Kanban, JIT, and How Piggly Wiggly Changed the World of Lean Manufacturing

Kanban, JIT, and How Piggly Wiggly Changed the World of Lean Manufacturing

By Discovery Lean Six Sigma

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Kanban, JIT, and How Piggly Wiggly Changed the World of Lean Manufacturing

Here’s a list of things you might find in your local supermarket:

  • Canned goods
  • Pet food
  • Hair products
  • Cheese
  • The key to completely revolutionizing the manufacturing and production industry forever

That last item is a little hard to come by, but according to legend, that’s what Toyota industrial engineer Taiichi Ohno found when he visited a Piggly Wiggly in the early 1950s. When studying the American grocery industry, Ohno saw a staggeringly efficient manufacturing and sales system:

The customer buys a product and leaves an empty shelf where the product used to be.

The store almost immediately restocks that empty shelf space with just enough product to fill it back up.

Simple, right? If the mythology is true, that fundamental observation was the basis for Ohno’s Just-in-Time and Kanban systems.

What is Just-in-Time Production?

Just-in-Time (also known as the Toyota Production System, or Lean Manufacturing) is a system designed to reduce response times between suppliers and customers. How, exactly?

Think of a product – call it a widget. Now imagine an assembly line, manned by three employees who never talk to each other.

  • Employee #1 puts the widget onto the assembly line
  • Employee #2 paints the widget red
  • Employee #3 sells the red widget to consumers

Imagine if a consumer walked up to Employee #3 and said, “I love your red widgets. Can I buy 10 of them right away?”

Remember, these three employees never speak to each other. In this scenario, that customer would have to wait 10 full cycles to buy all his widgets. Meanwhile, other interested consumers wouldn’t have the opportunity to purchase any widgets, because all the stock was already sold to one person.

This was worldwide manufacturing for a long time.

What is Kanban?

Ohno’s Just-in-Time methodology made one basic change to this old model: what if Employee #3 talked to Employee #1 and said, “Hey, during this next cycle, can you drop 10 widgets onto the assembly line?”

Flexibility. Versatility. Happy consumers.

But at first, this change was problematic. Employees weren’t used to this level of communication, and errors skyrocketed. What was Ohno’s ingenious solution to this problem?

Kanban. Or, literally translated, “sign boards.”

That’s right, the father of the Toyota Production System reduced waste and error by erecting sign boards around factories that explained the intricacies of his new JIT system – including how many widgets needed to be filled each day.

The system was tweaked and adjusted for decades, well beyond Ohno’s death in 1990. And today, an education in Kanban will explore things like Kanban cards, bin systems, WIP systems, CONWIP Kanban, Fax-Ban systems, daily demand calculations, safety factors, and more – quite far removed from the old stocking systems in a 1950s Piggly Wiggly.

The post Kanban, JIT, and How Piggly Wiggly Changed the World of Lean Manufacturing appeared first on Six Sigma Daily.

Original: http://www.sixsigmadaily.com/kanban-jit-lean-manufacturing/
By: James LoPresti
Posted: September 14, 2017, 2:07 pm

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