Matt Hrivnak

Kaizen: There's always another future state

Archive for May, 2008...

Filed under Kaizen, Lean, productivity

Recently, I facilitated a kaizen event which was targeted at dramatically reducing the setup time of a Former-Winder twisting machine in a textile plant.  Naturally, we performed a SMED event; dedicating 3 days to the event and 2 days of prior videotaping (performed by me, under ‘normal’ conditions). A little background on the Former-Winder’s operation.  It is a machine that takes in raw material Yarns or Ends, twists them together into a strand, and winds them onto a 3 foot long bobbin.  The Yarns/Ends used can number anywhere from 2 and go up to 150 in some cases.  The bigger the yarn needed, the more raw material packages that will be required.  These raw material packages are put up onto fixtures, called Creels, that hold them while they feed out yarn.  The pictures show the creels in this case.

Raw material creel 

After loading the creels, the operator needs to install gearing that produces different levels of twist in the finished strand.  Creating a small sample allows the operator to perform a quick in-process check after changing the gears.  If it is okay, the operator puts in an empty bobbin and starts the machine.  If not, then he changes gears with engineering’s help (that’s what the ISO documentation says at any rate). Watching the video we put together this timeline, identifying the CURRENT STATE (i.e. the way in which it was currently being performed)External Setups in GREEN and the Internal Setups in RED:

  • Get & read traveler (1 min.)
  • Check prioritization (1 min.)
  • Get gears (15 min.)
  • Install gears (5 min.)
  • Return gears to proper place (1 min.)
  • Clean/grease machine (5 min.)
  • Program computer (if necessary) (1 min.)
  • Obtain/order material (45 min.)
  • Creel placement (20 min.)
  • Create material space (10 min.)
  • Get/prepare cart (if necessary) (1 min.)
  • Teardown (16 min.)
  • Return material (several trips) (9 min.)
  • Prepare & inspect creel (foam donuts, check eyelets, inc.) (2 min.)
  • Check for/install small packages (10 min.)
  • Get/install new packages (several trips) (22 min.)
  • Untie packages & feed thru eyelets (38 min.)
  • Setup distribution plate(s) (13 min.)
  • Setup wax tank (if necessary)
  • Locate & get proper die (5 min.)
  • Install die (1 min.)
  • Return old die to proper place (1 min.)
  • Feed machine (6 min.)
  • Run (.5 min.)
  • Chalk for twist (TPF) (.5 min.)
  • Stop & check TPF (.5 min.)
  • Sign off by other person (.5 min.)
  • Make adjustments (6.5 min.)
  • Run (couple minutes)
  • Stop & calculate weight/counts (repeat if necessary)
  • Check traveler for QTY (.5 min.)
  • Run Machine

—————————————————

76% Internal:  179 min = 2.98 hours

24% External:  58 min = .97 hours

Total Time:   237 min. = 3.95 hours

We then went through this list and created a ‘theoretical’ best case scenario that showcased the true Internal and External Setups.  Some of these are not even possible due to current technologies owned by the company:

  • Get & read traveler (1 min.)
  • Check prioritization (1 min.)
  • Get gears (15 min.)
  • Install gears (5 min.)
  • Return gears to proper place (1 min.)
  • Clean/grease machine (5 min.)
  • Program computer (if necessary) (1 min.)
  • Obtain/order material (45 min.)
  • Creel placement (20 min.)
  • Create material space (10 min.)
  • Get/prepare cart (if necessary) (1 min.)
  • Teardown (16 min.)
  • Return material (several trips) (9 min.)
  • Prepare & inspect creel (foam donuts, check eyelets, inc.) (2 min.)
  • Check for/install small packages (10 min.)
  • Get/install new packages (several trips) (22 min.)
  • Untie packages & feed thru eyelets (38 min.)
  • Setup distribution plate(s) (13 min.)
  • Setup wax tank (if necessary)
  • Locate & get proper die (5 min.)
  • Install die (1 min.)
  • Return old die to proper place (1 min.)
  • Feed machine (6 min.)
  • Run (.5 min.)
  • Chalk for twist (TPF) (.5 min.)
  • Stop & check TPF (.5 min.)
  • Sign off by other person (.5 min.)
  • Make adjustments (6.5 min.)
  • Run (couple minutes)
  • Stop & calculate weight/counts (repeat if necessary)
  • Check traveler for QTY (.5 min.)
  • Run Machine

—————————————————

11% Internal:  26.5 min = .44 hours

89% External:  210.5 min = 3.51 hours

 

This gave us a starting point for base lining and making improvements.  “How could we improve our current setup process to be as close to this as possible?”  First, we took all of the ‘current’ internal setups that were really external setups, and made them into external setups, changes shown in BLUEThis saved about 25%:

  • Get & read traveler (1 min.)
  • Check prioritization (1 min.)
  • Get gears (15 min.)
  • Install gears (5 min.)
  • Return gears to proper place (1 min.)
  • Clean/grease machine (5 min.)
  • Program computer (if necessary) (1 min.)
  • Obtain/order material (45 min.)
  • Creel placement (20 min.)
    • Preparation (10 min.)
    • Physical move (10 min.)
  • Create material space (10 min.)
  • Get/prepare cart (if necessary) (1 min.)
  • Teardown (16 min.)
  • Return material (several trips) (9 min.)
  • Prepare & inspect creel (foam donuts, check eyelets, inc.) (2 min.)
  • Check for/install small packages (10 min.)
  • Get/install new packages (several trips) (22 min.)
  • Untie packages & feed thru eyelets (38 min.)
  • Setup distribution plate(s) (13 min.)
  • Setup wax tank (if necessary)
  • Locate & get proper die (5 min.)
  • Install die (1 min.)
  • Return old die to proper place (1 min.)
  • Feed machine (6 min.)
  • Run (.5 min.)
  • Chalk for twist (TPF) (.5 min.)
  • Stop & check TPF (.5 min.)
  • Sign off by other person (.5 min.)
  • Make adjustments (6.5 min.)
  • Run (couple minutes)
  • Stop & calculate weight/counts (repeat if necessary)
  • Check traveler for QTY (.5 min.)
  • Run Machine

—————————————————

57% Internal:  134.5 min = 2.24 hours

43% External:  102.5 min = 1.71 hours

So, after a few hours of suggestions, some time working the setup process on the gemba, we were able to make a second pass, saving around 72%!  We designed a new creel that could have one side loaded with the current job and a second side that could be prepared for the next job.  This required a 30 day list be made up and completed because of the nature of the maintenance work needed and a few other action items that were external to the SMED event itself:

  • Get & read traveler (1 min.)
  • Check prioritization (1 min.)
  • Get gears (15 min.)
  • Install gears (5 min.)
  • Return gears to proper place (1 min.)
  • Clean/grease machine (5 min.)
  • Program computer (if necessary) (1 min.)
  • Obtain/order material (45 min.)
  • Creel placement (20 min.)
    • Preparation (10 min.)
    • Physical move (10 min.)
  • Create material space (10 min.)
  • Get/prepare cart (if necessary) (1 min.)
  • Teardown (16 min.)
  • Return material (several trips) (9 min.)
  • Prepare & inspect creel (foam donuts, check eyelets, inc.) (2 min.)
  • Check for/install small packages (10 min.)
  • Get/install new packages (several trips) (22 min.)
  • Untie packages & feed thru eyelets (38 min.)
  • Setup distribution plate(s) (13 min.)
  • Setup wax tank (if necessary)
  • Locate & get proper die (5 min.)
  • Install die (1 min.)
  • Return old die to proper place (1 min.)
  • Feed machine (6 min.)
  • Run (.5 min.)
  • Chalk for twist (TPF) (.5 min.)
  • Stop & check TPF (.5 min.)
  • Sign off by other person (.5 min.)
  • Make adjustments (6.5 min.)
  • Run (couple minutes)
  • Stop & calculate weight/counts (repeat if necessary)
  • Check traveler for QTY (.5 min.)
  • Run Machine

—————————————————

21% Internal:  49.5 min = .825 hours

79% External:  187.5 min = 1.71 hours

We looked heavily into streamlining the leftover Internal Setups and determined that most of the streamlining had already been done. These machines (literally, these same machines) had been working in this plant since the 1940s and people had come up with quicker and better ways of doing things in that time.  Of course, we are still working towards streamlining and looking for those opportunities daily.

So, some team work, some more aware operators and better methods will allow us to service the internal customers of this process a lot faster, in the exact quantities they need and that means we can service a much greater variety of product lines within the same timeframe as before!

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Comments (0) Posted by matt on Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

Filed under Lean, Six Sigma

It is always important to recognize people’s efforts and to strengthen team building.  One way to achieve this is through the inclusion of memorabilia that states the purpose of a certain project or cross functional team, or even a company wide goal that may span years.  Here are a couple of examples of a button and a mug that were handed out during my days at General Cable.  The button, which lists the plant’s Lean Sigma goals of reductions in Scrap, Rejections and Inventory, were handed out to all associates working in the plant. 

The mug, which simply states “General Cable Lean Associate”, was given to anyone who participated in any Kaizen event.  Several other items were used for motivational purposes and to show the company’s gratitude.  I still have several golf shirts and a jacket that say similar things to these on them.

The main point is to allow every associate and every team member to feel that they are part of something bigger – something worth working towards.  Along the way, each one of these buttons, mugs, etc. remind you of the task at hand.  General Cable’s Lean Sigma program has worked well for the company since its launch back in 2002 (BGC).

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Comments (0) Posted by matt on Monday, May 19th, 2008

Filed under Kaizen, Lean, productivity

Although SMED was clearly developed during the 1900s, there are several cases from throughout history that can be referenced when trying to explain SMED.  The very basic idea of SMED, i.e. preparing and completing External setups while the machine/process is working on the current job, while streamlining Internal setups, etc. (if you are new to SMED, check out my article SMED…What is SMED?), can be seen in common processes that are around us.

The most common of these, which is more or less the cliche reference now because it seems every Lean trainer uses it, is the quick changeover of tires witnessed by Nascar and Indy racing fans at every race.  When you think about changing a tire, you think of several elements, like:

  1. Getting your tools
  2. Loosening 4/5/6 nuts
  3. Jacking up your car
  4. Pulling off the old wheel
  5. Putting on the new wheel
  6. Individually picking up the nuts and resetting them
  7. Tightening the nuts
  8. Putting the old tire in the trunk
  9. Putting your tools away

I assume it is something like that for most people.  Now, the quick connection they make here is that in an auto race, the pit crew is completely ready with their power tools, 1 guy jacks up the car, another takes the a) in cart racing, 1 (and only) nut off while maintaining it in the tooling head, b) in Nascar, the nuts are fixed to the wheel so only tightening is required, another guy removes and replaces the tire, and the nut(s) is tightened, etc.  You can see how that works.

Well, when thinking about SMED, there is a better example that I like to use.  So far, I’ve been a little on my own referencing this and some of my professors had a hard time grasping the concept of this being related to SMED.  Eventually, they saw my point and some of them use it in their classes to this day.  Unfortunately, this is not the most pleasant example of a SMED because of the nature of the resulting action, but it really gives a solid example of SMED.

Since the beginning of firearms, reloading has been a critical, essential, and frankly, a crucial aspect of warfare.  For any of you who are not that knowledgeable when it comes to the evolution of the gun, I’ll fill you in.  After the first couple hundred years of firearm development, the gun was stuck in a period of lackluster progression.  At the time of the American Revolution, muskets, a smooth bored muzzle loading rifle was the most widely used rifle in the world.  Due to the loading nature of the musket, a well trained infantryman could fire about 3 or 4 shots per minute.  Looking at this from a process standpoint, this gives us (assuming ~3 shots/minute):

  • Setup time:  20 seconds (includes aiming)
  • Cycle time:  ~1/10th of a second

The process for loading a musket, looks something like this:

  1. Stand the musket on its butt end, with the open barrel facing the sky
  2. Get out the gun powder (from a powder horn)
  3. Pour the required amount of powder down the barrel
  4. Put the powder horn away
  5. Get out the ball (i.e. bullet) (from a snap enclosed pouch)
  6. Put the bullet in the barrel
  7. Pull out the rifle’s ram rod from its casing on the side of the barrel
  8. Stick the ram rod in the barrel and push the bullet fully down
  9. Put the ram rod back in the side casing
  10. Pick up the musket
  11. Cock the hammer (which contains a piece of flint for creating a spark)
  12. Get out the powder
  13. Pour some more powder on the flash pan
  14. Put the powder horn away
  15. Aim the rifle
  16. Pull the trigger and hope the flint sparks and ignites the powder, firing the gun

That’s a lot to accomplish in 20 seconds. A small pictorial of an American Revolutionary War soldier is below (source:  http://www.americanrevolution.com/images/ContinentalArmy.jpg)

Like many processes, loading a rifle was held back because quicker changeovers were not possible due to technological issues and lack of progress in that area.  Slowly, the technology did improve and the flint-lock hammer was replaced with a preloaded percussion cap (like the kind you can buy in a toy store that makes a loud pop) that could easily be placed on a pin, before being struck by the hammer. 

 

This removed the clumsly action of pouring small amounts of gun powder into the flash pan while attempting to hold your composure.  Around the same time, ammunition companies began packaging the gun powder and the bullet in a paper encased packet that required the soldier to reach into only 1 compartment instead of 2.  The soldier would simply pull out the packet, bite off the end, and stick it in the front of the barrel.  So, after removing these small, but time consuming external elements, the process looked something like this:

  1. Stand the musket on its butt end, with the open barrel facing the sky
  2. Get out the paper packet
  3. Bite off the top and place the rest of it in the barrel
  4. Pull out the rifle’s ram rod from its casing on the side of the barrel
  5. Stick the ram rod in the barrel and push the bullet fully down
  6. Put the ram rod back in the side casing
  7. Pick up the musket
  8. Cock the hammer
  9. Get out the cap
  10. Place the cap on the pin
  11. Aim the rifle
  12. Pull the trigger

This type of rifle was used extensively around the time of the American Civil War.  At the same time, bullets were being improved through new packaging techniques that encased the bullets and powder in a metal shell that could be loaded into a moveable turret as you would expect to see on a revolver.  Much like the one pictured below:

 

It took another 25 years or so for this technology to be moved from pistols to rifles, but eventually, the rifle went from muzzle loaded to a pump action carbine to a bolt action rifle to the extremely fast firing machines guns used today.

With the development of the encased bullet, there was no longer a need for a percussion cap and the loading process looked something like this:

  1. Preload a small batch of bullets into a ‘clip’ (does not need to be done during battle)
  2. Attach the clip to the gun (again, the first clip can be done during down time)
  3. Aim the rifle
  4. Pull the trigger
  5. Repeat steps 3 & 4, as necessary

So, as they do, things progressed and eventually you end up with a mechanism like we see today.  Almost all of the external setup elements have been removed from the gun loading process, however, there is always room for continuous improvement. 

An Uzi (shown), can fire up to 1,200 rounds per minute (rpm)!  That’s 20 rounds per second or .05 seconds per bullet!!  Some machine guns are capable of firing at rates up to 3,000 rpm.

By advancements in technology that allowed external setup times to be reduced and internal setup times to be eliminated (and the streamlining of all other internal setup times), firearms have seen a throughput increase of 40,000% (using the musket and uzi as examples – (1,200 rpm / 3 rpm) x 100%)!  That kind of increase is unheard of in most manufacturing operations, but can be seen from time to time when dealing with automation.

 How about that for an example of how much improvement you can get from a SMED?!

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Comments (2) Posted by matt on Wednesday, May 14th, 2008

Filed under Lean, Lean Quotes, Six Sigma

Over the years I have collected several quotes from various Lean and Six Sigma professionals, historians and trainers.  I have listed most of them below and will continue to expand the list as time goes on.  Enjoy!

“A bad system will defeat a good person every time.” – Deming 

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but habit.” – Aristotle 

“Tell me and I will forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I’ll understand.” – Chinese Proverb

“Quick and Crude is better than Slow and Elegant” – John R. Black, William F. Christopher, from A World Class Production System: Lessons of 20 Years in Pursuit of World Class

“We will win and you will lose. You cannot do anything because your failure is an internal disease. Your companies are based on Taylor’s principles. Worse, your heads are Taylorized too. You firmly believe that sound management means executives on the one side and workers on the other, on the one side men who think and on the other side men who only work.” – Konusuke Matsushita

“Lean is not a program, it is a total strategy.” – Alex Miller, Professor of Management at The University of Tennessee

“Due to the set-up times, the tendency is to produce in batches that are larger than the order quantities. This supposedly utilizes the equipment more efficiently, reduces set-up costs, and reduces unit product cost. But any production in excess of immediate market demand ends up as finished-goods inventory. The result of producing these large batches in today’s competitive marketplace is poor customer service despite high levels of inventory.” – M. Michael Umble and Mokshagundam L. Srikanth. Synchronous Management: Profit-Based Manufacturing for the 21st Century. Spectrum Publishing: 1997.

“Finished goods are products that we have made that no one wants.” “Raw materials are products that we have bought that we don’t need.” – Tom Greenwood, Director of the University of Tennessee Lean Enterprise Forum

“Implementing Lean concepts and principles is not a technological issue, it is primarily a management and human resource issue.” – Kenneth E. Kirby, Associate Professor in the Department of Industrial Engineering at The University of Tennessee

“We do not suggest that you throw your MRP systems away. MRP should be used for purposes of planning and pull mechanisms should be used as much as possible for purposes of execution.” – Kenneth E. Kirby, Associate Professor in the Department of Industrial Engineering at The University of Tennessee

“Many people think that Lean is about cutting heads, reducing the work force or cutting inventory. Lean is really a growth strategy. It is about gaining market share and being prepared to enter in or create new markets.” – Ernie Smith, Lean Event Facilitator in the Lean Enterprise Forum at the University of Tennessee

“Kanban is like the milkman. Mom didn’t give the milkman a schedule. Mom didn’t use MRP. She simply put the empties on the front steps and the milkman replenished them. That is the essence of a pull system” – Ernie Smith, Lean Event Facilitator in the Lean Enterprise Forum at the University of Tennessee

“If you do what you always did, you get what you always got.” – Gerhard Plenert and Bill Kirchmier. Finite Capacity Scheduling: Management, Selection, and Implementation. John Wiley & Sons, Inc: 2000.

“Failure to change is a vice” – Hiroshi Okuda

“There are three kinds of leaders.  Those that tell you what to do.  Those that allow you to do what you want.  And Lean leaders that come down to the work and help you figure it out.” – John Shook

Again, with any of the lean quotes I present, I try to be as accurate as possible.  If you see any discrepancies, please email me.

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Comments (0) Posted by matt on Thursday, May 8th, 2008

Filed under Lean, Lean Quotes, productivity

Eliyahu M. Goldratt & Jeff Cox gave us several good quotes related to manufacturing in the book,  The Goal:  Excellence in Manufacturing (later called The Goal:  A Process of Ongoing Improvement).  The book, a work of fiction, leads readers into the concept of the Theory of Constraints through an easy to read novel setting.  These are some famous quotes from The Goal:

“Make the bottlenecks work only on what will contribute to throughput today … not nine months from now. That’s one way to increase capacity at the bottlenecks. The other way you increase bottleneck capacity is to take some of the load off the bottlenecks and give it to non-bottlenecks.” – quote from The Goal

“If we reduce batch sizes by half, we also reduce by half the time it will take to process a batch. That means we reduce queue and wait by half as well. Reduce those by half, and we reduce by about half the total time parts spend in the plant. Reduce the time parts spend in the plant and our total lead time condenses. And with faster turn-around on orders, customers get their orders faster.” – quote from The Goal

“An hour saved at the non-bottleneck is a mirage.” – quote from The Goal

“I say an hour lost at a bottleneck is an hour out of the entire system. I say an hour saved at a non-bottleneck is worthless. Bottlenecks govern both throughput and inventory.”  – quote from The Goal

Again, with any of the lean quotes I present, I try to be as accurate as possible.  If you see any discrepancies, please email me.

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Comments (1) Posted by matt on Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

Filed under Lean, Lean Quotes, productivity

Taiichi Ohno (1912 – 1990) was a Toyota executive and one of the chief architects of the Toyota Production System.  He wrote several books about Toyota, most notably Toyota Production System:  Beyond Large-Scale Production and Workplace Management.  I have used Taiichi Ohno Quotes from the very beginning of my lean journey to help me both learn about TPS and to help spread the knowledge to anyone that would listen.

 

These are some famous Taiichi Ohno quotes:

“All we are doing is looking at the time line, from the moment the customer gives us an order to the point when we collect the cash. And we are reducing the time line by reducing the non-value adding wastes.” – Taiichi Ohno

“The only place that work and motion are the same thing is the zoo where people pay to see the animals move around” (not exact phrase) – Taiichi Ohno

“Where there is no Standard there can be no Kaizen” – Taiichi Ohno

“Why not make the work easier so the person doesn’t have to sweat?  The Toyota style is not to create results by working hard. It is a system that says there is no limit to people’s creativity.  People don’t go to Toyota to ‘work’ they go there to ‘think.’” – Taiichi Ohno

“Costs do not exist to be calculated. Costs exist to be reduced.” – Taiichi Ohno

“The key to the Toyota Way and what makes Toyota stand out is not any of the individual elements…But what is important is having all the elements together as a system. It must be practiced every day in a very consistent manner, not in spurts.” – Taiichi Ohno

“The more inventory a company has, the less likely they will have what they need.” – Taiichi Ohno

“Data is of course important in manufacturing, but I place the greatest emphasis on facts.” – Taiichi Ohno

Again, with any of the lean quotes I present, I try to be as accurate as possible.  If you see any discrepancies in these Taiichi Ohno Quotes, please email me.

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Comments (4) Posted by matt on Monday, May 5th, 2008

Filed under Lean, Lean Quotes, productivity

Shigeo Shingo (1909 – 1990) was an Industrial Engineer who worked as a consultant with a number of companies before finally being brought in to further develop the Toyota Production System.  His most notable contributions and accomplishments include SMED (quick changeovers), Standard[ized] Work and methods of error-proofing.  Shigeo Shingo quotes are some of the greatest lean quotes because of their simplistic nature and ability to transcend any time period.

These are some of the most famous Shigeo Shingo quotes:

“The most dangerous kind of waste is the waste we do not recognize.” – Shigeo Shingo

“When you buy bananas all you want is the fruit not the skin, but you have to pay for the skin also. It is a waste. And you the customer should not have to pay for the waste.” – Shigeo Shingo

“A relentless barrage of ‘why’s’ is the best way to prepare your mind to pierce the clouded veil of thinking caused by the status quo.  Use it often.” – Shigeo Shingo

“Improvement usually means doing something that we have never done before.” – Shigeo Shingo

“The best approach is to dig out and eliminate problems where they are assumed not to exist.” – Shigeo Shingo

“Are you too busy for improvement? Frequently, I am rebuffed by people who say they are too busy and have no time for such activities. I make it a point to respond by telling people, look, you’ll stop being busy either when you die or when the company goes bankrupt.” – Shigeo Shingo

 

Again, with any of the lean quotes I present, I try to be as accurate as possible.  When it comes to Shigeo Shingo quotes it is always hard to tell how accurate they are and if the translation reported even matches the saying as it would have appeared in Japanese.  If you see any discrepancies, please email me.

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Comments (0) Posted by matt on Sunday, May 4th, 2008