Cycle Time vs. Throughput Time: What’s the Difference?

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What is Cycle Time? Cycle time can be defined as the amount of actual work time needed to complete one task. Any sort of downtime is excluded from cycle time. The Benefits of Cycle Time Staying ahead of the competition – You can outpace your competition by keeping a close eye on your cycle time […]

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Takt Time vs. Cycle Time: What’s the Difference?

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What is Takt Time? Takt Time refers to the speed at which a product must be manufactured in order to meet customer demand. The Benefits of Takt Time Implementing Takt Time into your organization is beneficial for a number of reasons: Identifying bottlenecks – If an organization is making Takt Time a priority, bottlenecks tend […]

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How the Toyota Production System (TPS) Can Improve Your Business Processes

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The Toyota Production System (TPS) serves as the foundation for Lean Manufacturing. Let’s explore this powerful method for improving your processes.  The Toyota Production System (TPS) is a manufacturing philosophy and a set of management practices developed by the Toyota Motor Corporation. It emphasizes continuous improvement, just-in-time production, and efficient use of resources, with the […]

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Convert DPMO/Sigma to Cpk

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There are several metrics you can use to measure how well your process is performing. Let’s look at three of them and discuss how they are calculated and related. The three are DPMO, Sigma Level and Cpk. Convert DPMO/Sigma to Cpk  Before discussing how you can convert DPMO (defects per million opportunities) to sigma level […]

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A Supply Chain Case Study – Socks Manufacturing: Part 2 of 2

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A socks manufacturing company in India turned to TQM to improve its supply chain. In Part One, the case study describes the process of elminating a significant cost for the company – delivery delays. This week, Part Two of the case study looks at the broadening of the application of process improvement beyond deliveries. The […]

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A Supply Chain Case Study – Socks Manufacturing: Part 1 of 2

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A socks manufacturing company in India turned to TQM to improve its supply chain. In Part One, the case study elminates a significant cost for the company – delivery delays. Part Two of the case study looks at the broadening of the application of process improvement beyond deliveries. A fledgling socks manufacturing company in India was working to […]

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FLEXcon: Lean for the Long Run

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The following are selected highlights of a corporate leadership profile of FLEXcon. The complete article – with more details about Lean application and how the company avoided layoffs during the recession – is available for purchase on the iSixSigma Marketplace. FLEXcon positions itself for growth by embracing Lean at every level More than 50 years […]

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carpet yarn manufacturing

Team Teachings: Lessons in Operator, Equipment and Product Accountability

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Process data is critical. But taking a step back to look at accountability metrics provides another level of continuous improvement opportunities as shown in this real-world Six Sigma project targeting off-grade production in a carpet yarn manufacturing process.

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Team Teachings: Improving Process Operator Competency

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Polymer chip manufacturing is a multi-step, large-volume process that makes hundreds of millions of pounds of products annually at a typical plant. Unlike fiber extrusion, which requires the use of multiple units of specialized equipment, chip manufacturing involves fewer machines operated in either continuous or batch modes. Chip manufacturing is often driven by operator decisions, […]

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Japan Disaster Rattles Manufacturers Worldwide

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According to a March 24 report from Objective Analysis, nearly 25 percent of the world’s semiconductor production capacity is in Japan, as well as more than 60 percent of the silicon wafers from which semiconductor chips are created. In 2010, industry analysis firm iSuppli determined that Japan held about 35 percent of the $31.5 billion […]

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No Cause for Alarm: Avoiding Control Room Overload with 5S

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The typical plant control room has changed dramatically over the years. Alarm management – which once was simply a sound or flashing light designed to get the control room operator’s attention – has changed dramatically, too. Many control rooms have replaced analog panel boards with multiple screens of bright and colorful representations of plant equipment. […]

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Streamlining the Ordering Process for U.K. Book Publisher

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The publishing industry is on the threshold of major structural changes. The arrival of e-books is only the first threat, and it is having an impact sooner than expected. For example, Amazon.com sold more e-books than paper books in the first quarter of 2010. The credit crunch also has reinforced retailers’ demands for smaller, more […]

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Piggybacking Air Filters to Save Shipping Costs

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Cummins operates three plants San Luis Potosi, Mexico, which produce and ship products daily to distribution centers in the United States. These plants produce systems such as reconditioned engines, alternators, and filtration and exhaust systems. Two of the three plants were looking for ways to reduce the high costs of trucking the products, so Rebecca […]

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European Wind Project Embraces Lean

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With assistance from Spanish wind-turbine manufacturer Gamesa, nonprofit foundation Tekniker and several other European technology firms, COSMOS seeks increases in turbine quality, as well as lower costs and faster manufacturing times, according to a release from Ibermática. According to the COSMOS consortium, many European turbine assembly operations involve both manual labor and work done by […]

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U.K. Packaging Firm Celebrates First Year of Lean Six Sigma

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Based in Bardon, Leicestershire, U.K., Benson Group is one of the country’s largest carton suppliers, producing packaging for both the food and pharmaceutical industries at its 130,000-square-foot facility. The Bardon plant produces sheets of printed cardboard that is then cut and glued for use in the food industry as containers. With the adoption of Lean […]

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The Customer Talks Back: Musings on Call Center Efficiency

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Running a call center is like handling a job interview: First impressions are critical. Good intentions do not make up for tardiness, ill-fitting clothing, dirty shoes, the inability to reasonably pronounce the interviewer’s name or ignorance about what the company does. The primary purpose of a call center is to increase the profitability of the […]

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Lean Techniques Help Boeing Production Take Flight

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In December 2010, the company announced that it would be ramping up production of its popular 777-series wide-body jet from 5 airplanes a month to 7 per month in 2011, and again to an average of 8.3 a month in 2013. Earlier in the year, Boeing also said it would be boosting production of its […]

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Brewing a Better Beer with TQM

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Recently, a well-established, rapidly expanding beer company invested heavily in a modern, state-of–the-art brewing facility. The new facility dramatically improved quality and productivity, and also reduced costs through the application of new technology. As a next step, the beer company began exploring methods of achieving a further quantum jump in performance. Recognizing that technology and […]

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Get Updated with Supply Chain Research

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Reports released in the last several months reveal important information for supply chain managers. The first study, conducted by NPI, a spend management services firm, found the top areas of supply chain overspending. The second report, carried out by CAPS Research, a nonprofit research firm, features benchmarking data from 16 industrial manufacturers. Overspending Identified The […]

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E-Z-Go Accelerates Six Sigma Buy-in Through Lean

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Employed with Textron for 22 years, Stern entered the continuous improvement program in 2005 as a Black Belt and has since become a Master Black Belt. She currently oversees training in Textron’s CI program and leads value stream mapping improvement workshops. Here are Stern’s thoughts about the evolution of the company’s CI efforts and how […]

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How Can Lean Users Sustain Gains?

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How’s your Lean initiative doing? Is it going great? Or is it starting to lose steam? Or is it clearly failing to meet expectations? Have you given up and gone back to the not-so “good old days” from which you had hoped to escape? These are questions I see a lot of firms both asking […]

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Lean Six Sigma Remains Strong in Manufacturing

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A recently released study of compensation trends at manufacturing companies across the country contained some reassuring news for quality professionals: The deployment of Lean and Six Sigma methods remains strong in the manufacturing sector. Within the more than 1,000 pages of the 2010 Compensation Data Manufacturing survey on salaries and benefits, conducted by consulting firm […]

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What Manufacturers Can Learn from Transactional Companies

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In the evolution of continuous improvement, the Six Sigma methodology began in the manufacturing sector and later spread to other transactional businesses. While many transactional companies, such as advertising agencies and other service-oriented organizations, still look to manufacturers to learn about the application of Lean Six Sigma, there are lessons that manufacturers can learn, as […]

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Lean Six Sigma Around the Globe: Hertel – Europe

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By Elaine Schmidt Headquartered in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, Hertel has operations in more than 20 countries throughout Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Australia. The company offers construction, maintenance, modification and dismantling solutions at client sites, such as on- and off-shore oil and gas facilities, power plants and other specialized facilities. For Hertel employees, process […]

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