LEAN - To be or not to be?

Discussion in 'REME' started by Tiffybadboy, May 4, 2008.

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  1. I know that LEAN has been done to death everywhere, but I thought I would drop this in to see what others may or may not have "heard".

    I was having a little chat with one of our illustrious leaders recently who mentioned that, strangely enough, LEAN wasn't working for the Corps and it was going the way of the Dodo. Is this new news or have I just been too busy implementing and planning LEAN stuff to notice?

    Is the head shed now in the market for the next civi big thing? (I can picture field rank officers running around like blue arrsed flies now to try and impress and feather nests!!)

    If it is on the way out, how many people out there will acknowledge that the masses were bang on? Perhaps then, someone should have not said put up and shut up and listened instead of chasing that elusive MBE, OBE or whichever one they don't yet have.

    Enlightenment required. Moi, a cynic? Noooooooooo!!
  2. LEAN Smean.

    Just another fancy system in place of good old management and common sense, but without the systematic logistic support required to make it work properly.

    You need ample manpower for a start, which is downfall number 1!!!
  3. It's being tried in several areas, but in reality for REME it's of no real use, LEAN was brought into production lines and works well in that atmosphere as you always know what you need, for a car you need a set BOM to build it. Now think about a LR Wolf coming in for a servicing, through knowledge you know several areas that could be the fault, but it could be anything, so you can't really hold minimal spares, you can't set out the workshop for set tasks because again it could be anything and you can't have set times to fix it as again it could be a 5 minute fix or a 2 day slog.
  4. Lean thinking and Lean lines are two different things. Lean lines do have some use in the REME but are not necessarily ideally suited to every process. Lean thinking is simply making things more efficient from formal processes to how an individual soldier looks after and maintains his tools.

    The Navy and RAF seem to have bought in to Lean on a much larger scale than the ARMY. To the extent than the RAF have Lean teams on each base that deal with making things more efficient in everything from human resources to ES.

    If Lean is not working where you are it can be down to a number of different things from lack of knowledge so get some people on Lean courses or could be good old fashioned week leadership!!

  5. If Lean is not working where you are it can be down to a number of different things from lack of knowledge so get some people on Lean courses or could be good old fashioned week leadership!!!

    Now that's just a nasty comment!! Never said it wasn't working where I am, we don't do it!!!!!!

    As for "week" (?) leadership, smells like an orifice who likes to blame his seniors when his arrse decissions turn to sh1t.

    As for the Navy and RAF, I have seen the effects it is having in the RAF, and trust me, they hate it as much as the next man. When they don't have enough men to run equipment because their manpower has been Leaned, something might drop out of the sky soon!!!!!!

    So, is the Corps going to drop it or not? A simple yes or no from you Dave if you please (You must be a LEAN Legend) :?
  6. I am not involved in decision making at Corps level but my guess would be that Lean is here to stay for the foreseeable future. I am sure you are in the same boat as most of us, constantly having to try and do more with less. I can’t afford for my guys to work any way but as efficiently as is possible and lean if used properly is a good tool to help alleviate some of that burden and reduce waste.

    Let’s be honest this is nothing new to people who have been working efficiently for years. As far as I am concerned Lean is nothing more than common sense and basic efficiency bundled with continuous improvement. I don’t know why people would want to shy away from it.


  7. As you say the principles have been in place in many workshops for years, LEAN is an entire process that was brought in by Toyota as part of their TPS system. The reasons it works well is that the maths ties up, lets say you have 20 bays and need to produce 50 cars a day, they will workout the most efficient way to do this, they will check for bottlenecks, staff movement, spares issues and so on to bring it down to the most efficient use of manpower, space, stores and machinery.

    As i said above, the problem with this environment is that it was brought in for and produced by car manufacturers who make brand new cars, they know exactly what they need every single day and everything is accounted for, this can't happen in a reconditioning/maintenance environment unless you know what will go wrong with every vehicle and exactly when this will happen.

    An example would be that you have your bays setup for maintaining you fleet of vehicles, suddenly a mod comes in and every vehicle needs this mod, suddenly you're having to choose to maintain or implement the mods, your timetable slips, your spares issues also slip due to having to order in the mod kits, etc. This doesn't even take into account the vehicles that just break down or have accidents.

    For me, and i'm a guy who has been on LEAN, SIX SIGMA and other processes you just need to do what the guy above said, sit everyone down and work out the best way of doing the job, you can work out how many manhours you have each week, what your spares situation is and other things so using this data you can hopefully work out how to do the present workload and also look at what types of situations might occur. Another good thing to do is to set out workshops properly, this means removing bottlenecks (if test rig A is used twice as much as B then do you require another one?), also the layout is important, why have a guy walking 100 yards to a rig when the rig could be moved?

    This all comes under LEAN, but to me it's been in practice for years, it's common sense and signs of a good team working well together, so i prefer calling it common sense instead of LEAN.
  8. The fact that lean works is in the car manufacturing industry is indisputable, or is it? How can it be lean if you are actually manufacturing products without a customer. Recently did a civvy college course where lean was a very emotive subject, one of the lads is actually a 6 sigma blackbelt & admitted it can only work in certain industries.

    Continuous improvement is probably the right way to do things, to try and encapsulate the whole ethos is madness in my mind.

    Lucky I finished before the DEME A lot brought this in or I probably would of got sacked for resisting wholesale changes.

  9. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    Six sigma, or thinking and using common fecking sense!
  10. msr

    msr LE

    In the nineteen-nineties, a McKinsey study of companies that had put quality-improvement programs in place found that two-thirds abandoned them as failures. Toyota’s innovative methods may seem mundane, but their sheer relentlessness defeats many companies. That’s why Toyota can afford to hide in plain sight: it knows the system is easy to understand but hard to follow.


  11. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    Why we bother trying to emulate the yanks when the nips do it all so much better. We should let them try and run this sceptic isle and I'm sure we'd all be watching cartoon porn in no time. The yanks are just fecking barmy by comparisom.
  12. Our lord and master from ES Br Towers was here recently and the emphasis has definately moved from lean lines to lean thinking. Essentially saying that dont bother setting up long winded fussy 'production lines' but think efficiently and use common sense in your planning.

    Hang on, was'nt that total quality? Or was it just the way we've tried to do things for years anyway (well, forced to do things in reality due to manpower and spares shortages).

    Its all just pshyco babble for 'get on and do your job, Tiff, but god help you if you waste time or resources doing it'.

    The Commander was wanting it applied to everything - from Matts to booking out and to be honest, I'm b@ggered if I can see a way to apply it to booking out, and in my last 8 months I'm sure as feck not going to waste any time trying it either!

    The 6 S thing was very usefull - but again, just common sense in a new wrapper.
  13. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    And business' all over the UK fall over themselves to slavishly follow the latest pronouncements from the US School of taking your clients for a ride!
  14. Six Sigma was binned by a lot of companies for TPS (Toyota Production System), which was a good thing as 6S was a bit wanky in places and TPS was really just about getting it done the most efficient way.
  15. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    The reason it was wanky is because its sucking eggs in our industry, we have always planned our major jobs with risk and designed it out and run what if workshops. It used to be called common sense. The problems arose when the yanks moved in and imposed KPIs which they couldnt meet. We always reviewed ch major phase before hand and postponed if it wasnt ready, the worst thing you can do is pish about your paying customers who have little choice. Its better to look at the whole improvement moving slightly (although we always were realistic planners as we never had the cash back then) back in time than to disrupt everyones week and make the national news!