Sunday, 5 October 2014

Environmentally Lean Production: The Development and Incorporation of an Environmental Impact Index into Value Stream Mapping

There is a need to include environmental waste alongside other lean wastes. Current concepts of environmental waste focus on the total production of waste from a plant. However waste is generated by individual processes within the production. Therefore focused management of waste requires engineers to know what and where waste is being generated. This is often simply not known with any accuracy. This work offer a solution by developing a method to integrate environmental waste into the lean method of Value Stream Mapping (VSM). Specifically it integrate corporate environmental standards with the VSM process, thereby permitting established lean improvement process to be focused at specific environmental improvement actions. Application of the method is demonstrated in a manufacturing setting, representing a variety of environmental impacts. The deployment is capable of being generalised to any number of environmental factors. It is able to represent a customised waste index for a particular industry. Several ways to represent the multidimensional environmental wastes were explored via industry focus group. The resulting method can be used by production staff to quantify environmental impacts at the level of the individual process and aggregated to report wastes for the whole value stream.

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Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Lean Leadership – 15 Rules for a Sustainable Lean Implementation

Lean leadership could be the missing link between toolbox lean and a sustainable continuously improving organization. More and more enterprises realize that they have so far basically focused on the visible parts of lean production systems. Although process optimization with the various methods like kanban, 5S, SMED, FIFO and many more is very effective to achieve short term improvements, after a few years, the lean programs of many enterprises do not meet the expectations anymore. The common approach can be explained by using the 4P Model. It consists of 4 levels that are all necessary for a sustainable lean implementation. The levels are: philosophy (long-term thinking), process (eliminate waste), people and partner (respect, challenge and grow them) and problem solving (CIP and learning). All these terms are well- known. However, most enterprises merely focus on process. Eliminating waste in all processes has been preponderantly adopted, whereas the other 3Ps, the “invisible” parts of lean, are less easy to adopt but equally important for the sustainable implementation. Lean leadership addresses all 4Ps and provides a methodical system for the sustainable implementation and continuous improvement of lean production systems. It describes the cooperation of employees and leaders in their mutual striving for perfection. By now, many authors have identified the need for a lean leadership but only few holistic concepts exist. Especially lower and middle management lacks some clear advices and rules for lean leadership implementation. Therefore, some indicators for successful lean leadership were deduced from literature, study results, and practical experiences of lean implementation. The indicators were found in advices given on successful lean implementations, but particularly in mistakes and shortcomings. After reformulating the indicators into requirements for leaders, they were assigned to the five principles improvement culture, self-development, qualification, gemba, and hoshin kanri. These requirements shall help executives in realizing lean leadership.


  • Lean leadership;
  • lean production;
  • beyond lean;
  • continuous improvement
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Friday, 5 September 2014

Optimal Recharging Policies for Electric Vehicles

Recharging decisions for electric vehicles require many special considerations due to battery dynamics. Battery longevity is prolonged by recharging less frequently and at slower rates, and also by not charging the battery too close to its maximum capacity. In this paper, we address the problem of finding an optimal recharging policy for an electric vehicle along a given path. The path consists of a sequence of nodes, each representing a charging station, and the driver must decide where to stop and how much to recharge at each stop. We present efficient algorithms for finding an optimal policy in general instances and also for two specialized cases. In addition, we develop two heuristic procedures that we characterize analytically and explore empirically. 

Keywords: electric vehicles; optimal recharging policies; lot sizing; convex ordering cost
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Monday, 11 August 2014

Lean Manufacturing Case Study with Kanban System Implementation

Lean manufacturing has been the buzzword in the area of manufacturing for past few years especially in Japan. The Kanban system is one of the manufacturing strategies for lean production with minimal inventory and reduced costs. However, the Kanban system is not being implemented widely by manufacturing companies in Malaysia. Thus, the objectives of this case study are 1) to determine how does the Kanban system works effectively in multinational organization; and 2) to identify factors hindering Malaysian small and medium enterprises (SME) from implementing Kanban. Findings of the study suggest that top management commitment, vendor participation, inventory management and quality improvement are important for Kanban deployment and towards lean manufacturing.

Just-in-time; lean manufacturing; kanban system; inventory management; operations strategies

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Saturday, 26 July 2014

Implementation of Just in Time Production through Kanban System

Uncertainties brought about by fluctuations in demand and customers’ requirements have led many established companies to improve their manufacturing process by adopting the Kanban system. By doing so, they are able to manufacture and supply the right product, in the right quantity, at the right place and time. Implementation of the Kanban system resulted in reduction of inventory to minimum levels besides increasing flexibility of manufacturing. Successful implementation of the Kanban system furthermore reduces operational costs, consequently increases market competitiveness. The Kanban system is basically an inventory stock control system that triggers production signals for product based on actual customers’ requirements and demand. The system is controlled by the Kanban card which dictates the optimum production parameters. It is used to authorize production of any product to replenish those already consumed by the customer or subsequent process.

This study covers pre-requisite activities in establishing a Kanban system, starting from designing Kanban flow, gathering manufacturing data, calculating optimum Kanbans in the systems, establishing pull mechanism and rule and finally evaluating Kanban performance using lean parameter. This paper studied the implementation of the Kanban system at a local auto-component company in Malaysia. The scope of implementation was focused at BLM Cylinder Head Cover assembly process. This paper concludes that implementation of the Kanban system reduced lead time, minimized inventory on floor and optimized storage area. The objective of this study is to show that Kanban system improves a manufacturing system as well as achieving Just In Time practice.

Keywords: Just In Time, Kanban system, Manufacturing lead time reduction

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