The Five S's

Purpose: To remove the waste, we turn to the five S's. The principles of reorganizing work so that it's simpler, more straightforward, and visually manageable are:

1. Sort - keep only what is needed. Pitch everything else. The workplace often becomes cluttered with products, tools, and waste

materials that don't really belong there. Get rid of them.

2. Straighten - A place for everything and everything in its place. Establish standardized places for incoming raw materials, tools, etc.

3. Shine - clean machines and work area to expose problems.

4. Standardize - develop systems and procedures to monitor conformance to the first three rules. (This includes the define and measure aspects of Six Sigma's DMAIC.)

5. Sustain - maintain a stable workflow. (This includes the Analyze, Improve, and Control phases of Six Sigma.)


Lean Production        vs           Mass Production

Build to Order                                         Make and Sell

Economies of Speed                                Economies of Scale

Effective                                                  Efficient

Pull (from Customer)                               Push (to Customer)

Small Lots                                               Large Batches

Quick changeover                                   Changeover unimportant

Production Cells                                      Functional Silos

Right-sized Machines                               Big, Fast Machines , Interchangeable parts

Fast to respond                                       Slow to change

Adaptive                                                 Rigid, inflexible

General knowledge                                 Specialized knowledge


The Seven Speed Bumps

Purpose: To accelerate flow, you will want to eliminate the seven speed bumps all of which are considered "Muda"-non-value added waste-it is any activity which absorbs money, time, and people but creates no value.

1.  Over production (the most common type of waste) which creates inventories that take up space and capital.

2.  Excess inventory caused by over production.

3.  Waiting-Don't you hate standing in line? So do your products or services. So do employees. Are they always waiting for something?

4.  Unnecessary movement of work products. When you break the silos into cells, the products don't have to travel so far between processes.

5.  Unnecessary movement of employees. Are parts and tools too far from where they're needed? Walking is waste.

6.  Unnecessary or incorrect processing. Why have people watch a machine that can be taught to monitor itself?

7.  Defects leading to repair, rework, or scrap.

Lean thinking will help you reduce or eliminate numbers 1-5. Six Sigma will help you reduce 6-7. When you rearrange your production or service floor into production cells with right-sized machines and quick change over, you can quickly reduce most of these common kinds of waste by 50-90 percent.


How will we both Get Started on your journey to Excellence:

1. Flowchart the value stream; add times to each step, decision or arrow.  (We use specialized, efficient and easy to use software.)

2. Analyze each element for non-value added work-delay or rework.

3. Redesign the flow to eliminate as much of the non-value added work as possible and standardize the ongoing process.


Design for One-Piece Flow

Purpose: Stop producing big batches of product;  Start producing one piece at a time.

1. Focus on the part, product or service itself. Follow the product through its entire production cycle looking for opportunities to reduce delay, inventory, waste, and rework.

          In a hospital you would follow a patient from admission to discharge.

          In a printing company, you'd follow a job from start to delivery.

          In a manufacturing plant, you'd follow the product from order to delivery.

2. Ignore traditional boundaries, layouts, etc. In other words, forget what you know.

3. Realign the work flow into production "cells" to eliminate delay, rework, and scrap.

4. "Right size" the machines and technology to support smaller batches, quick changeover, and one-piece flow. This often means using simpler, slower, and less automated machines that may actually be more accurate and reliable.

The goal of flow is to eliminate all delays, interruptions and stoppages, and not to rest until you succeed. Focus the improvement effort to avoid wasting valuable time and money. Focus on mission- and profit-critical processes and issues first!


Common measures of flow where we set up visible metrics:

Lead (or cycle) time: time product stays in the system

Value-added ratio: (Value-added time )/(Lead time)

Travel distance of the product or people doing the work

Productivity: (people hours)/unit

Number of handoffs

Quality rate or first pass yield

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