6 min read

Pull Production Systems: Push vs Pull, Types, and Tools

By Steven Calhoun on Jan 12, 2022 3:34:10 PM

Stacking inventory as a buffer is a common practice, but it often goes too far. In the worst cases, businesses produce everything ahead of time and then hope to sell it all, only to find that engineering made an urgent modification to the product or that the forecasts were way off.

Topics: Lean Methodology Operational Excellence
6 min read

Visual Management in Manufacturing and Logistics

By Steven Calhoun on Dec 30, 2021 10:45:00 AM

There are likely many times you’ve encountered problems that arose from something being unclear. Communication is key, as the saying goes. That’s where visual management comes in.

Topics: Lean Methodology Operational Excellence
4 min read

What is Poka-Yoke? (Definition, Examples, and Benefits)

By Steven Calhoun on Nov 17, 2021 11:15:00 AM

Have you ever gone through the steps of a process and thought, “Wow, that was easy”? If you have, there’s a chance that poka-yoke was involved. There’s a common refrain that good design goes unnoticed. Maybe that’s why you haven’t heard of poka-yoke until just now.

Topics: Lean Methodology
3 min read

Process Lead Time and Little’s Law

By Steven Calhoun on Oct 29, 2021 10:07:03 AM

Perhaps you’ve heard of process lead time, a common metric in manufacturing that gives you an idea of how long you’ll have to wait on a widget if you start working on it right now. But you might not know that it’s closely related to a queue theory concept called Little’s Law.

Topics: Lean Methodology Operational Excellence
5 min read

Kanban for Manufacturing: Cards, Boards, and Supermarkets Explained

By Steven Calhoun on Oct 27, 2021 11:00:00 AM

When you need to know what to produce, how much of it to produce, and what order to produce it in, you have a couple ways to approach the problem. You can push through orders and create piles of inventory, or you can pull orders continuously to keep your production flowing smoothly.

Topics: Lean Methodology
3 min read

Lean Six Sigma for Manufacturing

By Steven Calhoun on Oct 1, 2021 10:43:19 AM

There’s a good reason you hear about Lean, Six Sigma, and probably Lean Six Sigma all the time as a manufacturing leader. It’s a powerful way to manage your production, and so contagious that proud practitioners of this method often include their certification next to their names like doctors or lawyers.

Topics: Lean Methodology Operational Excellence
2 min read

The Problem with Heijunka Production Leveling

By Steven Calhoun on Sep 3, 2021 1:00:00 PM

Implementing heijunka to level your production is a longstanding approach to manufacturing. However, it can bog down your business when it is used as a self-imposed, artificial constraint on production.

Topics: Lean Methodology Operational Excellence
5 min read

Drum-Buffer-Rope vs Kanban

By Steven Calhoun on Aug 18, 2021 1:54:58 PM

Ideally, your production process would achieve single piece flow and there would be no need for managing the process with a system for tracking what is where, and how much is needed. But because we don’t live in a perfect world, you will have to choose a system for managing your production process.

Topics: Lean Methodology Operational Excellence
3 min read

What is a Just-in-Time Workforce?

By Steven Calhoun on Jul 21, 2021 4:00:00 PM

Maybe you’re familiar with just-in-time as a concept, but what’s this about a just-in-time workforce?

Topics: Lean Methodology Operational Excellence Workforce Innovation