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They are given the opportunity of not only observing and considering the work done in their departments but also of focusing on their own jobs and how they can improve the productivity and efficiencies of their work. This is a true statement but is must be understood in its correct context in whatever company it is being implemented. If this is also a true statement, why, then, should a company embark on this Lean journey? Every part, large or small, needs to work in harmony, in concert with each other in order for the overall result to be achieved.

However, we all know that in many instances, because of a lack of maintenance, worn tires, not being tuned regularly, that the same car can perform differently depending on the above factors and many others. While maintenance is performed by the owners, there comes a time when expert attention is required.

In a company, the most important measure of efficiency and productivity is how well the supply chain is operating. But, more importantly, how well that supply chain is fulfilling the needs of service, quality, safety and reliability to its customer base and it is being properly serviced by its suppliers. Enter Lean principles!

These principles do not, in any way, decry what a company is presently doing to be successful. But upon self-reflection and in the light of outside influences such as the present world financial situation, increased competition, revealed difficulties in its overall performance etc.

While companies are expert in measuring their performance and examining their operations, there are certain measurements provided through the Lean principles that companies are not only not measuring but are also perhaps unaware that there are other important metrics that need to be measured. The most important measurement that Lean offers a company is measuring the relationship between internal and external customers and internal and external suppliers.

This is a measurement that needs to be known by everybody in every department. Why is this the most important measurement? As with a motorcar, its performance depends on the synergy that exists between its various parts. Using another analogy that a chain is as strong as its weakest link, nowadays brings the answer into sharp focus.

The smooth operation of the supply chain is what enables the company to obtain its desired outputs, to maintain and increase of its customer base, to ensure the reliability of its suppliers and manage a well-oiled process of maintaining a smooth operation. While departments are aware of shortcomings when they occur and try to fix the issues as they arise, the lack of daily or weekly measures of these occurrences and the lack of embedding the solutions to the issues in their processes so that they do not re-occur, is what is missing in most companies.

The result is that the same issues are dealt with over and over again impinging on the efficiency and productivity of their departments and in many cases, their individual outputs. The ability of a company to manage this inter-relationship between customers and suppliers both internal and external is a fundamental way to improve their productivity and efficiency.

The difficulty with the above tool is that in many respects it requires a cultural change within the company. It can also be misunderstood as a negative reflection on the way in which managers performs their duties. THE TRUE PURPOSE Notwithstanding the reality that the above concerns that need to be addressed and dealt with when implementing Lean principles, the only purpose for introducing the measurement of the relationship between customer and supplier is to determine what is going right, what is going wrong and if so, what the people producing this data can do to fix it.

The way in which the data is dealt with depends on the people who are viewing the data with the understanding that the data is designed to help continuously improve the outputs by resolving the issues. The setting up of Cost, Delivery, and Safety charts follow the same principles but is not the subject of this paper. The most important benefit resulting from the introduction of these measurements is the opportunity that is now provided to the people of the area to offer ideas and suggestions on how to improve, change, eliminate etc.

This is a very practical way of involving the people in taking responsibility for the efficiency and productivity of their areas. The removal of bottlenecks, of stress points, while ensuring proper safety and understanding their responsibilities towards their customers is how Lean principles will be institutionalised in the company. All the above initially takes place in the First Level Green Room meetings.

However, the success of the First Level meetings can only be assured if the leader of those meetings representing the people of that area have a method of escalating what they find to be their concerns which they cannot resolve. This is dealt with in the Second Level meeting.

This meeting is critical to the success of the first level simply because it controls three important and critical factors. Firstly, it manages the performance of the first level. Secondly, it monitors and coaches the first level so that it is performing as it should. The third factor is that it acts as the go-between between the Third Level and First Level meetings. The first level leaders and eventually their people need to know that the work they are doing is not only appreciated but that they have a forum in which to escalate their concerns and their problems which they know will be dealt with, if necessary, at the very top of the organisation.

Without that assurance, the process will fail. Added to this, is the Third Level meeting. The same principles apply with this meeting but the greatest benefit is that in both the second and third level meetings, the leaders of these meetings are freed up from the details so that they can attend to their own KPIs and those of their departments. They are able to do this because as a result of their meeting they will know that their departments etc. Again, this also applies to the 4thand 5thlevel meetings if required.

If this structure is not in place and operating efficiently and regularly, the first levels will eventually collapse. As the level of meetings increase, so the details that used to be part of their meetings are diminished as the whole purpose of Lean is to push the responsibilities down to the level that must deal with the issue.

The upper levels deal will then be freed up to focus on overall policy, protocols, major decision-making issues and priorities. We have developed a 2. The task is to initially give them a flawed procedure to build 15 of these units using 6 operators in a production line.

By following the process to the letter after training etc, and measuring the results, the participants are given an opportunity of identifying the issues and of rewriting, amending the original procedure to incorporate what they have learned from the result and the measurements obtained. The results and their performance as well as that of the procedures is displayed on relevant charts.

They will then be given a final procedure to build 15 defect free units in a recognised acceptable time frame using a correct and tested procedure. The object of this 3rdproduction run is to prove that proper training, proper procedures and the correct layout etc. It is a remarkable seminar and having presented over of these worldwide, it is regarded by every company we have worked with as the clincher proving why they need the process in their company.

Each unit must pass the fifth bollard, in other words, run straight down the track. Against your instincts, at times, against your present method of management, etc. Each manager will have done this by marshalling the remarkable expertise and enthusiasm of the people that make up the company. Please visit our web site: www. Focused on the Employees True employee involvement means that they become the promotors, controllers and guardians of their work and in this way are able to manage the outputs in their areas of operation.

The management structure must facilitate the involvement of the people and uses the same principles to manage their functions. Of course, their safety will be paramount in their decision. The same applies to the administration departments. The Green Room meetings are the places where this is recorded and managed. Each department or area — depending on the size and organization of the company — sets up what is called Green Room meetings.

These are held daily at the beginning of shifts in manufacturing, or weekly at mutually agreed times in service and administration areas. The daily meetings are referred to as the 1st Level meetings.

The purpose of the meeting is to measure the performance of their processes in producing the product or service since last they met. The visual charts in their meeting place reflect how well the procedures they use are performing within their area. The system then sets up a method of communication between customers and suppliers to resolve the issues.

At the heart of all these methods is the concern for safety and how well the safety procedures are being maintained. This is usually reflected in the ideas and suggestions that they offer and which are recorded in a database. These are set up according to a set of rules as their purpose is to ensure upward movement of issues and downward support and decision-making.

In every company we have worked in over these years this simple methodology engages the people and especially their managers in controlling their areas. Their productivity and efficiency levels increase remarkably. Below is an example of a Green Room meeting. Notice the selection of charts. If you recall the main purpose of the exercise is to ensure that their procedures are being followed and are producing the results intended. The Q. The Quality charts measure the performance of the supply chain.

It contains 4 sets of three charts. The Cost and Delivery charts ensure budgets are met and customers are satisfied. Each measurement in every section, e. Defects Received in the Quality section, has three separate charts to record the issue. This is simply to record the accumulation of issues in a vertical column posted for the next meeting. The vertical axis reflects the number of incidents, e. The horizontal axis shows the days of the week in the months.

Each day is a column. See the next picture below. Above is a typical Green Room wall with a set of charts for 1 area of one department. Finance, HR, Mixing, Packaging etc. Each wall has a section for Idea and Suggestions and also for Environmental issues. It is a monthly chart and records the days on which the issues occurred.

The next picture is taken from a department in a company and it shows a Matrix chart filled in with data. The 3rd chart is known as The YTD -Year to Date chart and records every issue each day with a vertical bar each vertical cell is an issue on that day. The bottom chart summarises the events per month. Perhaps the simplest but the most important reason is to give them the opportunity of recognizing the issues that their customers have and whether their suppliers are giving them what is required and that they have the means to rectify these if within their control.

They have the option of escalating the issue if they cannot resolve it. It is the data that the people of the area need to see to address the issues that they are creating or issues that are being imposed on them and outside their control.

The ability to deal with these issues — the data from the charts — and resolve them is the reason why having meetings daily and weekly are necessary. How does it work? Every time an issue arises as seen on any one of the set of charts during the meetings, the opportunity of getting the people involved in their resolution is made possible.


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