Lean Business Tips #58 – Know Waste

Unless you know someone you can’t find him.

Knowing is important to find.

This is exactly true when we deal with wastes in any manufacturing process.

We focus on improving machine efficiency, introducing new technology, providing training, etc., without understanding what waste is in manufacturing processes.

Most of us have this problem.

We are surrounded by wastes. But, without understanding what waste really is, we can’t identify it or remove it.



Lean Business Tips #57- Use 99/1 Rule

Determining where to focus is key to improvement!

The 80/20 rule of the Pareto principle, states 80% of the mistakes created by 20% of the events in any manufacturing or service industries.

20% of the events, observed in the Pareto chart are often found interrelated with other events within the chart. So, to understand the real constraint a new model is required.

The new model established by Dr. Goldratt is the 99/1 rule, where 99% of the impact results from 1% of the change.

Every operation has one or two constraints (bottlenecks) that limit the output of the function. We must focus on the constraint to leverage the improvements drastically.

Focusing on your constraint(s) is where you will have the greatest leverage on your profitability.

When you are trying to identify where to focus your efforts (quality or otherwise) and the contributors are related or dependent, then determine your constraint (your 99/1) first.

Then, use the 80/20 Rule to determine the main contributors to an effect or problem within the constraint or constraint process.



Maximizing Profitability with Theory of Constraints

Lean Business Tips #56 – Drive Fear Out of the Organization

Fear makes us stupid!

Dr. Edwards Deming verbalized this concept as once of his 14 management principles as ‘Drive Fear Out of the Organization’ nearly decades ago in his famous book Out of the Crisis.

Because the fear creates stress, the very nature of our brain induces thoughtless responses as an outcome of the stress. This leads to committing more errors in the physical environment.

Generally, fear is caused by the following reasons among the employees in the organization,

  1. Lack of job security
  2. Poor Performance Appraisals
  3. Lack of Vision
  4. Improper Supervision
  5. Not defining the Roles and Responsibilities

This can be eliminated by providing necessary training, establishing the required structure, defining responsibilities at each level, and removing physical dangers at the workplace.

As long as the people are treated with dignity, the fear in the organization can be eliminated and people will work for the vision of the organization.


Lean Business Tips #55 – Implement Full Kitting

“Full kitting is the process of clarifying requirements, getting sign-offs, the staging of materials, etc. before the initiation of tasks.” – Goldratt

Usually, the activities that allow tasks to be done without interruptions are included in the full kit list.

A doctor and her team performing the medical treatment in an operation theatre without checking the availability of necessary tools and instruments would lead to monumental failure.

A pilot taking off a flight, without checking the basic functions of the key devices and resources required to keep the passengers in the air safely, would lead to disastrous.

Similarly, the shop floor scheduler should ensure that all materials, specs, tooling, etc., are available prior to the release of the manufacturing order to the shop floor (full kitting).

Starting a task with an incomplete kit means more labor time to finish the task, longer lead time, more work-in-process, reduction of throughput, poor quality, and impairment of due date performances.

Therefore, the tasks should not be started until the ‘full kitting’ is done.


For Further Reading:

The Complete Kit Concept – http://boazronen.org/PDF/The%20Complete%20Kit%20Concept.pdf

Lean Business Tips #54 – Don’t tell them, how to do it.

As a team leader or manager, your job is not to give solutions to every problem, but make sure your team members think scientifically and find out the solutions themselves.

You don’t need to tell people exactly how to do it. Rather, you should make them understand the problem and involve them in the process of finding solutions.

You would be surprised to see that people will come up with their own solutions that would be better than your original idea. If people find the solutions the chances of implementing and completing the tasks are higher. 

Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do, and let them surprise you with their results.

– George Patton

Telling your team, how to do something is actually a crime. If they struggle to find the solution,  as a leader your responsibility is to ask more questions and probe them to find the answers themselves without your involvement.


Lean Business Tips #53 – Make Time for Improvement

If you are struggling with finding time for making improvements in your business, then this tip is for you.

People’s behavior, taste, interest, and expectations change every minute- So, in order to match with customer’s interest improvements are very essential. If you do not make improvements- every day, you will be soon run out of the business.

“You make the world a better place by making daily improvements to become the best version of yourself.”
― Roy T. Bennett

We must spend at least 40% of our time in improvement activities.

For a typical lean organization, the time spent in QC circles, Kaizen, Gemba Walk, Value Stream Mapping, Improvement Projects, etc. are considered as time worth spending in making improvements.

The ratio of the time spent on improvements would vary based on the hierarchy, nevertheless, there is no such limit. Everyone in the organization must spend their time in improvements.

I know many entrepreneurs, who are willing to appoint consultants to make improvements in their organization. This practice, cannot work until your team has time to cooperate with the consultant. Many times, this model won’t work.

In small businesses, with very few manpower, we often cry for more time to finish something.

But, It is a rule of thumb that you cannot finish your task on time If you cannot make improvements every day,

In other words, The only way to save your time is to spend your time in making improvements.

“Focus on being productive instead of busy.”

Lean Business Tips #52 – Become the Change You Want to See

If you are struggling to bring a change in your organization, especially to get support or consensus, from others including the management, simply to follow the advice of Mahatma Gandhi

“Become the change you want to see in the world.”

If you begin the change to one area under your influence and make it a model place to benchmark others, soon it will spread to other areas, sometimes well beyond the original area of influence.

It is not what happens that is important. It is our response to whatever happens that makes all the difference We have the ability to take the initiative in any situation we are in. 

If you become the change, you will see the change in others too.