Lean manufacturing and Chariots Of The Gods

Recently I was watching a series of video on interesting topic “Ancient Aliens”. Now for sure that has nothing to do with lean manufacturing. I was watching some videos and somehow came through this video series and loved it.

No, I am not going to tell you what it was all about. If you like to watch it, you can do so by following this link (it is a 10 part series). Chariots of the Gods is one of the books discussed in this program. If you have any questions about the topic, this might have solved it.
There were many fascinating points in this video. But as a lean thinker, one point (probably the one point which they never discussed in the video) caught my attention. That is, people have knowledge today, and they had it yesterday too. There was no era where knowledge was absent. It was present all the way. It took many shapes and forms due to many reasons like political, environmental and spiritual.
Today, we look back and think how these “Not So Advanced” people did all these. We, with computers and satellites even find it difficult to do. How these people made pyramids, how they created the Great Wall of China, how they drew maps of the word, we wonder. In simple terms we think we are advanced and they are not so advanced.
So what is the connection to lean, you may ask. Here it is. Most of the lean consultants or change agents, take completely wrong first step in making an organization lean. They think lean, that’s all they think. They look for waste (As they should be) and lose all the nuggets of gold in the process. Not only they do not see these gold nuggets, they throw them away, sometimes with the people who owned them.  What are these gold nuggets? They are the existing practices and processes.
They were built over a long period of time. There is a huge amount of thinking gone in to them. They are perfectly working in the current set up. Being lean doesn’t mean all these have to be changed. First a good lean consultant should understand what the current best practices are. Why they work so well. And they have to evaluate them to see whether we should change them at all. Remember, non lean organizations also do exists. They do for a reason. They can even compete with the lean manufacturers. Nissans and Volvos still do compete with Toyota. By no means non lean players are “Not So Advanced” or “Stone Age” people.
This is why I am not so convinced with the idea of using Japanese terms in lean implementations. They look alien to the people and make them go into the defensive mode. They will respect you for what you know, but you will not get much as they do not follow what you know.
Marrying lean with the existing culture is one of the very important things in lean. If a “non lean” organization has a reward program to reward their employee for the best idea, marry it with the Kaizen. Call it whatever it was called earlier. If they have a routine cleaning activity, marry it with 5S, and call it what it was called earlier. Name is not so important. If they have a very simple problem tracking mechanism, do not do anything. Just let it be there. Not all need to be changed in the name of lean. I think you get the idea.
This will make the resistance to change minimal. People will love lean, even without them knowing it. What do you think? Do you agree with me? Or do you think otherwise. Please leave your comments. If you like this post, please tell it to the world by clicking the “LIKE” button below.

TPM (Total Productive Maintenance) as a waste elimination tool

Today we discuss about Total productive maintenance(TPM) as a waste elimination tool.

TPM defined as TPM (Total Productive Maintenance) is a maintenance philosophy designed to integrate equipment maintenance into the manufacturing process.

The goal of any TPM program is to eliminate losses tied to equipment maintenance or, in other words, keep equipment producing only good product, as fast as possible with no unplanned downtime. The unique feature of TPM is Autonomous Maintenance.

Autonomous Maintenance defined as Machine adjustments made by their operators who are deemed to have unique knowledge about the machines. It is a principal component of total productivity maintenance (TPM).

In TPM mainly focus 16 losses and eliminate from the process.16 losses’ are:

A Seven major losses that impede overall equipment efficiency

1 Failure losses (Breakdown)
       Losses due to failures. Types of failures include sporadic function-stopping failures, and function-reduction failures in which the function of the equipment drops below
Normal levels.

2 Set up and adjustment losses
Stoppage losses that accompany set-up changeovers

3 Cutting blade change losses
 Stoppage losses caused by changing the cutting blade due to breakage, or caused by changing the cutting blade when the service life of the grinding stone, cutter or bite has been reached.

4 Start-up losses
 When starting production, the losses that arise until equipment start-up, running-in and production processing conditions stabilize.

5 Minor stoppage and idling losses
Losses that occur when the equipment temporarily stops or idles due to sensor actuation or jamming of the work.  The equipment will operate normally through simple measures (removal of the work and resetting).

6 Speed losses
Losses due to actual operating speed falling below the designed speed of the equipment.

7 Defect & rework loss
 Losses due to defects & reworking.
 Losses that impede equipment loading time

8 Shutdown (SD) losses
 Losses that arise from planned equipment stoppages at the production planning level in order to perform periodic inspection and statutory inspection.

Five Major losses that impede workers efficiency

9 Management losses
 Waiting losses that are caused by management, such as waiting for materials, waiting for a dolly, waiting for tools, waiting for instructions etc.

10 Motion losses
 Man-hour losses arising from differences in skills involved in etc.

11 Line organization losses
 Idle time losses when waiting for multiple processes or multiple platforms.

12 Distribution losses
 Distribution man-hour losses due to transport of materials, products (processed products) and dollies.

13 Measurement and  adjustment losses
Work losses from frequent measurement and adjustment in order to prevent the occurrence and outflow of quality defects.

Three major losses that impede efficient use of production subsidiary resources

14 Energy losses
 Losses due to ineffective utilization of input energy (electric, gas, fuel oil, etc) in processing.

15 Die, jig and tool losses
 Financial losses (expenses incurred in production, regarding renitriding, etc.) which occur with production or repairs of dies, jigs and tolls due to aging beyond services life or breakage.

16 Yield losses
 Material losses due to differences in the weight of the input materials and the weight of the quality products.

Lean Tools For Apparel Industry

We have discussed many lean tools in our lean tools series. This post by our guest consultant is about the lean tools in apparel industry. Read On…

“Eight Lean Tools” defined as waste elimination tools. With lean manufacturing we mainly focus on waste. Waste defined as “Anything that adds Cost to the product without adding Value”.

Total productive Maintenance:

“The Combination of Best features between Productive & Predictive Maintenance by innovative Management strategies With total employee Involvement.”

5s :

“Through sort, set, shine, standardize and sustain create better workplace organization”.

Visual factory:

“The use of controls that enable an individual to immediately recognize the standard and any deviation from it”.

Standardized Work Process:

“It is the current agreed upon best method to complete the work in a process.”

Quick changeover:

“Team-based improvement activity that significantly reduces setup and changeover time.”


“A signal, usually a card, used to signal the movement or production of materials.”

Error Proofing:

“The prevention of making errors, which would result in defects and lost time.”

Problem solving:

“Using the systematic problem solving tool to sort out problem.”

Workload/Line balancing:

“Through balance workload among work station creates Continues flow.”

We will discuss each of these tools in detail in the future posts.