Home' MHD Supply Chain Solutions : MHD Mar-Apl 2017 Contents • Shorten setup times.
• Ensure the raw materials are always present.
• Ensure all information needed by the operator
is provided, and is clear.
Stand by the constraint activity and watch.
Look for anything that reduces the output.
Standing by the constraint activity and
watching is not a five-minute activity. This
activity is described by former Toyota Chairman
Fujio Cho as “Go see, ask why, show respect.”
We want to station ourselves at the constraint,
see what is happening, ask why things are
being done in that way, and show respect to
the human beings that are conducting the
activity. We will need to spend hours, possibly
a few days to truly understand all of the issues
that are hurting the constraint.
Apply whatever continuous improvement
tools and resources (Lean Manufacturing, TPM,
Six Sigma, or all of them) that you have onto
this process, and ONLY this process. There
are 24 hours in a day, this equates to 86,400
seconds. Until all 86,400 of these seconds are
used productively to generate throughput you
do not have a capacity problem, you have a
This is good.
Management problems can be changed
easily, far more easily than technical design
failures, or tolerance stack ups, fatigue test
failures, and many other more complex ways
that a process can fail.
Step three: Subordinate
This is the trickiest part of the process. The
whole organisation must change its behaviour
to support the constraint. What is best for the
constraint is the most important thing, and this
often means other parts of the organisation
may have to wait, share or give up resources,
change operating policies, etc.
For example, they might have to:
• Make more regular and special deliveries
to ensure that the constraint neverruns out
• Buy more expensive and higher quality tools
to reduce breakages.
• Modify forms and paperwork so they
are easier and faster for a constraintoperator
• Increase maintenance focus on this
machine to reduce downtime.
• Purchase a more expensive raw material in
order to improve yield.
In the initial enthusiasm, we will subordinate;
maintaining this change in organisational
priorities is tricky and requires constant
monitoring. They say ‘Old habits die hard’ for
a reason. This reversion to old behaviours, old
organisational policies or structures and move
away from the subordination to the constraint is
the most common reason I have encountered
for an organisation to experience deterioration
in the rapid improvements that have been
achieved. Many of our clients experience
this problem (even if we have warned them).
They have their learning experience, and
then restore the old behaviours and see the
performance improvement disappear. This is
the hidden killer of organisational change.
Part of subordination is to examine what
you should stop doing. Very simply, you
stop undertaking any improvement activity,
or any activity on a non-constraint, that can
be stopped. Redeploy any of this capacity
that can usefully be used by the constraint.
Eliminate the distraction of anything that does
not relate to supporting the constraint and can
be stopped without hurting the business. Stop
them all. Now!
Step four: Elevate
If after having first sweated out all the capacity
you can, by genuinely following Steps One to
Three, you still need more capacity, you can
further elevate it by finding another machine,
person, whatever it takes as long as any
increase in investment or expense is less than
the income generated by the throughput.
Step four is where investing in equipment and
software can add value to increase capacity at
the constraint. Investing in software, equipment,
people, training is a waste of time and money on
a non-constraint as the throughput of the system
does not increase. Investing in the constraint
before you have implemented the first three
steps will probably give you an improvement in
throughput but at greater cost than was necessary.
Step five: Don’t let inertia set in
Often steps one to three are sufficient to break
the constraint and achieve a breakthrough in
performance. To develop and then maintain
a sustainable competitive advantage, an
organisation must always be looking to improve.
Go back to step one and repeat the cycle.
Life is better, memories of the bad times
fade, the wounds heal somewhat and we
can fall victim to the enemy of great human
The leadership of a company should celebrate
the changes, regather the teams, and then define
a new compelling future to move to. Contentment
will lead to complacency and then decay. A
leader who is never happy because that is a proxy
emotion for contentment may drive towards great
heights but will not have much fun along the way,
nor will their people. The paradox for a leader is
to be simultaneously discontented with the status
quo and happy with the progress made thus far.
Jason’s book excerpts will continue in
the May-June issue of MHD magazine. In
the meantime, for more information visit
“Discontent is the first step in the progress
of a man or a nation.”
MHD SUPPLY CHAIN SOLUTIONS — MARCH / APRIL 2017
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