Wednesday 19 December 2018

Essentials of Lean Thinking

A Lean thinking is a term used to describe the process of making business decisions in a Lean way. It's regarded as the foundation of any Lean practice. Actually it is  a business methodology that aims to provide a new way to think about how to organize human activities to deliver more benefits to society and value to individuals while eliminating waste.

Imagine this Condition:

You have just been appoints as a Production Manager at a leading pharmaceutical company. Production in your area is known as one of the most frequently overdue and many problems. Production Manager before you've blame the old machine condition (more than 20 years old) as the main reason of the frequent delays. What will you do in your first 90 days?

The first alternative is ' do business as usual ':

You feel your job is just as a 'nanny' of the 'decrepit' machine you inherit, and you will try your best to meet the achievement of production targets.

The second alternative is ' challenge the status quo' :

You feel the role of a Production Manager should be to make sure your area is prime for achieving the production targets given for your company's progress, and you decide to make sure your area gets the necessary revitalization.

Many people prefer the first alternative because these alternatives are consider as a ' safe' alternative . However Mr. Smith (name disguise) sets out to choose a second alternative when he gets a Production Manager position at a major national pharmaceutical company.

The first interesting thing Pak Budi does is go see and grasp the situation . He spent 90% of his time in production, looking directly at the conditions and observing the problems that arise in daily activities. He was not too focus on the production report made, because he felt he could not use the report to understand the real situation that happen, let alone understand how actually his machines work.

Collect data

Then he collect top losses data that occur in the production area he was responsible for and work directly with his engineers and operators to improve the conditions leading to the loss of production time. Some of the tools he use were:

  1. Pareto diagram: This diagram provides a summary of the major reasons that when first complete, will have a greater impact on production.

  2. Tree diagram: This diagram provides an understanding of the machine components and helps the team understand the root cause of the loss time .

  3. 5-Why Analysis: He has discussions with engineering and production teams to explore the cause of the loss time , so as to reach the root of the real problem.

Improvement can be consider very simple. For example, from the analysis and discussion conduct on one of his machines, he found that the main cause of the loss of production time was the burning of the servo motor in the filling area .


The servo motor is locate just below the charging area, and due to the assembly of fill products in the area, couple with no cover protecting the motor, some of these products scatter into the motor mechanism. As time passes more and more products come in, and eventually this results in electric shorthand motor burn. The solution is to add a protective so that the motor is contamination free.

Mr. Smith along with the team carefully analyze and evaluate the options of the most efficient and effective protector. In addition the standard of production work is improve by adding routine inspection and cleaning of nozzle to be contaminant free of product.

Simplify The production processes & Tasks

Other things to do are 5S in the work area to simplify the production work. Move the lubrication point to a more affordable place and create a new standard cleaning, lubrication, inspection work for the operator. Even speed up machine changeover , and make standard spare parts for some components need.

These improvements seem simple and seemingly easy. But what is interesting is his root cause analysis with the team is very accurate.  Focus in ensuring the improvement happens is very high: he holds daily meetings to provide updates on mutually agree action plans. And verify the results of the changes made. Both of these are the key to the success of the improvement activities that are complete to fruition.

The results obtain in the first 90 days are remarkable:

Downtime decreases from 100 hours to 70 hours a month (normal data). This automatically increases production capacity by up to 30%. The positive results, production targets achieve. Even over budget overtime that can usually be reduce to only use 50% of the budget set.

We think lead to his success are as follows:

  1. Not surrender to the common belief that had given his machine verdict was not capable in achieving production targets.

  2. He does not rely on reports and reports / opinions from his men alone. Took the time to go directly to the actual field conditions and make factual inferences. Ensures that he gets an understanding of how the production process he is responsible for is working. This is often call go to Gemba in the philosophy of Lean.

  3. With some tools for problem solving. Draws the right conclusions from the ongoing circumstances before taking action. That is usually sporadic or fire fighting and causes problems to recur.  Also make a team up with a thorough assessment to determine the exact solution of the problem.

  4. Also involves all teams dealing with the problem for take ownership .

  5. Conducts discipline progress reviews with consistent time spans (every day). Have to ensure that the whole team saw that this activity was a priority. It may giving an example of taking the time to do the above activities.

What about the production conditions in our place. It have we complete everything we need to improve our performance. Even or have we chosen the road as a 'caregiver' only? The choice is in our own hands.

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