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Adventures in TPS Learning – TPS Under The Microscope!

Mar 4, 2014 | Posted by Matt Elson

Last time on our Adventures in TPS learning I shared with you my experiences working on my first kaizen at The Sharing Place in Orillia. A bunch of components of TPS methodology were mentioned like Takt time, cycle time, fluctuations, lowest repeatable times… but what does it all mean? How does it all come together to get results? I have taken it upon myself to make it my duty to over the next few issues of my blog to walk you through how and why we use these TPS methodologies to stimulate continuous improvement and build a more stable and efficient company.

Before we can start changing processes and reorganizing assets on a new project we must do some recon on the current state of an operation, we need to discover the wheres, whats, whens, whys, and hows of each process. Like a surveyor, we need to get the lay of the land, this is a “Genchi Genbutsu” task. Genchi Genbutsu translates to “Go and see for yourself”, the idea here is that to truly know a problem one must experience it. It is a great problem solving technique, to go and see the location or process where the problem exists, helps to solve the problem quickly and efficiently. Just seeing it isn’t enough though, we need a point of reference, a visualization for our records that we can refer to, this is where the Standardized work chart comes into play.

The standardized work chart is a baseline for improvement, it establishes a diagram of the workplace and the work movements that occur in it, we call this the current state. Now we have an idea of where the work is done and how it is done, but how do we translate this to usable data? How do we figure out how much work is needed, and how much time is available to complete this work? Tune in next week to find out about calculating Takt time, and observing and collecting data that lead us one step closer to a kaizen victory!

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