News About John X. Wang

Happy New Year! "Hansei" on lean manufacturing at New Year's Eve

  • Dec 31, 2016 |

    No matter your age, your gender or your beliefs; football is always our favorite game ever. The passion before the game or the suspense during and the sense of achievement after winning are a common feelings among everyone. Like Vince Lombardi, who achieved success by having his team focus on the mastery of football basics – we need to have our manufacturing teams focus on the mastery of the manufacturing basics. Many years ago Vince Lombardi led the Green Bay Packers football team to unprecedented success by having an almost obsessive focus on doing the basics very well. 

    Like Vince Lombardi, who achieved success by having his team focus on the mastery of football basics, we need to have our manufacturing teams identify and master the basics of lean manufacturing. No lean manufacturing transformation will meet expectations without first indentifying and then mastering Lean Manufacturing: Business Bottom-Line Based. As a matter of fact, the real lean people tend to find the essence of lean in everything; they look at anything around  them differently; as we look deeply into the common activities and always find things to improve, things to eliminate, or even things to learn from. Let’s imagine a perfect football game and the importance of being lean during the game as the best team usually the team that implements lean tactics during the game.

    Lean Techniques and Football Tactics.

    1. Line balancing : during the game , line balancing is clearly shown in the tactics the coach adapt ;classical 4-4-2 , 5-3-2 , 4-3-3 etc. Here the coach changes the balancing according to the readings he has from the game and every coach is waiting for the other’s imbalance to score a goal ; this imbalance may come from players who don’t obey the coach or from the coach who fails to read the match. ” sometimes the referee will be the reason for that imbalance due to the red card in hand”. Line balancing, leveling the workload across all processes in a cell or value stream to remove bottlenecks and excess capacity, is the process of assigning tasks to workstations, so that workstations have approximately equal time requirements. 
    2. Quality Control Circles (QCC): we all know the importance of QCC to improve the employee’s relations, moral and improves the company’s quality. In the football game QCC is shown very clearly when we see  the strong bond between players and the way they easily find each others in the field which helps them to score easily. A team that lacks the QCC essence in the football field will surely lose the game. A QCC is a group of workers who do the same or similar work, who meet regularly to identify, analyze and solve work-related problems.
    3. Just-In-Time (JIT): in lean manufacturing , JIT is very important as it means to supply at the right time the right product with the right quantity etc. In football game , supplying the ball to the right person at the right time with the right force will surely helps in winning the game. JIT, a methodology aimed primarily at reducing flow times within production system as well as response times from suppliers and to customers, denotes a manufacturing system in which materials or components are delivered immediately before they are required in order to minimize inventory costs. JIT, a production model in which items are created to meet demand, not created in surplus or in advance of need, is an inventory strategy companies employ to increase efficiency and decrease waste by receiving goods only as they are needed in the production process, thereby reducing inventory costs.
    4. Standardization and Stability: one thing to remember when it comes to teaching lean: implementing lean is a journey. Most lean thinkers agree that the best starting point to implementing lean is to focus on the importance of stability and standardization in value-added processes. Football is really no different. How many times have you ever heard the coach talk about his team needing to work on the “fundamentals of football” in order to improve their chances for success? Ah-ha! The coach is clearly talking about standardization and stability with play schemes and discipline. Specifically, each player on the field has standardized work processes to follow for his position. Consequently, stability is established and an offensive or defensive scheme can be implemented on the field. For example, the quarterback is responsible for making sure to throw the ball down field to a receiver who is not covered by the defensive player. Whether you’re a lean supply chain professional or a quarterback, if standard work processes are not followed correctly, the outcome is usually the same: an unstable environment where defects are likely to occur. In the case of the quarterback, an interception is likely to be thrown. Other examples of standardization and stability in football are the rules, field dimensions, and the use of referees to maintain control of the game.
    5. PDCA cycle (Plan, Do, Check, Act): halftime is the ideal place to use the PDCA cycle (Plan, Do, Check, Act) in football. In a lean enterprise, the PDCA cycle is a brilliant process tool used for solving problems and driving continuous improvement (Kaizen) efforts. In football, PDCA is essentially used in the same manner. For example, most teams enter the game with a strategy to win. This part is the “Plan” of the PDCA cycle. As the game begins, the strategy is rolled out on the field. This part is the “Do” of the cycle. During the game, unplanned issues may arise such as the opposing team quickly figuring out the other team’s strategy. Regardless of the circumstances, as halftime begins the coaches discuss what did and did not work with the original game plan. This part is the “Check” of the cycle. After discussing, the coaches decide to adjust the strategy for the 2nd half of the game. This part is the “Act” of the cycle.
    6. Hansei: as the game ends, the coaches are interviewed and discuss what went right and wrong and the need to improve for the next game. This time is a great opportunity to end the day’s lesson by explaining that in the lean enterprise, the coach’s response is referred to as “Hansei”. Hansei is defined as acknowledging mistakes and pledging to improve with modesty and humility. Your loved ones will begin to ask questions as the light bulbs go off! You’ve successfully sparked their interest. Good luck with teaching lean principles throughout the remainder of the season.

    Noteworthy, any lean practitioner can add on the list lots of other points in common between a company that implements lean and a football team that plays in a lean way.

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    Engineering - General, Engineering - Industrial & Manufacturing