At Lyall, we’ve been manufacturing components in the natural gas distribution industry for over 45 years, and we’ve spent the past 16 of those years implementing lean manufacturing principles in everything we do.
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Effective milestones are an important part of a company’s development process, especially in today’s era of team-based sprints and stand-ups. Yet many companies struggle to successfully create and employ milestones; and some don’t even understand their relevance beyond updating senior leadership.
Process improvement encompasses a wide range of tools, techniques and strategies. When properly deployed, shop-floor data collection and monitoring systems can help factory-floor managers leverage key data metrics including overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) and total effective equipment performance (TEEP) that measure machine uptime and pinpoint bottlenecks or other problems in order to improve machining performance.
Secure, accurate workholding sets the stage for consistent machining productivity. Depending on the parts and processes involved, workholding can be as simple and temporary as a plain vise or clamp or as complex and permanent as a machined and fabricated fixture that is custom-designed to hold a unique part.
Workers in the oil and gas industry continue to be one of the groups at the highest risk of injuries and fatalities on the job compared to all other U.S. industries. The most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2015) revealed that out of 120 workplace deaths in the mining, oil, and gas extraction industry, 74 of them occurred within the support activities for oil and gas operations.
Taiichi Ohno is often quoted as declaring: “Without a standard, there can be no improvement.” The principles of lean do not work well when everyone is allowed to choose their own work method or work sequence in which to do a job: the outcome is unpredictable; flow and pull are impossible. This reduces throughput and the carefully crafted process develops unanticipated outcomes.
Here’s something you can cut out and hang on your bulletin board if you run a manufacturing company, large or small. I’ve spent nearly 60 years thinking about the factory floor, and here’s how I believe it should be run.
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Batch and queue is the hallmark of a mass production system. Parts are processed, moved in large quantities to the next process, wait for their turn, are processed, and moved as a batch to the next process.
I traveled to Toyota headquarters in Japan with Jeff Liker for a research project. We wanted to learn more about the engineering and collaboration that created the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA), the strategy and innovation behind hydrogen vehicles, and how they had adapted and improved their development system to meet the increasing demands of the ultra-competitive global auto industry.