March 1, 2017 | By Jeff Sipes
Columnist Jeff Sipes describes how front-line employees’ roles change with a lean transformation. The workday changes, and they must adapt. But as long as the changes are made with employees (and not to them), front-line workers should thrive.
January 27, 2017 | By Jeff Sipes
This month, columnist Jeff Sipes walks through the typical day of a production supervisor before and after a lean transformation.
January 6, 2017 | By Jeff Sipes
How do you define “continuous improvement”? Turns out, it depends on your organization and your role within it. Altogether, the mix of continuous improvement perspectives within a company should strike a balance between two concepts: efficiency and effectiveness.
December 5, 2016 | By Jeff Sipes
If you analyze the entire quote-to-cash cycle for an order, you’ll find that it spends most of its time in a gray area, sitting between operations—both on the shop floor and in the front office. So if a shop really wants to improve, it should tackle this gray area.
November 7, 2016 | By Jeff Sipes
As you pursue your lean journey, you create knowledge. What you do with that knowledge can predict how successful your lean efforts will be. If you tell the workforce only the bare minimum, then you are probably leaving lots of improvement potential on the table.
October 13, 2016 | By Jeff Sipes
Poor communication can lead to serious waste and missed opportunities. That’s why the communications process really should be seen as an extension of continuous improvement.
September 14, 2016 | By Jeff Sipes
5S is critical for any lean journey. And by getting it right—that is, treating it as an important and measurable process that affects the business—fabricators can use 5S to make their office or shop floor a better place to work.
August 11, 2016 | By Jeff Sipes
So many shop managers operate in firefighting mode. They call customers, suppliers, employees, and bosses to explain, apologize, and then shift into high gear to “Git-R-Done.” As columnist Jeff Sipes explains, that really has no place in manufacturing.
July 8, 2016 | By Jeff Sipes
An operation with poor or nonexistent performance metrics is a magnet for lots of confusion and disruption. Poor metrics often have a narrow focus that can negatively affect the whole organization. Conversely, good metrics support the business and its mission.
June 3, 2016 | By Jeff Sipes
Keeping all employees engaged all the time isn’t easy, but the benefits are substantial. Ultimately, such engagement unleashes employee talent.
May 23, 2016 | By Jeff Sipes
Manufacturing is all about flow, both of physical products and information. You can plan for good flow. But if you let it evolve on its own, you will be dealing with the waste and efficiency that evolution creates.
April 4, 2016 | By Jeff Sipes
For custom fabricators, demand variation is a fact of life, but this doesn’t mean that a shop can’t mitigate its effect. Lean consultant Jeff Sipes describes several options that can help make life easier, even for shops that deal with extreme shifts in demand.
September 5, 2013 | By Jeff Sipes
In a company with silos, departmental functions rarely interact, and workers within those departments are focused solely on their core assignments. These silos perpetuate inward thinking, turf protection, and subpar results for customers. To improve, an organization needs to tear down these structures.