Supermarkets and Lean

Supermarkets turn up in Lean descriptions from time to time. Taiichi Ohno is often said to have come up with the idea for kanbans after seeing an American supermarket. Other authors suggest that Ohno had not been to the US at that time, and had the idea after reading about supermarkets, rather than seeing one.…

Bypass and Baton Pass Zones

Flow is a key issue in Lean services. Moving away from batching and towards one piece flow is a good place to start. This is often combined with levelling. In levelling you smooth flow and  even out the peaks and troughs in demand. In effect you convert uneven demand in to level operations. This can…

How to Calculate Takt Time in Healthcare

Takt time is the beat of a service – the overall rate at which it needs to function to keep up with demand. Calculating takt time can be tricky if you haven’t done it before. This post describes how to work it out, step by step. Step One:  Work out the service demand What is…

Catchball

Catchball is the second phase of the hoshin kanri process (see my previous post for discussion of some of the terms). Management in Lean has a focus on aligning improvement efforts with priorities; mobilising your whole organisation to produce improvements; embedding and maintaining improvements, and creating a situation in which people feel able to improve…

Strategic alignment in Lean Implementation

Hoshin kanri is the management approach that is usually associated with Lean. In the last few months I’ve worked my way through half a dozen books on hoshin kanri, and I wanted to share my impressions over a series of posts. I reviewed one of the books recently, and I will get round to some…