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25 Essential Lean Tools

The following is a collection of 25 essential lean tools. Each tool is distilled into a simple description of what it is and how it helps. Lean Tool What Is It? Organize the work area: Sort (eliminate that which is not needed) Set In Order (organize remaining items) Shine (clean and inspect work area) Standardize (write standards for above)

How Does It Help?


Eliminates waste that results from a poorly organized work area (e.g. wasting time looking for a tool).

Sustain (regularly apply the standards) Visual feedback system for the plant floor that indicates production status, alerts when Andon assistance is needed, and empowers operators to stop the production process. Identify which part of the manufacturing Bottleneck process limits the overall throughput and Analysis improve the performance of that part of the process. Manufacturing where work-in-process smoothly flows through production with minimal (or no) Continuous Flow buffers between steps of the manufacturing process. A philosophy that reminds us to get out of our Gemba (The Real offices and spend time on the plant floor the Place) place where real action occurs. Heijunka (Level Scheduling)

Acts as a real-time communication tool for the plant floor that brings immediate attention to problems as they occur so they can be instantly addressed. Improves throughput by strengthening the weakest link in the manufacturing process. Eliminates many forms of waste (e.g. inventory, waiting time, and transport). Promotes a deep and thorough understanding of real-world manufacturing issues by first-hand observation and by talking with plant floor employees.

A form of production scheduling that purposely Reduces lead times (since each product or manufactures in much smaller batches by variant is manufactured more frequently) sequencing (mixing) product variants within the and inventory (since batches are smaller). same process. Ensures that progress towards strategic goals Hoshin Kanri Align the goals of the company (Strategy), with is consistent and thorough eliminating the (Policy the plans of middle management (Tactics) and waste that comes from poor communication Deployment) the work performed on the plant floor (Action). and inconsistent direction. Design equipment to partially automate the After Jidoka, workers can frequently manufacturing process (partial automation is Jidoka monitor multiple stations (reducing labor typically much less expensive than full (Autonomation) costs) and many quality issues can be automation) and to automatically stop when detected immediately (improving quality). defects are detected. Pull parts through production based on customer demand instead of pushing parts through Highly effective in reducing inventory production based on projected demand. Relies Just-In-Time (JIT) levels. Improves cash flow and reduces on many lean tools, such as Continuous Flow, space requirements. Heijunka, Kanban, Standardized Work and Takt Time. Kaizen A strategy where employees work together Combines the collective talents of a

company to create an engine for continually eliminating waste from manufacturing processes. A method of regulating the flow of goods both Eliminates waste from inventory and within the factory and with outside suppliers and overproduction. Can eliminate the need for Kanban (Pull customers. Based on automatic replenishment physical inventories (instead relying on System) through signal cards that indicate when more signal cards to indicate when more goods goods are needed. need to be ordered). The best manufacturing KPIs: Are aligned with top-level strategic goals (thus helping to achieve those Metrics designed to track and encourage goals) progress towards critical goals of the KPI (Key Are effective at exposing and organization. Strongly promoted KPIs can be Performance extremely powerful drivers of behavior so it is quantifying waste (OEE is a good Indicator) important to carefully select KPIs that will drive example) desired behavior. Are readily influenced by plant floor employees (so they can drive results) Anything in the manufacturing process that does Eliminating muda (waste) is the primary Muda (Waste) not add value from the customers perspective. focus of lean manufacturing. Framework for measuring productivity loss for a Provides a benchmark/baseline and a means given manufacturing process. Three categories Overall to track progress in eliminating waste from a of loss are tracked: Equipment manufacturing process. 100% OEE means Availability (e.g. down time) Effectiveness perfect production (manufacturing only Performance (e.g. slow cycles) (OEE) good parts, as fast as possible, with no down time). Quality (e.g. rejects) Applies a scientific approach to making An iterative methodology for implementing improvements: improvements: Plan (develop a hypothesis) Plan (establish plan and expected results) Do (run experiment) PDCA (Plan, Do, Do (implement plan) Check (evaluate results) Check, Act) Check (verify expected results achieved) (Continuous Improvement) proactively to achieve regular, incremental improvements in the manufacturing process. Act (refine your experiment; try again) It is difficult (and expensive) to find all Design error detection and prevention into Poka-Yoke (Error defects through inspection, and correcting production processes with the goal of achieving Proofing) defects typically gets significantly more zero defects. expensive at each stage of production. A problem solving methodology that focuses on resolving the underlying problem instead of applying quick fixes that only treat immediate Helps to ensure that a problem is truly Root Cause symptoms of the problem. A common approach eliminated by applying corrective action to Analysis is to ask why five times each time moving a the root cause of the problem. step closer to discovering the true underlying problem. Single Minute Reduce setup (changeover) time to less than 10 Enables manufacturing in smaller lots, Exchange of Die minutes. Techniques include: reduces inventory, and improves customer (SMED) Convert setup steps to be external responsiveness.

Act (review and assess; do it again)

(performed while the process is running) Simplify internal setup (e.g. replace bolts with knobs and levers) Eliminate non-essential operations

Six Big Losses

Create standardized work instructions Six categories of productivity loss that are almost universally experienced in manufacturing: Breakdowns Setup/Adjustments Small Stops Reduced Speed Startup Rejects

Provides a framework for attacking the most common causes of waste in manufacturing.

Production Rejects Goals that are: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, SMART Goals Helps to ensure that goals are effective. Relevant, and Time-Specific. Documented procedures for manufacturing that Eliminates waste by consistently applying Standardized capture best practices (including the time to best practices. Forms a baseline for future Work complete each task). Must be living improvement activities. documentation that is easy to change. Provides a simple, consistent and intuitive The pace of production (e.g. manufacturing one method of pacing production. Is easily piece every 34 seconds) that aligns production Takt Time extended to provide an efficiency goal for with customer demand. Calculated as Planned the plant floor (Actual Pieces / Target Production Time / Customer Demand. Pieces). A holistic approach to maintenance that focuses Creates a shared responsibility for on proactive and preventative maintenance to equipment that encourages greater Total Productive maximize the operational time of equipment. involvement by plant floor workers. In the Maintenance TPM blurs the distinction between maintenance right environment this can be very effective (TPM) and production by placing a strong emphasis on in improving productivity (increasing up empowering operators to help maintain their time, reducing cycle times, and eliminating equipment. defects). A tool used to visually map the flow of Exposes waste in the current processes and Value Stream production. Shows the current and future state provides a roadmap for improvement Mapping of processes in a way that highlights through the future state. opportunities for improvement. Visual indicators, displays and controls used Makes the state and condition of Visual Factory throughout manufacturing plants to improve manufacturing processes easily accessible communication of information. and very clear to everyone.