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Volume 10 Issue 1   |   January 2009   |

From the Editor

Welcome to the Superfactory Newsletter!

The last several months have been tough for many manufacturers, and it looks like the next few, at least, will be difficult as well. Now's the time to invest your knowledge resources.

You know you're popular when you suffer from incessant hacker attacks, and that has happened to the Superfactory website recently. So much so that we've had to accelerate a planned redesign, which went live at the end of December. Check out the new Superfactory website.

And finally, we succumbed to the Twitter phenom and joined that microblogging system with over four million users. You can join us as well as several other lean enthusiasts, by creating a free Twitter account and adding Superfactory to your following list.

- Kevin Meyer


Manufacturing Excellence News

Stories of interest to the lean community.


In the Blog

Join over 5,000 readers who get their daily dose of blunt manufacturing reality by subscribing to the Evolving Excellence blog!

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Recent posts in the Evolving Excellence blog include:

Visit the Evolving Excellence blog...


Upcoming Events

01/13/2009Effective Communication - Columbus, OH - Definity Partners
01/13/2009Key Concepts of Lean - Los Angeles, CA - LEI
01/13/2009Made to Order Lean - HMLV - Los Angeles, CA - LEI
01/13/2009Value Stream Mapping for the Office and Service - Los Angeles, CA - LEI
01/14/2009Managing to Learn - A3 Management - Los Angeles, CA - LEI
01/14/2009Standardized Work: The Foundation for Kaizen - Los Angeles, CA - LEI
01/14/2009Supporting Leader Standard Work with Visual Management - Los Angeles, CA - LEI
01/15/2009Take Control - Run-Improve-Grow - Cleveland, OH - Definity Partners
01/15/2009Creating a Sustainable Lean Culture - Los Angeles, CA - LEI
01/15/2009Managing to See - Los Angeles, CA - LEI
01/15/2009Training to See - Los Angeles, CA - LEI
01/20/2009Open Mic Night - Lombard, IL - AME
01/22/2009SMART Leadership - Cincinnati, OH - Definity Partners
01/22/2009Lean Purchasing - Cleveland, OH - AME
01/23/2009Auditing for Lean - Brooklyn Park, MN - AME
01/27/2009Kaizen Kanban & Lean Transformation Tools - Columbus, OH - Definity Partners
01/29/2009Principles of Lean Manufacturing with Simulation - Morris Plains, NJ - NJ MEP
02/03/2009Transforming Your Organization - Cincinnati, OH - Definity Partners
02/04/2009AME Southern California Lean Tour - Irvine, CA - AME
02/05/2009Motivation to Change - Columbus, OH - Definity Partners
02/09/2009Lean Accounting - Calgary, Alberta - AME
02/09/2009Lean Product Design for Lean 3P - Denver, CO - AME
02/10/2009Creating Your Business Dashboard - Atlanta, GA - Definity Partners
02/10/2009Creating Continuous Flow - Irving, TX - LEI
02/10/2009Lean Supply Stream - Irving, TX - LEI
02/10/2009Lean Warehousing - Irving, TX - LEI
02/10/2009Value Stream Mapping for Manufacturing - Irving, TX - LEI
02/10/2009Value Stream Mapping for the Office - Irving, TX - LEI
02/10/2009Managing Value-Stream Improvement Projects - Irving, TX - LEI
02/11/2009Lean Simulation - Cincinnati, OH - Definity Partners
02/11/2009Setup and Changeover Hands-On Workshop - Paso Robles, CA - AME
02/11/2009Fundamentals of Lean Production - Irving, TX - LEI
02/11/2009Getting the Right Things Done - Irving, TX - LEI
02/12/2009Creating Level Pull - Irving, TX - LEI
02/12/2009Making Materials Flow - Irving, TX - LEI
02/16/2009Training Within Industry Workshop - Decatur, IL - AME
02/17/2009Intro to Lean Enterprise Principles & Tools - Plymouth, MN - AME
02/17/2009Connect With People to Achieve World-Class - Andover, MA - AME
02/18/2009Building Highly Efficient Office Processes - Sioux Falls, SD - AME
02/19/2009Lean Tools for the Office with Simulation - Morris Plains, NJ - NJ MEP
02/19/2009Lean IT Workshop - Transaction Reduction - Elk Grove, IL - AME
02/23/2009Taking Action with Lean Accounting - San Antonio, TX - AME
02/24/2009Gain a Competitive Advantage - Columbus, OH - Definity Partners
02/25/2009Effective Communication - Mason, OH - Definity Partners
02/25/2009Leadership Forum - Tour Honda - Alliston, Ontario - AME
02/25/2009Setup Reduction Blitz & TPM Blitz - San Antonio, TX - AME
02/26/2009Lean Simulation - Columbus, OH - Definity Partners
02/26/2009Principles of Lean Food Production - Morris Plains, NJ - NJ MEP
02/26/2009Creating Leaner Quality Management System - Phoenix, AZ - AME

View the full events calendar...

Featured Book

Managing to LearnManaging to Learn

By John Shook

Managing to Learn by Toyota veteran John Shook, reveals the thinking underlying the vital A3 management process at the heart of lean management and lean leadership. Constructed as a dialogue between a manager and his boss, the book explains how A3 thinking helps managers and executives identify, frame, and then act on problems and challenges.

More information - Previous featured books


Featured Article

Richard SchonbergerThe Skinny on Lean Management

By Richard Schonberger

Lean management doesnít resonate in marketing and sales. Nor does it among boards, senior executives and investors. Reasons relate to where lean tends to do most of its work - in operations - and its usual presentation as an attack on waste. Obscured are its much greater potential in the distribution pipelines and its strong customer focus.

What lean does, above all else, is provide quick, flexible response to customer demand. But muddling that message are perverse accounting practices that discourage quick delivery well matched to customer usage. Marketingís valued role is in collaborative lean planning, first within the company and then taken to customers in the external value chain.

Getting Lean

There are various ways to get slim and justifications for doing so. The lean community tells us the way to do it is to cut waste. Moreover, in marketingís view, it should stay there. From its perspective, being slim suggests meager supplies of product to sell and a skimpy budget for selling them.

Further, we are told that reducing waste is not only leanís methodology, but also its objective. The reasoning sounds circular: Lean reduces wastes in order to reduce waste.

To gain traction, lean needs to present itself broadly and correctly. Its mandate, providing flexibly quick response, translates into fewer back orders, higher availability of whatís selling and fewer gluts of unpopular product models.

Leanís customer focus once was well understood. When its basics were unveiled in the early 1980s, lean (formerly just-in-time) quickly became the rage in Western industry. With JIT, Japan had shown an amazing ability to mop up via speed, flexibility and quality - and at a lower cost.

Why the shift towards lean as an attack on waste? Three reasons: Waste reduction is easily taught, lends itself to measurement and does lead to quicker response. But so do other methods, among them simplifying product designs; culling lesser, capacity-gobbling products, components, suppliers and customers; and collaborating up and down the value chain. But all methods are hampered by how conventional accounting distorts decision-making.

Lean Costing/Pricing

Accounting treats inventory as an asset. And it is - if the right product at the right time, and if processed and delivered with dispatch. Under lean, inventory reduction occurs only as causes of long, problematic lead times and resolved so that right items and quantities can flow both smoothly and quickly.

Read the entire article...


Featured Blog Post

Japan Kaikaku Experience - The Summary
by Kevin Meyer

I've received several requests to provide all of the links to posts on my recent Japan trip on one page, so here they are.  I still have a few more potential "lessons" posts bouncing around in my head, and if they see the light of day I'll add them to this page as well.

Factory Tour Reports

Lessons From Japan

Implementing the Lessons

Read more and comment...


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