Virtual Factory Management: The Cutting Edge of Lean

Originally Featured in AME’s Target Online Magazine

Industry 4.0, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), smart manufacturing. There is a lot of change happening in our industry right now! But what is something on the absolute “cutting edge” of lean? Answer: Virtual factory management powered by AI-based lean analytics.

Technology and new processes are revolutionizing factories, just as lean itself did over 30 years ago. But they’re not here to replace lean – what’s new and next will make lean even better. Continuously improve continuous improvement, you know? And virtual factory management is set to make waves. Continue Reading “Virtual Factory Management: The Cutting Edge of Lean”

Helping Your Buyers Understand the ABCs of ABC Analysis

Your buyers do not have enough hours in the day. From managing shortages to finding inventory reduction opportunities, good time management is crucial. When dealing with thousands of parts and dozens of suppliers, your team needs a way to prioritize the items with the greatest overall impact on inventory cost.

That’s where ABC analysis comes in. Continue Reading “Helping Your Buyers Understand the ABCs of ABC Analysis”

How Can You Unlock Your ERP?

If you’re a supply chain leader that depends on ERP every day, you’re definitely familiar with ERP’s shortcomings. When it comes to managing all your supply chain data, providing alerts for inventory and shortage issues, driving standard work, and creating reports, ERP’s “features” are definitely limited. ERP systems are a critical part of your business, but they lack the tactical execution tools that are needed for today’s complex supply chain.

Occasionally, we hear companies ask “How is LeanDNA different than ERP?” Or, “Doesn’t my ERP already perform all the analytics my supply chain needs?” At first glance, they can seem similar. Here are the areas where ERPs need a little help – and how leveraging LeanDNA to fill the gaps results in substantial savings: Continue Reading “How Can You Unlock Your ERP?”

3 Phrases You Should Never Use In Supply Chain

There are some terms and phrases we all hear regularly in lean manufacturing. You really could write an entire dictionary to explain and interpret all the lingo! But there are some phrases in the factory that might make you turn your head for the wrong reasons. To ensure that your supply chain runs as smoothly as possible, here are three phrases that lean manufacturers should eliminate from their vocabulary: Continue Reading “3 Phrases You Should Never Use In Supply Chain”

Tune-up Your Factory’s ERP using Plan for Every Part (PFEP)

ERP systems require expensive, complex, and routine maintenance to keep their systems running efficiently. They are central to your day-to-day activities, but can become absolute nightmares without a simple and structured process for routine data updates.

That’s why Lean Manufacturers introduced Plan for Every Part (PFEP). PFEP optimizes the policies that define how to procure each part. PFEP enables supply chain leaders to glean a 360-degree view of their inventory and procurement policies to make sure each inventory dollar is maximized. Unfortunately, this PFEP “tune-up” often uses very time-consuming and manual Excel analysis that limits the frequency of optimization. Weeks become months become years. New technology based on Lean Supply Chain best practices is revolutionizing the way PFEP can be used on a daily basis to drive game-changing results in factory performance.

This post will help you set the groundwork for how and why to start using the PFEP methodology. The real end goal of PFEP is to balance your entire supply chain by having as little inventory as possible with minimal shortages. Better yet, you’ll learn how to equip your team so they’re better skilled, automate and accelerate your processes, and avoid deploying expensive consultants. Continue Reading “Tune-up Your Factory’s ERP using Plan for Every Part (PFEP)”

26 Lean Manufacturing Terms You Need To Know

To an outsider, the Lean Manufacturing world can look a little like alphabet soup. Within five minutes of any Lean meeting, you will hear acronyms that can seem like the letters are strung together with no rhyme or reason.

But as you and your company embrace Lean, those letters start to work like alphabet magnets on a refrigerator. They are purposefully arranged to form acronyms and concepts that separate Lean from, well, not-Lean. (Side note: “not-Lean” is probably not a term real Lean pros would use.)

Let’s take a look at the following 26 terms to better understand what makes Lean Manufacturing effective. And who knows, we might just learn a term for “not-Lean.” Continue Reading “26 Lean Manufacturing Terms You Need To Know”

Case Study: How JR Automation Operationalizes Lean Six Sigma With LeanDNA

No matter where you are on your Lean journey, a tool designed specifically around Lean Six Sigma can drive success. In our newest case study, JR Automation proves that from launch to sustainability, LeanDNA’s technology drives continuous improvement results.

When JR Automation was preparing a company-wide Lean Six Sigma launch, the company wanted a system they could launch immediately to avoid a lengthy, difficult implementation of a custom solution built in SharePoint, Excel, or other disconnected systems. On top of that, they wanted a system that was easy to use, low-cost, and low maintenance. So they turned to LeanDNA’s Lean Projects tool. Continue Reading “Case Study: How JR Automation Operationalizes Lean Six Sigma With LeanDNA”

How Leading Aerospace & Defense Executives are Exceeding Shareholders’ Biggest Demands

What are today’s shareholders in aerospace and defense (A&D) manufacturing expecting from company leadership? Deloitte recently analyzed letters to shareholders from the top 20 A&D companies and discovered a few core management themes to drive sustained growth.

There are two standout themes worth exploring:

  1. Achieving long-term operational performance through better working capital management, process improvement, and program transformation
  2. Supporting continued business growth by investing in new technologies

Continue Reading “How Leading Aerospace & Defense Executives are Exceeding Shareholders’ Biggest Demands”

The Benefits of Digitizing Your Lean Project Management

Originally featured in AME’s Target Online Magazine

These days, everything is moving online. From smart doorbells to Bluetooth-enabled Crock Pots, people everywhere are realizing the benefits of an interconnected world. The same goes for manufacturing: Cloud-based ERPs and factory networks are just a few of the web-based systems allowing manufacturers to operate better than ever before. And lean is no exception to this shift online.

Earlier this year, Broadwind Energy, a manufacturer of structures, equipment and components for clean technology, started their Lean Six Sigma journey with an online, lean project management system. We sat down with John Tackett, Director of Operational Excellence at Broadwind Energy, to learn more about how their journey began, the results they have seen with lean and some advice for taking your own lean project management online. Continue Reading “The Benefits of Digitizing Your Lean Project Management”

The Trouble With One-Way Analytics? Your Data is Useless Without Collaboration

Data analytics is entering a new frontier as teams disperse around the globe. New analytics technologies enable organizations to read deeper into the story behind their data. But more often than not, teams miss out on the benefits of new technology because they rely on tried-and-true methods to solve the problems of the future. One of those bad habits is turning to one-way analytics — inputting your data into spreadsheets to be emailed from user to user, one at a time to avoid multiple copies of the same document. The hope is that someone can glean useful information before relaying it back through the chain. Continue Reading “The Trouble With One-Way Analytics? Your Data is Useless Without Collaboration”