Home      Toolbox
Print this pageAdd to Favorite
The Toolbox is the LeanEnvironment.com gateway to many of the methods developed by Lean, Six Sigma and Environmental Management Systems. Note: The Toolbox contains links to many outside resources and enterprises for the sake of expediency.  LeanEnvironment.com does not endorse these businesses, but acknowledges their contribution and content. Links will be updated frequently as new resources are vetted, and internal resources will be built as needed.
 
Your input and suggestions are welcome at service@leanenvironment.com or  lean.environment@gmail.com. 
 
Name of Tool
Description 
Who should use it?  
 
 
5-S + Safety   
The easiest to envision, and the hardest to maintain. The 5S (Sort, Store, Shine, Standardize and Sustain) and many other variations are fundamental. Sustain is the most difficult. Safety is added in the US as a reminder - thought unnecessary in many other cultures at both ends of the spectrum.
 
Everyone.  This is absolutely fundamental to any serious student of the Clean, Lean, and Green Enterprise. 
 
Andon 
Visual signal indicating the status of an overall process or supply chain. Requires "pull system" to be effective tool.  From the Japanese term for paper lantern. Example: A street-light is a rudimentary form of Andon  
For serial processes that have implemented Pull system. Assures that defects are quickly identified and fixed.
 
Theory of  Constraints,  
 
The Theory of Constraints (TOC) is a very useful tool for the LeanSigma practitioner. Based on the book "The Goal" by Eliahu Goldratt - focused on identifying and overcoming rate-limiting processes and capacity constraint.
An intermediate topic, especially useful for larger programs and processes with perceived capacity constraints. (All processes are constrained.)  
Definition of,
three elements that must be present for added-value activity.
Strongly recommended that all memorize the definition of Value.  
Everyone. Fundamental to any enterprise, ESPECIALLY non-traditional students of LSEMS 
 
 
Kai = Change  /  Zen = Good       (A positive Change)
 
Anyone looking to improve. In general, Kaizen is any positive improvement.  A Kaizen Event is five days of rapid change and improvement.
Heart-beat of a Lean Sigma Enterprise  
Everyone.  LeanSigma EMS 101 
 
 
Process of analyzing processes and intermediate steps added value and non-added value activities. 
 
Beginner to intermediate. An artform unto itself. For seekers of deeper insights into costs and value. 
 
 
"Mistake-proofing"  - for example: impossible to insert a jump-drive upside down or notch in a Processor chip
Good Kaizen tool for everyone who develops processes - Poke-yoke makes it impossible to create defects.  
 
 
Automation with a human touch.  Shingo coined the term "autonomation" to describe processes which automatically detect abnormality and stop the process.  Prevents additional process steps on defective parts. Rudimentary examples include a go/no-go gauge.
Good for serial processes which later add value to components.  Broadly applicable, excellent TPM goal.  Intermediate step for enterprise implementation.  
 
TPM 
Total Productive Maintenance - moving responsibility for most system maintenance onto the people performing the process. Difficult to do well.  No one knows a process like the person doing it, so improvement and maintenance must include operator.
Good for processes with highly repetitive components, especially if Cycle Time is close to Takt Time.  TPM activity, along with Five-S and other Kaizen is part daily standard work.
 
Opposite of push production.  Relies on visual signal from customer for production of next part or process step.  Critical to eliminate inventory, reduce WIP and single piece Flow.
Any organization with complex operations (3 or more steps) performed repetitively. Fundamental to Lean.  
 
Single Minute Exchange of Dies  (The techniques are more interesting than it sounds). Move internal activities involving change to to external.  Broadly applicable.
Any process that changes from one process to another during a normal workday.  Highly applicable for administrative processes
 
Emerging field - using the concepts of LeanSigma EMS to form forward thinking energy policies.  Includes "smarter grid,"  point of use generation, Thermodynamics and Lean, minimizing entropy, cogeneration, storage technology, etc.
Folks interested in Energy.  Lean Environment.com is building a resource network on LeanEnergy deployment.  Contact Us if you are working in this field
 
Change in cost allocation to focus on value rather than hours or widgets.  This is HIGHLY under-developed, especially in light of Sarbanes-Oxley and post-Enron legislation.  There is still room for great innovation in this field.  Actuarial experience needed.
Policy makers interested in tunnelling down into details of Lean Sigma EMS.  Risk Management is critical. Much work to be done here, and room for innovation. 
 
The process of strategic planning - usually defining two or three key metrics for enterprise-wide focus and implementation. "Catch-ball" concept.
For leaders and executives with strategic responsibilities. 
Designing physical workstations for how people really move.  Most folks are right handed. As a result, work cells are usually counter-clockwise.
Any workstation with repetitive processes, serial processes or multiple people in one area. 
 
Any form of visual signal - the rate-keeper for the Pull System.  Cards have become common, but are only one form of kanban (e.g. empty bins, carts, etc. )
Any process with two or more people involved (almost all.) 
Methods of communicating status, quality or condition at a glance. Any indicator that a process is needed, completed, or quality indicator like go / no-go are common examples.  
Any process with two or more people involved, especially with shift changes or handoffs.  
 
Return on investment, typically calculated with discounted cash flows.  Typically does not consider risk.  Note to accountants, selecting accounting methods w/out risk mitigation undervalues Lean Sigma EMS activity, esp since future cash flows are significantly positive.  
 
Basic financial performance measure.  Pay-back, NPV and  DCROR are others.
 
Auto-replenish of Vendor managed inventory (VMI) using production kanbans or other methods.  Supermarkets may be replenished several times per day.  Water striders often used to replenish shadow-boards for assembly operations.
Advanced lean for larger enterprises, or complex operations with multiple suppliers. High added value activities see quick return.  intensive to set up.  Months or years typical.
 
Defined process steps, procedures and defined sequence to assure reliable process.  No process can be improved UNTIL it is standardized 
Fundamental.  Most important part of Five-S for process improvement.
 
TRIZ  ("try-Z")
Theory of Inventive Problem Solving, created in the Soviet Union starting in 1946.  The brainchild of Genrich Altschuller.  Much of the approach shrouded in proprietary programs - but good general discussions are available.  
 
Advanced tool for enhacing systematic innovation.  Excellent advanced topic.  
Lean
Integrating Lean and Six Sigma throughout the supply.  Requires immense discipline, trust,  but pays big dividends.  Integrated with Lean Accounting, reduces non-added-value steps in all transactions. 
Advanced lean for larger enterprises, or complex operations with multiple suppliers. High added value.  
Lean Project Management 
Some powerful tools from basic PDCA and SIPOC, to DMAVD, DMAIC for product and process design, and stage-gate processes for advanced projects.  
Can be applied independent of other Lean Sigma initiatives.  Requires discipline and careful communication.
Fun and insightful tool.  Be the part.  Draw a map of the physical pathway of material and information.  Humorous outcomes frequent.  Suggested Exercise: Spaghetti chart meal preparation in your home kitchen.
Excellent tool for developing present state VSM and identifying immediate opportunity for improvement.
 
Lean Planning 
Japanese approach considers the entire product cycle in project planning and deployment.  Very difficult for Western Management to grasp.
For enterprises with deep commitment to improvement, and willing to play chicken.  
 
Resistance is endemic to transmission of electricity, except in superconductors.  Transmission (a form of transportation) is waste. Alternatives include co-generation, local generation and energy security.
Leads to consideration of point-of-use generation.  Generation and storage with materials at hand. Working toward a smarter grid.
Lean Product Design  
Very deep commitment to improvement. Understand that design is the key to everything. Includes DFSS, DFM, Lifecycle, etc.  Lean Sigma EMS integrates lifecycle mass balance.
Not for the faint of heart.  Master level Lean Sigma EMS. Think Prius. Requires fundamental change in thinking.  
List of New Tools, Links and Applications available through  www.LeanEnvironment.com
Updated Weekly - usually close of business Mondays 
  
  Toolbox  |  Muda  |  Reduce Waste  |  Improve Quality  |   Environment  | At Home     
 
This is a short list and description of tools.  In the near term, the table will be populated with adequate content and as many outside links as seem productive.  We are seeking to include the best, relevant information.  Changes are frequent (continuous improvement). Your patience is appreciated. 
 

©2010 Lean Environment, Incorporated