Lean Thinking

Dave Martin  

Dave Martin

Hi Folks

In many companies, resource utilization is considered an important measurement. The idea is that resources, whether they be machines or people should be occupied as close to 100% of the time as possible doing chargeable work. On the surface this looks pretty sensible. No point having people spending time doing things that the company doesn't make money from is there? The more time people spend working on chargeable tasks, the more money the company makes. Right?

Published in Lean 2 comments

Hi Folks

In my last post, I mentioned in passing the phenomenon of sub-optimization - where optimizing one part of a process negatively affects the throughput of the whole. This is covered by the seventh (and probably least understood) principle of Lean - See The Whole.

Hi Folks

If you ever visit a lean manufacturing plant you will see, at every workstation, a cord or button or lever attached to a big, red, flashing light. It's also attached to the production line machinery. Press that button, pull that cord or move that lever and two things happen - first, the big, red, flashing light starts flashing and the production line stops. In Lean Manufacturing, this system is called Andon (Japanese for Indicator).

Hi Folks

We probably all know the old story about the tortoise and the hare. Speedy hare raced off, got tired and had to have a rest while slow tortoise kept plodding on at a steady pace and eventually won the race. Even hare's mad dash towards the finish wasn't enough to catch up. Everyone knows the moral of the story - slow and steady wins the race. When it comes to running projects though, we behave more like hare than tortoise.

I recently coached a team that had a problem. Actually, they thought they had a lot of problems. Their builds were a mess. Their environment was unstable. Their tests were broken. They were finding it very difficult to get any work done. Their once excellent planning was starting to drift away from reality. When we started to look into these problems though, it became clear that all these problems had one single cause – their team lead.

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