a moment and think about the past decade.
What has kept us open and serving our customers has been the ability to support the supply chain with a quick turn around and strategic partnerships.
But what these people forget is that the origin of lean is in the use of tools to improve processes in an agile and practical way, aiming to reduce waste and create a “lean” process.
In this post let’s recall some of these lean process improvement tools processes that perhaps should be re-learned.
And if you also want to stay current on other topics related to this topic, check out some previous posts from our blog:
- Lean Performance Improvement: A Guide
- 7 Lean Wastes and 5 Six Sigma Steps
- Lean Business Model Canvas: For Every Type of Organization
- Lean Kanban Board: How does it differ from other agile methods?
7 lean process improvement tools
Of course we shouldn’t forget the main goal of using lean tools, which is to reduce the 7 wastes, but it’s important to understand how each one of them can help in the search for process optimization and making them leaner.
1- JIT: Just in time
With the proliferation of electronic commerce and increasingly extended and complex logistics chains, JIT can be one of the lean tools with great potential for use.
Its concept is simple: to produce exactly the quantity needed to supply deliveries and to do so only when they’re needed.
A liberal interpretation of this term could be: automation with a human touch. This lean tool is directly linked to quality control and allows automated processes to be interrupted by the human operator as soon as they notice a failure.
Therefore, with the proper training of operators, Jidoka reduces the need for a large number of quality inspectors, passing part of this task to the operator themselves.
3- Take Time
Takt Time aims to make the time used in production be defined as a function of the real market demand.
By aligning production with demand, there’s an ideal rhythm also known as the “pull system”, ie the market’s need to “pull” production, not the other way around.
Also called lean programming, this lean tool aims to reduce production instability due to the changing demands of customers.
This requires the creation of a reliable sequencing of orders and a production schedule in small batches, trying to produce the same mix of products every day, which will generate faster, shorter inventories and produce a wide range of different products at the same time.
It uses “proof of error” devices, and thus avoids the occurrence of production defects. A practical example would be the impossibility of starting your car if you haven’t buckled your seat belt.
Lean Poka-yoke tools use some kind of physical control and sensors, such as our example, that prevent the error from occurring, stopping production if necessary.
5S is a tool you can use in the quest for total quality. It focuses on the mobilization of an entire company on 5 fundamental factors of quality promotion. These are words beginning with the letter S in Japanese, as follows:
- Seiri = Usage: avoid waste of resources and space
- Seiton = Organization: organize the workspace effectively
- Seiso = Cleaning: always keep the environment clean
- Siketsu = Standardization and Health: to determine norms that facilitate ergonomic and healthy work
- Shitisuke = Discipline: encourage collaboration and continuous improvement
This tool aims to reduce costs and increase productivity, through continuous improvement.
One way to implement this tool is through the famous PDCA cycle:
We continue to strive for excellence and look forward to a fruitful end of year. SPB Global is taking the necessary steps to insure that 2020 and the next decade will serve our customers supply chain needs.
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