Lean Manufacturing: 5s, Visual Management, And Waste Elimination. Essay Samples
The aim of this report is to explain the concepts of 5S, waste elimination, and Visual Management in Lean Manufacturing. The report also gives examples of 5S applications and discusses issues in waste such as burden and unevenness from a True Lean perspective. The resultant impact of applying the concepts above to ensure the stability of systems and processes and the ability to perform work ‘normally’ is also discussed.
5S is a system that aims to optimize productivity and reduce waste by “cleaning up” and maintaining an orderly workplace. There exist various schemas for representing 5S activities but for the purpose of this report the United States (US) Schema is used. The schema used by Toyota Motors in their lean manufacturing activities uses terms that are closely related to the original Japanese 4S terms which include Seiton (Sort), Seiri (Sift), Seiso (Sweep) and Seiketsu (refers to “spic and span” or sanitize). The 5th S, Shitsuke (Sustain), was added by non-Toyota practitioners. In this regard, the 5S schema used in the US lists the activities as sort, straighten, shine, standardize and sustain. These activities are discussed in detail below.
Sort (Seiri) - Cleanup:
The sorting activity in 5S involves separating the necessary materials from the unnecessary. The sorting/clean-up process involves clearly distinguishing between items that need to be kept and those that are to be discarded, and the items usually discarded are obstacles and disrupts. Sorting may sound as simple as lining up things into rows or neat stacks, but the process is quite expansive and includes tasks such as organizing job assignments and outside orders.
In order to determine what to keep and what to eliminate, there is need to establish the criteria for waste identification and classification. In order to remove all unnecessary material from the area, two levels of execution are used and they include day-to-day housekeeping that is a scheduled cleaning up routine, or conducting a major house cleaning event known as the Red Tag strategy. Red tag implementation involves separating the unnecessary items and creating what is known as a red pile. It is also conventional to red tag an item when in doubt of whether it is necessary or not. However, it is also necessary to give people a chance to examine the removed material in the pile and establish criteria to return useful material to the area. An example of a simplified red tag event to clear a shop floor of unnecessary items is described in Figure 1 below.
Figure 1: Simple red tagging process to clear a shop floor (created using MS Word Smart Graphics)
Straighten (Seiton) - Arrange:
This involves “setting in order” or organizing items to facilitate ease of access and use, and also prevent time wastage by ensuring smooth workflow. Everything in the work context has its place and thus tools and parts can be organized on some criteria such as usage frequency where materials or tools that are frequently used are placed together. Examples of items/materials that can be organized include spaces such as floors, operation areas, warehouses and offices, and products such as assembly parts, semi-finished parts, and finished items.
General guidelines can be developed to locate the organized tools and parts, and an example involves ergonomically positioning items near the work surface at elbow height and vertically between the shoulders and waist. This ensures ease of access and reduces the precision required to reach an item. A second method involves organizing tools that are frequently used by a work sequence. This method places tools that are frequently used closer together near the work surface in tilted parts containers which ensure easy access or what is analogically referred to as blindfold retrieval i.e. so easy to reach that you can do it without looking. Infrequent items, on the other hand, can be organized according to function.
After organizing, labeling can be done by employing shadowbox, painted outlines and other similar strategies to make the item status apparent. In labeling, color coded graphic labels are preferred since color coding helps to match sets of similar items or portray a certain meaning. For example, color coded labels can be used to portray hazards, warnings, schedules or part status. Provision of status information may aid in displaying the minimum and maximum inventory levels and ensure handling of tools on a First-In-First-Out basis.
Shine (Seiso) -Neatness:
The third step in the 5S system involves tidying up the work area exhaustively by creating standards for cleaning and inspection. Routine cleaning is usually done for maintenance purposes, and thus there is need to locate the required cleaning supplies in a nearby area. However, in order to avoid or reduce the need to clean, several steps can be taken such eliminating the root causes of dirt, residue and cuttings. Another option is to prevent the generation of dirt completely or to contain it at its source using catch pans and dust collectors. Ensuring neatness is thus a three phase process that involves routine cleanup, cleaning inspection and cleaning maintenance as depicted in Table 1 below.
Standardize/Systemize (Seiketsu) – Discipline:
This step involves making organization a habit and general maintenance of cleanliness and order. In this regard, systemizing thus involves adhering to some specified and standardized procedures and processes while looking for improvement opportunities. It also involves establishing a disciplined routine to perform the above procedure regularly.
However, for Seiketsu to be successful, continuous support offered by management is a necessity, and it is also best to let workers exercise self-control. It has also been established that carrot and stick systems (a policy that combines both rewards and punishment to induce behavior) are ineffective.
Sustain (Shitsuke) - Ongoing Improvement:
The 5th S involves the concept of sustenance and always involves conforming to the set standards, updating the standards when required, and maintaining a level of discipline. Essentially, the 5th S involves establishing methods to maintain the 3S i.e. sorting, organizing and cleanliness as depicted in Table 2 below.
Industry application of 5S: Toyota Case:
The Toyota Motor Company developed a production system that extended beyond the areas related to the production and manufacturing processes. In fact, the system extends to the whole organization right from administration, product development, management, and sales and marketing. Toyota has thus gone to great heights to ensure excellence by nurturing a sense of price and efficiency in the work environment. It is, therefore, important to note that the success of Toyota’s production system is partly based on the fact that the organization adheres to 5S principles in its offices and factories.
For example, in Toyota Engine assembly plants, the tools are placed strategically near the work area for easy access while visual alarms are present to indicate problems in the assembly line. In both the office and factory setups, the floors are color coded as a way of defining and designating zones and limiting inventories. For example, chairs in the office are placed aside, and people work while standing up. The chairs are only used for resting. In the common areas, seats are pushed under the tables to save space.
All materials and tools are well organized in their places, and the furniture has wheels to facilitate easy moving. As indicated earlier the visual alarms in the assembly lines also help detect machinery problems during operation and cleaning inspections and thus facilitating quick fixing of mechanical failures. Quick detection helps reduce the number of machine micro-stops and breakdowns. Toyota also has clearly defined manufacturing procedures to sustain the assembly lines and reduce the number of modifications and/or rejected products.
The overall benefits of implementing 5S:
The 5S system has various benefits when applied in lean manufacturing, and these include a visually apparent status, waste elimination due to searching, transportation and obsolescence, and better utilization of space. 5S has also been known to promote safety, conformance and has environmental benefits. Overall, 5S is a system that is friendly to newcomers, provides a foundation for achieving flow, and helps make work easier.
Visual management refers to the systematic arrangement and labeling of working environments such as workstations and aisles. Visual management aims at designing and operating a production system while ensuring both systems structure, and status are readily and consistently apparent to an observer. Other objectives include recognizing the normal and the abnormal, and to ease work for team members.
Visual management uses logical and consistent labeling schemes to delimit boundaries in the workspace clearly and ensure some level of compactness. With visual management, it is also possible to co-locate processes, stages, machines and cells that comprise the entire routing with sequential flows and single pass processing. Work in Progress (WIP) caps can also be clearly demarcated to separate various production stages. Overall, visual management enables simple labeling of workspaces, visible storage of materials, scrap, parts, waste, finished goods, by-products, and tools and equipment.
There are various examples of visual management in the workplace such flashing lights and sounds to alert workers or as distress signals. Role designation, production boards, plan versus actual implementation boards, team member production matrices and key performance indicator (KPI) boards are also used for visual communication. Other examples include color and shape coding and the creation of floor layouts, and outlines.
There are some critical issues that arise when getting team members to record data. However, machine operational logs can be used to collect work status information and is simply involves allocating time to collect work-state data, and later using the data. Examples of work states include normal work routines and non-work activities such as training and meetings. Other states include changes in the set-ups, tools and the reduction of breakdowns. Standard work forms can also be posted and used to provide a graphical view of the workspace including the operator’s path, and the amount of work standardization required to keep processes running smoothly.
In order to ensure smooth running of visual management practices, it is important to follow the following best practices which include standardizing and documenting quality practices, maintaining statistical process control and tracking trends, establishing source quality system such as lights on bin/containers to indicate what to pick and where to place items, distinguishing and clarifying item status using labeled storage for raw materials, final products, wastes etc., and using color coded tooling to organize workplace tools. It is also important to ensure that maintenance records are well kept using tools and charts such as downtime charts. Sophisticated displays such as Liquid Crystal Displays (LCD) on modern machinery also help display current machine statuses especially in this era of smart devices.
Industry applications of Visual Management in Lean Manufacturing: Jaguar Case Study:
Jaguar Land Rover Automotive PLC has implemented a visual management system at its Castle Bromwich Assembly plant to ensure that everyone involved in production understands how the various departments in the plant are performing so that they can contribute towards meeting performance objectives.
Part of this visual management initiative involves the use of control boards (visual screens) where team members in production can take a glance and check the production line performance. The control board displays the daily targets for each production line as well as the current performance against the target.
At any one time, anyone on the assembly line can see their position relative to the set target or where bottlenecks have been observed so that problem areas can be fixed. Jaguar adopted ‘gemba’, a Japanese word that means ‘to go see’. This word formed the basis for developing a new approach for production supervision and management where managers are encouraged to ‘go see’ – to grasp, understand and solve problems immediately they occur instead of sitting in offices giving instructions.
The control board is a visual tool for monitoring problem occurrence on the assembly line and in Jaguar’s production line, vehicles flow in a line while teams work on each vehicle in an ordered sequence. It is important that each worker on the line completes their specific tasks with high precision and quality before the vehicle is moved to the next point in the production line. If a worker experiences a problem, he pulls a cord to pause production flow and alert the team leader whom them provides assistance as required. If the team leader who has more knowledge and multiple skills can fix the problem quickly, he pulls the cord again, and the production line continue flowing as before.
However, if the problem is difficult to solve, the whole production line halts until the problem is resolved. According to estimates from the company, there are approximately 130 to 150 cord pulls per work shift and the running totals are displayed on the control board thus indicating how each line is performing. The records on the control board help production supervisors and managers to identify and resolve issues quickly.
Jaguar also applies visual management using Information Centers (IC’s) located in the factory workspaces. The IC’s are based on a paradigm known as the ‘three minute management approach’. Information from these centers is supposed to help employees understand work goals and visions, and problems and issues affecting particular parts of the work area – in three minutes time.
The Information Center is all about communicating in a simple, and direct manner using graphics charts to highlight events, issues, and progress. Work plans and charts are pinned in the Information Center and signed by all the team leaders, supervisors and managers who were involved in formulating them. This coordination helps grow a shared sense of responsibility, as well as understanding work related issues.
Work motion focuses on waste identification and reduction/elimination. Work is categorized into three i.e. Necessary Non-value Added work, Value Added work, and Waste. The Figure 2 below shows the relationship between entities in the work motion.
Figure 2 Categories of Work Motion
Waste refers to anything that consumes resources, time, effort or space without adding value to the product or service delivered to the client. In this case, waste is anything the client is unwilling to pay for. Necessary Non-Value Work involves all activities under the current operating conditions but does not necessarily add value to the product. Value Added work involves activities that add form, fit or functionality to a product. Activity that does not add any form of value is considered as non-value-added waste.
There are seven major wastes in the context of lean manufacturing, and these include waiting, over-production, defects, too much processing, motion, transportation, and inventory.
There are two types of delays, one caused by delay in product flow and delay due to personnel idleness. However, delay caused by machinery idleness is not considered a waste since utilization of equipment is a forbidden metric.
Product flow delays examples include lot production such as process batch processing which is dependent on the setup time, and batch movement that is dependent on the transportation mode. The second example of product delay is disruptions that include setups and breakdowns. Finally, product delays can also result from floor structures that cause variability in timing and queuing. Examples of floor structures include fan structures, dedicated parallel lines, parallel batching, in-balances and gross cycle time.
Operator delays include machine watching that is consequent of poor floor structure and poor work balance. This trend can be eliminated by using cross-training and flexible work strategies. Pace de-ratings can also be used to compensate for poor work design and instability while PF&D (personal needs, fatigue, and unavoidable delay) corrections can be done to recover the lost time.
Another operator delay is contingency manning of operations e.g. a scenario where maintenance personnel wait for machines to fail. It is not the objective of an organization to simply keep people busy and therefore there is a need to seek for efficiency and low burden, not just busy employees. There is also need to focus on improvement during idle times.
Over-processing involves too much polishing where processing is inconsistent with the value it delivers. The value of a product is determined from a ratio of worth/cost. However, there are opportunities at both ends, and there is need to determine whether to focus on high-value functions and features compared to low-value functions and features. In regard to high value functions and features, the question is whether extra investment will result to more value leverage, or whether a small incremental costs will lead to high incremental worth and give more to the customer.
On the other hand, low-value functions and features result in product worth exceeding the costs that are undesirable. Possible options, to explore at this end of the spectrum, include the possibility of eliminating the feature completely, or the possibility that a novel, lower cost method to deliver the same feature can be established.
Over processing can be avoided by establishing various controls such as assessing quality control (QC) and delivery systems and how they add value to the customer. Quality control involves assessing the various departments such as sale and marketing to establish whether they understand customers. It also involves communicating customer needs to the production floor and designing quality control and process capability systems to align with customer requirements. Finally, customer feedback to the floor can be used to calibrate floor systems.
Delivery systems assessment can also help avoid over processing by avoiding make-to-stock strategies that reduce order lead times. There is need to check whether off-floor activities constrain order lead times and whether market opportunities are possible when delivery is improved.
This is the waste resulting from defective products. It also includes issues that make consumers less aware about quality problems in products. These issues include vague standards, poor illumination, inventory, weak visual controls, time-delayed or remote inspections, inappropriate management practices such as separate network stations and blame games, and poor communication systems.
Examples of wasted motion include reaching, grasping, orienting, excessive walking around and part transfers from station to station. The resultant waste include wasted work hours, wasted time, and needless physical burden. While it is clear that the resources wasted are labor, time or money, it is referred such as wasted motion since the root cause of the problem is movement. However, there are sources of wasted time which include cognitive delays such as mental burdens and fatigue resulting in a need to take some time off work for a while.
Key strategies, to eliminate wasted motion locally, involve formulating new motion economy principles and in a global scope, conducting motion pattern analysis such as spaghetti charts and walk diagrams. The third strategy involves human integrated manufacturing.
Over production is the creation of excessive products i.e. supply exceeds demand. The thinking, which often leads to overproduction, is the utilization driven manufacturing i.e. both machine and manpower. Overproduction is hard to notice at first since it looks all productive, but one can realize they are overproducing by checking inventory.
In order to classify production activities as overproduction, there are certain key indicators to look for. The first criterion is that items are produced before they are needed by the downstream process. Countermeasures to over production include ensuring demand exists before production and that the downstream floor status allows flow in such a way that Work In Progress (WIP) does not simply accumulate in a queue. Overproduction can thus be considered as a direct consequence of poor control of information flow and poor production.
Overproduction has several ramifications such as inventory, poor tracking of demand and loss of floor control. Overpopulation also underplays the role of pull where production is only authorized as long as there is downstream flow and demand. Existence of a downstream pull also caps WIP and prevent inventory accumulation. However, in some special cases, there is potential for excessive segregation of inventory. Pull should not be used as a substitute for process stabilization and structuring the floor for flow. In fact, overproduction is considered the worst waste since it leads to many other wastes and inhibits system improvement and control.
Inventory waste has several ramifications that include an introduction of holding costs such as storage, transportation and obsolescence, and quality costs incurred during damage handling, delayed feedback and defect runs. Other consequences include the need for supplementary processing. Work In Progress (WIP) as a decoupling activity reduces the urgency for problem resolution and improvement.
According to Toyota Motors transportation is a waste that extend beyond the minimum required for Just in Time (JIT) practices. JIT has several ramifications such as high-frequency delivery of small quantities of materials and parts, and while this is necessary for control purposes, extra costs are incurred. However, the transportation system in JIT is quite efficient and effective.
There exists several strategies to eliminate transportation wastes which conclude co-location of sources and destinations, the use frequent delivery systems to reduce local storage needs, enable point-of-use delivery, and to avoid offline staging and the entire steps of transportation. Finally, a mixed model is needed such as the use of cycle route (milk delivery strategy) delivery systems where large vehicles can be used to deliver small batches in high-frequency transfers.
Loss of human creativity:
This waste is not in the original list of seven wastes to be eliminated, but it is of particular interest since it considers failure to harness the optimum intellectual capacity of the workforce as a waste. In this case, loss of human creativity is considered as a high opportunity cost paid by both the management and workforce.
This waste can be eliminated through skill building, empowerment and motivation, instilling a sense of ownership and responsibility, and encouraging teamwork. The side benefits of this intervention include creating a feeling of accomplishment, happiness and personal growth of the workforce.
Waste elimination real life example: Nestlé Case study:
Nestlé Waters is a division of the Nestlé group that deals with bottled water. Nestlé Waters adopted an exercise to identify whether the seven wastes could be found in their old factory. The exercise was quite successful and it was established that waste existed in three areas: inbound materials, production and outbound products.
Some of the key areas where waste was identified included excess waiting times, excess handling and product defects. For example, it was determined that there was multiple handling of packaging, raw materials and finished goods at different times. Some of the waiting issues identified included idle machinery, trucks waiting in the loading bays and blockages. Further areas that needed improvement were also identified and these included applying labels and caps on bottles and finished bottle damage. The final improvement area identified was water usage where it was determined that there were opportunities to lower the water usage by the company and improve the environmental impact.
After identifying the inefficiencies, Nestlé Waters used lean practices to plan a new factory and production line design to reduce all the seven wastes. Planned waste reduction improvements at the new factory were formulated, and transport, layout and non-value added activities were also targeted. The new plans included:
More efficient planning of the production line to compact working areas, and to reduce waste water and product defects.
Automating warehouse operations onsite
Improved safety and health practices such as delimiting forklift access areas.
Storage pallet relocation and recycling to reduce travel time in between operations.
Planning at Nestlé’s new factory also aimed at improving the working environment for employees and the company’s environmental impact. Some of the improvements in the modern state-of-the-art factory included:
A glass front in the building to allow entry of natural light
The use of new light weight bottles with 25 percent less of PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) plastic.
Implementation of a modern, sustainable drainage system.
Won the Considerate Constructors Gold Award for the construction design.
Businesscasestudies.co.uk,. 'Eliminating Waste - Achieving Sustainability through Lean Production - Nestlé© | Nestlé© Case Studies, Videos, Social Media and Information | Business Case Studies'. N.p., 2015. Web. 10 Jan. 2015.
Businesscasestudies.co.uk,. 'Visible Management/Visual Factory - Lean Production - Jaguar | Jaguar Case Studies and Information | Business Case Studies'. N.p., 2015. Web. 10 Jan. 2015.
Total Quality Management, '5S in Toyota Motor Corporation'. N.p., 2009. Web. 10 Jan.
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