Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Last One Tags

How do you avoid running out of items? Especially lower cost, consumable items like shipping boxes?

1. Order three year's worth of these at a time. Find a place to store them, then realize a few month's in that they aren't really the right size for what you need.
2. Track inventory meticulously. Do a physical count daily, or require employees to scan them in and out so you can view the count from your computer at any moment.
3. Create a reasonable warning system so you know before you run out with enough time to avoid disrupting regular operations.

Here's one way to implement #3: print out a bunch of labels  like the ones in the photo. We print the words "Don't Use Without Reordering - No Usar Sin Reordenar" on the label. The item to be reordered can be written down as well, so you can remove the label when you get to it and use that as your reminder to order the items.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

What's #1?

The Marina Bay Sands in Singapore is a massive hotel. 43 kitchens, 450 chefs, serving tens of thousands of meals a day. Chef Christie, who oversees the food operations, has a lot of individual processes, materials, and people to consider. There are a mind-boggling number of things happening at any time, including ordering, receiving ingredents, storage, prep, and serving.

So, with all that to oversee, what is the first thing he looks for to see whether things are running smoothly? How clean the kitchens are.

"I'm looking at general cleanliness, first thing. I'm looking at the floors...if it's total chaos or if things are really under control."

A good reminder that following the Shine step in 5S is both style and substance.

The full episode can be viewed on Netflix in the Mega Food series, or on Youtube here:

Monday, September 9, 2019

Go/No-Go Gauge for Cave Tours

You don't want to get halfway into a tour for a cave and then find out the passageways are too small for your comfort. This entrance (at Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO) puts a cutout of the smallest passageway right at the entrance to the line for the tour. If you, your stroller, or your family members can't make it through this cutout, the tour is not for you. 

This type of gauge is useful in both manufacturing and in real life!

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Pallets 101: Pallet vs Parcel

Parcel to Pallet - should you ship boxes individually or together?

A "parcel" is a general term for an item that can be picked up by hand. This might be a box, bag, or other container. Parcels are shipped using a parcel carrier like the United States Postal Service (USPS) or the United Parcel Service (UPS). 

A "pallet", also known as a skid, is a flat item used to secure and transport larger items or multiple parcels. Pallets are shipped using a truck, also sometimes called a freight carrier. If you're shipping one or more pallets, you might use an LTL ("Less Than Truckload") service provider to pick up the items and deliver to your destination. 

If you are regularly shipping many parcels to the same location, using pallets might make more sense. 

Some great things about shipping pallets: cheaper per-unit cost than shipping multiple boxes, the individual items are handled less and stay upright, minimizing damage compared to parcel services

You might not be ready for pallets if: you don't have infrastructure to handle pallets (such as a loading dock, forklift, etc) or if your customer does not have the ability to receive pallet shipments due to size or handling contraints. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Daily 5S Walk: Weeding the Garden

the daily 5S walk is a lot like weeding a garden.

There is no expectation that suddenly one day you'll go out and there will be nothing to do. Weeds always grow and your studio will tend towards disarray.

Keeping up with it every day is easier than letting things get out of control.

It can be a soothing moment in the day when you check in with your studio and take care of your space.

You can consider the items you find to be just like weeds. "a weed is a plant out of place" - you're looking for items that are in the wrong place.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Daily 5S Walk: Kill Your Darlings

Sorting and Setting in Order doesn't always happen easily the first time. During the daily 5S walk today I noticed that our "red and white sides of clothespins" flag system wasn't working the way I had imagined, even though I'm a [sarcasm font] complete genius and it's almost inconceivable that one of my ideas didn't immediately cause the whole production team to jump for joy.

It's okay to try something you think MIGHT work. Around here we are used to "this might work, and if not, we'll change it" as the default for making improvements. It's an everyday part of our operations and lets us try things, which sometimes work out really well!

This clothespin system wasn't useful, so rather than leaving it up and working around it, we're scrapping it. The clothespins are currently sitting in the Zone of Disarray awaiting my next genius idea for how to use them somewhere else, or perhaps another use entirely. They weren't useful on the production floor, so they had to go.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Daily 5S Walk: Set in Order: Label it!!

On your regular walk, one of the easiest things to spot is under-labeled items. Today I walked right past this set of jugs.

The one on the left was labeled properly before going out onto the studio floor. The other two were rushed into service one day and need to be labeled to match.

A few minutes later, done!