Lecture: Lean Engineering: Narrator: Listen to part of a lecture in an industrial engineering class. Professor: So as industrial engineers, It's critical that we look at the big picture. We have to consider how a manufacturing plant and its procedures are designed, how its materials and energy and its employees are managed. Quite a task! And one thing I'd like to discuss is the concept of lean engineering. Lean engineering is all about developing the ability to see wastefulness where you did not perceive it before, uh, wasted time, resources, etc. at any stage of your company's procedures. Let's consider, for instance, excess inventory. Think about it. Inventory typically just sits around. Lean engineering classifies excess inventory as waste, because money has been spent to create the goods, but they haven't yet produced any income for the manufacturer. So decreasing inventory, spending less money on it means you can spend that money on other things the company needs. It also allows the owner to use a smaller facility. Can anyone think of a benefit to this? Student: Cost less expense in a cooler, smaller building? Professor: Right, exactly. And you knew that savings applied not only to warehouses containing the finished products, but also the storage facilities for raw materials. Now, one technique used in lean engineering to eliminate wastefulness is Value-Stream Mapping, or VSM. Value-Stream Mapping is a technique to detect and analyze any inefficiencies in a current system. Basically, it identifies and maps out every single step required to produce a product or service, and then it removes all unnecessary and counterproductive steps or poorly restructure them. I was called in to look at it in the accounting department, which took ten days to finalize its monthly financial statements. Management needed a faster turnaround time. I used to be at VSM and realized there were five groups in the accounting department. The first group took two days to complete their work. Then everything was handed off to the next group for two days, and and so on. But VSM showed that the first three groups in this process didn't have to wait for each other. They could all work on the same two days, but in their independent groups. Student: So the group's work separately at the same time. So it saves time in the overall process. Professor: Yes. Because of VSM the department was able to complete its financial statements for days earlier than before. Ok. Now, another wastefulness category we look at in lean engineering is unnecessary transportation. Student: Because of fuel costs involved? Professor: Ah, go ahead. That's a big one. Yes, Susan. Susan: Also, because transportation takes time and that expense. Professor: Very true. For both reasons, some shipping companies use special computer software programs to plan the most efficient routes for their delivery trucks. These computer programs even maximize the number of right hand turns has part of the calculations, because right turns in traffic take less time than left turns. Additionally, consider this. Every time you transport a product, you increase the chance of being delayed or lost, or damaged. Now, damage or defect is a different category of wastefulness. A damaged or defective product either can't be sold at all or has to be fixed. Either way, makes an additional expense. Susan: You have to prevent defects during production too. Professor: Yes. And one way that's been found to reduce production defect is called part count reduction. Say I design a product that has 14,000 parts, such as an airplane. Well, each different piece requires an individual work. It has to be designed, then manufactured, then stored, etc. But if you can design pieces that can perform multiple functions. Susan: Then there will be fewer parts to design and fewer parts that can break or be defective. Professor: Right. Now, according to lean engineering principles, what's desirable in the product is determined by the customer. You plan to make a high quality sweater, you know, made of expensive yarn and with a fancy pattern, but your customers are only looking for a simple sweater with no special features. But if you don't go along with that, you're wasting resources. Susan: But what about our responsibility, our commitment to, you know, standards, um, standards of quality? Professor: But whose standard is the question? Remember, It's the customers' requirements that determine what's desirable in the product.