Tag Archives: workflow

Episode 84 — Workflow Balance

workflowChemical engineer Aaron Spearin chats with Jeff and Adam, sharing insights on workflow balance, value stream mapping, and the importance of interdepartmental communication.

  • Adam gets frequent complaints about traffic backups at this time of year, as many of his employer’s road construction projects are in full swing during the summer.
  • Our guest for this episode is chemical engineer Aaron Spearin, a trainer and practitioner of Lean, Six Sigma, and Quality systems. Certified as a lead ISO 9001 auditor and a Six Sigma Master Black Belt, Aaron has been practicing Lean Six Sigma since 2000.
  • Aaron participated in the EUROTECH program at the University of Connecticut.
  • Keen listeners may remember that this podcast previously discussed Six Sigma in Episode 42.
  • Our guest says Six Sigma is a methodology, philosophy, and metric that has become an industry “buzzword.”
  • Lean manufacturing was popularized in the best-selling book, “The Machine that Changed the World,” by Jim Womack, Daniel Jones, and Daniel Roos.
  • The seven Toyota wastes are transportation, inventory, motion, waiting, over-processing, over-production, and defects.
  • ISO 9001 is a standard that, when met, ostensibly certifies an organization is meeting the needs of its customers and stakeholders.
  • Takt time is the average interval for manufacturing each product unit if customer demand is to be met.
  • Throughput time is mean interval for each product unit to pass through a manufacturing process.
  • Gemba is a Japanese word for “the real place.” In lean manufacturing parlance, improvements come from going to the gemba, where the work is being done.
  • Both Adam and Aaron are too young to realize that Jeff was serious when he mentioned Management by Wandering Around (MBWA).
  • A repeatable pattern of activities designed to achieve an organizational objective can be deemed a workflow.
  • An increasing level of work-in-process (WIP) serves as a good indicator of process imbalance.
  • Eli Goldratt developed the Theory of Constraints, and authored a popular business book, titled “The Goal.”
  • A value stream map attempts to track each state that a product might assume during a manufacturing process, and to analyze the level of customer value added between states.
  • Aaron notes that 70% of Six Sigma and Lean Manufacturing initiatives fail; this is rarely because of technical problems, but more frequently due to interpersonal and social issues.
  • A Kaizen event is a company-wide (or department-wide) activity in which all employees gather together to improve a process.
  • Netflix intentionally disrupts its network with a background service called Chaos Monkey to ensure the company’s software protocols are robust.
  • Aaron co-hosts the E6S Methods Podcast with Jacob Curian, in which they discuss Six Sigma and Lean tools on a weekly basis.
  • Listeners can reach Aaron via email: aaron -=+ at +=- e6s-methods.com. He can be also be reached on Twitter as @E6SIndustries, or on LinkedIn, and his website is at www.e6s-methods.com.

Thanks to David Evans for use of the image titled “Pontsticill Overflow.” Podcast theme music by Paul Stevenson.