Recent Poll Results – 5S, When to Pull

[tweetmeme source="leanisgood" service=""]Just wanted to post about the results of a couple polls that readers took the time to take.

A few weeks ago I a wrote a post entreating people to pull early in their implementations.  I asked the question the question n  few linkedin groups and people took  ‘early’ to mean first.  I wouldn’t recommend doing pull ‘first’ necessarily.  The intention of the post was to challenge the belief that pull has to wait for a long time (like years) for a high level of stability to be achieved.  Here is the question, the multiple choice answers and the results:

When do you think pull should be implemented?

  1. Right away
  2. After we have eliminated the top couple ‘special causes’ of manufacturing disruption
  3. After we have achieved a high level of manufacturing stability built upon rigorous application of the tools
  4. Maybe never, continuously improving and engaging people is enough

Click to enlarge

I think the top two responses are what I would do in general (My answer was eliminate the top couple special causes then get going on pull).  of course what you do and what order you will do it is dependent on the circumstances of each individual value stream, but the earlier you can flow where you can and pull where you can’t is better.

I also posted about 5S and asked this question:

What should you do do when you find an item NOT in it place on the shadow board?

  1. Pick the tool up and put it in its place
  2. Deduct one point on the 5S audit form
  3. Stand in an imaginary 30″ circle and watch what happens to the tool
  4. Ask the operator why it is in its current location
  5. Blame the operator and him/her them accountable

Click to enlarge

Most people said that asking or watching or watching was best (I chose asking).  This is a subtle question and there were some really good comments to the post – I would recommend that you read the comments here.  A couple people had suggestions that weren’t in the answer set.  They were: buy the operator a tool belt, and buy a tool for the point of use.

Thanks to everybody who took the time to respond to the polls.


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2 Responses

  1. I think the key here is that there no one answer for every situation. Lean is really about solving problems, those we see and those we can’t see yet. When you do this you will try countermeasures and in some cases they may not solve the root cause. Learn from that experience and try again.

    It is good to see that no one answered never or blame the operator.

  2. I agree with Tim in that there is no cookie cutter answer. However, I have not come across a value stream yet where the first thing we did was implement pull to stabalize the system. I have seen it in a multitude of value streams where pullling first has lead to less injuries, lower waste, increased on time performance, reduced inventory, reduced costs, and improved morale. I have found the key is breaking down into value streams and focusing on one particular stream from customer back to supplier. Implementing pull to show you where the rocks are to focus the next efforts. Once fixed, move on to the next stream. I’m sure there is a value stream out there, but I have not found one yet that I wouldn’t implement pull first.

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