Learning through Proven Methods: Driving Business Resiliency by Applying Best Practices in Lean

Despite juggling competing priorities, building resilient systems and processes within their organizations continues to be top of mind for business leaders today and is anticipated to be so for the foreseeable future. As such, the first logical step is to turn to existing methods and approaches that have been proven to be effective—of these, lean is a strong contender.


Starting from the Beginning: The Definition of Lean


Defined as “a way of providing maximum customer value while minimizing effort, equipment, time, and waste in the production system,” lean is based on five principles:

  1. Value is defined according to the customer’s perception of it.
  2. Organizations must map the entire value stream and eliminate anything that doesn’t contribute to customer value.
  3. Products and services must flow smoothly to the customer with no interruptions.
  4. Customer requirements pull value upstream along the process.
  5. Perfection with no waste is the goal of the production system.
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The Power of a Robust Safety Culture

If you doubt the power of a robust safety culture, you’ll want to learn more about the turnaround at the Goodyear Innovation Center Manufacturing (ICM) plant in Akron, Ohio.

Over a period of about five years, the facility, also known as Goodyear’s Racing Division, turned a litany of challenges and a long list of substandard performance metrics into a finely tuned, prosperous, and continuously improving operation.

And it all started with safety.

Describing the Racing Division business as it was in the fall of 2013 when Goodyear Corporate began an initiative to redouble its continuous improvement efforts, Dave Coleman, finance business partner and continuous improvement (CI) leader, resorted to several lists. During a presentation to a group of CI practitioners at a recent AME Cleveland Consortia event, he noted that from the outside view, ICM had:

• The worst safety record of all Goodyear manufacturing businesses.
• Run through five … Read more...

Root Cause Analysis and the Tools You Need to Drive Continuous Improvement

Root Cause Analysis is part of an ecosystem of tools and techniques you can implement to help your organization harness the value from their EHSQ integrated management systems. Improving your organization’s processes requires identifying a methodology and approach that can spur innovation through evidence-based analysis.  

Root Cause Analysis (RCA) is one of several methodologies in your toolkit – including Failure Mode Effects Analysis (FMEA), Control Plans and Corrective Actions (CAR or CAPA) – that can be used to uncover the reasons for safety incidents or near misses, occupational health issues, environmental issues like repeated violations and quality events like recalls and nonconformances. Implementing a framework that incorporates multiple analysis tools to achieve a desired outcome can result in measurable results.  

Top Five Tools for Continuous Improvement

These tools can be extremely valuable for performance when used proactively — and in conjunction with one another. Here’s how they might be used together:   

  1. Identify potential failure modes through a Process Failure Mode Effects
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Cultivating curiosity: continuous improvement in training management

Many businesses make the mistake of approaching training as a one-time or ad hoc responsibility: employees are trained when they are hired and rarely, if ever, retrained or trained for new competencies.
Businesses cannot adequately embrace the much sought-after ideal of continual improvement until they incorporate continuous training into their business models.

It is essential to establish a training program that helps every employee realize their potential, and in turn helps the business realize its potential. Such programs should be constantly revisited and always altered due to employee, manager and customer feedback. It should be a continuous process.

One aspect of continuous training should be a program that regularly schedules learning sessions with employees to build, develop and diversify their skills and knowhow as they grow with the company.

No discussion of continuous improvement would be complete without reference to W. Edward Deming, the man responsible for quality control and its most critical mechanism, the Plan-Do-Check-Act Read more...