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At Park Avenue Solutions, we believe that flaws in processes, not in people, are at the root of almost all inefficiencies and issues in business. With an understanding of basic Lean principles and a selection of tools to identify, analyze, and address process issues, your organization can EMPOWER EXCELLENCE in your people and move toward more efficient, customer-focused, profitable, Lean operations.
Whether you’re a newcomer to Lean or a seasoned practitioner, a quick primer (or reminder) about Lean Principles and Lean Tools is a good place to start our journey.
We have created the Lean Tools Series to provide How-To-Guides, checklists, actionable templates, and other resources to help you learn, teach, implement, and optimize the use of Lean Tools in your organization.
We're here to support your Lean Journey, no matter what your job title, industry, or level of experience. Welcome!
The primary benefit of 5S is improved efficiency by eliminating waste related to looking for, moving, or storing things or information. Implementing 5S can also improve safety and quality by removing excess steps and standardizing optimal patterns and can increase worker satisfaction by creating a better work environment.
"A Place for everything and everything in its place."
As practical and straightforward as 5S is, it, of course, looks different in various industries, organizations, and facilities and sometimes even in different departments within the same organization. What is important is to be clear on both why and how it is being done. The initial process and the plan for sustaining must be clear to all involved and supported and reinforced by management. A cleaner, more organized workspace pays dividends through improvements in safety, productivity, and employee satisfaction and is a solid foundation to build further continuous improvement efforts.
Want to read more about Workplace Organization? We recommend Hiroyuki Hirano’s 5S for Operators: 5 Pillars of the Visual Workplace.
Value Stream Maps show the flow of a process from the perspective of the customer. By visualizing the flow of a process at a macro level, teams can see how the entire process works, understand actual performance, and identify areas to create added value and eliminate waste.
In creating a VSM, the entire process flow of information and materials needed to create a product or service is documented visually as it is currently being performed. This is known as the "Current State Map," which makes it possible to identify each step in the process as:
Once the Current State Map is drawn and wastes identified, the information revealed is used to determine ways to reduce or eliminate waste (non-value added items) and optimize value-added items.
Standard Work is essential to effective work at all levels and in all areas of an organization, including quality and process specifications, policies and procedures, regulatory compliance, and technical standards. Every routine task should be standardized, beginning with those that directly impact the company's ability to meet customer demands.
Standard Work provides the basis on which the actual performance of a process is judged and, therefore, establishes the foundation for future improvement. It creates a clear picture of a properly operating process so variations from that can be identified and addressed systematically rather than trying random tweaks and "fixes" to make ad hoc improvements. Without standardization, it's impossible to see clearly what needs to be improved and whether or not attempted improvements have any effect.
From the Japanese, a kata is literally a model or pattern, a set of positions and movements (as in karate), any basic form, routine, or pattern of behavior. Established and recognizable patterns make it easier to see unusual movements or issues and provide a clear foundation for improvement.
“Toyota Kata” is the term that Mike Rother (internationally recognized Lean guru and author of Learning to See) coined to help American manufacturers mirror Toyota’s successful practices of true continuous improvement.
The Kata model is grounded in the philosophy that teaching workers (or in kata, learners) to think and act scientifically, we can build a culture where every employee is educated and empowered to be a better problem-solver.
Rather than specialized staff members executing one-off, resource-intensive “improvement projects,” practicing the Kata helps every member of an organization become skilled in seeking improvement every day.
The Kata consists of the Improvement Kata (IK) and the Coaching Kata (CK) , which form a structured pattern for making small incremental improvements every day.
The Improvement Kata is a model of the human creative process. It’s a four-step pattern of establishing target conditions and then working iteratively (scientifically) through obstacles by learning from them and adapting based on what's being learned.
The Coaching Kata is a pattern for managers to follow in teaching the Improvement Kata pattern in daily work, so that it becomes part of an organization's culture.
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