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Posts Tagged ‘Lean’

Are you ready for your Lean Journey?

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

Written By: Cordell Hensley – KCTS Consultant

I recently ran a half marathon, not fast and it was quite painful. This is partly because I didn’t seek out advice before I started running, as Nike would say, Just Do It! I did. In retrospect I should have checked with the experts, my doctor & a trainer to determine whether or not I was ready and to put me on the correct training plan to ensure that I didn’t hurt myself. They could have also given me advice to get the most out of my training and even helped me along the way with motivation, direction, guidance and general support.

When we start out on the journey towards world class its very similar. We should have the doctor over to give us a health check and we should have a trainer help us develop the appropriate training and performance plan. Having outside support on our journey offers many advantages and it will ensure that we approach the journey with the right mindset, the right expectations and with the support already in place for when we get frustrated and de-motivated.

This health check doesn’t have to be intense, we are not trying out for the space programme, but we do need to establish a clear picture of our starting position. It’s great to know where you want to go, but if you are not sure where you are, how do you know which way to go.

A Lean Health Check should identify your current position and the best path to take to get you moving, get some quick wins and build the right PACE into your programme to ensure you are successful. Looking at areas such as Leadership, Culture, Capability and Systems & Procedures the Lean Health Check should provide an understanding of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and should ensure that you begin your journey properly.

Already started down on the journey? Finding things are not progressing as they should? Maybe you should have had the doctor & trainer in to determine the appropriate path for you to take; fortunately it’s not too late. The Lean Health check is also able to assist those who have started and fallen behind or lost their way – it helps them get back on track by identifying where they went wrong and establishes a clear path to get back on track.

If you’re thinking about improving your performance, take the advice heard so often in physical fitness, get a doctor in and a trainer and let them help you determine your current position and develop a good plan going forward. There’s no need to go it alone.

16 Major Losses – revisited

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010
Written By: Cordell Hensley – KCTS Consultant

The Value of Information

In a blog posted back in July we talked about why businesses should record data. “The main purpose of recording factory losses is to understand where we are losing time, speed, quality and ultimately money. This allows us to focus our (limited) resources by identifying the big problems across the manufacturing elements of our factory and profit centres”. Is that enough though? Do we always get it right?

I was recently working with a client who called us in to help them sort out their problems with machine availability. The site had a good data collection system in place (or so we thought) and their data was telling them that their biggest problem was with breakdowns. We agreed to develop an internal planned maintenance system but during the first visit, after trying to figure out their specific data recording and reporting system I realised that breakdowns were NOT their biggest problem.

The site had been recording breakdowns, changeovers, cleaning time and unplanned production, but there was no data recording for minor stoppages. Effectively the site captured the easy data, and assumed the rest of the time was productive. In fact there was a large gap between what the machines produced when they ran and what they should have produced given the amount of time that they ran.

For example, if they were supposed to produce 1000 units per hour, and only produced 800, the remaining time was unaccounted for unless there was an actual breakdown. When we dug further we found that breakdowns were not the biggest problem, minor stoppages were.

The company had losses of around 10% due to breakdowns, and over 15% due to minor stoppages. Of course we still set up their maintenance system as requested, they still wanted to reduce the 10% of downtime losses, but we also introduced an improved data collection system to capture the details of where these minor stoppages were occurring so we could begin to tackle these issues

Recording data will help you identify your losses and focus your efforts in the right area; however, this is only the case if you record the right data! Think about what information you need – does your data collection provide the right information? Is it at the right level of detail?

Data is just data until we convert it into information – but if we aren’t looking for the right information, then we won’t be recording the right data.

Problem Solving

Thursday, November 4th, 2010
Written By: Malcolm Newman – KCTS Consultant

Delivery: On Time and In Full: But At What Cost?

New Product Introduction: Delivery Crisis was a Major Threat to Business.

I have just spent three days helping out a client with a serious delivery crisis due to the introduction of several new products for a major customer. They are a medium sized component manufacturer with a good reputation, experienced team of people and a range of technologies.

I will not go into how they got into the situation but it was the usual production headache; design, late changes, equipment, tools and methods are …. Well let’s say for this particular component they just don’t work! “The customer has launched the product and demand is better than plan;” said Plant Manager David. “I just have to deliver!’. But at what cost!”

When I arrived the team had been working all hours trying to get parts out the door. They had an agreed minimum quality sample. The customer needed 400 per day but Kev, one of the best operators could make only 1 piece every 2 minutes and only 60% were good enough, nobody else could do the job. Roughly speaking he needed to work 22 hours a day!

This was over and above the regular busy schedule of the normal business. The team; managers, engineers and operators were exhausted.

This is where the consultant has the advantage. Focused on the single issue with no axe to grind I could see the issues clearly. First action was to draft a plan. A plan that would stabilise the situation to keep the customer satisfied, return the operation to normality and save the team from certain failure and personal breakdown.

In these situations I find the solution lies in foundation tools. Standardisation, Standard Operating Procedures and Systematic Training work effectively to achieve the necessary results. We needed to develop a Standard Operation and then train people to the same skill as Kev – he is good but not superhuman.

To carry out a detail task analysis, draft SOP, test and verify them with any team is a challenge; with a team that is at breaking point working against the clock you have to be confident of your plan and processes.

Within the first day I had enough detail to start training an operator from the next shift, building their skill and confidence to be close to Kev’s quality. A second operator was trained so now we were starting to see progress; enough for the exhausted managers to go home and get some sleep.

By the following day we had two operators on all three shifts able to work to the quality standard and the reject rate was improving as their skill developed.

Now the parts were flowing to the customer so everyone was a bit more relaxed.

With the situation stabilised I could start on the improvement work. The current method worked but at a high cost. Now that everyone was a little calmer I could use the team to eliminate waste and get the process flowing. Within 2 days we had developed the methods and standardised procedures to be better than the original cost estimates.

Before I left I reflected with David who was still badly bruised by the experience. They had the tools and procedures in place and used them regularly. Why when under pressure do we throw away the procedures that ultimately save us? He still has a great deal to do in understanding the root cause of this crisis and putting in countermeasures to avoid a repeat; but that is another story.

Until the next time!

Policy Deployment – Hoshin Kanri

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010
Written By: Paul Steven – KCTS Consultant

Simple Tips to Make Real Improvement Today

If you were set the challenge to introduce dramatic improvements into your business today, where would you start? Do you have a clear goal for your business? Have you written down your vision of how the business will look or feel after the improvement? Can you describe that difference clearly to your colleagues?

If you can, you are well on your way to achieving success. If not, it’s not too late. Creating a clear communication of where your business should be in a fixed timeline can require a steely nerve and determination to succeed, but if realistically set and delivered this will inspire people to follow you on your improvement journey.

Why do I mention that the vision should be realistically set and achievable within a set time? Energy and pace are needed within your business as fuel for the improvements which drive change. The energy and pace of success and deadlines gives a virtuous cycle. If vision is too far away and too difficult, support is hard won with many battles.

Once the vision is in place, both objectives and metrics of measuring success are needed. Objectives help communicate to all the senses what will be different once improvements aligned to the vision are delivered. Metrics, also called indicators or key performance indicators (KPIs), ensure that the improvements are accounted for, either in money, units of performance or a value which can be tracked over time to show progress.

So you may ask if having the vision, objectives and metrics aligned ensures that the improvements will be delivered? I would recommend taking the next step to list and prioritise the actions needed to make the vision, objectives and metrics actually happen. The prioritise actions are put against realistic time lines to create a Master Plan.

But will the plan guarantee success? Only if you live the plan! You must review it everyday. You must look at the intention of the actions and align your daily tasks. You must become an inspiration to your colleagues and lead all involved in delivering their part of the plan. Only by making small steps every day will you guarantee the dramatic changes needed for your business.

Start today and you’re one step closer to continuous improvement becoming “normal” culture. Kaizen is improving a little everyday and keeping that improvement you made.

KCTS Resource Issue 10 – October 2010

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010
Written by: Lee Oxton

We have just released issue 10 of the KCTS Resource: This month we’ll be taking a look at how best to use Value Stream Mapping to identify waste in any process and then to eliminate the waste, creating reliable, flexible processes that meet customer demand in the most effective way.

There are also the regular features, including; a couple of Lean/TPM puzzles to test your mind with;  a Case Study on a Train The Trainer course we ran; and we’ll be catching up with KCTS consultant, Steve Ellis, and finding out what he has been up too over the last 6 months.

Also our free downloads this month include knowledge sheets on Authority & Escalation and Hazards & Hazardous Substances. Plus you will be able to download the PDF of this month’s KCTS Resource, all for Free!

Press Release – Instructor Course 14

Monday, October 25th, 2010
Written by Lee Oxton


World Class Training being held in Toronto

Wirral, UK. 25th October 2010.

UK based specialist business improvement training company; Kaizen Consultancy & Training Services (KCTS) are currently delivering their flag-ship Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) Instructor Course to world leading plasterboard manufacturer, Saint Gobain Gyproc. The two week event is being held in Toronto, Canada and involves thirty two senior managers and other personnel representing Saint Gobain Gyproc plants from around the World.

Saint Gobain Gyproc is now into their ninth year of a World Class Manufacturing programme which encompasses 68 manufacturing facilities in 54 countries. The Instructor Course is the fourteenth event held to date, all of which have been delivered by Kaizen Consultancy & Training Services.

Delegates who participate in this intense training will qualify as Instructors in TPM once they have gone back to their respective plants and led improvement projects.  They are then reviewed in areas such as; 5S, Problem Solving, Autonomous Maintenance and Professional Maintenance 100 days later.

As a result of this training outputs have increased by up to 40%, product quality has improved, safety performance is better and costs have been substantially reduced. Saint Gobain Gyproc have made an estimated 95 Million Euro in efficiency cost savings and are well underway to achieving Silver Plant status within their World Class Manufacturing model, throughout the Global Gyproc division.

About KCTS

KCTS are an international training & consultancy provider of specialist World Class Manufacturing (WCM) standards. Delivering TPM, Lean, Change Management and Policy Deployment programmes to the manufacturing and service industries Worldwide. Through these proven methodologies KCTS can reduce costs by identifying and removing losses within a process or value stream. For further information regarding this press release or KCTS, please contact; KCTS on 0151 608 9036 or visit www.kcts.co.uk.


KCTS Resource Issue 9 – July 2010

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010
Written by: Lee Oxton


Don’t forget that the July Issue of the KCTS Resource has been released and is available to read via the Downloads section of the KCTS Website: In this issue we take a look at Risk and Risk Assessment and Health and Safety in the workplace, as well as, how Overall Equipment Effectiveness can be a foundation stone to any Lean Improvement Programme.

There is also the regular features, including; a couple of Lean/TPM puzzles to test your mind with; a Press Release about the success of Instructor Course 13 which happened over in China; a Case Study on using SMED for our client in their Zevenaar factory, The Netherlands; and we’ll be catching up with KCTS consultant, Malcolm Newman, and finding out what he has been up too over the last 6 months.

Also our free downloads this month include the ‘Targets Settings & Sharing’ and ‘Business Performance or Local Measures’ knowledge sheets, and List of Risk worksheet. Plus you will be able to download the PDF of this month’s KCTS Resource, all for Free!

KCTS Resource Issue 9 – July 2010

Friday, July 9th, 2010

We have just released the July Issue of the KCTS Resource: In this month’s issue we’ll be taking a look Risk and Risk Assessment and Health and Safety in the workplace, as well as, how Overall Equipment Effectiveness can be a foundation stone to any Lean Improvement Programme.

There is also the regular features, including; a couple of Lean/TPM puzzles to test your mind with; a Press Release about the success of Instructor Course 13 which happened over in China; a Case Study on using SMED for our client in their Zevenaar factory, The Netherlands; and we’ll be catching up with KCTS consultant, Malcolm Newman, and finding out what he has been up too over the last 6 months.

Also our free downloads this month include the ‘Targets Settings & Sharing’ and ‘Business Performance or Local Measures’ knowledge sheets, and List of Risk worksheet. Plus you will be able to download the PDF of this month’s KCTS Resource, all for Free!

What is an One Point Lesson?

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

What is a One Point Lesson (OPL)?

A One Point Lesson is a 5 to 10 minutes learning tool, which normally take less than 15 minutes to write. It is a lesson on a single topic/point, on one sheet of paper. It normally consists of 80% diagram and 20% words all produced by hand. It is generally prepared by supervisors or group leaders and sometimes by operators.

When to use it?

•    Whenever an important message must be communicated and understood.

What does it achieve?

An OPL quickly enables a team to share key learning and builds on a common understanding of the systems and standards that apply to a work area. When properly managed, they support greater transparency of knowledge and help to rapidly bring new people in an area up to speed.

•    To pass on better knowledge.
•    Strengthen the understanding for functions of machines and lines.
•    Improve knowledge about maintenance defect prevention.

Types of OPL

1.    Basic information sheet: essential basic information – practical know-how and know-how of methods:
•    Maintenance activities as e.g. filter changing.
•    Small repair works.
•    Setting of machine functions.
•    Cleaning and checking.
•    Lubricating.
•    Reason for quality loss.

2.    Problem case study sheet: teaches how to prevent recurrence of an actual equipment problem.

3.    Improvement / Kaizen lessons study case: describes the approach and key measures in a successful improvement case study.

Key points to remember when writing OPL’s

•    Only One Point illustrated on a single sheet of paper.
•    As many senses as possible should be addressed (See above).
•    It must be written As Simple As Possible.
•    It should take approximately 15 minutes to write using a pencil, pen or felt tips.
•    When words are used, they should be ALL capitals.

Ask Us a Question

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010
Written By: Lee Oxton

We recently had a number of people sending in questions through our free ‘Ask Us a Question’ service, so this is a good opportunity to remind everyone of exactly what this is;

We provide this unique free online service so that users can have direct access to a resident business consultant, and can email us a question that will be answered within 4 hours. The KCTS business consultants have very diverse backgrounds, providing training and advice that spans across a wide variety of industries, both in manufacturing and service.

Our job is all about helping other companies to become more efficient and remain competitive and we achieve this through the training and coaching of a number of improvement tools such as; Lean, Total Productive Maintenance and Six Sigma.
We ultimately assist organisations in the Master planning and creation of initiatives which are driven by loss & cost reduction and have found that our knowledge and advice is well respected in these circles.

By offering this online service we can now assist in, and take, all types of questions relating to Continuous Improvement, Lean Processes, Six Sigma and Total Productive Maintenance methodologies, not just from our clients but from anywhere.  We wanted to offer a free-to-use practical sounding board, and a best practice advisory service, where anyone can contact us with a question and we can reply back with little or no fuss whatsoever.

The Ask Us a Question Service is available from our website, all you need is an email address so that we can reply to your question.



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