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35 Lean Manufacturing Tools: The Ultimate List

Posted: Oct 19, 2017 1:42:13 PM


1) Kaizen


What is Kaizen?

Kaizen is the Japanese word for “continual improvement.” The term refers to activities that improve every function of a business and is generally applied to manufacturing but can be used to make almost any business more efficient.

By definition, Kaizen includes the involvement of all employees, from upper management to assembly line workers and can be used to improve every process in a supply chain, from purchasing to logistics. The lean manufacturing tool was first used by the Japanese in World War Two and was a major influence of the book “The Toyota Way.”

What is the goal of Kaizen?

Kaizen seeks to improve standardized processes to eliminate waste, fix workflow issues, and solve business problems.      

How is Kaizen implemented? The Kaizen method generally involves 5 primary steps:

  1. Identify the problem area that will be given focus.
  2. Utilize videotape to analyze the current method.
  3. Test and evaluate improvement tactics.
  4. Implement improvements.
  5. Analyze results and present them to upper management for feedback.

What is Kaizen most applicable to?

The Automotive Industry. The Toyota Production System made the tool famous. If problems occur within the production process, Toyota assembly line personnel and their supervisors are expected to stop the production process and begin a Kaizen.   

2) One-Piece Flow

One Piece Flow | Hartford Technologies

What is One-Piece Flow?

One-piece flow is the sequence of a product or service through a process that is one unit at a time. One-piece flow is the opposite of batch processing, where a large number of products are created at once and they are sent through the manufacturing process as a batch or group. In One-Piece Flow the focus is on the manufacturing of the product itself rather than the waiting, transportation, and storage of the product.

What are the advantages of One-Piece Flow?

The advantages are:

  • Ability to detect defects earlier and more accurately.
  • More flexibility for customization and meeting customer demands.
  • Reduces costs by eliminating waste.
  • Reduce the amount of work in progress to make each step more efficient.
  • Easier to predict shipment times.

To increase efficiency, companies can choose to implement One-Piece Flow or simply reduce the number of products produced in a batch.   

3) Jidoka

Jidoka Process | Hartford Technologies

What is Jidoka?

Jidoka was invented in 1896 and was used to stop the shuttle of an automatic loom in a case where a thread broke. Not only did this reduce the number of defects when threading, it allowed operators to operate multiple looms at once instead of having to watch only one in case something went wrong. It is essentially automation with a human element.

What are the principles of Jidoka?

The principles can be broken down into four steps:

  1. Discover an abnormality or problem.
  2. Stop the operation process.
  3. Fix the problem at hand.
  4. Discover the root cause to prevent future issues.

The primary innovation Jidoka brought to lean manufacturing is the idea of examining a manufacturing issue in the middle of the process rather than at the end. Inspecting throughout the manufacturing process can play a key role in preventing defects and fixing problems before they cause significant damage.

4) Poka Yoke

Poka Yoke Methods | Hartford Technologies


What is Poka Yoke?

Poke Yoke was developed by Toyota and is very similar to Jidoka. The idea of Poka Yoke is to prevent mistakes from becoming defects. Mistakes, it argues, are inevitable, but defects that reach customers are preventable. The goal is to create a form of quality control that highlights defects automatically and eventually takes humans out of the equation.

Why use Poka Yoke?

The tool was invented because of human error. Humans who perform repetitive manufacturing tasks day in and day out can very easily miss common mistakes and defects. Automation was necessary to improve the manufacturing process.

A real-life example of Poka Yoke?An alarm that goes off automatically when you leave a car without turning off the headlights. Another example is a conveyor belt that rejects an underweight product. The goal is to prevent mistakes automatically, without human inspection.

5) Visual Management

Visual Management | Hartford Technologies

What is Visual Management?

Visual Management is a communication technique that uses visual aids to convey messages quicker and more efficiently

What is the goal of Visual Management?

The objectives of Visual Management are:

  • Clarify waste.
  • Display problems in a simpler way.
  • Indicate your efficiency goals.
  • Increase effective communication.

An example of Visual Management? Stock controls, auditing boards, and shadow boards. Oftentimes, visual management can improve communication and help improve efficiency. Other times, visual aids can become confusing and too much to remember.  

Where is Visual Management best applied? Work instructions can often be simplified and far easier to understand when visual aids are included. For example, if a work must build a piece of furniture from multiple parts, it will often be better understood in a visual format. It is particularly useful for tasks that are difficult to explain with words alone. Another example may be showing works a picture of a completed task.  

6) Kanban

Kanban Signal Card | Hartford Technologies

What is Kanban?

Kanban is the Japanese word for “Signal Card.” In previous decades, manufacturing workers would fill out a signal card when a part was running low. The signal card would be sent to a team or employee whose job was to order more of that part. Today, this process is mostly computerized. The idea of Kanban is to buy more parts only when needed.

The goal of Kanban? The primary goal of Kanban is to reduce waste. If parts are only bought when needed, you are less likely to waste time, money, or space ordering unnecessary parts. However, if parts are bought automatically, without knowing if they are needed, it can cut into a company’s profits.

The strategy creates more efficient processes because the strategy is implemented based on consumer demand. If there is a lot of demand for a product only then should you order more. If there isn’t sufficient demand, companies can prevent unnecessary orders.  

7) Demand Management

Demand Management System | Hartford Technologies


What is Demand Management?

Demand Management is a lean tool used to identify all demand coming from an external environment, manage it, and input it into a supply chain within a company.

The goal of Demand Management:

Demand Management has three primary goals:

  • Improve forecast accuracy.
  • Lessen investment in inventory.
  • Create a more effective balance between supply and demand.

How is Demand Management implemented? The main element of implementing Demand Management is creating a more transparent supply chain. Companies must ensure transparency from all suppliers working with a company, from the largest to the smallest. By ensuring that every player in the supply chain is transparent, you can begin to create a more efficient supply chain.

Next, companies must determine, which inventory is unnecessary and can be reduced. Having too much inventory is expensive and difficult to maintain. Ultimately, this technique gets products out to consumers more efficiently.

8) Heijunka

Heijunka Diagram | Hartford Technologies

What is Heijunka?

Heijunka is the Japanese word for “leveling.” Heijunka is meant to level the type and quantity of production, while reducing batching. Ford Motor was once known for manufacturing cars in batches. Toyota used Heijunka to minimize batching and create a more efficient manufacturing process. 

What is the goal of Heijunka? To reduce inventories, capital costs, manpower, and production time to a minimum.

When is Heijunka implemented? According to many lean experts, Heijunka is best implemented after a company has already implemented more basic lean principles?

What’s a good example of Heijunka? Say a hat manufacturer receives 500 orders for hats every week. 100 on Monday, 50 on Tuesday, 50 on Wednesday, and 300 on Thursday. Instead of manufacturing 500 hats at the beginning of the week or the exact amount needed each day, the company would produce exactly 100 hats per-day. By producing the same amount every day, the factory can optimize the manufacturing process for 100 hats and therefore create a more efficient process.  

9) Just in Time

Lean Manufacturing Diagram | Hartford Technologies

What is Just in Time?

As you could probably guess, Just in Time is a lean tool that calls for the production of what a customer wants, when they want it, in the quantity they want it, and where they want it. Instead of creating a large stock of a product that sits in warehouses, you only create as much of an item as a customer actually wants. This reduces unnecessary inventory and ensures that companies only spend on stock that will be paid for.

What is the history of Just in Time?

Just in Time was invented by Toyota during WWII. The tool was invented at a time when producing extra stock was simply too expensive and not possible. Companies could only afford to produce what a customer actually wanted.  

The idea for Just in Time came from a visit to US supermarkets by Toyota managers. They noticed that shelves were only filled when a product ran out, not before that.

10) Takt Time

Takt Time | Hartford Technologies

 What is Takt Time?

Takt Time comes from the German word for “pulse.” It’s the maximum amount of time a product needs to be produced while still meeting consumer demand. Takt creates a rhythm across a supply chain to ensure continuous flow and full utilization of available resources.

What is the goal of Takt Time? The goal of Takt is to deliver the right product to the right customer at the right time, all with minimal waste. It ensures that products are manufactured in the most efficient way, while meeting consumer demand.

Another goal of Takt Time is to create a solid flow of operations within a supply chain. Measuring Takt Time will allow managers to determine capacity and synchronization issues within a supply chain and then find proper solutions.  

Example of Takt Time? Here is an example:

Total Time: 8 Hrs X 60 Min = 480 Min

Breaks: 50 Min

Time Available : 430 Min

Customer Demand in 8 Hrs: 100 Pieces

Takt Time: 430 / 100 = 4.3 Min = 258 Sec

11) Bottleneck Analysis

Bottleneck Analysis Diagram | Hartford Technologies 

What is a Bottleneck?

Bottleneck (or constraint) in a supply chain refers to the resource that takes the longest time in operations. When hiking, for example, a bottleneck refers to the slowest member of a hiking group. That member can determine the speed of the entire group. The same goes for processes in manufacturing. If one part of a supply chain is unnecessarily slow, it can reduce the speed and efficiency of the entire manufacturing process.

The goal of Bottleneck Analysis?

The goal of Bottleneck Analysis is to determine the slowest parts of the manufacturing process and then figure out how to speed them up. The process can be costly, but will usually lead to increased efficiency and profits. Ignoring a bottleneck issue can be very costly down the line.

When should Bottleneck Analysis be implemented? When managers or operators suspect that the manufacturing process is taking too long. At this point, managers will try to determine exactly where the bottleneck is occurring.    

12) Andon

Andon Manufacturing Process | Hartford Technologies

What is Andon?

Andon is a signaling system used in the manufacturing process when there is an abnormality or some sort of important action is required. It is a form of visual management.

How is it used? In manufacturing, Andon lights are generally used in assembly lines. Different colored lights are used to signal different problems and actions required. Operators may turn on an Andon in order to signal that there is a problem in an assembly line. In an office setting, a red colored light (Andon) may signal that a fax machine or printer is broken.

In cars, warning lights on a car’s dashboard would be examples of Andons. Andons work best when they are highly visible and easy to understand. They must go hand in hand with an action. So, for example, an Andon warning light on a car that signals low gas, would indicate a clear action: fill up the tank with more gas.

13) Gemba

Gemba Value | Hartford Technologies


What is Gemba?

In Japanese, Gemba means “the real place.” In business, refers to an area where there is value created. In manufacturing, it refers to the factory floor. It can also be a construction site, sales floor, etc. The idea of Gemba in lean manufacturing is that management must go to factory floor to search and fix visible problems. Manufacturing problems, Gemba argues, cannot be solved from an office. They require an actual physical presence by problem solvers on the manufacturing floor.

How is Gemba implemented?

Gemba is a step by step process:

  1. Engineers physically go to manufacturing floor to observe processes.
  2. Engineers collect data and understand the work being done
  3. Engineers ask questions.
  4. Engineers learn about problems and come up with solutions.  

Gemba Walks refer staff taking the time to walk through the factory, examine what is going on, and determine if there are any issues. In the lean management philosophy, staff are expected to do Gemba Walks at least once a week.

14) Hoshin Kanri

Hoshin Kanri Method | Hartford Technologies

 What is Hoshin Kanri?

Hoshin Kanri is a seven-step planning process that involves a systematic method to meet strategic planning goals and manage progress towards those goals.

What is the goal of Hoshin Kanri? The goal of Hoshin Kanri is to determine your strategic objectives and then align them with specific resources and action plans to meet those objectives.

What are the 7-steps of Hoshin Kanri?

The 7-steps of Hoshin Kanri:

  1. Determine an organizational vision. Figure out what your current mission and long-term vision is.
  2. Establish breakthrough objectives. Determine what significant improvements a business needs in the next three to five years.
  3. Come up with annual objectives to complete on a yearly basis.
  4. Determine metrics to measure objectives.
  5. Implement objectives.
  6. Review objectives monthly. Determine your progress each month to see where your business needs improvement.
  7. Review objectives yearly. Determine your progress each year to see where your business needs improvement.

15) Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE)

Equipment Effectiveness | Hartford Technologies


What is OEE?

OEE is a system used to measure manufacturing productivity. It measures the percentage of time that a manufacturer is truly productive. So, a 100% would mean that a manufacturer is productive 100% of the time. OEE includes measurement of quality, performance, and availability.

What is the goal of OEE?

By measuring productivity in terms of time, manufacturers can gain insight into how to improve overall manufacturing performance. The system helps to identify waste, track progress, and improve manufacturing equipment efficiency.   

What do quality, performance, and availability really mean?

  • Quality measures the number of defects. A 100% score indicates that there are zero defects.
  • Performance measures slow cycles and stops. A 100% score indicates everything is running as quickly as possible.  
  • Availability takes into account any stops. A 100% score indicates that the process is always running during set production times.

16) Cellular Manufacturing

Cellular Manufacturing | Hartford Technologies

What is Cellular Manufacturing?

Cellular Manufacturing is the process of producing similar products in one cell. The product, in Cellular Manufacturing, moves through the production process in a single unit without interruptions. In Cellular Manufacturing, similar products can be produced on the same assembly line.

What are the benefits of Cellular Manufacturing?

The benefits of Cellular Manufacturing include:

  • Group similar products together to reduce the time of changeover.
  • Effectively utilize space during the entire production process.
  • Increase flexibility and transparency.
  • Reduce lead time.
  • Increase overall productivity.
  • Enhance teamwork and communication between employees and departments.

Example of Cellular Manufacturing? A metallic case arrives in a factory and needs to be assembled. Assembly requires a variety of different steps. The goal of Cellular Manufacturing is for all the steps to occur in one area, in a single cell. This reduces the time it takes to transport the parts during the production process.  

17) Continuous Improvement

Continuous Improvement Methods | Hartford Technologies


What is Continuous Improvement?

Continuous Improvement is a methodology within lean manufacturing that advocates following formal practices to improve efficiency over time.

What are the benefits of Continuous Improvement?

The benefits of Continuous Improvement include:

  • Efficient workflows.
  • Saves time.
  • Reduces cost.
  • Reduces resources needed.

How is Continuous Improvement implemented? Continuous Improvement is implemented in four steps:  

  1. Figure out what needs improvement and create a plan.
  2. After the plan is complete, implement the plan.
  3. Collect data to figure out if the plan worked and if it needs improvement.
  4. Once the plan has worked on a small scale, implement it on a wider scale.

18) Total Productive Maintenance

Productive Maintenance Automotive | Hartford Technologies


What is Total Productive Maintenance?

Total Productive Maintenance is a lean tool used to prevent machine downtime within the production process. The goal is to limit downtime as much as possible to increase production efficiency

How is Total Productive Maintenance implemented?

Total Productive Maintenance includes three main components:

  • Preventative maintenance. These included planned maintenance activities that are regularly scheduled. The crew will perform these periodically throughout the year. It includes checking all equipment for problems and fixing any issues. The goal is to prevent problems before they occur.
  • Corrective maintenance. Managers and crew check equipment and determine whether problematic equipment needs to be replaced altogether. Oftentimes, it is more cost-effective to replace equipment before they break. Replacing equipment can often increase efficiency and profits.  
  • Maintenance prevention. This procedure makes sure that all equipment bought is exactly what’s needed. Buying faulty or incorrect equipment can result in increased maintenance responsibilities and and production inefficiencies down the line.

19) Total Quality Management

Quality Management Control | Hartford Technologies


What is Total Quality Management?

Total Quality Management is an organizational effort to improve the quality of a manufactured product. The goal is to increase the quality of every single step in an organizational workflow.

What are the origins of Total Quality Management? Total Quality Management was first implemented in 1923 by Walter Shewhard while he was working at Bell Telephone Laboratories. It was later used by Japanese Manufacturers and implemented on a mass scale in the 1980s.    

What are the principles of Total Quality Management?

There are a few main principles of Total Quality Management:

  • Focus on the customer. The goal of Total Quality Management is to improve the product offered to customers and therefore keep customers satisfied.
  • Strategy. Total Quality Management requires a strategic approach that utilizes a set methodology.
  • Continuous improvement. Ensuring quality takes time and it must be analyzed and improved annually.

20) Root Cause Analysis

Root Cause Analysis | Hartford Technologies


What is Root Cause Analysis?

Root Cause Analysis is a lean problem-solving method that aims to get to the root of a problem. The philosophy of RCA is predicated on the idea that it’s best to treat the root cause of a problem, not the obvious symptoms. By treating the root cause, manufacturers can eliminate larger problems down the road. Still, Root Cause Analysis will generally not fix problems in one try and is generally an iterative process.

What are the main principles of Root Cause Analysis?

The main principles of Root Cause Analysis include:

  • Root Cause Analysis aims to identify the root cause of a problem to prevent it from ever occurring again. It’s a long-term solution.
  • Root Cause Analysis must be an investigative and systematic process to work effectively.
  • Every problem only has one root cause.

21) Value Stream Mapping

Value Mapping Automotive | Hartford Technologies

What is Value Stream Mapping?

Value Stream Mapping is a lean tool that uses a flow diagram to depict every step of a process.

What is Value Stream Mapping used for?

Value Stream Mapping serves three main purposes:

  • Identify waste.
  • Reduce manufacturing time.
  • Make the entire manufacturing process more efficient.

What is Value Stream Mapping applicable to? Value Stream Mapping can be applicable in almost any industry, but it is primarily used for logistics, supply chain, product development, and administrative processes.

What data should be collected to create a Value Stream Mapping? Some data points to collect for Value Stream Mapping include:

  • Inventory.
  • Number of operators.
  • Number of shifts worked.
  • Batch size.
  • The time it takes to make one product.
  • The time it takes to switch from one product to the next.
  • How much time factory can run.

22) Continuous Flow

Continuous Flow Automotive | Hartford Technologies


What is Continuous Flow?

Continuous Flow is the opposite of batch production and is closely associated with Kanban and Just-in-Time. The goal of Continuous Flow is to use ongoing examination and improvement to integrate all elements of production. By aiming for a Continuous Flow production process, waste and other problems come to the surface and can then be solved. Ultimately, many lean principles and tools center around creating a Continuous Flow production process.

The Continuous Flow process generally involves a factory running 24/7 without interruption and with little waste. Areas like oil refining, metal smelting, and natural gas processing are ideal for the Continuous Flow process.  

What are the benefits of Continuous Flow?

The benefits of Continuous Flow include:

  • Stability.
  • Continuity.
  • Waste-less process.
  • No time wasted.

23) Lean Audit

Lean Audit | Hartford Technologies


What is a Lean Audit?

A Lean Audit is a tool used to determine how well lean manufacturing principles are working in a factory or company.

How is a Lean Audit implemented?

A Lean Audit generally has 5 steps:

  1. Identify the objective of your audit. This involves determining what lean processes you are already using and coming up with metrics to decide how well they are working. The goal of a lean audit should be to improve overall efficiency, reduce waste, and lower production costs.
  2. Determine who will conduct the audit. Lean Audits are best performed by a third party team in order to ensure objectivity, however, senior management may choose to conduct the audit internally.
  3. Create a point system to measure progress.
  4. Use a system to perform the audit. Ideally, a Lean Audit will be performed using lean principles.
  5. Follow up with the audit to ensure that all problems get fixed. Ideally, Lean Audits should be performed on a small-scale monthly and on a large-scale yearly.

24) Quick Changeover

Quick Automotive Changeover | Hartford Technologies

What is Quick Changeover?

Changeover is the amount of time it takes to change a piece of equipment between the production of one item to the next. In Lean, the goal is to ensure a Quick Changeover.

An example of Quick Changeover?

A pit crew at a car race is a great example of a Quick Changeover. The quicker a crew can a changeover, the better chance a racer has of winning. A slow changeover will often result in losing a race.

What are the benefits of Quick Changeover?

The main benefits of Quick Changeover are:

  • Reduce the amount of defects.
  • Reduce inventory costs.
  • More production flexibility.
  • Better chance of on-time delivery.

25) Right First Time

Implementation Process | Hartford Technologies

What is Right First Time?

Right First Time is a lean philosophy that stresses getting processes right the first time, every time. The concept involves planning and a deep understanding of manufacturing processes.

How is Right First Time implemented?

Right First Time has 3 primary steps:

  1. Track performance. The first step of Right First Time is figuring out how often you’re getting your manufacturing processes right the first time. Search for areas in the manufacturing process where things do not go smoothly the first time around. By identifying the problems, you can figure out where your manufacturing processes need work.
  2. Improve performance with a systematic process. Often, the biggest problem manufacturers have is human error. The more systematic a process becomes, the more likely you can get things right the first time.
  3. Identify areas of waste and use the Right First Time tool to cut them out. Main areas to focus on include inventory, overproduction, defects, and transportation.

26) 7 Wastes

Wastes in the Manufacturing Process | Hartford Technologies

What is 7 Wastes?

In lean manufacturing, 7 Wastes refers to seven typical places manufacturers have waste. Using the 7 Wastes tool, manufacturers can determine where they have waste and can improve their processes in each area. The method was invented by Toyota and is an integral part of the Toyota production system.

What are the 7 Wastes?

The 7 Wastes are as follows:

  1. Overproduction. Overproduction refers to producing a product before it is needed. In the Toyota production system, products are produced only when there is customer demand.
  2. Waiting. Waiting refers to the time between one operation and the next.
  3. Transporting. Transportation adds no value to a product and only too much transporting only increases the risk of defects.
  4. Inappropriate processing. This refers to using overly expensive equipment to accomplish tasks that can be processed by simpler and most cost-effective equipment.
  5. Unnecessary inventory. The goal is to reduce inventory to what’s needed.
  6. Excessive motion. Human motion should be reduced in the manufacturing process.
  7. Defects. Reducing defects is crucial for reducing costs.

27) Six Big Losses

Ineffective Production Losses | Hartford Technologies

What are the Six Big Losses?

Six Big Losses refers to the six most common reasons for ineffective production. TPM and OEE are generally used to eliminate the Six Big Losses.

What are the Six Big Losses?

  1. Breakdowns. Breakdowns refer to machine failure and the need for intensive maintenance.
  2. Setup/Adjustment. Setup/Adjustment refers to changeover and machine warm-up.
  3. Idling. Idling refers to jams, obstructions, and cleaning.
  4. Speed. Speed refers to operator efficiency and machine wear down.
  5. Defects in process and rework. Defects refer to product damages and the need for corrections.
  6. Start-up losses. Start-up losses refer to improper assembly and losses due to product defects.  

28) SMART Goals

SMART Goals | Hartford Technologies

What are SMART Goals?

SMART Goal is a method to set goals productively. To effectively use lean manufacturing methods, management must set proper goals to strive for. Ideally, those goals should be clearly defined and communicated.

What does SMART stand for? For a goal to be achieved it should be:

  • Specific. A goal should be concrete and based on facts and figures.
  • Measurable. Results must be quantified with clear numbers.
  • Attainable. Goals should be attainable and not too ambitious. Impossible goals hurt employee morale.  
  • Realistic. Similar to attainable, goals must be set realistically based on available resources and time.
  • Time-based. Goals must be given a realistic due date based on available resources.

29) KPIs

KPI Metric | Hartford Technologies

What are KPIs?

KPI is an acronym for Key Performance Metric and it refers to metrics used to assess and analyze manufacturing efficiency. KPIs are essentially metrics set by management to measure the success of lean manufacturing goals.

What are some common manufacturing KPIs?

Some common manufacturing KPIs include:

  • Speed. Measuring speed is essential for increasing efficiency and profits.
  • Count. This refers to the amount of product produced.
  • Reject ratio. Manufacturing processes will sometimes produce scrap. Reducing scrap is essential for increasing productivity.
  • Takt time. This can refer to the amount of time it takes to produce a product or the amount of time it takes for one specific operation. Measuring this can help identify where there are bottlenecks or constraints in the manufacturing process.
  • Downtime. Breakdown or machine changeover often causes downtime. Lean seeks to reduce downtime as much as possible.  

30) The 5S Method

5S Automotive Methods | Hartford Technologies

What is The 5S Method?

The 5S Method refers to five Japanese and English terms that begin with an “S” and provide a workplace organization method.

What does each “S” stand for?

  • Sort (Seiri): Decide which items in a factory are necessary and which ones are not. Get rid of the ones that are not.
  • Straighten (Seiton): Make sure every item in a factory is in the right place. Items should be easy to find and access.
  • Shine (Seiso): Clean the factory regularly. By getting rid of dirt, garbage, etc. you can more easily identify problems in the manufacturing process.
  • Standardize (seiketsu): Create standards to ensure a clean and neat factory floor.
  • Sustain (shitsuke): Create habits that ensure standards are met over the long term. Set responsibilities for managers and operators to ensure that habits are set.  

31) SMED

SMED Diagram | Hartford Technologies

What is SMED?

SMED stands for Single-Minute Exchange or Die. The goal of SMED is to get all changeovers and startups down to 10 minutes. Each step should be one minute or less. By reducing setup time, factories can greatly improve efficiency. SMED as invented by Frederick Taylor in 1911 and was later used by Ford Motors in 1915.

What are the main principles of SMED?

  • Identify all changeover tasks.   
  • Analyze each task to determine purpose.
  • Determine low cost solutions.
  • Goal should be to reduce changeover time.

What are the steps to implement SMED? The steps to perform SMED are as follows:

  1. Separate internal from external setup operations
  2. Convert internal to external setup
  3. Standardize functions  
  4. Use functional clamps or eliminate fasteners altogether
  5. Use intermediate jigs
  6. Adopt parallel operations
  7. Eliminate adjustments
  8. Mechanization

32) A3 Problem Solving

New Problem Solving | Hartford Technologies


What is A3 Problem Solving?

A3 Problem Solving is a problem solving method that uses a structured, continued growth methodology to improve manufacturing practices. The method was invented by Toyota and is based on the work of Edward Deming.

How is A3 Problem Solving implemented?

A3 Problem Solving has 7 steps:

  1. Determine what is the company generally trying to fix.
  2. Analyze the current situation. What is currently being done?
  3. Decide what the company’s goals are. What specifically will be accomplished?
  4. Determine what the gap is between current processes and where the company wants to be.
  5. Come up with possible solutions and determine what the barriers will be.
  6. Decide on a plan. What will the new process look like?
  7. Follow up. Track results and figure out what’s working.    

33) PDCA

PDCA Method | Hartford Technologies

Source: PDCA

What is PDCA?

PDCA stands for Plan-Do-Check-Act and is a four-step method for creating and carrying out change. The PDCA method is a cycle and is repeated over and over again in order to drive continuous improvement.

When is PDCA used?

PDCA is primarily used when:

  • Conducting an improvement project.
  • Designing a repetitive work process.
  • Developing a new process or product design.
  • Implementing changes in the manufacturing process.

What are the PDCA steps?

PDCA steps include:

  1. Plan. Find an area that needs improvement and plan a change.
  2. Do. Test the change on a small-scale.
  3. Check. Check how the test went by analyzing the results and determining what you’ve learned.
  4. Act. Take action based on what you’ve learned. If the change you made did not work, start from the beginning and determine a different test. Use your failures to determine where you will go next.    

34) Standardized Work

Standardized Automotive Methods | Hartford Technologies


What is Standardized Work?

Standardized Work is a tool used to document current best practices, improve the standard, and ensure that the new standard becomes a baseline for improvement.

What does Standardized Work improve?

Standardized Work improves 3 important aspects of the manufacturing process:

  • The rate at which products are produced in order to meet customer demand.
  • The operator’s work sequence to produce products at that time rate.
  • The standard inventory is needed to ensure a smooth manufacturing process.

What are the benefits of Standardized Work? The main benefits of Standardized Work include:

  • Better documentation of current processes.
  • Easier training for operators.
  • Few injuries and strains.
  • Baseline to make improvements.
  • Reduces variability.
  • Adds discipline to a work culture.
  • Promotes problem solving.
  • Increases teamwork across the organization.

35) 5 Whys
5 Whys Managers Ask | Hartford Technologies


What is 5 Whys?

5 Whys is a lean method used to determine the root cause of a problem. Managers repeat the question “Why?” and each answer forms a basis for the next question. This process continues until a conclusion is reached. The 5 Whys technique was developed by Sakichi Toyoda and has been used by Toyota to improve its manufacturing processes. The 5 Whys technique generally requires persistence and determination for it to work effectively.

What are the rules surrounding 5 Whys?

In order to properly perform 5 Whys, managers should follow a variety of rules:

  • Use paper or a whiteboard, not a laptop or computer.
  • Clearly define the problem and make sure every team member understands it.
  • Use a step-by-step process to find the root cause. Avoid jumping to conclusions.
  • Identify what the causes are, not the symptoms.
  • Use logic, not emotion.
  • Focus on making sure answers are as precise as possible.
  • Use the customer’s point of view when answering the “Why” questions.
  • Facts and knowledge should be the basis for each answer.