How to Improve Supplier Performance: Six Strategies for Manufacturers

By some estimates, procurement costs make up 60-80% of production costs for many manufacturers. Suppliers not only contribute to product innovation, they also help manufacturers achieve more effective production processes. Given the high dollar value associated with procurement, it comes as no surprise that supply chain teams are eager to learn how to improve supplier performance to deliver millions in savings for their organizations.

Continue Reading “How to Improve Supplier Performance: Six Strategies for Manufacturers”

Digital Transformation of Your Lean Manufacturing Enterprise

With advances in technology, digital transformation is finally starting to take hold in the Lean manufacturing sector. While future opportunities look bright, many companies are struggling to identify that first step in their journey. In this webinar presented by the Association for Manufacturing Excellence, Mike Louderback, VP of Operational Excellence at Morgan Technical Ceramics, and Richard Lebovitz, CEO of LeanDNA, cover what, why, and how to use cloud-based analytics built on Lean best practices to drive the first steps of digital transformation in your manufacturing operation. 

The webinar recording is available here.

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Kanban Board Best Practices: 6 Strategies for Your Procurement Team

Whether it be improvement projects, system implementations, or simply personal to-do lists, a Kanban Board is a great way to manage work. The chief benefit is that the board is visual, so your whole team can see when progress has been made (or stalled). But this visual aid loses its power when it is not kept current.

Just like your email inbox, a Kanban Board that is not kept clean is at risk of having things slip through the cracks. Here are six strategies to help your team maintain a clean Kanban Board. Continue Reading “Kanban Board Best Practices: 6 Strategies for Your Procurement Team”

How to Develop Standard Work For Your Supply Chain Team

“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” – Henry Ford

Standard Work wasn’t a supply chain business term in the 1900s, but if it had been, you better believe Henry Ford would have had a quote about it. Ford, a major proponent of the assembly line, knew the value of placing his workers in the best possible position every single day.

A key component of the Kaizen philosophy, Standard Work, does just that. It puts supply chain teams on the same page, eliminates unnecessary action, and ensures everyone moves forward together.

So now the question becomes, how do you develop Standard Work for your supply chain team? Continue Reading “How to Develop Standard Work For Your Supply Chain Team”

Lean Manufacturing Predictions for 2018

2017 was a big year for manufacturing! From adding an average of 16,000 jobs each month to continuing the years-long trend of increasing output and productivity, the US manufacturing industry saw a lot of good.

Here at LeanDNA, we had a great year too! We made major improvements to the way manufacturers leverage collaborative analytics to reduce inventory, manage shortages, and execute their lean projects. For example, we created more automated ways that our system’s AI-based Inventory Actions highlight opportunities for inventory reduction, and brought to light new ways for sites within the same company to collaborate on global inventory initiatives. But what’s next for the world of manufacturing as a whole?

Here are 5 predictions for what we expect to see in 2018: Continue Reading “Lean Manufacturing Predictions for 2018”

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”

Lean Manufacturing: 26 Terms Lean Factory Professionals Should 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 “Lean Manufacturing: 26 Terms Lean Factory Professionals Should 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”

Lean Project Management: Benefits of Digitizing Your Processes

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 “Lean Project Management: Benefits of Digitizing Your Processes”

How to Make Lean Really Stick

Have you ever spent tons of time planning and executing a new lean project, only to have it lose steam just a few months later? Sustainability in lean is extremely difficult to achieve, so this might sound familiar. It’s like your project never happened in the first place!

When people who put together a project move onto other responsibilities, all your progress can fall away. Launching new continuous improvement initiatives is important, but sustaining and expanding is where the real business impact emerges.

In order for a lean project to truly be successful, it has to stick around beyond its initial implementation. Here’s what you can do to ensure that your efforts (and the business results) make lean really stick around for the long haul. Continue Reading “How to Make Lean Really Stick”