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Volume 9 Issue 9   |   September 2008   |

From the Editor

Welcome to the Superfactory Newsletter!

There are two important events coming up over the next couple months: the Lean Accounting Summit in Las Vegas in September and the AME Annual Conference in Toronto in October. The AME conference is the largest lean conference in the world, and over 1,350 people have already registered. I hope to see you at both events!

In late October Gemba Research is offering another "Japanese Kaikaku Experience"... a week of touring lean factories in Japan. I'll be going on this trip and will report on the experience, but I would also encourage you to sign up as well.

- Kevin Meyer


Manufacturing Excellence News

Stories of interest to the lean community.


In the Blog

Join over 3,000 readers who get their daily dose of blunt manufacturing reality by subscribing to the Evolving Excellence blog!

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Recent posts in the Evolving Excellence blog include:

Visit the Evolving Excellence blog...

Upcoming Events

4 Sep
Preventive Maintenance Optimization - Raleigh, NC - Marshall Institute -
4 Sep
Root Cause Analysis - Nashville, TN - Marshall Institute -
4 Sep
Intro to Lean Supply Chains - Longmont, CO - Transformance Advisors-
8 Sep
Lean Accounting & Performance Measurement - Lexington, KY - U Kentucky -
8 Sep
Six Sigma White Belt - Dayton, OH - U-Dayton Center for Competitive Change -
8 Sep
Shingo Conference West - Bellevue, WA -
8 Sep
ISO 9001:2000 Lead Auditor Training - Atlanta, GA - Georgia Tech -
8 Sep
RC-14001 & ISO-14001 - Orlando, FL - TQMS -
8 Sep
Successful Project Management - Pasadena, CA - CalTech -
8 Sep
Lean Six Sigma Workshop - Foxboro, MA - AME -
9 Sep
Six Sigma Black Belt - Milwaukee, WI - MSOE -
9 Sep
Human Error Prevention - Providence, RI - High Tech Seminars -
9 Sep
Leadership 101: SMART Leadership - Cincinnati, OH - Definity Partners -
9 Sep
GBMP Lean Manufacturing Certificate Course - Fall River, MA - GBMP -
10 Sep
Lean Bronze Certification - Atlanta, GA - AME -
10 Sep
Certified Lean Master - Longmont, CO - Transformance Advisors-
11 Sep
Problem Reporting & Root Cause Analysis - Providence, RI - High Tech Seminars -
15 Sep
Lean Product Design Workshop - Irving, TX - AME -
15 Sep
Driving Business Performance Through New Metrics & Incentives - Pasadena, CA - Caltech -
15 Sep
Lean Toolkit Certificate - Milwaukee, WI - MSOE -
15 Sep
Lean Certification Courses 5 & 6- Lexington, KY - U Kentucky -
15 Sep
Six Sigma Executive Champion - Dayton, OH - U-Dayton Center for Competitive Change -
15 Sep
Leadership 102: Effective Communication - Columbus, OH - Definity Partners -
15 Sep
5S & Total Productive Maintenance - Richmond Hill, ON Canada - EMC Canada-
16 Sep
Maintenance Measures - Cincinnati, OH - Marshall Institute -
16 Sep
Lean Six Sigma Improvement Week - Chicago, IL - IQPC -
16 Sep
Lean Accounting - Belleville, ON Canada - EMC Canada-
16 Sep
Lean Bootcamp: Training a Lean Champion - Atlanta, GA - Georgia Tech -
16 Sep
World Class Maintenance - Warren, MI - Macomb CC -
16 Sep
Leadership 107: High Performance Teams - Columbus, OH - Definity Partners -
17 Sep
Lean Green & Gold Workshop - Chicago, IL - AME -
17 Sep
Visual Workplace Summit - Portland, OR - QMI -
17 Sep
The Lean Supervisor - Cambridge, ON Canada - EMC Canada-
17 Sep
Leadership 102: Effective Communication - Cincinnati, OH - Definity Partners -
17 Sep
Predictive Maintenance Technologies - Warren, MI - Macomb CC -
17 Sep
Lean Service -Dayton, OH - U-Dayton Center for Competitive Change -
17 Sep
Internal Auditing for ISO 14001 - Atlanta, GA - Georgia Tech -
17 Sep
Strategic Alliances - Pasadena, CA - CalTech -
17 Sep
Lean Accounting Summit - Las Vegas, NV -
18 Sep
Root Cause Failure Analysis - Warren, MI - Macomb CC -
19 Sep
Developing Pull Systems & Visual Management - Hamilton, ON Canada - EMC Canada-
22 Sep
Developing Pull Systems & Visual Management - Kitchener, ON Canada - EMC Canada-
22 Sep
Maintenance Planning & Scheduling - Warren, MI - Macomb CC -
22 Sep
Building a Lean Culture - Lexington, KY - U Kentucky -
22 Sep
Six Sigma Yellow Belt - Dayton, OH - U-Dayton Center for Competitive Change -
22 Sep
The Lean Experience - Novi, MI - Lean Learning Center -
23 Sep
Global Pharma Manufacturing Summit - Schaumburg, IL - World Trade Group -
23 Sep
Total Productive Maintenance - Nashville, TN - Marshall Institute -
23 Sep
Quality & Environmental Auditing - Providence, RI - High Tech Seminars -
23 Sep
Strategies for Lean Purchasing - Barrie, ON Canada - EMC Canada-
23 Sep
The Lean Supervisor - Sudbury, ON Canada - EMC Canada-
24 Sep
PLC Training Seminar - Atlanta, GA - Business Industrial Network -
24 Sep
Lean Marketing & Sales Workshop - Research Triangle Park, NC - Customer Mfg Group -
25 Sep
Measuring Organization & Process Performance - Providence, RI - High Tech Seminars -
25 Sep
The Lean Supervisor - Owen Sound, ON Canada - EMC Canada-
25 Sep
Managerial Skills for Maintenance Leaders - Warren, MI - Macomb CC -
29 Sep
Value Stream Mapping - Kingston, ON Canada - EMC Canada-
29 Sep
Lean Certification Courses 1 & 2- Lexington, KY - U Kentucky -
29 Sep
Lean Kaizen Boot Camp - Novi, MI - Lean Learning Center -
20 Oct AME Annual Conference - Toronto, ON - AME -

View the full events calendar...

Featured Book

Value Stream Management for Lean Development

by Drew Locher

Customers and markets identify needs and problems and companies design products and services to fill or solve them. While this relationship may seem straightforward, the development process in most companies is often a root cause for customer dissatisfaction and can lead to substantial waste throughout an enterprise. Mistakes made on the proverbial drawing board can have a significant impact on an organization for many years. Therefore, the application of lean thinking and detailed mapping to the development process is especially important, particularly when one considers the ever shortening product and service life cycle experienced in most industries.

More information or purchase...

Featured Article

John RubioPerseverance Will Pay Off

By John M. Rubio and George Koenigsaecker

Companies that have made a real commitment to lean have the tools and systems to survive and prosper in a down economy. Is your organization equipped to respond and take action as soon as your leading indicators start to turn?

Gasoline is over $4 per gallon in many parts of the country. Food costs are higher than they have been since 1990, with more price increases expected through the end of the year. April foreclosures jumped 65% compared to the same month in 2007, a trend that analysts expect to continue for the next several years. It’s obvious now that the United States is in a cyclical downturn that’s being exacerbated by problems in the financial systems and credit markets.

Manufacturing company leaders cannot wait for the economists to officially declare a recession, as defined by two or more consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth. With the exception of Petroleum companies in high-growth global markets and a few other industry sectors no one is going to be able to “wait out” this downturn without any trickle-down effect on their business. Now is the time for business managers to assess the direction of their lean efforts and respond to recessionary pressures. If they wait until it is painfully obvious that they have to make changes, company performance will inevitably follow the sales line down and struggle throughout the recession.

Read the entire article...


Featured Blog Post

Four More Hours of Lean
by Kevin Meyer

Tim Ferriss, author of one of my favorite books, bestselling The Four Hour Workweek, is really starting to dive into the lean 4hww manufacturing world.  Perhaps because the productivity aspects of lean dovetail perfectly with the concepts he promotes in his book.  Only a couple weeks ago we told you how he was thinking about push vs. pull processes.  Now lean becomes part of his recent post on results-oriented productivity improvements.

First he tackles one of my favorite topics for a good rant: the ability of mis-placed automation to hide waste.

The first rule of any [technology used in a] business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.

The underlying process needs to be made efficient, perhaps via the implementation of lean tools, before technology and automation is used to further improve productivity.  Note that I did NOT say that automation is evil!  I am saying it needs to be applied after the underlying process is optimized.  Tim then quotes directly from his book, applying that principle to people:

Principle number one: refine rules and processes before adding people. Using people to leverage a refined process multiplies production; using people as a solution to a poor process multiplies problems.

Which is also why people are worth far more than the hourly "cost" of a pair of hands.  Their knowledge, creativity, and experience can multiply the value of underlying efficiency.  The opposite is also true, as he conveys using the potential blackhole of email:

This applies as much to excessive CC’ing people on personal e-mail as it does to large-scale operations.

Which then takes him into the wonderful world of lean.

If the processes are wasteful (inefficient), performance will decrease when you attempt to scale. The more people involved, the more severe the decrease. If the processes–including prioritization and workflow optimization–are lean (efficient), performance will increase. Combined with other people following the same lean processes, performance can increase in an exponential vs. linear fashion.

And to augment the apparent confluence of Tim and I thinking exactly the same way, he then takes on the paradigm change I wrote about only last Friday: the evolving workweek and focusing on results.

Most important, just as with Best Buy, where 24-year old Cali Ressler started the ROWE (Results-Only Work Environment) experiment, huge changes can be initiated from the bottom up. It just takes some lateral thinking and a willingness to test small.

There is a great photo of a whiteboard at a tech company in Silicon Valley, where engineers are using some of his concepts with regards to email, communication... and work.  On the photo you'll see a reference to a core lean concept: "Maximize single tasking".

Tim's post concludes with some tools, and case studies, on implementing 4HWW concepts in the corporate environment.  Well worth the read, as is his book.

Read more and comment...


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