The softer side of lean 

The softer side of lean

Companies that have been successful with lean have focused not only on the 'hard side' of continuous improvement, but also on the 'soft side' of respect for people. The challenge for any company implementing lean is to learn the nature of the culture that must be fostered in order to build the soft side. Studying what people in the culture actually think their roles are could be a good start, according to this article from the February 2012 issue of Industrial Engineer.

From the WebManufacturing.net: A leaner way of life 

This Jan. 25, 2012, article from Manufacturing.net examines how US Synthetic, a Utah-based diamond solutions manufacturer, employed a unique strategy for continuous improvement and earned the 2011 Shingo Prize.

Case Study: Correctional leanCase Study: Correction lean 

The Washington Department of Corrections has responded to the weak U.S. economy by finding ways to reduce costs while also teaching offenders skills in lean manufacturing, according to this article from the January 2012 issue of Industrial Engineer.

Call for papers to fill issue on lean enterprise transformation 

Editors of the Journal of Enterprise Transformation are inviting papers for its special issue (Volume 3, Issue 2) on lean enterprise transformation.

Proper lean accounting 

In this article from the October 2011 issue of Industrial Engineer, contributor Reginald Tomas Yu-Lee writes that when you look through the lenses of explicit cost dynamics, the impact of eliminating wastes on costs is fairly marginal at best. It isn’t that the opportunity isn’t there. It just means that eliminating the waste, itself, won’t lead to cost reduction. This article explores additional lean methods to save costs.

Discipline your lean sigma programs 

Using focus groups, supplier surveys and other data, researchers have identified five views of lean sigma and 10 program management disciplines that lean sigma leaders need to develop in order to achieve world-class performance, according to this article from the June 2011 issue of Industrial Engineer.

Inc.com: 5 tips for managing your global supply chain

This June 21, 2011, article from Inc. offers tips to small business owners for streamlining and maintaining an efficient international supply chain.

Case study: An agile bridge for caring communications 

This case study from the May 2011 issue of Industrial Engineer examines how CaringBridge uses lean to keep up with the demand for the latest Web applications.

Starve reorg fever

Reorganization fever is a symptom of many large organizations, but relevancy is the key to making it worth the while, says IE columnist Paul Templin in his May 2011 Manufacturing column.

The bottleneck conundrum

In this feature from the January 2011 issue of Industrial Engineer, contributor Peter King discusses identifying potential bottlenecks within operations and the importance of improving the performance of the bottleneck step in meeting customer demand.

The toll of dealing with it

In his February 2011 IE column, Paul Templin discusses the challenges of technical support and project management across different time zones.

Measure out costs

This feature from the November 2010 issue of Industrial Engineer magazine describes how work measurement tools could cut pricing for software development.

Communicating lean with customers

Effectively dealing with cognitive dissonance can sell process improvement methods, according to this August 2010 story from Industrial Engineer. However results are classified, the responsibility of accurate and timely communication with customers can't be overlooked.

On golden parts

In his August 2010 IE column, Paul Templin explains how identical processes and parameters in different parts of the world can still produce different results.

The lean to green evolution 

J T Black and Don T. Phillips explore a brief history of industrial engineering and the role it has to the future in this feature from the June 2010 issue of Industrial Engineer.

Preparing people for change 

Paul Templin writes in his November 2009 IE column that employees can handle change much better if such news is shared through direct communication.

Research: Improvements without technology

In the November 2009 IE, read about work by Kumar Rajaram and Zhili Tian supporting design optimization methods of semicontinuous processes in manufacturing.

Making good even better

Vinyltek in Vancouver, British Columbia, has seen its sales doubled over three years, but was it ready for such demand? In this case study from the December issue of Industrial Engineer, read how Vinyltek's president looked to an old colleague for help in a new lean strategy.

The brains behind the beauty

A L'Oreal cosmetics plant in Little Rock, Ark., is marking 100 years of its parent company's business by increasing productivity through lean manufacturing, kaizen, 5S and other IE management
tools. It's a strategy that the international company could likely implement across the map.

Watching for intruders 

In this expanded version of a case study featured in the October issue of Industrial Engineer magazine, a product assembly manager at a Bosch Rexroth facility in Lancaster, Pa., discusses recent lean transformations applied to the production of "future-proof" security technology.

Blocking out the bad 

This feature from the October issue of Industrial Engineer examines the impact of decision analysis on how industrial engineers can better inform or educate customers, so that they have something more to show than just a bunch of numbers.

Control vs. confusion 

Paul Templin provides five rules for using statistical process control in his August IE column.

Journey to optimization 

WIKA Instrument Corp.'s Lawrenceville, Ga., facility is a shining example of nearly a decade of lean transformation. Read about how this German-based company uses lean to survive today's turbulent economy.

Giving structure to lean learning

Have you ever wondered why it takes so long to become proficient in lean methods? Author Rick Duncan, a lean process engineer working for Amylin Pharmaceutical LLC, explains how to set up lean operations in the startup of a new manufacturing facility.

Register now for Lean Enterprise I 

Learn how to map the process flow and identify activities that add value from the customer’s perspective in this three-day intro course beginning Sept. 30.

Journey to optimization 

WIKA Instrument Corp.’s Lawrenceville, Ga., facility is a shining example of nearly a decade of lean transformation.

webinar Is your company culture lean focused? An exercise in self-assessment 


Industrial engineering boost 

Occupational expert Lawrence Shatkin asserts that industrial engineering is one of 15 professions that will benefit from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in his book, Great Jobs in the President's Stimulus Plan.

Finding value in lean 

The Juran Institute’s Steven Doerman describes how companies can map themselves into good position after the economic recovery using lean principles.

Scheduling for special orders

In this interview with IIE, manufacturing journalist Thomas Cutler addresses scheduling one-of-a-kind products and projects in engineering-to-order environments.

blog Structural waste

Blogger Joe Ely ponders the lack of common sense at an auto supply store.

A + E = Lean 

Merwan Mehta, an associate professor in the technology systems department at East Carolina University, describes how activity efficiency (AE) can help balance a process and help balance a team.

Leading in crisis 

Author Bill George’s seven lessons for leading organizations through major crisis

Control manual

Researchers at the University of Toronto’s Center for Maintenance Optimization and Reliability Engineering (C-MORE) describe how asset manager can make optimal maintenance decisions.

webinar Walk before you run: Establishing conditions for lean manufacturing success

Searching for lean with lean 

The employees of Stiles Associates mix football metaphors with lean methods to mange its day-to-day operations.

Baldrige criteria expands

One of three companies to earn a Malcolm Baldrige Quality Award in 1988, the year that the awards program was established, Motorola Inc. turned judges' heads with a ten-fold improvement initiative of zero defects in its products and services worldwide.

Last team standing 

In his May IE column, Paul Templin describes how manufacturing must be a team sport.

Book review: Using Hoshin Kanri to Improve the Value Stream

Leading lean and quality expert Elizabeth Cudney constructs a complete how-to guide that any organization can employ to start a lean effort correctly and keep it on track.

Special orders 

Engineer-to-order challenges for the industrial engineer

Are You a lean leader?

Most leaders do a pretty good job of talking about the need to be lean, and approving training dollars for learning about lean tools, but are these same leaders trying to make their own leadership systems as lean as they could be?

Generational revitalization 

For Garlock Sealing Technologies, facilities planning meant as much to the community as it did to the company.

Lean/Six Sigma – Back to basics with 5S

Lean and Six Sigma are the two of today’s most popular business improvement approaches.

webinar Readiness for lean and Six Sigma

This free webinar details key success factors for integrating lean and Six Sigma in a health care setting.

Lean is cake 

Buffer placement and simulation improve a production line for a cake packager.

Developing a maintenance value stream map

As a result of increasing focus on lean in competitive manufacturing, maintenance management has found a new vigor and purpose to increase equipment capacity and capability. This paper develops a value stream map for maintenance to evaluate the non-value-added activities.

Directions to discovery 

John Wilson, an industrial engineering supervisor for Boston Scientific Corp., shows that value stream maps start and end at customer satisfaction.

Nine habits of highly effective continuous improvement teams

Effective use of programs such as lean manufacturing, Six Sigma, and OEE (overall equipment efficiency) yields results that are too valuable to ignore. But where do you start?

Minimizing the cost of lean production control transition

Changing a manufacturing system from push to pull production control, while ultimately beneficial, can be disruptive. This paper studies the transition process in a single-stage manufacturing system.

Lean function deployment (LFD): Determining the lean implementation point using a customer perspective 

LFD was developed to fill the need for a method that determines the lean implementation point using customer needs in determining process steps. Researchers tested the effectiveness of an LFD tool and developed a computer program to show the real-world application of the proposed tool.

Cleanest of the clean 

Cintas Corp.’s clean room laundry facility outside of Detroit is equipped with process isolation control that allows for simultaneous, linear batch lot flow of clean room garments.

Adding value to value stream mapping

VSM is an important technique used in lean manufacturing. See how one researcher developed a simulation model template for VSM to help validate the findings of mapping efforts.

Comparing kaizen event within an organization: A case study

Organizations continue to seek innovative ideas for improving their processes and retaining a competitive edge. Kaizen focuses on improving a work area or an organization in incremental steps.

Twin fates 

Professor Adedeji Badiru describes how partnerships, specifically the concept of extrapreneurships, will keep manufacturers’ doors open.

When to use statistics, one-piece flow or mistake-proofing to improve quality

Quality icons Shigeo Shingo and Mikel Harry make extreme and opposite claims about the right approach to quality improvement. Shingo has no use for statistical methods while Harry believes they are indispensable. This author contends that they are both correct in their non-overlapping universes.

webinar SMED in the process industries: Improved flow through shorter product changeovers


Governmental agencies are ripe with lean opportunities

Industries as diverse as health care and construction, not to mention all manner of manufacturers, have proven that the lean philosophy is applicable and beneficial to them. But government agencies have distinct differences that make them a challenging opportunity to apply lean principles.

Innovation overseas 

IE columnist Paul Templin contemplates the future of U.S.-based technology workers in manufacturing.

Optimization in production operations

This essay deals with the economic impact of production and manufacturing operations while making product with the existing process. The bottom line is that most production processes are underutilized, and the use of mature, accessible mathematical technology unlocks that latent capacity, which is of significant value.

Enhancing construction performance through work force diversity

Today’s customers have come to expect world-class quality in the goods and services they purchase. The management of diversity is essential for creating an environment in which people from different walks of life can come together as a unified team to produce world-class quality.

Lean cuisine 

For Kahiki Foods Inc., a manufacturer of Asian-themed frozen foods for North America, lean transformation leaves a great taste.

Engineers aim to make their mark in construction

A couple of years ago, Eva Kaplan-Leiserson, a staff writer with the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE), featured the activities of IIE’s Lean Division in PE magazine to share our story with NSPE’s members. NSPE has kindly consented to having us reprint the article for the benefit of our own membership.

Project productivity: Gains are lost and losses accumulate 

There is a law regarding variability in production management that increasing the variability in workflow always degrades the performance of a production system. Understanding its implications in projects and creating predictable workflow is the way to start improving project performance.

webinar Driving lean transformation with corporate diagnosis and policy deployment




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