This book addresses one of the fundamental stumbling blocks in going lean, how to get away from batch thinking. Batch thinking is most engrained in the process industries like food processing and pharmaceuticals, where several different products go through the same production and distribution pipeline. Since it was published in 2007 it has helped many such organisations learn how to produce in line with demand, making small batches every day or every week instead of every thirteen or more weeks. This shrinks the pipeline and eliminates most of the chaos and feast and famine situations created by making to forecasts many weeks out that are inevitably wrong. It is truly the beginning of a win-win-win journey in which the supplier, the retailer and the end customer benefit.
But this book also puts flesh on the difficult concept of levelling or Heijunka. It shows how through creating predictability and stability in the production cycle economies of repetition kick in to speed up the cycle so that the whole system begins to approximate to flow. As experience builds up then it is possible to vary the cycle and truly produce in line with demand.
It also introduces another fundamental thought – do not do lean everywhere or treat every product (transaction, decision, design, patient, delivery) the same way. The most promising path to lean beyond traditional machining and assembly industries is to separate the high volume and usually predictable tasks from the few complicated and difficult tasks.
This book introduces you to the Glenday Sieve, which works in almost every situation. Look at your products, tasks, patients etc and you will find that about 6% of them account for 50 % of the work. Start by streamlining them – you will have a big impact on your performance and will learn a lot about how to also improve the flow of work for the remaining tasks. This has proved to be a breakthrough in all kinds of situations, from transactions processing in an office to diagnosing and treating patients in hospitals and even to decision making higher up the organisation.
This book will make you see your world through different spectacles and open up new opportunities you never thought were possible. Now it is in electronic form it will hopefully infect a much wider audience ready to breakthrough to flow.
Daniel T Jones
Founder and Chairman
Lean Enterprise Academy