Most recent articles
This article explores the world of modern table-top gaming and the process improvement that it invites participants to engage in. It gives background to the market, and gives examples of how some games use lean principles in their design. It then discusses how games can be used to teach lean and operational excellence to workers involved in a roll-out, and the author’s experience of working alongside Baringa Partners in this respect.
In the second article on TWI, Denis Becker discusses how operations managers can build engagement and accelerate change by using the TWI Job Relations program. TWI JR develops our supervisors’ and managers’ Skill in Leading teams and fast, effective change. High Performance Supervisors know how to build and keep the trust and collaboration of their people. They make the TWI JR Foundations for Good Relations part of their daily work. They catch and solve people problems early, using the TWI-JR 4 Step Problem solving method. In short, they make people a key priority of their daily work. This creates happier and more productive employees and implementing changes becomes much easier and faster.
Training Within Industry (TWI) is often referred to as the forerunner of contemporary lean thinking, being developed in the US over 70 years ago to support the war effort. It is still practised by Toyota and in recent years there has been a renewed interest and a resurgence in the application of TWI methods, led notably by the TWI Institute. TWI originally aimed to rapidly train and develop new staff in order to increase in productivity, quality and occupational safety. It included the development of three managerial skills, considered necessary for leaders and workers. This article focuses on the Job Instruction element of TWI, which helps connect the written work standard with the actual practice on the shop floor and teaches the technique of delivering effective on-the-job training that ensures people reliably perform a task exactly the way it should be done to get consistently good results.
It can be argued that THE core concept of lean thinking is flow and that all the various continuing improvement approaches and methodologies do, at some point, focus on the need to make processes, information, material, people, decisions, projects etc, flow in order to speed things up, get rid of bottlenecks and waste, shorten lead times, and so on. Yet our business decisions are often driven by a traditional ‘economies of scale’ mentality that can be counter-productive to achieving lean goals. In this article Sarah Lethbridge considers how we should consider Economies of Scale against Economies of Flow when taking a lean perspective.
This article discusses the case of the application of lean thinking in Clinical Pathology – specifically in histocompatibility and Immunogenetics in the UK’s NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) organisation. It’s not only an excellent example of the application of lean in a broad healthcare environment, but it also demonstrates how lean can be used in highly technical and ‘non-traditional’ contexts, where core principles are used to guide improvements using a variety of tools, to deliver greater value. It demonstrates the importance of adapting the implementation approach to the fit the needs of the service under consideration and the need to ensure a human dimension is built in to the programme.
Implementing Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) is all about change and resistance to change. It requires a lot of planning and usually introduces heavy workflow changes for every person in your organisation. For that reason, the implementation process is much smoother when you have capable employees that understand the quality of life improvements that TPM brings to both them personally, as well as their organisation as a whole. TPM a complex process that can take years to fully implement, so you cannot expect to see immediate results. Nonetheless, it greatly pays off in the long run if you are able to overcome all of the challenges discussed in this article.