Lean manufacturing cycle time reduction

Caveat:   Blitzes are all too often un-targeted, .  done with little concern as to the overall impact on the total company.   The results of such un-focused blitzes typically have a significant local impact, microcosms of excellence , but little or no impact on overall company well being.   See “Solutions Looking for a Problem” below.

  • Blow-Through BOM’s (Bills of Material):   Many “assembled product” manufacturers need to maintain subassembly identity, and/or control configuration, for replacement parts.   In these circumstances, rather than have a flat bill of material, it is much more practical to continue to show all subassembly levels on the bill of material. A “Blow Through” level, allows the subassembly’s parts to be called out, for kitting or backflush purposes, on the next higher level assembly.   The MRP algorithm “blows through” .  treats the subassembly’s parts as if they were called out on the next higher-level assembly.
  • Boom-Bust Cycle:   Some Causes:   I just got off the phone with a steel finishing plant / distributor.   He said that their on-time delivery performance was terrible, and that their lead times had extended considerably.   When I mentioned some ways to fix this issue, his response was classic:   “The customers have learned to expect it”   “We can’t turn down orders.   We just promise what they want to hear, then beg forgiveness.” And what do the customers do in these situations?   You’ve go it!   They double order.   They order high “just in case”.   They ask for it early, knowing full well that it will be late.

    Sure, there is much more that could be said, but we hope this brief overview gives you a good sense of what to expect going forward. Don’t let anyone sell you a “step by step package” to getting Lean, unless they have conducted a thorough assessment of your company, and can tell you the How, What, Where, When, & Why behind their proposal. Though many of the Lean Tools can be generally applied, Lean is not a one-size fits all program and must be adjusted to your specific and unique needs.
    The TPS Team…

    The importance of employee participation and retention is paramount to a successful foundation and sustaining a LEAN culture. Although restructuring during a slow time may not be avoidable, it is the last resort when trying to transform into a Lean Manufacturing culture.

    LEAN MANUFACTURING focuses on elements that seem elementary but specific tools and training can lead to valuable gains. Furthermore, the tools guide the team to reveal DFSS and waste removal opportunities AND improve existing value added processes (. speeding up an existing running machine with better maintenance program).

    Lean tools can also be applied to transactional process as well as the DFSS  and DMAIC tools.

    Value stream mapping is a key component of Lean Manufacturing. Most often a product value stream will consist of 95% or more non-value added time.

    That means that most value streams begin with <5% of the total time devoted to adding value, or creating a feature that the customer is willing to pay for.

    In many cases, there is business (or regulatory) time that complicates the map. Many companies must perform record keeping, audits, data entry, and maintain environmental, health, and safety compliance that take time in the value stream. While it is mandatory, it is still non-value added and should be challenged and streamlined to lean out within reason.

    Many of the tools are taught to an entire workforce to develop a foundation of LEAN thinking in day to day operations. Some of the tools used are:

    Gantt Chart

    Process Maps


    Just-In-Time (JIT)


    Mistake Proofing / Poka-Yoke

    OEE - Overall Equipment Effectiveness

    Takt Time

    TQM - Total Quality Management

    Visual Management

    Health and Safety

    Spaghetti Diagram

    Designing Workcells / Cellular Flow

    Lean manufacturing cycle time reduction

    lean manufacturing cycle time reduction


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