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Implementing Lean Concepts in n Engineering Environment

Implementing Lean Concepts in n Engineering Environment

(OP)
I am currently leading a charge for implentation of Lean principles in our Engineering Department.  After helping out in our plant, I am finding it hard to find waste in our department and it is aggrivating because there is always some kind of waste to identify.  Can anyone point me in the right direction or perhaps give some helpful tips?

RE: Implementing Lean Concepts in n Engineering Environment

What kind of an engineering department? Design, manufacturing, electrical, or some other discipline.

If it is a design engineering department doing it right the first time is probably the goal that should be set.

Designing for the end customer, manufacturing and suppliers. How do you achieve these goals for this diverse group of people is to understand what the different people need. Involvement by these people and joint information gathering.

How do you measure success? One way is by the amount of engineering changes after release.

 

RE: Implementing Lean Concepts in n Engineering Environment

(OP)
Our focus is design.  That being said, our number one objective is to always do it right the first time.  That being said, are there any LEAN principles that I can use to reinforce this idea?  I am beating my brain trying to find a clear objective and path for this project.  I believe there is waste here but I am having trouble identifying it.  Furthermore, I do not want to waste the company's time and resources for a dead end project.   

RE: Implementing Lean Concepts in n Engineering Environment

I worked in a Lean office once.  Everyone had a printer at their desk so they didn't have to waste time walking.  There were no cubicles, it was an open office to limit the wasted time it takes to walk to someone's location, or find a conference room.  The printers were nice, the fishbowl layout wasn't.

Lean works good for most things, but a dynamic office shouldn't be included on that list.

"Art without engineering is dreaming; Engineering without art is calculating."

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RE: Implementing Lean Concepts in n Engineering Environment

I think your key question is to find a path for this project.  Probably best to get some "outside" advice on setting this route, but not a high priced consultant.  

You probably have another department in your company struggling with the same objective.  Say "Accounting" is going through the same process, try teaming up with your counter part in Accounting and maybe a Lean mentor for a department who has implemented Lean.  The three of you should sit down and do the first step - map your "Value Streams".  This will drive you to understand why you are doing things the way you are.

Everyone wants to "do it right the first time", but once you understand your deliverables and measurables you can see where the waste it.  You will be surprised what some one who understands "what" you do, will question "why" are you doing this?    

If there is a mistake made in Engineering, what is the cost? Huge cost and deliver delays? Outside warranty cost? Minor shop rework/repairs?  Should you be checking your drawings more thoroughly? less checking?  How much time should Engineering staff spend on the shop floor?

What about drawings and documentation?  Are your downstream customers using these?  What level of detail should be shown on assembly drawings and BOMs (fasteners? etc.)?

I encourage you to think fundamentally about how you spend your resources. Lean implementation is not meant to be a something where you just shuffle the seating plan.

Best of luck,

ERT

RE: Implementing Lean Concepts in n Engineering Environment

My company does this type of work for customers all the time. The first thing I would do is construct a VSM. A value stream map. Get a group of employees together who represent all the facets of the design phase. Not too big. probably limit it to 5 if possible. Then map out what each of the processes are, defining inputs and deliverables of each process. Then assign a fault assessment score based on how critical each input and deliverable is. Perfection is very expensive. You may find a system designed for perfection will always be a failure, a system that can function with-in the scope of the "human-factor" will always be more successful.
Just getting a picture of who is responsible for what, and what each group or function needs to be successful should help you indentify bottlenecks and waste in the process.
Any other questions feel free to ask me.

Ryan Marks
Mechanical Engineer
http://www.stryker-tech.com/

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