Technical Lean Tools

 The Technical Lean  Tools Module contains the information most typically associated with a  lean manufacturing program. However, with the Lean Concepts program it  is intentionally introduced last.  Before successfully developing  technical lean manufacturing tools, a lean practitioner must first  understand the host of foundational skills, concepts, and techniques  covered in the previous modules.  When used alone, the technical lean  tools offer the pieces of a lean system. However, without a proper  guiding , effective skills, and supporting systems, technical lean manufacturing tools will fail when set in  motion. The goal of this module is to build upon the foundation  established earlier in the program and provide the lean practitioner  with the final set of lean tools to construct a functional lean process,  system, and organization. 


The  first section in the Technical Lean Tools module covers the concept of  Stability. In the lean manufacturing context, stability relates to  gaining control of abnormal conditions and understanding the waste of  masking problems with capacity. Lean problem solving is tied into the  skill of maintaining Stability as the foundation for higher level lean  tools.  

Standardized Work (STW)

 This  section covers the concept of Standardized Work (STW). This is a series  of lean tools built around a combination of best practices and Takt  Time (the tool used to set the pace of production equal to the pace of  sales). Several different Standardized Work forms are reviewed with an  investigation of form/function. The role of Standardized Work in driving  Kaizen activity is also discussed.  


 Section  03 reviews the idea of Jidoka.  Jidoka is a multi-faceted skill with a  broad range of applications and benefits. This section explores the use  of Jidoka in improving quality and eliminating waste. The concepts  presented are critical to effectively managing lean processes and  maximizing the value of the human resource. 


This  section covers the concept of Heijunka or load leveling. After an  initial discussion of the thinking behind the lean tool, several  different leveling and balancing approaches are studied. The result is a  demonstration of the most effective methods of sequencing production in  order to minimize inventory and manpower. As Heijunka can be difficult  to grasp initially, a brief summary of concepts is included at the end  of the section.   

Continuous Flow

The Continuous Flow  section introduces the concept of Just-In-Time production in its full  context. As a key component of any JIT system, continuous flow is a  thinking approach that consistently strives towards a set of ideal  conditions. By reducing inventory and production lot sizes, a Continuous  Flow system both reduces lead times and improves production  flexibility. In order to realize the benefits, a robust knowledge of the  previous tools is required.  

Pull System(s)


This  section introduces one of the hallmarks of lean manufacturing programs,  the Pull System. There is an initial review of traditional approaches  (it is HIGHLY recommended to review the MiFLOW section from the Measurement Module before  starting this section) and then a discussion of the fundamentals of a  variety of pull system designs. There is also special attention paid to  the methods of reducing lot sizes – a necessary requirement to  successfully incorporate a Pull System.   The concept and application of  kanban is also introduced and discussed. 

Lean Transformation Plan


Section 07 lays out a Lean Transformation Plan template integrating all of the lean tools covered in Technical Lean Tools Module and layering them in the proper sequence. There is an initial  discussion on planning the transformation (using concepts from the Management and Measurement Modules) followed by a review of the transformation structure. At the  end of the section, special emphasis is placed upon confirming results  and continuous improvement and sustainability. 

Lean Tools Examples


The final section in the Technical Lean Tools Module presents several  templates and concrete examples of tangible lean manufacturing tools.  This section reviews methods of creating Standardized Work, managing problems, designing for Continuous Flow, and an extensive review of Kanban. The final wrap up provides a renewed focus on continuous improvement.