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6 min read

Best Warehouse Management Systems 2021

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

When your warehouse is buzzing and nobody has much time to stop and analyze the situation, you need a way to quickly see where everything is and then direct the work to get it done. That’s where warehouse management systems come in.

Topics: Operational Excellence
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
3 min read

The 80/20 Rule for Operational Improvements in Manufacturing

By Steven Calhoun on Oct 22, 2021 9:40:00 AM

It’s important to know which actions will drive results, especially when there’s so much noise. Being able to narrow down your to-do list to what matters is a crucial skill for doing work that matters in today’s world.

Topics: Operational Excellence
6 min read

Production Leveling vs Agile Manufacturing

By Steven Calhoun on Oct 13, 2021 10:00:00 AM

You need to meet customer demands, but you also have to plan your production properly to make sure you’re working profitably. This is a tall task, and luckily, people in your shoes have already tried many approaches to solving this problem.

Topics: Operational Excellence
4 min read

Improving Lead Times with On-Demand Labor

By Steven Calhoun on Oct 6, 2021 9:16:00 AM

As an operations leader in today’s hypercompetitive landscape, you’re always on the lookout for ways to reduce lead times to better satisfy internal stakeholders and, ultimately, delight the customer. In a volatile time with so many supply chain disruptions, the companies able to put products on shelves and in carts are the ones that get orders.

Topics: On-Demand Labor Operational Excellence
4 min read

Three Human Barriers to Labor Digitization and How to Promote Buy-in

By Seth Canner on Oct 1, 2021 2:00:00 PM

As a company decision-maker, you know that continuous improvement is critical to competing, and digitization is all but required to win in today’s market. However, stakeholders don’t always agree on the best way forward. Often the introduction of any new technology to your long-standing operations is a battle, and buy-in at all levels is necessary to maximize value creation.

Topics: Digital Manufacturing Operational Excellence
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
5 min read

The Rube Goldberg Problem in Manufacturing

By Steven Calhoun on Sep 23, 2021 4:51:12 PM

US manufacturing has a problem. It’s not attracting enough workers, and its output lags behind where it needs to be if we are going to bring productive power back onto our shores en masse. What would otherwise be a simple equation has become muddled with variables and complexities that leave us worse off, as the global supply chain has shown us in the past year. US manufacturing is stuck in a giant Rube Goldberg machine, propped up by tinier complexities at the individual facility level.

Topics: Operational Excellence
4 min read

Addressing Productivity Issues Using On-Demand Labor

By Steven Calhoun on Sep 17, 2021 10:03:55 AM

You’ve been here before: operations seem to be doing just fine, until you check the numbers and see that output is not keeping pace. You should be taking on more orders, but you’re having trouble keeping up with the ones you have. So what do you do?

Topics: On-Demand Labor 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