Friday, September 15, 2017

Back-to-School Lean: Lunchbox Kanban

by Deborah McGee,  September 7, 2017

For those have adjusting their routines to another school year, Deborah is encouraged to share a success story of lean implementation. A few years back, Deborah started a new job (here at LEI), and had to leave the house earlier each day. With new morning time constraints to consider, after about six months of making it work, the time was right to transfer lunch-making responsibility directly to the front line.

This was not a shared vision! But with an unpredictable commute ahead, as anyone working within time constraints knows, using those precious minutes differently became a critical success factor for the day. The kids needed to take ownership without the nutritional standards dropping. This is important work! In addition to time constraints, other factors for systematizing this work included the weekly grocery bill, the amount of food waste, and morale – and by “morale”, it means the weekly refrain about not (ever, apparently) getting the “right stuff” from the grocery store.

Access Deborah article, clicking here...

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Industry 4.0: from evolution to revolution

Plastics News Europe

In this feature for Plastics News Europe David Vink surveys the debate around Industry 4.0, a major theme at Fakuma 2015, and how manufacturing could start to look quite different from how it does today.

The term “Industry 4.0” first emerged in Germany in 2011 to describe a transformation in manufacturing that is expected to happen over the next few decades. It covers a number of technological and operational developments, but essentially it foresees the creation of smart factories in which cyber-physical systems (including the products being made) can communicate with each other, the factory and its staff via the internet.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Change To Lean Six Sigma Helps Manufacturer Reap Benefits

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Change To Lean Six Sigma Helps Manufacturer Reap Benefits

Dumidu Ranaweera, Head of Organizational Excellence/Executive Master Black Belt, Premium Vegetable Oils Sdn Bhd., discusses how his organization changed systems to adopt LSS and the tools they now... [more]


There’s always that one guy at rock concerts who loiters on the periphery of the entourage: he has the pass and hang outs with the big boys backstage, but nobody really knows his role. On the surface, the recent announcement that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) will join BMW’s existing alliance with Intel and Mobileye has a similar feel.

Last week, all parties signed a memorandum of understanding for FCA to join them in their quest to develop a world leading, state-of-the-art autonomous driving platform. While FCA isn’t totally new to the AD game – Waymo uses Chrysler Pacifica mini-vans to test its driverless car technology – in terms of getting in on the more technology-oriented side of the business (digital mapping, ride-hailing), so far it hasn’t particularly been known to be one of the front players. Being left behind for too long in the current landscape might mean that producing cars for Silicon Valley giants, where they take the lion’s share of your profits, could become your only means of survival. And that’s probably where FCA was heading.

NIST: Why Try the Baldrige Cybersecurity Excellence Builder?

By Jacqueline Calhoun

Which cybersecurity-related activities are most important to your business strategy and critical service delivery? How do you assess the effectiveness and efficiency of your use of cybersecurity standards, guidelines, and practices? To answer these questions and build excellence in your cybersecurity risk management system, consider a self-assessment with a new tool called the Baldrige Cybersecurity Excellence Builder.

Organizations of all types are becoming more vulnerable to cyber threats due to their increasing dependence on computers, networks, programs and applications, social media, and data. Security breaches can negatively impact organizations and their workforce, customers, and other stakeholders, with both financial and reputational damage potentially lasting many years. Balancing the conflicting demands of connectivity and accessibility with security, reliability, and confidentiality means that risk management and measuring the effectiveness of cybersecurity practices is critical.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Tooling companies brace for a crash

Segment poised to ‘fall through the floor,’ consultant warns

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- North American tool-and-die makers are facing a business downturn in three to four years that will be severe enough to put many of them out of business, one of the segment’s leading consultants forecasts.
“After 2020, the tooling business is going to fall through the floor,” warns Laurie Harbour, CEO of the suburban Detroit auto manufacturing consultancy Harbour Results. Harbour works closely with tool-and-die companies and monitors their business conditions.
Harbour bases her dire outlook on the flow of orders for new North American vehicle models, which she said is about to plummet by half.
“The average age of tool shop owners in North America is now over 60,” Harbour said Tuesday in an interview on the sidelines of the CAR Management Briefing Seminars. “They barely got through the 2008-2009 economic crash. When this next trough hits, they’re not going to want to go through it again, and they will just close or sell out.”
Orders for new tooling and dies run 18 to 20 months ahead of new model launches, as tool shops produce the hardware to make new or redesigned auto parts. Harbour cites industry forecasts that automakers are about to wind down a huge multiyear campaign to redesign their platform architectures and powertrains to meet 2025 fuel-economy goals.
As automakers complete that wave of vehicle redesigns, Harbour forecasts, the need for new tooling will drop to lower levels for several years.
“We are at the top of the bubble right now on model launches,” Harbour said. “It’s about to fall off a cliff.”
Harbour said the North American tooling industry has about $13.5 billion a year in revenues. That is far above its normal volumes of the past, which averaged between $9 billion and $10 billion, she said.
“We’re forecasting that in 2020 to 2021, the volume is going to fall to less than $7 billion.”
Harbour said that because most North American tool-and-die shops are small, privately owned companies, many of the proprietors will simply sell their companies or close and retire. In many cases, she adds, there is no clear family or management succession plan in place.

You can reach Lindsay Chappell at lchappell@crain.com

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Improve Product Development Using IPD

by Jim Dickerson

As with many processes at IBM, product development can be summarized with the three-letter abbreviation IPD—Integrated Product Design.

Simply put, IPD is a systematic process for product development based on fact based decision making involving all relevant job disciplines including sales, marketing and the supply chain, which includes manufacturing, logistics, procurement and fulfillment.

For companies using a discipline business process like IPD, the goal is to bring a solution to market that satisfies client needs and makes bottom-line results more predictable and profitable.

The IPD process ensures all factors in developing a proposed solution are considered throughout the checkpoint process and the solution’s entire life cycle before it ever goes to market.
Working in a Vacuum

Before IPD became widely accepted and implemented, engineers, just like many other people in manufacturing organizations, worked in silos—de-veloping products and lobbing them over the wall to sales and marketing.

This scenario describes IBM’s problem in the early 1990s. IBM funded products that didn’t meet the needs of the marketplace or never made it outside the laboratory. Creative ideas and innovations typical of IBM’s 3,000 patents annually needed predictable business processes that were consistent and reliable to transform them into marketplace product successes.

Lack of consistency and commonality across 30 internal individual supply chains also hampered product cost and quality at IBM. This impacted product design significantly because IBM was unable to leverage cost and quality benefits of a common building block process aligned to a standard set of preferred suppliers.
Measuring Success And Best Practices

By 1998, IBM had fully implemented IPD across its entire organization. The impetus for IPD was a new CEO. At the time, IBM was slow to market with several technologies and had lost focus. Negative corporate business results and sagging stock prices weren’t helping, either.

Something had to give: IBM’s brand needed to be transformed and reignited. To stop the bleeding, IBM hired a new CEO who wanted to see change fast and results even faster, thus launching a reengineering transformation. Since IPD, IBM has:
Cut the list of suppliers in half to 33,000.
Driven commonality across the different IBM brands and increased parts reuse to 63%.
Reduced abandoned project ex-penses from 25% to less than 2%.
Improved time to market three to four times across all IBM eServer platforms.
Enhanced operational efficiencies by quantum leaps.

Clearly, IPD has been the vehicle to make this happen—so much so that the IPD process has been turned into an IBM services consulting engagement. Clients are able to take pieces of IPD’s governance model, processes, and enabling tools and technologies to help achieve similar successes.

Based on IBM’s lessons learned, keys to IPD success include:
Executive support. Whether it’s a top down approach driven by the CEO or convincing a board of directors, support from the top will drive participant compliance within the organization and generate the attention it deserves.
Communication: This is essential to get the compliance needed for success. IBM targeted employees, management and executives and rolled out a worldwide training curriculum to explain IPD’s value and its importance to IBM.
Customer focus: IPD enabled IBM to become market driven with clearer customer centric processes.
Building one team: IPD broke down the silos and depended on the ability of cross functional teams to work together and execute.
Benchmarking: Measure progress with key targets while benchmarking against the industry. This is crucial in understanding strengths and weaknesses and to recognize areas that require focus.

Figure 1 illustrates the IPD process (at beginning).

Ever Evolving IPD

The world of on demand is predicated on constant change and rising customer expectations. So the work for IPD is still not complete, particularly as IBM’s products become more complex—integrating services, software and hardware into tightly woven business solutions.

The IPD team continues to improve the product development process by improving supply chain collaboration, particularly with the web of suppliers, external contractors and business partners that are part of IBM’s $40 billion global supply chain.

JIM DICKERSON is the director of integrated product design at IBM’s integrated supply chain division in Poughkeepsie, NY. He has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY.