Intelligent lean: A strong component of your business strategy for 2021-25. In contrast to the classic lean approach, intelligent lean is like an outsider but with a much broader scope of application. It is a derivation of the TOC technology for flow control, which, by definition, does not begin to move workstations or machines. This is even taboo as long as the control does not run perfectly.
The first step
of intelligent lean is therefore to set up the right steering, which takes into account the existing constraints (constraints / bottlenecks) and makes optimal use of those constraints - if you can't make them disappear immediately by magic. It is not uncommon for this first step to bring so much order to the tent that a number of alleged bottlenecks solve themselves and drastically improve the flow without a single technical intervention.
The second step
is the installation of a very pragmatic flow monitoring and synchronisation system is known as buffer management. The results of that step are often spectacular because now everyone gets the right priority signals, which are necessary to get the best possible output. Buffer management creates a number of nice side effects such as securing delegation to the implementers and greatly reducing lead times and intermediate stocks. Not infrequently, reductions of 40% and more are reported even in spaghetti-flow environments while delivery reliability becomes optimal. Until then, generally nothing has changed to the physical flow or to the infrastructure. The abolition of so-called 'difficult products' is not the first concern either, because they often allow to make a difference with the competitor and stay out of the negative price spiral. Sometimes even the exact opposite happens: since everything is now well controllable, the spare capacity becomes visible and this gives room for the smaller series and for the pre-series test runs or prototypes and other misfits that no longer create chaos.
The third step
is the installation of permanent process diagnostics. This system is a 'plug-in' to buffer management and allows to anticipate future bottlenecks and synchronisation problems. This module also calculates the impact in hard euros of the bottlenecks and of the synchronisation problems, which gives an ideal input for the right improvement projects. The waste due to wrong investments disappears completely.
Advantages and applicability:
Intelligent lean has the advantage that tangible results can be achieved quickly without having to intervene directly in the processes. This only comes later and to a much lesser extent than first thought. Intelligent lean can be applied to any process, both to an administrative process and to the supply chain as well as to projects – if the tools are adapted of course! – and, last but not least, also to the linking of the various processes. For example, the purchasing processes up to and including the planning of subcontractors become a single flow and a development project for a new product is synchronised with future purchasing, production and marketing actions.