Now you can suggest topics to

In leanleanblog I always blogged around my main theme, lean manufacturing. We discussed about the concepts of lean with its application and benefits. We also discussed related topics like six sigma, lean sigma and TQM on this blog. While I will continue to provide you with these kinds of information, I thought it is important to write on exactly what you want. To do so, I need to know what you want to know from me and my blog.
I found an interesting gadget which will do exactly this for me. You can suggest new topics to write about or you can priorities the topics by voting. You can find this gadget towards the bottom of the middle column of this blog. You can find some screenshots of this below.
To suggest a new topic
  1. Click on the link “Click Here to suggest topics you want to learn” and then you can either login to your account (If you have one) or you can sign up for a new account or you can suggest your topic “Anonymously” . I prefer to get your thoughts with your name. So you can create a login preferably, but this is not compulsory.
  2. Type in the topic you want learn about.
  3. Press “Submit” Button. You are done.

To Vote for a topic

  1. Simply click on the VOTE Button next to the listed topic
  2. When you vote for one of the topics the button will be highlighted in yellow. This suggest that you have already voted for this topic

I must thank the creators of this gadget (or the Widget). With this I will be able to synchronize the blog better with your requirements.

Lean concepts for energy industry

I always believed that lean manufacturing concepts can be applied in the energy sector to make it much more efficient. Today we have the best time to be lean on energy with the higher price of oil and electricity. We as the entire world need to be looking at new ways of generating energy. But meanwhile we have to understand that we are wasting huge amounts of energy and we must look for the ways to use energy much more effectively by eliminating wastes. Although I am not an expert on energy, I can find many ways people waste energy in their house, office, manufacturing plant and on road.

It is said that if you maintain correct pressure, you will be saving 5% on your fuel. A CFL lighting source will reduce the energy consumption to give the same amount of light more than by half. Wastages of heat in transportation through pipe from boilers to the other areas of manufacturing will depend on the quality of the insulation you use o your pipes. I can keep on adding to this list. I am sure you also will be able to do so.

One of the main advantages of saving on energy is that it will directly impact your bottom line, even without changing the top line of your business. Eliminating waste in energy can follow the steps any lean manufacturing implementation would follow. You can start with a value stream map (Or you may call what ever you want). This will show you where the wastes are. You can use lean tools like JIT techniques, TPM, cause and effect diagrams to find ways to eliminate waste from your system. Six sigma concepts can be used to monitor the system continuously and to identify the deviations.

A recent press release by TBM consulting group who are driving lean energy initiatives revealed that 10% saving on energy will be an equivalent of $10.4 billion for the US manufacturers alone. It also reported that there will be 4-8% saving on annual energy cost with a one week kaizen event focused on single source of energy supply. Considerable amount isn’t it? especially when we think this will add directly to the bottom line of the organization.

If you start saving energy no doubt it will help you in the competitive markets. Not only it will reduce cost, it will make you a green supplier making you attractive to your customers. On the other hand you will be helping the entire globe and its citizens.

Having said all these, you must always remember the prime lean principle of looking at the total picture when you implement your lean energy plans. Saving on your energy should not compromise on other aspects like quality, health of employees etc.

Lean for your organization contest, some tips to write your articles fast

Recently launched contest “lean for your organization” has gained momentum. I find that more and more people are getting interested in the competition and submitting their articles. At the end of the day I think it is very important for us to use our knowledge and share it with the world. But some people told me they have no experience in writing articles. So I thought of giving you some help in this.

You have more than two weeks to complete your articles and submit for the competition. Believe me even for a writer with no experience it takes about 30 minutes to complete their articles. Just give it a try. Some tips which I feel will help you to write a successful article;

  1. Start by writing down the topic
  2. Then think about the problems you face day to day in your organization
  3. Write down the problem
  4. Think what is the waste category associated with the problem you identify
  5. Then write down the causes to the waste
  6. Once you identify the cause you will have hundreds of ways of eliminating it from the system
  7. Takedown how you will eliminate them from the system
  8. Quantify the results you will get
  9. You are done!

Below is an example:

Having huge amounts of write downs at the end of each month as excess RM
Waste categories:
Inappropriate tooling for RM ordering, undertrained people

  1. People who do the ordering have no proper tools to monitor the RM stocks they have in-house. So they have to make a subjective call to do the ordering.
  2. They are not able to monitor the orders sent out already. So they can not exactly figure out the quantities that they will get in future.
  3. Consumptions are buffered up in various stages. So the ordered RM quantity is higher than the requirement. This is because people who were recruited few months back do not have the experience to carryout their job to the perfection.

Proposed solution:

  1. Give access to people who do the ordering to the warehouse stock monitoring system so that they can have a look at the stock levels before they place orders
  2. Simplify the data entry screens of the warehouse to make it easier to update, so the data will be reliable
  3. Have a excel book maintained with purchase order numbers. This book should contain all the purchase orders sent out. Making the codes used in communication with external parties will make it easier to track the total ordered quantity at any given point.
  4. There are some senior people who are looking after the consumptions of some part of the business. So train all the new people under them and supervise them until they become competent
  5. Use a control chart to check for the write downs at the end of each week (+/- 2%). If the variance is higher then immediately reduce the unconfirmed orders with the vendors.

Expected Outcome:

  1. We are currently wasting around 8% of our RM as write downs
  2. With the training and increased visibility we will reduce the around 3% of the write downs
  3. Monitoring will make the system stable and in long term (within 6 months) will reduce this by further 1%
  4. We will save 4% of the RM write-offs at the first implementation cycle.
  5. With the time kaizen events will reduce this further down

This is an imaginary scenario, but is true for most of the organizations. It took me only 15 minutes to complete this. With your experience and research it will not take more than half an hour for you. Give it a try. At the end of the day you will feel $200 gift voucher is only a small gift. You will enable your organization to solve the problems they have been suffering for ages.
Send your articles to . If you are the winner I will send you the gift certificate of $200.

For more information on the competition click on this link.
Knowledge is the only thing expands when you share! 🙂

Wow! It was amazing 8 – 8 – 8 – 8

I just finished watching opening ceremony of Olympics on TV. It is the best ever I have seen. Management, teamwork, creativity, innovation and thinking gone into planning and perfection of execution was absolutely amazing. It was a treat to watch.

PS: After seeing the perfection, coordination and creativity gone into the ceremony I will not mind buying a Chinese car next time.

Cheers Beijing 🙂

Lean Hospitals by Mark Graban is out

Lean manufacturing and its concepts are applied in areas far away from manufacturing. Service industries, military are some of the areas where we can find lean. Another very important area of lean implementation is the health care industry.

One of the leading experts on lean healthcare and the owner of the leanblog, Mark Graban published his book “lean hospitals” recently. I had the opportunity to read some parts of this book. I found that very interesting and informative. I think it will be useful for you as well. In addition you will be able to download the first chapter of the book for free.

To find more information visit