Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Keep It Lean and Safe

Prepare for a safe vacation ...

"Your long-awaited vacation is finally here! You pack up the car, chart the most direct route from point A (home) to point B (hot vacation spot), bring snacks to avoid unnecessary travel breaks and set off for a week of fun. Obviously, you want the ride there to be as fast and efficient as possible. So you take it a step further, driving 20 miles above the speed limit, weaving in and out of traffic, and traveling through the night without any rest breaks. In all the rush, you forget to wear your seatbelt. It sounds crazy but this is exactly what happens when companies apply Lean Manufacturing strategies without considering safety.

What is Lean?

Lean Manufacturing evolved from Toyota's post-WWII efforts to close the productivity gap with American automakers. They refined earlier Just-in-Time manufacturing systems to increase productivity and quality and focused their efforts on cutting waste at all levels. In 1990, a group of MIT academics, reporting on Toyota's successes, coined the term "Lean Manufacturing." Embraced immediately by other manufacturers, Lean Manufacturing became the catch-all phrase for a variety of new strategies aimed at "cutting the fat" out of production processes. Three widely used Lean Manufacturing approaches include:
  • Kaizen - a series of highly focused events dedicated to cutting the waste out of production operations.
  • Six Sigma - a process change methodology based on defining and measuring the problem, then analyzing, improving and controlling it.
  • 5-S - the five S's are Japanese terms, loosely translated as Sort, Set-in-order, Shine, Standardize and Sustain. Once unnecessary mess and clutter are reduced, tools, parts and inventory are then organized for maximum efficiency."
   continued ...   (Via Occupational Hazards)

Vacation - User Interface Design, Human Computer Interaction (HCI), Ergonomics

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