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Posts Tagged ‘lean manufacturing’

Which Step of Your CI Journey Are You On?

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

“7 Steps of Every Change”

Written By: Paul Steven – KCTS Consultant

How is your business coping with the challenge of introducing dramatic improvements today? Are you familiar with the 7 Steps of Every Change? Do you know how to use these steps to deliver the change you want in your business? You can learn here how to use them quickly and effectively for results starting today.

The “7 Steps of Every Change” can be described in many ways, but countless companies rely on navigating through their changes successfully using the following interpretation.

  1. Unfreeze the complacency, by demonstrating the urgent need for change
  2. Create Change Agentswho have a common Vision & measureable Objectives
  3. Communicate “Every Day in Every Way” about the change
  4. Generate Quick Wins to associate the change with success.
  5. Include & Grow the number of people involved in the change
  6. Deliver the Full Plan including its difficult actions (80+20) before Step 7
  7. Refreeze the standards (written or social) but include a way to challenge


The first part of using the “7 Steps of Every Change” is to unfreeze the complacency within your business for continuing as it is now. If there is no urgent, emotional, driving need within the business for this change to occur, business inertia will stop the change dead in its tracks. The logical reasons for the change may be clear and demonstrable, but the burning desire to change needs to be lit around the business. You must target key Stakeholders but include everyone related to the change.

Once key Stakeholders are emotionally engaged in changing, they need help delivering. Change Agentsare people aligned to a Vision of the business after the change, they are the people ready to get involved and make the change happen. You need make sure the team of Change Agents have a common Vision and measureable Objectives. Their alignment is crucial to the success of your change.

Change Agents make things happen and people like to hear about those successes. People actively want to participate in successful, interesting and honest change. This is why communication, generating quick wins and including & growing the number of people involved in the change is a virtuous circle. This circle is formed around the concepts of challenging, learning & applying and sustaining.  Steps 3, 4 & 5 are the enablers to ensure Step 6 is possible.

You may have been taught about the Pareto Rule than 80% of the outcome is often controlled by 20% of the actions. It is tempting to only implement those 20% of the actions and move on. When you deliver the full plan, the ability to sustain become apparent. The actions with no merit should not be included in any plan, but actions which deliver the full change correctly and honestly will pay dividends in the culture of your business. Before the standards related to a change are refrozen, you must conclude the plan.

Refreezing the standards and culture of your business after the change requires another emotional content. A celebration, however modest, is needed to allow people to reflect on the actions completed, the changes delivered and the new ways. As changes become a necessary cycle of all business, when refreezing you must put in place systems to allow challenge within the business. The next unfreeze will be needed at some time in the future.

Start today with unfreezing any of your complacency of what can and cannot change. You’re then one step closer to continuous improvement becoming “normal” culture. Kaizen is improving a little everyday and keeping that improvement you made.

Quick Wins from 5S

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

Written By: Paul Steven – KCTS Lean Consultant

5S has many specific definitions for each “S”. I prefer, Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardise & Sustain. All five should be applied together in sequence using Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) to drive a virtuous circle of improvement. PDCA means that rather than gaining perfection in a single cycle of 5S, success is found by repeating and learning from 5S through using it everyday. 

5S may be introduced by itself, but for quick wins I suggest you include the introduction of Standardised Work in conjunction with your 5S programme. Standardised Work is a subject entire books are written to describe and I shall endeavour to discuss it regularly whilst I blog. But as a start, the principle behind Standard Work is that if all people complete repetitive tasks in the same way each time they complete it and describe their methods so that others can do it identically then everyone who follows that method will have the same problems in executing it perfectly. Describing the method including symbols, drawings and photographs it is known as Standardised Work. As we strive for perfection in the method we can try to both understand and solve the problems involved in reaching perfection. Every time we solve a problem, we update the Standardised Work with the improved method and train everyone who uses it to ensure the maximum benefit from the improvement is felt. It is the fastest way to create a learning organisation where everyone’s problem solving is targeted for everyone’s benefit. Let’s look at how 5S and Standardised Work can compliment each other.  

When applying Sort for the first time you can have a number of benefits quickly whether using Standardised Work or nor. In addition to the removal of obviously unneeded items and engagement of allowing people to set their own standards at work, the biggest opportunities come from red tagging. Red tagging can be done using actual red tags or anything that you agree identifies items which may not be required. At the moment of tagging we just don’t know if the item in question is needed. The red tagging is your opportunity to deal with the item. In some simple but effective 5S programmes, the red tags will be cleared by quick discussion some that should be kept are disposed of and many that are not required will be kept, and perhaps shared to other departments within the organisation. This can form part of the virtuous circle of PDCA, but for a quick win from Sort you should use your Standardised Work to drive removal of red tags. The red tags should be kept or disposed of based on whether the items are mentioned within the Standardised Work. 

By having Standardised Work where all tools and necessary materials are accounted for, the red tagging leads to either faster removal of unnecessary items or improved Standardised Work. If you don’t have any Standardised Work, you should start writing how to work in an area whilst applying Sort as it helps you know what items are needed. Although you start writing the Standardised Work during Sort, as all 5S are introduced sequentially but together the Standardised Work will also be visualised during Set in Order. 

Once you try to remove any item using red tagging and Standardised Work, the real use of that item is quickly revealed. The item may now need to be included within a revised Standardised Work document or it inclusion agreed through a trial, or the item may need disposal and the proven standards reinforced. Whatever the outcome, if positive discussion and experimentation is used in the spirit of PDCA, progress is being made towards perfection. We are ensuring only that which is required within the workplace is kept within the workplace by applying Sort. Plus, we reinforce Standardised Work and continue to highlight problems which in turn can be solved by ensuring only needed items are kept in an area. As more problems are identified and solved, everyone benefits – KPI’s increase and work satisfaction improves as we strive for perfection in Standardised Work by eliminating problems.

KCTS Resource Issue 10 – October 2010

Thursday, November 18th, 2010
Written By: Daniela Silvani


Don’t forget that the October 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 Value Stream Mapping how best to use it in your workplace, 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; a Case Study on using Focus Improvement for our client in their Zevenaar factory, The Netherlands; and we’ll be catching up with KCTS consultant, Stephen Ellis, and finding out what he has been up too over the last 6 months.

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

What is 5S?

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

A Place for Everything and Everything in it’s Place. 

Does this describe your work areas?

• Space is crowded with parts and tools
• Unneeded items are stacked between workers
• Excess inventory on the floor
• Excess items and machines make it difficult to make improve process flow
• Equipment is contaminated and a collection point for miscellaneous materials
• Needed equipment such as tools are difficult to find
• All of the above create an unsafe work environment
• Tasks and processes take different times and are unpredictable

Based on the Japanese words that begin with ’S’, the philosophy of 5S focuses on effective work place organization and standardized work procedures. 5S reduces waste and non value added activities, simplifies work environment and in the mean time improves quality efficiency and safety.
5S is a methodology for organizing cleaning, developing, and sustaining a productive work environment.

What are the 5S’s?

Step 1 – Sort – get rid of clutter

The first step focuses on eliminating unnecessary items from the workplace. An effective visual method to identify these unneeded items is called red tagging. A red tag is placed on all items not required to complete your job. These items are then moved to a central holding area. This process is for evaluation of the red tag items. Occasionally used items are moved to a more organized storage location outside of the work area while unneeded items are discarded. Sorting is an excellent way to free up valuable floor space and eliminate such things as broken tools, obsolete jigs and fixtures, scrap and excess raw material.  This step will also help with the „just in case” attitude.

Step 2 – Set in order – organize the work area

This step is based on finding efficient and effective storage methods.
You must evaluate the number of necessary items, the locations of those items and also evaluate what you need to do your job. Effective ways to set in order can be such as painting floors, using shadow boards, modular shelving and cabinets for frequently needed items etc. Just imagine how much time the employees waste every day looking for the proper tools for a maintenance activity. The philosophy must be this: „A place for everything and everything in it’s place.”

Step 3 – Shine – Clean the work area

Once you have eliminated junk and clutter and identified necessary items you are ready to take the next step: clean the work area. Daily follow-up is a must for this activity to sustain this improvement. This step will create ownership and build pride in the workers that they have a clean and clutter-free work area. This will also help the people notice changes in equipment and the production area such as: leaks, vibration, misalignment, breakage etc. If these abnormalities are left unattended they can lead to serious equipment failure and loss of quality, speed, production etc. These all add up to impact your company’s bottom line.

Step 4 – Standardize – Use standard methods to keep the good condition

Once the first three steps of 5S are implemented focus must be put on standardizing the best practice in the work areas. Give opportunities to employees to take active part in the development of these standards. All the workers area if given an opportunity can be a valuable source of information regarding their work.

Step 5 – Sustain – Maintain through discipline, commitment and empowerment

This is the most difficult part of 5S to implement. Human nature is hard to change. People often want to return to the old ways of doing things. Sustain focuses on defining a new mindset and a standard in workplace organization.

The fully implemented 5S will have a positive effect on everyone. People will feel better about their work place and the work they are doing. The benefits are endless. You will have improved safety, improved moral, improved productivity, and improved maintenance.

Video Podcasts for Continuous Improvement Professionals

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

As we move towards a creative society with design and user experience at the top of agendas, publishers of information are looking for new ways to capture the ever decreasing attention span of its readers. To coincide with the UK launch of the Apple iPad in early April, here at KCTS we will be launching a brand new weekly video podcast which will target the manufacturing science and technology sectors, providing weekly snippets of education and learning in rich media format.

As a provider of business improvement training and consultancy services, we are an extremely knowledge intensive organisation with many years of experience in helping global businesses to become successful in manufacturing excellence. ‘We have used our video production facilities to enhance our training courses and consultancy activity for the last 5 years, says Matt Treby, Technical Consultant for KCTS. It is through the medium of video that we will leverage our expertise in order to bring together a series of best practice video casts, which will feature various KCTS trainers explaining their experiences in World Class Manufacturing’

With subjects in Lean manufacturing, Total Productive Maintenance, Value Stream Mapping, Workplace Organisation and many more, we are aiming to offer this content online, through our website and also other 3rd party video podcast hosting sites. This service will be a free subscription and is due to be launched on the 8th April 2010. Further information is available at www.kcts.co.uk

Get Qualified in Lean Manufacturing

Monday, November 30th, 2009

Step over the competition!

The KCTS Lean Manufacturing qualification is an abridged version of training that we have used to catapult major Blue Chip companies, such as Unilever and Saint Gobain into becoming the industry standard in World Class Manufacturing.

Tackle stubborn projects:

The key to our success over other training providers is that we base our workshops around the completion of real live site projects. The result is a demonstrated improvement in your business KPI’s. We achieve this through the application of Lean tools such as;

Problem solving:
Set up reduction (SMED)
Statistical process control
Visual management systems
Value stream mapping

Lean qualification further information >>

Measures of Lean Performance

Monday, November 30th, 2009

KCTS Resource October edition supplement 2.

Measures should be used to understand the performance of a business or department. This can be to benchmark against other operations for comparison.
The measures will also demonstrate improvements achieved through the application of Business Improvement Techniques. Measuring the initial condition of an area before making improvements is vital.

Measures of performance in lean



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