During our consulting adventures, we sometimes have a few pearls or a few moments of irony, but we always learn something.
On that day, we are in a continuous improvement service of a company working in a Make To Order environment. The company has invested some time with the operational teams to put in place the best practices of the Lean: 5S, visual management, flow and reduction of lot sizes.
These continuous improvement projects, which went well, generated a whole host of other ideas that began to shape the system. In fact, the Continuous Improvement engineers have the expertise but also have to assume the role of the project manager.
The idea was to find a way to demonstrate that single-task management and a smaller number of projects could be the first bases of the solution.
For the project part, awareness is quite easy. In the workshop, too many on-hands, it slows down the flow, the cycle lengthens.
Anyway, it's easy!
We do the exercises, the usual games, we demonstrate the gain, they begin to recognize the advantage without saying that we have to do it. Anyway, it pains! A break is necessary... Nothing better than a workshop tour.
We start the tour, visit, and discuss with the operators. As usual, we try to understand what has been difficult in Lean projects.
The operator talks about his biggest change: Reducing batch size. "Before, even before we started the day, we had so much to do that we had to wait for the meetings to decide", "In the middle of the machine setting, I was asked to stop to answer another request from another client", "There were always lots of jobs at the foot of the machines, I could optimize my tuning time".
Do you see the connection between the following two concepts?
|"You have to do several things at the same time"||"Before, even before we started the day, we had so much to do that we had to wait for the meetings to decide"|
|"You have to respond well to the solicitations"||"In the middle of the machine setting, I was asked to stop to answer another request from another client"|
|"It’s good to have a lot of framing to do at the same time, so you have the mind in the same subject"||"There were always lots of jobs at the foot of the machines, I could optimize my tuning time"|
Back in the training room, I evoke my surprise between reducing the batch size and reducing multitasking.
I ask the team what was their approach to reducing batch size in operations (because they had to have the same reluctance)? "We forced them to test and when they saw the results, we went on."
Not very subtle but effective...