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Not Everything That Can be Automated Should Be

Robert Simonis, Senior Consultant, Manufacturing and Operations, KCE Consulting LLC


The assembly cell was installed and running in our Mexican factory. We had used the Production Preparation Process (3P) to design this Improved Junction Box assembly area and were happy to see our hard work and ideas in practice. We had a compact U-shaped cell with right-sized equipment and low-cost automation. Machines had no changeover or were designed for single-second-exchange-of workstation (SSEWS) to allow mixed production and level flow.  Full Article

Leading Industry Organizations Introduce Enhanced Lean Certification Program

Press Release -- Lean Certification Alliance


The Lean Certification Alliance has introduced customer-driven improvements to its Lean Certification program. Lean Certification candidates will now encounter an improved program and more streamlined process in achieving certification. Full Article

Never Out of Style in the Shop: Classic Lean Techniques

Contributing Editor Ed Sinkora


About five months ago, a member of the Lean Business System group on LinkedIn posed the question: “Can you describe lean with one word? Or at most three?” The most common answers were things like “waste-free” or “efficiency,” plus phrases that echo “continuous improvement.” But perhaps the most popular submission—and there were over 400—was “focused common sense.” Full Article

To U-Shape or Not to U-Shape?

Robert Simonis, Senior Consultant, Manufacturing and Operations, KCE Consulting


“You should strive for a U-shaped layout,” I said.  “It is U-shaped!” responded the Engineering Manager.  We were both looking at the same factory layout.  He was looking at how the machines were placed so that they formed three sides of a square, or a U-shape, and I was looking at the process flow and material flow, which twisted and looped like the proverbial plate of spaghetti. Full Article

Lean for All Seasons

Senior Editor Michael C. Anderson


These are interesting times for lean. On the one hand there are few businesses that have anything to do with manufacturing that don’t have some knowledge of, and don’t pay some lip-service to, the practices that came out of the Toyota production system (TPS). On the other hand, there are companies that have made a good-faith effort to change to a lean culture, only to find themselves unable to sustain the effort. Full Article

How to Run a Factory: Timeless Advice from the Late Jim Harbour

Jim Harbour


Editor’s note: Early lean advocate Jim Harbour, whose Harbour Report prodded the US automotive industry into improving the way it designed and made cars, passed away on September 6th. In his memory we offer the following excerpt from his book, Factory Man, which SME was proud to publish in 2009. Full Article

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