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Employee Motivation and Lean Implementation – Part 4: Respect for People: Motivating employees is not easy. In previous posts I described that the carrot and the stick approaches don't work very well. What in my experience works best to improve the system is Respect for People!

This is actually a very important aspect of the Toyota Production System, and Toyota puts in lots of effort to show respect to all people. This includes not only employees (the focus of this post), but also customers, suppliers, neighbors, and pretty much everybody else it comes in contact with. At Toyota, it is actually called Respect for Humanity (人間性尊重, ningenseisoncho). Unfortunately, all too often I find this lacking in Western lean implementations.

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Employee Motivation and Lean Implementation – Part 3: Lack of Respect: Motivating employees for change is tricky. What often helps is respect, but in reality the opposite is common. While managers claim that of course they respect their people, the employees feel very differently, and quite often there is a lack of respect. In this post I want to talk about this lack of respect and why it happens, before showing how to do it better in the next post.

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Employee Motivation and Lean Implementation – Part 2: Money: Lean improvements often fail in implementation, meaning the employees do not follow the new standards. In my last post we already saw that pressure ("the stick") doesn't work very well. The second option is the carrot. In this post I will show different "carrots" that are sometimes used to get employees to follow the new standard. However, most of them won't work very well either. What often works best is actually simply treating people with respect – but I will talk about this in my next post.

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Employee Motivation and Lean Implementation – Part 1: Carrot and Stick: All too often, good ideas for a lean implementation fail because workers won't use the new ideas. They simply stick to their old habits. And, no matter how good the ideas are, if they are not used, then the improvement project is a failure. In this post I want to talk about this common problem in industry. The solution is – in theory – easy: Get your people motivated! Doing this in reality, however, is an extremely challenging task with an often-unknown outcome.

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Changeover Sequencing – Part 2: This second post on changeover sequencing looks at the complexity of changeover options, how to optimize the sequence, and how to communicate it reliably to the shop floor planners. (First post here.)

There are different ways to manage workers in an manual U-line. One of these methods is known as the "Rabbit Chase," also known as the “Caravan Approach” or “Operators-in-Motion.” The workers always move in a circle and handle all processes in sequence.

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There are a few factors that can influence lot size: machine batch size, changeover time, size of the container, shipment sizes, and the size of your customers' orders, which then are combined in the set up of the information flow. All of these factors can be influenced to move toward the true north of lot size one! Also, do not confuse the lot size with the number of parts per kanban. They are related but can be different. In this series of three posts, let me explain in more detail how the factors come together for you to determine the lot size of your processes.

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In my last post I described how to prepare for the implementation of a kanban system. This post goes into more detail on the actual change to the new kanban system. You surely know that every part should have a kanban. But what do you do if you have more kanban than parts? What do you do if you have more parts than kanbans? Find the answers below.

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Designing a kanban system on paper is much easier than implementing it on the shop floor. In many of my previous posts I discussed the design of a kanban system in detail. In these two posts I will discuss the steps needed to actually put the system on the ground.  This first post is the preparation, and my next post will be the actual switch to the new kanban system.

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A kanban is, in its basics, information to reproduce or reorder parts. Hence, in its most basic form it has to say "make me this part" or "bring me this part." While such very simple kanban systems are possible, usually it helps to include other information on the kanban card. In this post I want to talk about the design details of a kanban card, especially what kind of information we should include on the card. Please note that the items on the list below are suggestions. Which ones you actually include depend on the system you want to establish.
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