Standard Business Roadmap

Implementation Manual






When implementing a change to a process, one must also examine how it will affect an entire system to ensure maximum sustainability.  This is undertaken through:


·        Understand manufacturing flows


·        Focus on improving flows, not techniques.



There are generally three types of flow in manufacturing.  These are:


·        People and process flow           (Process Change)


·        Material flow                                (System Change)


·        Information flow                           (System Change)


The people and process flow is the interaction between operators and the machines.  The material flow represents the flow of the product between processes.  The flow of information controls the production of all processes.  Lean manufacturing aims to harmonise all three flows.  However, most organisations have only recognised the need to improve people and process flow, creating a major misconception of lean manufacturing.  Improving people and process flow in isolation leads to only localised benefits.


Global benefits can only be attained through system changes involving material and information flow.  Improvements in material and information flow eradicate product stagnation between processes and synchronise production of each process in accordance with the customer requirements.  Figure 22 illustrates the differences between process and system changes.






People and Process Flow


Material and Information Flow




Tends to focus on a single process



Gets a complete perspective on a product.  All processes are involved







Reasons for waste are disguised due to cause being upstream



Helps you see the source of waste as well as the waste itself





Allows cherry picking


Ties lean concepts together to avoid cherry picking






Deteriorates due to being an isolated island of activity



Forms the basis of lean introduction plans through its integrated approach






Provides a quantitative measure but does not tell you how to improve



Provides a qualitative measure of how your factory should look and how you are going to do it


            Figure 22 – Differences between and process and system changes


Focus on improving flows, not techniques


To make system changes, one must improve the three flows in a systematic manner.  System changes should be based on needs identified from the current manufacturing condition.  The improvement team cannot focus only on areas where they can apply clever techniques.


To improve flow, it is typically best to start at the point closest to the customer (end of process) and then seek improvements upstream.  It is necessary to secure a low and consistent lead time in each process before moving upstream.  There are two reasons for this.  First, controlling work-in-progress inventory at downstream operations significantly reduces the variability in demand for the upstream process.  Second, information flows upstream inmost pull systems.  Thus, subsequent parts of a pull system can be implemented as flows are improved from downstream operations to the upstream operations.




A company must set demanding, yet realistic targets and then review progress regularly to make sure changes are sustained.  To maximise the change of sustainability, management should:


  • Set new targets at the end of each project


  • Review progress on a regular basis.


  • Set new targets at the end of each project


Improvements should not halt when a team achieves a target condition.  Rather, new targets must be set to ensure continuous improvement.  These targets should be realistic, achievable and agreed by the person who is expected to deliver them.


Review progress on a regular basis


The improvement teams should present status reports to senior management each week in order to maintain their focus and interest in the improvement activities.


The status report should contain the following information:


·        What happened this week


·        What is planned for next week


·        What is the performance of the process


·        What concerns have been raised


·        What countermeasures have been taken.


Senior management should take a genuine interest in the content of these reports and request clarification if any information is blurred.  The senior managers should be responsible for the receipt of reports from all improvement teams on a weekly basis.  If one report goes un-submitted and the team is not asked for it, they may not create a report in future.  The lesson:  If you accept a non-standard situation, it becomes the new standard!


                                                           Next Page                                                                     

Go To Order Page To Purchase This Manual In Downloadable PDF Format.