Manufacture & Innovation

We understand that even given the widespread use of some powerful tools in manufacturing, every problem requires fresh thinking AND the best use of our collective experience and knowledge of lean. For this reason we practice shop floor systems thinking or "gemba shikumi" as our Japanese sensei taught us. Focus on the future state we want to have, and use rules and kaizen tools to get us there. Powerful though the lean tools themselves are, they are not the objective, rather it's the progress they may bring to the problem being addressed along our way to a better future state.

To be able to do this, of course we have extensive experience in the lean manufacturing tools. Value Stream Mapping and gemba (waste) walking, Standardised work and 5s, SMED, 3P, QFD, variation reduction, Taguchi robust experiment design, flow kaizen, kanban, heijunka and sequencing, from SPC to ZQC (poka yoke mistake proofing), kamishibai and shop floor visual and daily management. All great ideas, but let's focus on the customer value, and eliminating waste as a consequence.

What we want to emphasise are lean behaviours: getting the facts; designing an improved future; solving real problems to get us from the present to better future; experimenting and learning rapidly, sharing the new best way and checking it really works by focussing on exceptions and abnormal conditions. Experience tells us that this is what really makes lean work for you.

So for different manufacturing environments, different approaches are required. As an example, in existing automated processing and packaging plants, we have created our LeanPlus approach to drive learning about processes and the causes of disruptions. Another example - in the development of a new process (e.g. for a new product, but it doesn't have to be) we use the Production Preparation Process (3P) to optimise the design and devise new processes at lowest cost, least project disruption and no added risk. We also use Quality Function Deployment to pull the customer value through to its delivery in manufacturing processes.

We have applied our approach successfully in high value capital equipment, high speed packaged goods, speciality chemicals, precision metrology, special purpose automation, printing and packaging machinery, scientific instruments.