Are Your Lean Activities Effective?

Taichi Ohno invented and established the Toyota Production System (TPS). These are the well-known measures of Taichi Ohno: the cycle time concept, sequencing, continuous flow, pull system, Kanban system, production in small lots, SMED, one piece flow, lot splitting, Jidōka (autonomation), Heijunka, 5S, standard work, visualization, TQM, Pokayoke, Andon, TPM, Lean Engineering and Mix Model Flow Production System.

Many companies copy some of the techniques. So why don’t they achieve synchronous processes? The Toyota production system is a holistic system, which means, all listed measures are related and have one goal, namely process synchronization. In other words, you cannot achieve process synchronization by just implementing either the Kanban system or Heijunka or 5S alone.

Remember, the ultimate goal of 5S is not cleanliness and order. That should go without saying. An important 5S goal is to create transparency with regard to the possibility of instantaneous (visual) determination of the timing compared to the plan specifications (too early? too late?). This allows process control at the level of Gemba and individual resources and helps to ensure process synchronization, on-time delivery, and the shortest possible lead time.

I have not yet met a Lean consultant who dealt with sequencing. In my opinion, no matter which lean measures are carried out, if sequencing is not dealt with or sub-optimal, the factory may look nice on the outside, but production lead times and inventories will not decrease. Optimal sequencing is absolutely essential for synchronizing parallel, merging and branching processes.