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What can we learn about Lean from Star Trek?

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Viewing 18 posts - 1 through 18 (of 18 total)
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  • #51505

    Sloan
    Participant

    It occurred to me recently while watching a rerun of Star Trek: the Next Generation, that the Enterprise contains the ultimate Lean manufacturing system. I watched as Captain Picard walked up to the replicator and ordered, “Tea, Earl Gray, hot.” And out popped a steaming cup of tea. The system works at the pull of the customer. The product comes built exactly to the customer specifications. There is no inventory. There is no WIP. There is no transportation since the product is produced at the customer’s location. In fact, there is very little waste apparent in the system. We don’t know about defects, but presumably defects would be kept to a minimum since product flows one piece at a time at the pull of the customer, which also means there is no overproduction. There is very little waiting given there are no handoffs since the product is produced in a single step. The only waiting is from the completion of the order to the materialization of the product.
     
    Of course we don’t know what “stock” molecules the replicator uses to create the tea (Earl Gray, hot) and where that raw material is stored, but would this not be the ultimate in lean efficiency if it existed? Can you think of any way to improve on that concept?

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    #178658

    DLW
    Participant

    Language-independent, thought-activated ordering.
    (Boy, this topic has huge potential to become a time-waster. Watch!)
    :O)
    DLW – BPEX

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    #178659

    GB
    Participant

    Yeah, but the counter arguement for ST being the Lean posterchild would be from one of the earlier ST movies in which the transporter fails, resulting in a gruesome mutation of one of the expendable red-shirts-half-embedding him into the deck.   Per the ST tech manual, the replicator uses the same core tech as the transporter.  Also, when activated, the power consumption of either device would approach that used by a small town in one day, hence the need for dilithium crystal fuel.
    There is WIP, in the form of “dark matter”, you just don’t see it at the User Interface.
    Improvement?   I would shy away from ST technology and the overriding collectivist “theology” the brand preaches and rather take on the Star Wars model for Technology.   Though less elegant and refined, it is arguable that Star Wars Technology, as it is used is superior.   The high tech “stuff” is used for transport, war-making and manufacturing, rather than for fru-fru fluffy and expensive science experiments with little return.
    I’d take a good DL-44 blaster over a lame phaser any day.   All that and the ability to wield a lightsaber and force-choke your enemies…Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about!

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    #178662

    Ken Feldman
    Participant

    I agree with you HeBe. Those sissies on ST never really fought a good enemy. Kirk had to deal with little fur balls, or gorgeous women out to do harm or lizards in rubber suits. Even some low level Sith Lord could have wiped out Kirk and that whole bunch of pansies.

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    #178676

    Stevo
    Member

    The machine should have anticipated his need.  I personally like to have eye candy delivering it to me.  “Hot” is a little subjective.
     
    Se even in the future, I can still complain.
     
    Stevo
     
    Ps.  It has been a while since anyone mentioned, Star Wars, Star Trek or Monty python.  And we wonder why there are not very many chicks on this site.

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    #178677

    Sloan
    Participant

    “And we wonder why there are not very many chicks on this site.”
     
    I thought Bill Gates made it chic to be a geek. (Or was it the $40 billion that made it chic?)

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    #178678

    RC
    Participant

    perhaps the customer (Picard) has already consulted a list of categorical variables from which to choose how his tea is made. This list dictates what type of item he orders. Hot is already predefined at a set temperature and he possibly has 2 other options available: warm, and cold. These other options being at predetermined settings.Perhaps this machine also only dispenses hot earl grey tea. If that’s the case, then the waste is the fact Picard even has to ask. He should just walk in proximity to the machine and get the feeling that he already had hot earl grey tea and has already passed it. Waste in that case, would be something entirely different.

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    #178680

    Vallee
    Participant

    Think about it… even the Next Generation called their ship the Enterprise. They didn’t rename it every time it evolved to something better…mmmm. HF Chris … besides home grown sweet tea can never be replicated. Some things are just worth the wait.

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    #178681

    Mikel
    Member

    What I’ve learned is Captain Kirk is much better as a lawyer with mad cow disease.
    And that a lot of money beats the snot out of a little money.
    Both learned from Denny Crane.

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    #178682

    Rev Jim
    Participant

    Yeah, Denny Crane has a rich, rewarding, full-filling life doesn’t he? He can keep it as far as I’m concerned…along with his blow up doll.

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    #178683

    Ken Feldman
    Participant

    Begging your pardon Rev., that is his “little person” lawyer friend whom he feels is real hot and sexy. And NO midget jokes, that would be insensitive!!!!

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    #178686

    Severino
    Participant

    … either that or it’d be the Howard Stern show.

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    #178693

    Mikel
    Member

    And what did you learn from Capt. Kirk?Hey Rev. with all the sex scandals surrounding the righteous right, I
    would not be so quick to judge.

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    #178698

    Rev Jim
    Participant

    Yes, Stan, those are easy to point to. But you’re a numbers guy right?
    So how many bad apples – 5, 6, 20. And how many good – 200, 300, 900 million?

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    #178709

    Mikel
    Member

    Wow, you know that much about all their personal lives? Preach by
    example, not by condemning others.

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    #178714

    Rev Jim
    Participant

    “not by condemning others” – might be something you should consider as well.

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    #178715

    Mikel
    Member

    Rev honey,I’m not the one passing out holier than thou type judgements.At least 2 of your first 3 posts did.

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    #178727

    Joseph Provino
    Participant

    Damned, as I am rolling out a Lean Six Sigma in my company.. I am reading this string..!
    it is hard enough already, not to look like a statistical geeks but if I have to say hello in Vulcan, I am doomed.!!
     

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