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Lean Manufacturing: Its now or never!

The global industry in 21st century has forced many leaders/organizations in different sectors to implement more competitive manufacturing system. Lean manufacturing has been found as the standard manufacturing mode of the 21st century. It has been widely known and implemented since 1960. There is no alternative to lean manufacturing. Lean manufacturing, if well implemented will be a guideline to be world class organization. Lean Manufacturing Many organizations that have mastered lean manufacturing methods have substantial cost and quality advantages over those who are still practicing traditional mass production. The objective of Lean manufacturing is to eliminate waste from the processes within an organization. It can be applied successfully in any industry provided it has been understood properly. Many practices have been spoken & highlighted by academicians & practioners which are compulsory to be implemented, in order to gain full benefits of Lean. Often it is said that Lean is for large organization or it is only for manufacturing but the fact is it can be used by anybody and anyone irrespective of industry or size. Many SME’s as well as service organizations have successfully implemented Lean and have benefited out of it while there are many large organizations who have still not experienced the benefits of Lean/ Kaizen. Recently there was an article which talked about “Zero Effect, Zero Defect” model that will anchor 1 million SME’s.

The objective of this model will be to facilitate “Make In India” campaign, drive manufacturing without impacting the environment and bring down rejection rate & deliver quality products. So if SME’s are going to adopt & follow this model, why not the large organizations who have still not adopted Kaizen/ Lean in order to become world class.

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Taste of success 2015

photovisi-download On Tuesday & Wednesday, February 17 & 18, Kaizen Institute hosted its 6th National Convention on Operational Excellence at Hyatt Regency, Pune, India. This year’s event brought together more than 200 delegates, 73 organizations and staff for an exciting event which included national case study competition, plant visits and tutorials. Click here to read more or to download the report.

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Evolution of Manufacturing


‘Manufacture’ – The word stands for ‘Manu’ + ‘Facture’.

Manu means ‘hand’ and

facture means ‘to make’

Manufacturing was an art to start with. How did it become a science?

Industrial Revolution: Technological & Methodological Advances

  • Tull’s ‘Seed Drill’ improved the method of sowing seeds and increased crop yield dramatically
  • Introduction of ‘Crop rotation’ resulted in high yields and increased variety
  • Suddenly demand for cotton went up and farmers grew cotton in large volumes
  • Abundance of cotton kick-started the industrial revolution
  • Industrial revolution took a firm grip first in the Textile industry


Tull’s ‘Seed Drill’ improved the method of sowing seeds and increased crop yield dramatically

Introduction of ‘Crop rotation’ resulted in high yields and increased variety

Suddenly demand for cotton went up and farmers grew cotton in large volumes

Abundance of cotton kick-started the industrial revolution

Industrial revolution took a firm grip first in the Textile industry

A Series of Inventions Followed….


Improvements In Transportation


Industrial Revolution: Technological & Methodological Advances

  • Machines and other inventions resulted in unimaginable productivity increase
  • Improvements in transportation resulted in widening the markets, to which products were supplied
  • Growth in the textile industry and the invention of machines demanded improvements in iron industry. Iron and steel making process began to grow
  • Europe became a superpower as it led the industrial revolution and America joined later
  • More and more of these machines were sold in Europe and Americas
  • HOW WERE THESE MACHINES BUILT? What was the manufacturing system?
  • To study that we shall use the example of automobile industry

Case of ‘Panhard et Levassor’

  • The firm of Panhard and Levassor was one of the original pioneers of the automobile industry
  • They started making cars as early as 1890
  • They sold several hundred cars a year and by 1894, they were the largest car company in the world
  • In 1894, Honorable Ellis a member of English parliament ordered a car from Panhard &Levassor
  • He was the first to drive a car in England (In June 1895 @10mph)
  • The company then used the classic ‘Craft Production System’


Features of Craft Production System: Manufacturing as an art- The P&L case

  • No two cars were alike. They were built as per specifications of each customer
  • The system depended highly on the skills of the craftsmen
  • Same parts were not alike and had differences. The part makers used different gauges. Their specifications were approximate and had to be filed and worked upon before fitting
  • Parts were produced with general purpose machines and usually in small workshops.
  • Raw material available for parts production were not perfectively conducive for manufacturing
  • Each car was a prototype and hence reliability and consistency were an issue
  • Speed and customization were the buyer priority and not cost, reliability and driving ease. Owners were rich and mostly employed drivers and mechanics
  • The time taken to deliver a car and the cost was prohibitively high. Hon.Elis bought his car for 50 pounds and had to wait one year

Present Examples of Craft Production

  • A suit stitched by a tailor
  • A golden bangle made by a jewel designer
  • An artificial limb designed for a handicapped person
  • Eye glasses supplied by an optics vendor


  • A wood furniture made as per your order
  • A dress designed by a fashion designer for a wedding
  • A house built as per your taste and specification


F.W.Taylor’s Scientific Management (1911)

  • Poor productivity was due to ‘Rule of Thumb’ methods and workmen’s tendency to soldier
  • Proposed scientific study of work methods to find the ‘One best way’. Paved the way for ‘efficiency drive’ and industrial engineering
  • Advocated scientific selection and training of workmen based on skills
  • Planning and production were separated.
  • His key innovations were..
  • Standardized work
  • Reducing cycle time
  • Time and motion studies
  • Measurement and analysis for continual improvement.

in between 5 & 6

 Interchangeability of Parts

  • Machines were less adaptable than humans and required a standardized grade of starting materials to work properly
  • Eli Whitney pioneered the concept of interchangeable parts that were exactly identical in specifications
  • Interchangeable parts were made possible by improvement in iron and steel processing and hence consistent raw material
  • Interchangeability allowed easy fitting and assembly of parts and hence very high productivity
  • Gun industry was the first to take advantage and produced guns at a far cheaper rate than craft production


Henry Ford’s Mass Production System

  • Initially whole car was built on one assembly stand often by one fitter
  • Improved the efficiency by delivering parts to each work station
  • Achieved perfect interchangeability of parts and produced parts himself at very low cost/unit – ‘Mass Production’
  • Improved product design – reduced major components from 750 to 93
  • Interchangeability and ease of operation eliminated need for skill
  • Moving assembly line introduced – 1913
  • Fine division of labor – ‘One man – One job’ and achieved high labor productivity
  • Made only ‘Model-T’ and at a large scale
  • Vertically integrated all his operations


The success of the Ford System

  • Between 1908 and 1920 Ford hit peak production of 2million units per annum.
  • At the same time real cost to the customer had been cut by two thirds.
  • Ford was able to famously DOUBLE the wage of assembly workers to $5 per day.
  • Ford became the industry leader.


Other developments

  • Alfred Sloan recognized the need for professional management.
  • Divided General Motors into 5 auto. divisions each to operate under a GM as a profit centre.
  • GAPP accounting standards developed supported this transformation and came to encourage wasteful manufacturing.
  • Gap between management and shop floor widened.
  • After almost a decade of labor unrest auto workers signed agreements-main issues being job seniority and job rights.


The growing Dysfunction

  • Worker alienation: Unions continually fought to reduce working hours.
  • Quality: Took a back seat to production.
  • Machinery: Became larger and larger in pursuit of economies of scale.
  • Engineering: branched into myriad specialties, having to say leas and less to other specialty engineers.

Things could have gone on like this but for:

  1. The Oil Crisis of the 1970s
  2. The developments in Toyoda city.

Eiji Toyoda visits Ford

In 1950 Eiji Toyoda visited Ford’s Detroit plant and on return made two famous conclusions:

  1. Mass production would not work for Japan
  2. There are some possibilities to improve the production function.


In 1950, after 13yrs of effort Toyota had managed to produce 2685 automobiles. In contrast Ford’s Detroit plant produced 7000 per day.

Daunting Challenges for Toyota

  • Small domestic market, demanding a wide range of Vehicles
  • The warn torn Japanese economy was capital starved therefore huge investment in latest western technology was impossible
  • Established car makers outside Japan eager to take a foothold in Japan.
  • Toyota faced bankruptcy and labor unrest
  • Due to labor laws passed in 1946 the company’s union was in a strong bargaining position.

The historic bargain

  • 25% of the workforce was terminated as originally proposed
  • Kiichiro Toyoda resigned as President
  • The remaining employees received two guarantees.
  • Life time employment
  • Pay steeply graded to seniority and tied to company’s profitability through bonuses.

          The deep implications:

  • The workers were now a fixed cost…hence it made sense for the company to continually enhance worker skills.
  • It made sense for the workers to stay with the company.
  • Thus a foundation was created for an entirely different employee contract based on cooperation, flexibility and mutual benefits.

       The Rise of Toyota Production System (Lean)

  • Taiichi Ohno assisted by Shiego Shingo, over a period of 30 years,  pioneered the Toyota production system as a solutions to Toyota problems.
  • They developed activities to fully involve team members in improvement-an utterly novel idea at the time.
  • Ohno faced daunting obstacles but he was a genius and had the full support of Eiji Toyoda.


P.S. If your leaders and colleagues are also interested in this subject, do them a favor and share this link. They may thank you for your concern and initiative.

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Productivity improvement through Total Productive Maintenance (TPM): Part III of III

Fundamental concept of the plant efficiency


TPM Roles


TPM Benefits

To the Business

  • More customer Requirements
  • Produce more for the same cost
  • Become more Competitive
  • Less Expenditure on Breakdowns, Machine Parts, Scrap, Panic Measures, etc.

For Maintenance Engineers:

  • Less Breakdown Maintenance (Firefighting)
  • Machines which are Clean and kept in Good Condition
  • More Time to Spend on Preventing Breakdowns Using:

– Preventive Techniques
– Predictive Techniques
– Design out Problems

  • Opportunity to Increase Skills and Knowledge

For Operators and Setters

  • A Clean, Tidy and Safer Workplace
  • Problems and Faults Fixed
  • A say in What goes on in the Cell
  • Opportunity to increase Skills and Knowledge
  • Less Panic – More Control
  • Smarter Methods of Working on More Effective Machines

Attainable goals


8 Pillars of TPM


8 TPM® – Pillars


Content of the 8 pillars of TPM®



  • Start with simple activities which will bring good returns
  • Plan the TPM program in detail
  • Probably 3 years overall




  • Typically 80% of breakdowns are caused by
  • Improper ‘ Cleaning ‘
  • Improper ‘ Oiling ‘
  • Improper ‘ Tightening ‘
  • Improper ‘ Inspection ‘

In short “ COTI ”

P.S. If your leaders and colleagues are also interested in this subject, do them a favor and share this link. They may thank you for your concern and initiative.

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Productivity improvement through Total Productive Maintenance (TPM): Part II of III

Goals of TPM®

TPM has the goal of improving productivity and reducing cost.TPM will improve yield, capacity, flexibility, quality and contribute to the safety of the work environment.


Why TPM®?


Fundamental concept of the plant efficiency


16 Losses


Availability Losses (5)

1) Break Down Loss(failure losses).

Losses due to failures. Types of failures include sporadic function stopping failures and function-reduction

failures in which the function of the equipment drops below normal levels like replacement of parts or repair, cases requiring 5 minutes or more for repair.

Target is zero failures.

To attain zero failure ,it is necessary to correct the misconception

about breakdown maintenance that failures are unavoidable.

2) Planned Maintenance Time Loss (shut down losses)

Times when equipment is shutdown for maintenance. However shutdown-related work greatly affects the operating time rate of equipment .shutdown related work must be regarded as a loss and reduction of shutdown work time must be sought.

3) Setup Loss

e.g. Change of Dies, machining fixtures etc.

Setup and adjustments losses refers to time losses from the end of the production of a previous items through product-change adjustment to the point where the production of the new items ic=s completely satisfactory. SMED must. Adjustments how to reduce, eliminate? One shot adjustment or trail or error till 3-4 components are tried.

4) Tool Change Loss/cutting blade losses

e.g. Change of Drill, tap, reamer, cutter etc.

Stoppage losses caused by changing the cutting blade due to breakage or caused by changing the cutting blade when the service life of the grinding stone ,cutter or bite has been reached.

What is your tool change losses ? 5 or > 10%.

Normally a fix number or time is set but if the tool breaks before that –it leads to change ,adjustment and a new sort over all again .

5) Start Up Loss

e.g.. Furnace , Paint Shop Oven etc.

Start up losses are defined as time losses from :

  1. Start –up after periodic repair.
  2. Start- up after suspension (long time stoppage).
  3. Start up after holidays,
  4. Start up after lunch breaks.


When starting production, the losses that arise until equipment starts up, running  in and production processing conditions stabilize.

Does your machines have ‘Monday Disease’.

Losses of Performance (2)

6) Minor Stoppage Loss

i.e. Frequent stoppages for short time from seconds to less then 5 minutes for recovery.

e.g. Component stuck to die while stamping etc.

Losses that occurs when the equipment temporarily stops or idles due to sensor actuation or jamming of the work, chute clogging. The equipment will operate normally through simples measures (removal of the work and resetting).

The definition of these losses is as follows

1. Losses that are accompanied by temporary functional stoppage.
2. Losses allowing functional recovery through simples measures (removal of abnormal work pieces and resetting.)
3. Losses that do not require parts exchange or repair.

To reduce minor stoppages ,it is important to adequately analyse the phenomena Involved and thoroughly eliminate minor defects. The target number of minor defects is zero.

7) Reduced Speed Loss

e.g. 50 parts produced against standard of 53 parts as a cycle time increased to 9 min. from 8.5 due to less speed/feed.

These are losses that occur because the equipment speed is slow. They can be defined as follows;

Losses due to a diff between the design speed (or standard speed for the item concerned ) and the actual speed.

Losses caused when the design speed is lower then present technological standards or the desirable condition.

If the design speed is 60 seconds and actual cycle time is 65 seconds then the loss is 5 seconds.

The target is to reduce the difference between design speed and actual speed to zero


Loss due to Quality (1)

8) Defects & Rework

i.e. any reworked or rejected product shows direct time loss due to poor Quality.

Sporadic defects are easily fixed , so they are rarely left uncorrected .chronic defects ,in contrast , are often left as they are, because their causes are difficult to perceive and measures to correct them are seldom effective

To realize zero defects, it is necessary to radically review defective phenomena.


Losses Impeding Human Efficiency (5)

09) Management Losses

e.g. Raw Material/Person not available esp. poor planning.

Waiting losses that are caused by management, such as waiting for material, waiting for a dolly, waiting for tools, waiting for instructions, waiting for repairs of breakdowns, etc.

10) Operating Motion Loss (OML)

e.g. Excess motions like walking, bending, stretching etc.

These include motion losses due to violation of motion economy ,losses that occur as a result of skill differences, and walking losses attributable to an inefficient layout.

11) Adjustment & Measurement Loss

e.g. Frequent tool adjustment after few components.

Work losses from frequent measurement and adjustment in order to prevent the occurrence and outflow of quality defects.

12) Line Organization Loss (LOL)

e.g. 75 % Manpower utilization due to poor line balancing.

These are waiting time losses involving multi-process and multi stand operators and line-balance losses in conveyor work.

13) Logistics Loss/distribution losses/losses resulting from failure to automate.

e.g. Operator Travels/waits for want of material on stage.

Distribution man hour losses due to transport of materials, products(processed products) and dollies.

These are also personnel losses resulting from non replacement with automated systems, although such replacement could be done. They include for instance cases in which automated loading and unloading leading to manpower reduction is not implemented, although it could be done.

Losses of Costs (3) –Three major losses that can impede effective use of production resources.

14) Yield Loss

e.g. Excess material stock/weight, Excessive splashes etc..Material losses due to differences in the weght of the input materials and the weight of the quality products.

Increasing casting wall thickness to avoid blow holes leading to more machining time and loss of material.


15) Energy Loss

e.g. Losses due to heat radiation, leakage of fuel, air, oil ,losses due to ineffective utilization of input energy (electric ,gas, fuel oil, steam, air and water etc) in processing.etc.

Because of electricity ,fuel, utility costs represents a high percentage of the total cost, all companies are striving to reduce them.

16) Die/Tool loss

e.g. loss of tool due to regrinding, Poor life of molds etc, Repairs of Dies/Tools, FOS consumables.

These are monetary losses resulting from the mfg and repair of dies, jigs and tools necessary for the production of products.

Mfg new moulds, replacement at the end of service life, breakdown, repair is expensive.

To reduce mfg costs it is absolutely necessary to extend MTBF of mould repair, to prevent product breakage and to extend the service life of replacement parts.all companies are striving to reduce them.

Keep watching this space to read Part III & Part III of this subject.

P.S. If your leaders and colleagues are also interested in this subject, do them a favor and share this link. They may thank you for your concern and initiative.

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Productivity improvement through Total Productive Maintenance (TPM): Part I of III

More and more companies are using TPM® as a means of keeping key machines up & running. The objective of TPM® is to eliminate the equipment downtime. It focuses on overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), covering areas like breakdowns, setup time, capacity, etc.

Productivity Improvement

The OEE calculations rolls the “6 big losses” of TPM® into one number that represents the effective operating rate for any equipment.

6 losses

Total Productive Maintenance is also defined as:

TOTAL: Business Wide
PRODUCTIVE: Improve equipment performance
MAINTENANCE: Machine support system

To become world class

  • We need world class processes
  • World-class people
  • World-class machines

TPM® is a tool which ensures that we attain & sustain world-class machines

If machines are poorly maintained…..Break downs will occur – which is Muda, Production loss will happen, Product quality will be unstable, Safety stocks will be built as we are not sure when the M/c will stop again! Spare part consumption will be more, etc

TPM® was started by JIPM & the TPM® Targets are Zero (unplanned) stoppages, Zero quality defects (due to m/c), Zero accidents, Over 85% OEE. TPM®…is a culture that focuses on improving the effectiveness of the plant, equipment and processes through the empowerment of PEOPLE.

TPM® is:

Having a clean, tidy and safe work place
Keeping machines and tools in good condition
Having a say in what goes on in your cell/area
Getting things done
Making life easier – being in control
Working in a ‘smart’ way
Owning and having a pride in your machines/cell/area
Teamwork – production and maintenance
About making machines as ‘effective’ as possible

TPM® is NOT:

Operators carrying out Maintenance Engineers’ jobs
A way of making people work harder.
Employees expected to carry out tasks that they are not trained for.
A way of monitoring employees.
Extra duties in your own time.
Anything other than common sense and correct working practices.
Just a change for the shop-floor.

Operator CAN DO Activities

Bolt Tightening.
Identifying Actions
Controlling Coolant ,air leakage, muck and swarf
Calculating Machine Effectiveness
Predicting Problems.

TPM® is a registered trademark of JIPM

Keep watching this space to read Part II & Part III of this subject.

P.S. If your leaders and colleagues are also interested in this subject, do them a favor and share this link. They may thank you for your concern and initiative.

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Last Call to enroll for IndiZEN & One day session on Making Lean A Habit

IndiZEN 2015

For all you Operational Excellence/ Kaizen/ Lean managers hoping to Learn, Share & Network with like-minded people – be sure to register for IndiZEN: 6th National Convention On Operational Excellence (17th & 18th February) & One day session on Making Lean A Habit (19th February).

Having a presence there means  great exposure for your business & the chance to connect with other industry experts. So please block your diaries for these dates and act now!

P.S. If your leaders and colleagues are also interested in this subject, do them a favor and share this link. They may thank you for your concern and initiative.

Looking for more info on Kaizen/ Lean/ Operational Excellence? Click here


Lean workstations that makes work easier

Workstation is a place where value adding activities are carried out. While a normal workstation focuses on the output, a Lean/ Kaizen Workstation focuses on Operators’ Comfort, Motion Economy, Ergonomics, Interchangeability, and Safety & Productivity.

Simply put, a workstation is the area that contains the work surfaces, fixtures, tools, and materials needed to perform a job.Workstation is the key element of any process & a part of Standard Work. Without a standardized workstation, MURA (inconsistency) & MURI (strain) cannot be arrested.

Workstations should always be customized. Generally, we use standard workstations those are bought off-the-shelf. Though they may be interchangeable, the problem with these workstations is that it does not necessarily meet the needs of the operator performing the process.

The ideal approach is to design each workstation to match the specific needs of the tasks that will be performed on the station. Common design materials include things slotted angles, plastic pipes, scrap material from maintenance crib etc.,. Using these modular systems an operator gets exactly the workspace they need.

When configuring a work area, the following need to be considered:

Minimize work surfaces. Let us remember one thing: “more the space, more the trash”. The workstation starts accumulating unnecessary items that requires more cleaning resulting in loss of time due to excess processing. When we have additional space, the paradigm will tend towards batching. Hence, limit the space; match the space to the need of the task.


A slanted work-table is ideal; however, one needs to study this. We can have the material bins in slanted fashion if required.

Make workstations adjustable. Flexibility is the need. With different operators working in different shifts and each of them having different heights, the workstations are ought to be flexible. This will ensure fatigue-free processes. Adjustments can be done with Jack-systems, carter-pins, pneumatic or hydraulic jacks etc., Remember to keep it simple.


Nothing is permanent. No fixed stations. Use Wheels You’ll be happy you did this every time you have Kaizen activity in the area.  

Use quick disconnects on all of your lines. Quick connectors for electrical line, pneumatic line, water line etc., will facilitate easy re-configuring. A versatile workstation is critical when we keep doing Kaizen with respect to layout re-organization.


Front loading. Let us make it easy for the Mizusumashi to feed the material without disturbing the operator. While we ensure frontal loading, ensure the rejects/ Waste go out from the rear.


Make it U-shaped. Don’t have people reaching for the back corners.

Jigs & Fixtures: Displays, Gages, Control charts etc., can be angled up towards the operator. Use of cut-outs in the work surface or jigs will facilitate easy handling. Build jigs in such a way that both hands are used concurrently.

Make a hole for trash. Reaching for a trashcan should not be an additional task-element. A hole in the table with a spout is ideal to remove waste from the Workstation.


Make tools easy to grab and put away. Easy to grab and easy to return the tools will save time. Orientation of the tools should be done from this aspect.

Karakuri – Feed small parts through tubes using gravity. Configured properly, they can take up less space than standard bins.

Information flow:  Design a table considering how to maintain the flow of information – Kanban posts, SoPs, etc.,

Avoid chairs. Most people work better on their feet. This is especially true in U-shaped cells or when people do a lot of job rotation.

P.S. If your leaders and colleagues are also interested in this subject, do them a favor and share this link. They may thank you for your concern and initiative.

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