Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Coming this September

I am back from serving a mission with my wife. We were in Thailand for 18 months and have a real adventure. I am planning to do the Muda Walk for a Month this coming September. But don't wait until then, do a walk this week. Go look how the work is being done compared to how it should be done. Look for the 7 wastes. Observe and help improve and always show respect. We don't do Lean to the workers, we do it with them.

While I was away the Lean Construction Pocket Guide reached the 3500 mark in sold copies. So far this year over 300 copies have been ordered. If you don't already have one, you may want to get your own pocket size Lean reference book. A powerful tool to take on Muda Walks. Learn more at http://www.industryweek.com/webinar/leadership-pipeline?partnerref=PA

Monday, June 3, 2013

Muda Walk for a Month 2013

I am currently serving a mission for the LDS (Mormon) church in Thailand. I do not have time to lead the Muda Walk for a Month in 2013. You can review past years' posts and replicate them or create your own Muda Walk. Do it in September or whenever you choose. The idea is to go and see how the work is being performed. Do not spy just watch to find opportunities to improve. If you watch long enough to see what is really happening I am sure you will find ways to cut Muda and improve.

If you have any questions about doing a Muda Walk or about why I would choose to serve a mission at my own expense contact me at dennis@YourQSS.com

Best wishes for a great Muda Walk experience in 2013.

You can still order copies of my book:
 contact Richard Randolph  at randolph.richard@gmail.com

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Muda Walk for a Month 2012 is over and feedback is coming in. Here is what some participants have said about it:

o      The walk allowed me to “open my eyes” to better improve the workplace.

o      The best outcome of the Muda Walk is making people aware of the waste that is present in construction. Most people accept the current state as normal and are so used to it that they don't even know that waste exists. Here are two examples

1. While we were observing areas we would prompt our workers on waste such as waiting for information (3 men- over 2 hours)  and they didn't think it was waste because they said the folks we were watching needed that  information.

2. A compressor ran out of fuel because it wasn't checked before it left the yard. It needed a special fuel delivery (2 hours) by the superintendent, but this wasn't something they viewed as waste because the fuel was needed.

What did you learn doing a Muda Walk?  What can you learn?

Introducing the Lean Construction Pocket Guide

- Covers the why, what and how basics of doing Lean construction in an easy reading down-to-earth format.
- 86 pages of useful information
- Small enough to fit in your shirt pocket and goes anywhere
- Doesn’t need batteries
 - Great for “tailgate” training and daily huddles

Contact Dennis Sowards at dennis@YourQSS.com for details on how to obtain your copy.

Monday, September 24, 2012

MUDA Walk for a Month - Week 4: 09/24 - 09/28

This week we will look for Muda of waiting

This is the last week of the Muda Walk for a so give it your best effort.  
When employees or equipment are WAITING, it is waste. They may be waiting on processes or other equipment to finish installation or for an upstream activity to be completed. Examples of this waste are crews are waiting for inspections, field instructions, or material; a worker is waiting for the coil line to fabricate material; or payroll is waiting for late time sheets. Waiting in the field can happen due to incomplete material deliveries, unanswered RFIs or a failure of another trade to be reliable in fulfilling a commitment. Waiting is often caused by poor communication between the field, support functions and/or suppliers; when people are unsure what is to be done; and/or because of poor coordination between trades.  Waiting also includes work waiting for workers. We looked at that as inventory in week 2 but sometimes we don’t think as work waiting to be installed as inventory. At job sites look at any material not installed and look for and work ready to be done but no one is doing it.

Every Muda walk this week look for people waiting or work waiting and drive to the root cause to eliminate it. We want the material to FLOW to installation with no or as little waiting as possible.

Remember try to do a Muda Walk for one hour each day.  If you can’t do that - do what you can.

Ways to reduce waiting include:

  • Using the Last Planner System® and make sure all tasks are ready (CAN DO) to be done prior to committing to do them.
  • Scheduling shop deliveries so the crews have what they need when they need it. (It helps to give the shop the real need times not ones with contingency built in)
  • Arranging the shop flow so that pieces go from one tool to the next without waiting on tables or the floor.
  • Using the 5S’s to organize the work area/gang boxes so that any tool or piece of equipment can be found quickly. (Use the 30-second test.)
  • Sorting out un-necessary parts, tools, materials, etc, so they don’t clutter the work area and slow the FLOW.
  • Applying a Kanban system to consumable parts and material so that one never runs out while working but does not have excessive inventory. Use Min/max lines, dual bins, or other simple techniques.
  • Designing the yard layout area so that material deliveries come in one end and exit another. Backing up is waste and unsafe.
  • Reducing the size of material orders delivered from the shop or vendor so that the material can easily be unloaded and quickly installed the same day.
  • Make sure all equipment (drills, meters,) are in working order prior to the shift start.
Record your improvements.

Go and See – Ask Why – Show Respect – Do No Harm

Monday, September 17, 2012

Week 3: 09/17 – 09/21 – Reduce Inventory and Over Production

Theme: Reduce Inventory and Over-Production

This week starts out for me with a trip to Kansas City to do a Lean workshop. If you have any great Muda Walk examples to share with me – post it on the Muda Walk Blog ( http://mudawalkforamonth.blogspot.com/) or email me so I can share it at the workshop.

This week we are looking for the waste of OVER-PRODUCTION OF GOODS and INVENTORY. Over-production leads to inventory and to the waste of movement both of people and material. When we order or fabricate material too much or too soon we have to store it somewhere causing “inventory” to build. When we fabricate duct, pipe or other products too far ahead of schedule we have to stockpile it either in a warehouse or more often at the job site. When we do a bulk-buy to save money we must store it somewhere – again usually at the job site. Studies show that material stored on a job site gets moved at least twice before it is installed. Lots of waste incurred.

Signs of over production include stacks of material either in the warehouse, in trailers, in the yard or at job staging areas. Why do we have stacks of material? Ask why enough times to get to the root cause. Why? Why? Why?

INVENTORY itself is waste. It costs you money and more than you think! Any material or parts not being used by the customer is waste. This includes raw material, work in process and final fabrications. It includes extra parts, excess space and unused tools, copies and reports. Look for stashes and personal stockpiles.

Inventory is a double serious waste because it produces or hides many of the other basic wastes. Companies often accumulate inventory because of unreliable support from their shop, vendors or the material delivery function, or because of efforts to save money through a bulk buy. Usually the money saved in bulk buys is spent by the hidden, but real, costs of holding inventory.

When you spot inventory waste ask why – why do we have to keep inventory? Keep asking why until you find the root cause and implement countermeasures.

Have you seen any of these:

  • Stacks of material at the job site?
  • Rental equipment not being used?
  • Trailers full of fabricated or ordered material?
  • Stashes around the work area?
  • Job site trailer closets stuffed with supplies?
  • Piles of fabricated material in the yard?
  • Boxes of paper goods stacked in the hallways?
  • Fabricated product on pallets in warehouse?

All of these and many more are indicators of overproduction and they are inventory. We don’t want the crews to ever run out of material, but we want to avoid as much inventory as possible while still allowing the work to FLOW.

When you spot these waste ask WHY – why do we have to keep this inventory? Why do we have so much inventory? Why are we over-ordering material? Keep asking why until you find the root cause and implement countermeasures.

Ways to reduce inventory are:

  • Better job site planning and coordination. Use the Last Planner System® of look-aheads and weekly work plans.
  • Use a Kanban method. It means a signal to refill the inventory. This is especially useful for consumables in the shop, field and even office supplies. Use a min/max marker. Use an inventory card with a dual bin system so when one bin is empty pull the card for order a refill of the 1st bin while continuing to use the 2nd bin.
  • Work with suppliers to service your material needs and include them in identifying how much material to stock.

Record your improvements.

Go and See – Ask Why – Show Respect – Do No Harm

Saturday, September 15, 2012

You finished week 1! Did you find opportunities to reduce rework and errors? Please share any key finds you discovered during your Muda Walk.

Week 2: 09/10 – 09/14

Theme: Reduce waste by getting the work to Flow

The opposite of flow is the waste of waiting – we want value to flow, never wait. When the material flows through to installation, value is added, inventory and operating costs are reduced, and a company can take market share from its competitors. Work flow aids in faster identification of problems (improves quality) and it requires quicker communication between steps (we have to collaborate.)

When watching for “flow” - look for what is stopping the work from flowing. Ideally we want the material to flow from delivery to the job site straight to the install area with little or no delays. Try to discover why the work isn’t flowing, what are the barriers or constraints keeping it from moving and being installed.  Look for:

  • Work waiting for workers
  • Stacks of material in inventory, in the lay-down yard and in the actual construction install areas
  • Rough-in areas waiting for pipe or concrete.
  • Boxes of parts, valves, vains, control boxes, etc. not being installed.

For any indicators of no-flow - start asking “why” (not who) to determine the root cause and ways to improve flow.

Best wishes in spotting Muda.
Go and See – Ask Why – Show Respect – Do No Harm

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Week 1: 09/03-09/07 – Look for the Waste of Defects

Muda Walk for a Month
This is your first week to do a Muda Walk. The theme is the Waste of Defects. Most of the other wastes are compounded by moving, storing and installing defective products. A defect is any work that does not function as designed or intended. Defective work includes: rework, wrong installations, weld defects, punch lists, missing material on a bill of material and change orders caused by incorrect design or installation. This waste is redoing a bid proposal, recopying a report, redoing a time sheet or dealing with an out of code compliance issue. In fact, if it has a “re” at the start of the word it is probably a type of defect.  Workarounds are usually indicators of defects.

Go to the shop, office or a job site and look for signs of defects.
o      How do you know it is a defect?
o      What should it look like if done right the first time?
o      How do the workers know when it is done right?
o      Do the workers get feedback on when they have made a defect?
o      How do you get feedback about defects?
o      Look for scrap or piles of rejected material.
o      Watch for workers doing work over.
o      Ordering excess material is a symptom of poor quality.
o      Ask the workers if the part, drawing, material or install is right coming to them. How do they know?
o      Are there workarounds? If you have a project that is wrapping up look for material left over, it usually indicates defective ordering or rework.  Look at punch lists for jobs completed, what is usually found on every list?

Once you find a defect, analyze it to find the root cause. Ask the workers how to eliminate the defect. Listen and ask them what they can do to prevent errors. Let them do it. A root cause of many quality problems may be that the worker does not know how to do it right the first time or even what ‘right’ looks like. Provide training. The worker may not have the right tools to make it right consistently.  Discussing the cause of the defects with the workers, while not placing blame will help identify the root cause. There are no defects when we do it right the first time.

Go watch for Muda. Record your improvements.
Go and See – Ask Why – Show Respect – Do No Harm