Consistency is Key for Lean Transformation

[tweetmeme source=”leanisgood” service=”” only_single=false]Those of you that are parents out there know how important it is to not send mixed signals to your children.  The same is true during a Lean transformation, especially early on in the process.  It seems I have most often seen mixed messages provided when it comes to the old world metrics that contradict with the new “lean rules.”  One must take special care to be consistent especially early on in a transformation when the team is just learning its new world.

An example would be setting up pull systems and installing rules to only produce when you have a signal from the downstream customer.  Your team is following the rules, demand drops for a few days, and then they get chastised for not meeting the old production unit goals.  What is your team to do now?  Follow the old rules or the new rules? Continue reading

Chasing Rabbits – Process Unimprovements

[tweetmeme source=”leanisgood” service=”” only_single=false]Dr. Demming used a great example of a marble and a funnel to teach us about process control and process improvement.  His premise was a process operates in its normal control and that you shouldn’t go around chasing every single point which is above some arbitrary goal.  He taught us that when you try to constantly correct a process when it is operating in its control limits you actually increase the variation of the process.  If you are one of those people who comes to work and first thing finds what when wrong last night and tries to correct it, Demming devised his simple experiment to show us a there is a better way to increase performance! Continue reading

Unextended Lean – The Whirlpool Experience

[tweetmeme source=”leanisgood” service=”” only_single=false]Last August Whirlpool announced it would be closing the Evansville, Indiana plant and building a new plant in Mexico.  A recent article here talks about how they have been removing equipment slowly from the plant and re-installing it elsewhere, all while continuing to make product.  Evolving Excellence has had previous posts regarding Whirlpool and this facility in particular way back in 2006.  Paul Coburn, vice president of Whirlpool’s Evansville Division is quoted:

In the last six months we have delivered strong results in spite of having to see a good deal of our equipment taken out of the building and moved to its new location. I believe that it is a testament to your character that you have continued to work hard to preserve the positive reputation of the Evansville workforce during this period. Continue reading