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Adventures In TPS Learning, Move to The Beat

Sep 23, 2014 | Posted by Ben Thompson


Move to the beat, a simple enough directive right?  But like a good dancer we must seek out a “good” beat to follow.  I’m not speaking in the clubbing sense here though.  I’m speaking to the idea that there is a “good”, or more precisely, proper, beat that our production lines should be dancing to.

If we take into account our total available time in a given period of time and divide it by the demand of that same period we find that very beat, our Takt time.  Think of it as that persistent tick tick tick … of that metronome your music teacher used to teach you rhythm as they gently corrected your finger positioning with a ruler.  Each tick  of the metronome is a note.  With respects to our production line, each tick is a unit being produced by the line.  Like a good music student, if we keep to our takt we achieve a nice consistent melody, and instead of producing a pleasing piece of art we produce consistent profit that is pleasing to our accountants and board members.

Why can we just play through as fast as we can? isn’t that better?  The answer is no, its wasteful.  Imagine going to a concert and instead of it taking the usual ~2 hours to play through the set list the band ups the tempo and finishes in 30 minutes.  Wow that sounded weird, and now what are we to do with the rest of our night.  What a … waste!  Likewise if we slow too much we are left with the war cries of our customers looking for blood because we haven’t met our delivery time.  This is also a very uncomfortable sound.

Currently at Durabody we are adjusting the beat of our drums, tuning them so to speak to the pace of our demand.  When a line is more stable its more predicable allowing us to root out and solve issues faster wasting less time and money.  Will it be a challenge?  YES.  Will we encounter problems?  Most certainly.  Will we survive it?  Also, most certainly YES, we will come out stronger and better for having done it.  How can we accomplish such a feat though?  By,






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