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Examples of Lean Visuals to Improve Your Facility

Examples of simple lean visuals to cover an array of lean principles

Tried-and-true lean visuals can help your lean facility increase productivity and improve employee safety in many ways.  Clearly marking instructive information at the point of need provides a quick and easy reference for employees.  I have outlined a few of these examples throughout this post.

Additionally, I have included the Slide Share presentation of our 50 Lean Visuals Pocket Book at the end, so you can actually take a look at some of the visuals I am referring to.  It is also available for download as well if you’re interested, so I will post the link at the end.

Without further ado, here is an outline of some visuals to target which I will go into more detail about:

  • Workplace organization visuals (5S)
  • Production & inventory control visuals
  • Safety & work instruction visuals
  • Equipment care visuals (TPM)
  • Facility and process visuals
  • Kaizen continuous improvement visuals

Workplace Organizational Visuals

Having key information at a point of need that is easy to understand and digest at a glance goes a long way in keeping your team informed and your facility safe.  Ever find a workplace with tools, equipment or materials out of place?  We all know that can lead to waste or worse.  But a simple tape job or a shadowboard can make sure that everyone using the equipment knows where to look for it, and effectively reinforces the behavior to return the equipment where it belongs.

Some key places to implement workplace organizational visuals include:

  • Vehicle traffic lanes and pedestrian walkways
  • Traffic intersections
  • Storage locations
  • Keep clear areas
  • “In use” and “out of use” storage locations
  • High traffic storage areas
  • Stocking fixtures
  • Frequently re-organized storage areas
  • Front and back of flow racks
  • Tool shadows
  • Draws, cabinets and toolboxes (inside and out)
  • Rejected materials for QA

Production and Inventory Control Visuals (material pull or kanban visuals)

There is a fine balancing act that must be done to maintain proper inventory controls.  Using lean visuals are a quick and easy way to identify when material is running low and needs to be reordered before it is out or to make sure you aren’t overstocking on a particular material. Some key places and methods to implement production and inventory control visuals include:

  • Maximum level indicators
  • Minimum level indicators
  • Tri-color material pull indicators (green = healthy; yellow = warning; red = resupply immediately)
  • Batter’s boxes and FIFO lanes
  • Kanban cards
  • Kanban labels on bins
  • Job scheduling boards with calculations

Work Instruction Visuals

Work instruction visuals are extremely effective at reducing waste.  Specifically waste of unnecessary movement and effort.  Simply placing a workflow diagram help employees remember the proper workflow.  Or schedules detailing the who, what and when provide an ideal check sheet to visually show when something has been completed.  Detailed and highly visual procedures are another way to reinforce the correct work instruction. Some key places and methods to implement work instruction visuals include:

  • Dance charts
  • Schedules and check sheets
  • Procedures
  • One point lessons
  • One point labels

Total Productive Maintence (TPM) and Equipment Care Visuals

TPM and equipment care lean visuals are a great point-of-need visual designed to ensure proper maintenance methods and timing.  A simple two-colored label can really highlight when a piece of equipment might be at risk or under performing.  They can also provide critical maintenance instructions such has part number information for reordering, lubrication type and quantity, and timing of the desired maintenance activities. Here are a few examples of TPM and equipment care visuals:

  • Lube points
  • Oil level indicators
  • Drive tension guides
  • Gauge labels
  • Normal and safe state visuals
  • Vibration test point targets
  • Replacement part visuals

Safety Visuals

When thinking beyond 5S and looking at it from a 5S Plus Safety perspective or 6S, having lean visuals specific to safety at the point of need is also important (and in many cases, required by law).  By simply posting hazard information where it can happen in a way that employees can’t miss the information or incorrectly interpret it, you can greatly reduce the risk of injury in the workplace. Here are some safety visual and practices to consider:

  • Proper formatting (to the ANSI Z535 Standard)
  • Point-of-need safe work instructions
  • Safety and fire protection equipment visuals
  • Safety and fire protection equipment floor marking
  • Hazardous areas or equipment identification
  • Electrical equipment identification (per the NFPA70E and National Electric Code)

Brady’s 50 Lean Visuals Pocket Book

There are many other lean visuals that you may find important to your facility.  Examples include facility and process visuals or kaizen continuous improvement visuals.  We have packaged all of these visual examples in this pocket book below:

The Slide Share presentation is a digital copy of Brady’s 50 Lean Visuals Pocket Book.  If you would like your own copy (physical or digital) you can find it for free here:

Brady 50 Lean Visuals Pocket Book

Have your own lean visual ideas or success stories?  Tell us about them in the comments.

Back to Basics

Can lean be turbulent?

The last time we met we discussed the correlation between servant leadership and core lean principles,  remaining on the path of how lean is intrinsically linked to other positive, value-based philosophies and methodologies, I would like to discuss the relationship between lean and fundamental principles of success, balance and happiness in life.

I know this sounds like a long shot at best, but what I am referring to has really hit close to home lately.  Consider  this, in Cecelia Wandiga’s December 11, 2013 article from www.sustainablebrands.com:  “Rethinking the Obvious: Lean and Sustainability,” she writes, “… to understand why Lean thinking is important I would use ‘streamline’ in noun form:
’1 : the path of a particle in a fluid relative to a solid body past which the fluid is moving in smooth flow without turbulence.” (Source: Merriam-Webster online).’

Finding the turbulence along the path of least resistance

The opposing relationship of lean and turbulence lends itself well to the course and everyday experiences of our lives.  From this I deduce that turbulence is the disruption of positive movement along a pre-determined path of least resistance, this is another way of explaining efficiency and, as we have already established, lean and efficiency are interchangeable.  In a psychological and socioeconomic sense we are the particles, in the Merriam-Webster definition of ‘turbulence’; that is to say, in relation to Cecelia Wandinga’s definition of ‘streamline’ I see lean as a beacon in one’s life journey of seeking, identifying and pursuing an efficiently streamlined path of truth and success.

The American Evolution of Lean Manufacturing: The Start and Current State

“It’s called “lean” manufacturing, and analysts say it enables managers to reduce redundancy, increase output and save capital that can be used to hire more workers.” This is an excerpt from a 2011 article written by James Rosen of Fox News.  Is this where Lean manufacturing is in 21st century America?

The father of the Toyota Production System

In 1948 Taiichi Ohno laid the ground work for what we have come to know as Lean manufacturing by unveiling his masterpiece of efficiency in the Toyota Production System. Throughout the ensuing decades, titans of the manufacturing industry have refined and expanded upon the groundbreaking concepts introduced by Taiichi Ohno and Eiji Toyoda to arrive at what we know today as Lean manufacturing.

My take on the current state of Lean Manufacturing in America

From my experience and research, I have found that Lean manufacturing, as it is practiced and understood within the American marketplace, all too often has been diluted and over-generalized.  More specifically, the fundamental understanding, practice and definition of 5S has suffered a significant divergence from what was originally developed, taught and practiced. 5S is so much more than a ‘clean and sweep’ activity; 5S is a foundational concept which serves as a core building block of the house of Lean.

Over the next couple of blog entries, we will be exploring the breakthroughs, successes, failures and culture specific aspects of the journey Lean manufacturing has taken in the American industrial workplace.  In my next post I will discuss personal experiences and opinions on 5S and its position as a core concept and system of Lean manufacturing.

Until then, stay Lean!

Lean Servant Leadership

Using servant leadership as a model for lean leadership

By:  Brian Harston

There is a lot of similarity between core lean principles and servant leadership.  Lean servant leaders win because they invest in and serve their teams.  Not the other way around.  Maybe it’s better to say, “Servant leaders wins when their team and stakeholders win.”   They will help their team achieve team goals and support or even defend the team’s interests.

Tim McMahon, from www.aleanjourney.com, sets the stage well.  He said, “Servant leadership is a philosophy and set of practices that enriches the lives of individuals, builds better organizations and ultimately creates a more just and caring world.”

When we truly place the interest of others and work toward the common good of a company or a team or a group, we find it helps out all parties involved.

Tying servant leadership and lean concepts together

Within the foundational concepts of lean manufacturing it is paramount to recognize and act upon the priorities of the collective above those of the individual; this focuses the resources, efforts and goals of the collective on the “big picture,” whether that be what is best for an organization, division, project, team or those we lead.

There are two main correlations between servant leadership and lean principles.  Below is a correlation between lean examples and examples from Robert K. Greenleaf, the founder of the servant leadership movement.

Robert K. Greenleaf’s core principles of servant leadership:

Greenleaf Principle:  Commitment to the growth of people.  “Servant-leaders believe that people have an intrinsic value beyond their tangible contributions as workers. As such, servant-leaders are deeply committed to a personal, professional, and spiritual growth of each and every individual within the organization.”

Correlation to Lean concepts:  A commitment to the growth of people speaks directly to the foundational concept of continuous  improvement.  Positive change and growth is accomplished through a commitment to continuous improvement of one’s self.

Greenleaf Principle:  Foresight. ”Foresight is a characteristic that enables servant-leaders to understand lessons from the past, the realities of the present, and the likely consequence of a decision in the future. It is deeply rooted in the intuitive mind.”

Correlation to Lean concepts:  Within a ‘lean journey’ foresight is the basis of an improved future state.  Lean focuses on current and future state mapping and goals; these goals are based upon lessons from past experiences which is the core foresight.

Here are some more examples of lean concepts that relate to servant leadership:

  • Drive out waste
  • Eliminating excess expenditure on non-value added processes
  • Continuous improvement

When we focus on devoting ourselves to the greater good of our teams, we inherently embrace these key lean values.  Like servant leadership, successful lean implementation never improves one process, group or area at the expense of others.

About the Author

Finally, I will take a quick moment to introduce myself.  My name is Brian Harston, I am Brady’s new Lean Implementation Leader and I look forward to bringing my experience to this blog.  To give you a quick overview, I have a master’s degree in manufacturing science with a focus on lean implementation and I worked with companies like Harley Davidson and Caterpillar.  I also served in 82nd Airbone Division 5th/73rd Recon.

The previous author, Rick Ruzga, is doing well and is focusing most of his time on his new company: Guided Business Solutions.  He has expressed interest in continuing work with the blog and plans to appear as a guest on future posts.

In respect to the work Rick has done for this blog, I will leave you with this:

“See with open eyes and understand with an open mind.”

How Security Can Fit in a “7S” Lean Program

By Brady Guest Blogger:  Rick Ruzga

7S Lean Program – Security or Spirit?

I am going to wrap-up this blog series with a reflection back to the original question that I was addressing – “what is a 7S lean program?”  Recall from 3 weeks back that I commented that companies added the 7th “S” to the toolbox to represent “security” or “spirit”.  These two elements really have very different intentions.  “Spirit” goes to the heart of a person’s behavior or attitude toward something.  If you have school spirt, you have exuberance for your school.  If you have lean spirit, you have zest for lean.  Security, on the other hand, is a little curious.  If you follow the 5S progression logically, you get to the back half which is:

Standardize – Sustain – Safety – Security

In this context, security can mean a few things.  If you are talking about a healthcare setting, safety and security might place a focus on the patient or creating an environment that makes it safe and secure for a patient to be in.  The other application might be that your facility is now safe and secure.

Security, the PDCA cycle and Positive Observation

Since the 5S cycle is really based off of the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle, this would indicate that you get to the security phase and then go back to the “Sort” phase.  You could apply security in the Positive Observation framework in the following situations to reward people:

  • Don’t allow others to follow them in a locked door that requires a badge to enter
  • Highlight the need to ensure that dock doors and loading areas are not areas that people can enter in to the facility
  • Have team members address people that are not allowed to be in their cell areas
  • Make sure that intellectual property and documents that are company property are disposed of in a safe manner (especially important in a 5S Office event)
  • At the end of a shift, team members make their equipment safe to leave unattended

You can see that if you wanted to add security to the 5S tool, there would be some logical tasks that team members could focus on.  A good starting point would be to perform a cross-functional security audit of your facility.  From a lean perspective, I would also put an emphasis on security in the work cells.  You use the standard fishbone categories – Man, Method, Machine, Material, Measurements, and Mother Nature – to make the audit more effective.

I hope this helps answer the original question about 7S.  As with all lean tools, the effectiveness lies in the hands of the practitioner – there is no silver bullet.  Many of the approaches overlap, but the key is that you get leadership support for your effort and team member buy-in.  Without the top and the bottom supporting your activities, you will feel like a solo artist.  Use your change management tools to ensure you have support.  Well, until we meet again, “see with open eyes and understand with an open mind.”

Positive Observation and Lean 5S

Supporting Your 5S Program with Positive Observation

By Brady Guest Blogger:  Rick Ruzga

I had some great questions last week regarding the graphic showing the “countermeasure class” on the production line method sheet.  Recall the “formula” that I described:


Many companies are adopting behavioral based safety programs that proactively reward situations that exhibit positive behaviors.  One such program, Positive Observation, allows any team member from recognizing fellow employees for doing proactive safety measures.  The categories could include those in the following:

Employee Focus

  • Eyes on task
  • Racing through task (improper pace, segregating hazards, etc)
  • Multitasking, peer pressure, overconfidence, mental stress
  • Visual focus or distractions in the immediate area

Human Factor

  • Proper PPE being used correctly
  • Travel path hazards (hoses, cords, slippery or wet floors, piping in path, dismantled equipment)
  • Vehicles and mobile equipment (seat belts, checklists, motion safety)
  • Containers properly labeled


  • Body positions (safe lifting, carrying, bending, pulling, pushing, stretching, twisting, etc.)
  • Work areas (work space clutter, exit routes, electrical panels, corridors clear, no trip hazards)
  • Supervisory role (pre-job briefings, operator preparedness, required docs, work coordination)


  • Waste material disposed of properly
  • Safety barriers/warning signs (used when needed, missing/ignored, repositioned)
  • Cut or puncture hazards (knife left open, cutting disc left out, sharp objects ignored, etc.)
  • Lockout/Tagout procedures being followed or implemented

General Safety

  • Dust maintenance (dust wiped off fire heads, schedule complete)
  • Door closed where necessary
  • Resin delivery no violating storm water requirements
  • Emergency contact info by phone and current
  • Exits clearly identified
  • Equipment and tools in good condition
  • Blades and sharps stored and/or disposed of safely
  • Rack storage / product storage adequate

EHS Equipment

  • Fire equipment in good standing (extinguisher present / properly hung, monthly checklist completed)
  • Emergency kits available
  • Suspended ceilings – sprinkler head escutcheons in place
  • Fire cabinets in good condition and used to store only flammables (no tape, gloves garbage, tools)


  • Electrical equipment managed properly (all disconnects / breakers labeled, electric panels closed)
  • No exposed wiring, frayed/deteriorated cords, splices, or taps
  • No extension cords used in place of permanent wiring
  • Plugs/receptacles in good condition, properly covered, no openings or holes

Production Equipment

  • Required inspection sheets completed (hoist inspection currect, forklift, fire extinguishers)
  • Required placards in visible and available (LOTO, machine guarding)
  • Machine guarding (barrier guards for moving machinery parts pinch point or point of operation)
  • Hand tools in good condition and stored properly
  • PPE available (safety glasses/goggles/face shield, hearing protection, leather/cut resistant gloves)
  • Equipment maintained with required safety zones unobstructed
  • SDS updated and available
  • Grounding straps/cords/clamps in use and in working order
  • Containers in good condition
  • Waste properly segregated

So, how would a positive observation culture support a 5S, 6S, or 7S program?  Additionally, could it supplement at company’s focus on TPM?

Glad that you asked.

Look at the suggested items in the bullets above – almost all items apply directly to your lean program.  For example:

  1. Visual Focus (distractions in the immediate area)
  2. Proper PPE being used correctly – Evidence of wear, proper usage, storage, etc)
  3. Body Positions (safe lifting, carrying, bending, pulling, pushing, stretching, twisting, etc)
  4. Lockout/Tagout procedures being followed / implemented

These can wrapped in to a positive observation initiative that is PART OF your lean focus. 

The first example would fit nicely with your 5S and visual management efforts by acknowledging team members that make visuals a priority in their work cell.  The second example would support your TPM / AM program and you could reward team members when they remember to wear a dust mask when doing a particular task.  The third example could highlight the need for ergo and motion assessments in a work cell that could be led by the team members during a 5S event.  Finally, the last example would support your 6S or TPM effort by following OSHA compliance requirements.

One thing that is a foundation for all of the positive observations suggestions in the table is that the company has a robust system that trains the team members in Abnormal from Normal and has standards.  Without these, any safety program, including positive observations, will not sustain.  Again, the purpose is to be proactive and not reactive, involve all team members, have leadership commitment and incorporate this thinking in to everyone’s daily routines.  Evaluate your company’s current safety system to see if a positive observation approach would be a benefit.  Take a few of the recommendations outlined above and implement a few TODAY.

Until next week, “see with open eyes and understand with an open mind.”


The Design Intent of Total Productive Maintenance (TPM)

Last week I mentioned the idea of “design intent” when looking at some of our current lean tools.  What I meant by that concept is that over time we lose track of what we originally expected our tool or CI approach to realize in benefits.  Most company’s 5S programs have evolved in to nothing more than housekeeping or cleaning initiatives.  The same can be said about our other lean tools like TPM (Total Productive Maintenance).

The original goals of TPM were to eliminate waste caused by accidents, emergency and unscheduled downtime, defects, and speed loses.  Equipment control is a top priority within the TPM system.  The thought is if you don’t control the equipment it will control you.  When you lose control of your equipment it can take on a life of its own.  TPM is a successful system because it promotes group activities among shop floor team members. The knowledge base received from team members is used to improve equipment reliability and productivity thereby lowering maintenance and operating cost. 

The traditional approach to doing preventive maintenance is clear cut:

  • Operators perform routine inspections and maintenance functions
  • Maintenance teams are responsible for more specialized maintenance and improving the maintainability of equipment
  • Engineers and specialists are responsible for improving the process

The above practice would not be acceptable for achieving the TPM targets, as they lack communication between production teams and maintenance teams.

There are six key steps that we’ve talked about in autonomous maintenance activities. Each of the key activities are equally important. Equipment 5S needs to be done before and after performing any maintenance activities when possible.  When a machine is being PM’d it has now become the maintenance team’s responsibility and is a direct reflection of the work that maintenance team is performing.  When 5S practices are used when doing maintenance work, the work area becomes safer, more organized, and improves the overall quality of work being done.  Learning about your equipment, coordinating activities, standardizing, recordkeeping, and kaizen are all key elements of autonomous maintenance.  The following is found in some of the early Toyota training on the topic:

Motives of TPM

  1. Adoption of life cycle approach for improving the overall performance of production equipment
  2. Improving productivity by highly motivated workers which is achieved by job enlargement
  3. The use of voluntary small group activities for identifying the cause of failure, possible plant and equipment modification

Uniqueness of TPM

The major difference between TPM and other concepts is that the operators are also made to involve in the miantenance process.  The concept of “I (Production operators) Operate, You (Maintenance department fix)” is not followed.

TPM Objectives

  1.  Achieve zero defects, zero breakdowns and zero accidents in all functional areas
  2. Involve people in all levels of the organization
  3. Form different teams to reduce defects and self maintenance

Direct Benefits of TPM

  1. Increase productivity and OPE (Overall Plant Efficiency) by 1.5 or 2 times
  2. Reduce customer complaints
  3. Reduce the manufacturing cost by 30%
  4. Satisfy the customers needs by 100% (Delivering the right quantity at the right time, in the required quality)
  5. Reduce accidents
  6. Follow pollution control measures

Indirect Benefits of TPM

  1. Higher confidence level among the employees
  2. Keep the work place clean, neat and attractive
  3. Favorable change in the attitude of the operators
  4. Achieve goals by working as a team
  5. Horizontal deployment of new concepts in all areas of the organization
  6. Share knowledge and experience
  7. The workers get a feeling of owning the machine

Safety is the result of the 5S principle.

Unsafe behavior at work, home or at play is extremely dangerous and has adverse effects on not only you but everyone working around you. Unsafe conditions are a result for poor 5S practices and may result in hazardous conditions.  If unsafe behavior and unsafe conditions are added together the result most certainly will be an accident.

When we combine the elements of TPM and 5S together when we’re understanding our processes, we create a situation where potential safety and ergonomic issues are identified and dealt with before operators begin the tasks.

The following segment was taken from a process method sheet from a production line:

prodess method sheet example

Notice that not only are the operator actions identified, but each task has an associated and quantifiable “countermeasure class” that provides a limit to allowable motion.  When you get to this level of understanding your processes, you start to realize how deep Toyota took their 5S practices to make them behavioral and a means to drive a safety culture.  This is design intent.

Look at your high risk processes and see where this level of scrutiny would be a benefit.  Until next week, “see with open eyes and understand with an open mind.”

Lean 5S, 6S and now 7S?

How does the lean 7S component, “Spirit”, fit into 5S?

By Brady Guest Blogger:  Rick Ruzga

I was asked recently about what I knew about the 7S lean tool.  Well, if you’ve followed me over the last year and half, you read my interpretation of 5S as both a tool and a culture.  I have talked about 6S and how companies have added “Safety” into the tool as an attempt to focus that as a behavior.  And now, 7S?

I did a little research on which companies were doing these new approaches, and it seems that either “Security” or “Spirit” have been added to the mix.  This is quite confusing to me.  Where do these fit in the overall process?  At the end of “Sustain”, do you now do something about security, safety, or spirit?  If you recall, all of the steps in the 5S process are verbs – sort, set, shine, standardize and sustain.  But, spirit is not a verb.  To me this is more of a foundational, cultural element that the company builds over time, and not a tool to deploy.

Design Intent

My engineering background leads me to think about “design intent”.  If I was looking at a part that had a specific attribute that I wanted to change – a hole, dimension, cut-out, etc – and I didn’t know why it was originally there, making the change might be a big mistake.  Design intent, for example, might tell me that the hole was put there to lighten the piece or make it more machineable.  It might have nothing to do with the customer wanting it.  The same could be applied to the 5S strategy and the original intent that it had for an organization.  Bottom line is that we all do some form of 5S in our daily lives – we might not think of it as a continuing application of the steps, but it is.

Let me give you an example.  If I was doing a construction project and building the item out of wood, I would first sort through all of the wood at the lumber store to pick out the best pieces.  The next step might be to set in order the saw, fixtures, cutting surface and measuring device.  Then, I would ensure the blade was sharp, the table was clean, the wood was de-burred and the tape measure was working.  To standardize, I might make a template piece so that all of the subsequent parts were the same.  Finally, I would sustain the process by making it making sure that I followed the steps over again.

Once the pieces were cut, I would sort through the nails, tools, and lumber to get what I need.  The next step might be to lay out the pieces to my drawing to make sure that I was following fabrication process, and so on.

Including spirit as a new “S” won’t change the process.  It’s foundational and needs to be inherent to the company culture for 5S to succeed.

The original design intent of 5S was to make the process become a cultural or behavioral way to performing our work.  That is where the “Spirit” comes in.  If a company doesn’t have a spirit of continuous improvement, it certainly won’t adopt one because it is the seventh step of some housekeeping tool.  Hence, my skepticism of the new 7S lean tool.  I will continue with some of the other “design intent” tools of lean in future blogs.

Until next week, “see with open eyes and understand with an open mind.”

The Importance of OEE in TPM

As a wrap-up, I wanted to review the importance of deploying a metric such as OEE to understand your current state of equipment performance.  Recall that OEE is a measurement that defines:

  • The percentage time a machine was actually producing quality parts compared to the time it was planned to be producing quality parts
  • The equipment’s actual productivity compared to the ideal productivity, during a specified period of time

The difference between actual performance and ideal performance is identified as waste, which must be eliminated.

One area that gets some discussion is whether planned maintenance time is considered a loss.  Planned downtime to perform preventive maintenance or operator performed maintenance tasks on a process should consider the following:

  • Planned maintenance activities reduce or eliminate unplanned machine failures
  • Planned maintenance time is removed (considered part of the unscheduled time) from the process
  • The amount of planned maintenance time may change on a weekly basis
  • Any fluctuations need to be reflected in the OEE calculation on the same weekly basis

There is not penalty for planned maintenance

By allowing planned maintenance time for the equipment, there is no penalty in the OEE calculation for performing it.  This ensures that maintenance is given appropriate time to finish the needed work on the equipment.  The objectives for deploying an OEE approach to your equipment include:

  • Monitors and improves performance of critical equipment to ensure plant delivery
  • Evaluates losses, identify causes and corrective actions especially on critical machines
  • Guides and monitors TPM implementation as part of a plant strategy
  • Prioritizes focused efforts based on OEE and criticality to plant delivery
  • Compares before and after OEE values to monitor impact of your team’s activities
  • Aides in evaluating capital needs for budgeting
  • Creates accountability for continuous improvement action

The last bullet is the most important as it assigns responsibility for the various big losses to individual owners within a department, all of whom have a direct impact on OEE.  A common misconception is that OEE is owned and managed by the maintenance department.  Through this series it should be obvious that elements of the 6 Big Losses are assignable to various functions.

Each team will need to:

  1. Track trends to monitor impact of corrective actions
  2. Capture operator’s notes for follow-up actions and future reference
  3. Develop routine / preventive maintenance plans
  4. Monitor impact of setup reduction efforts which often take the form of SMED events.

A great way to keep track of not only the people responsible for the 6 Big Losses but the other important elements is to combine the 6M’s tool (Ishikawa or fishbone diagram) with the losses as follows.

You can further highlight the current and future state needs by using this chart:

6 Big Losses combined with 6Ms tool fishbone diagram

Click To Enlarge – 6 Big Losses w/ 6M’s Tool

Including the 6 Big Losses in your pareto

You will need to place the information in a “four block” format that includes weekly and monthly 6 Big Losses paretos, a long term (8 or 10 week rolling) trend chart, and an action item section to attack the deviations from your OEE target.

Reviewing this four block needs to become part of your daily standard work with operators and value stream leaders.

four block pareto

Click to Enlarge – Four Block Pareto

I hope this series has been instructive.  If you looked at the amount of assets that we each have deployed in our operations and calculate not only the initial costs but the ongoing costs as well, you will get an appreciation as to why making this a focus is so important.  Stay tuned for the next exciting topic.  Until then, “see with open eyes and understand with an open mind.”

Implementing a TPM Program

How OEE Measurements Work in Your TPM Program

Now that the three elements of OEE have been briefly investigated, we need to look at how these measurements can become an effective portion of your TPM program.  In past blogs we’ve looked at ways that contamination and lubrication can be your biggest enemies when it comes to machine uptime.

Recall that the main reasons that machines require lubrication are to:

  1. Reduce friction
  2. Reduce wear
  3. Help dampen shock
  4. Cool moving parts
  5. Prevent corrosion
  6. Seal out dirt and contaminants.

With these factors in mind, you need to work through the steps of implementing a TPM focus program:

  • Select the TPM team & Steering Committee
  • Conduct initial inspection and equipment cleaning
  • Photograph the current state conditions
  • Clean the machine & eliminate any inaccessible areas
  • Tag any abnormalities
    • Make easy repairs now
    • Schedule any major repairs
  • Design inspection & cleaning along with lubrication standards to find items that wear or break
  • Train operators on new processes
    • Create visual One Point Lessons
  • Conduct inspections
    • Implement CI process for managing and sustaining change
    • Improve workplace with visual management
  • Review inspections and deploy audit process

A key part of sustaining the improvements will involve training the operators to various levels of skill.  The four important skills that need to be trained and acquired are:

  • The ability to discover abnormalities
  • The ability to correct abnormalities and restore the proper function
  • The ability to set optimal equipment conditions
  • The ability to maintain optimal equipment conditions

Creating a successful OEE initiative will require a simple and operator-supported methodology.  It needs to be simple because collecting data cannot become a major part of the operator’s job, and by doing so, it should be easier to support.  A good starting point would be an OEE worksheet like the one included below.  For each factor you should also include a pareto and countermeasure tracker for basic problem solving.

OEE Effectiveness Worksheet Example

OEE Worksheet – Click to Enlarge

I will conclude next week with some visual examples of a program that has been implemented effectively.  Until next week, “see with open eyes and understand with an open mind.”

Looking for more on TPM? 

Download this FREE TPM E-book:

Preventive Maintenance Made Visual

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Brady Corporation

Leader in Lean Implementation & Products

Brady Corporation is an international manufacturer and marketer of complete solutions that identify and protect premises, products and people. Brady's products help customers increase safety, security, productivity and performance.

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