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Lean Tools

Is your company interested in sharpening its skills and strengthening its knowledge of Lean principles and practices?

Photo of workerLean Tools training offers companies the ability to build on their strengths and broaden their understanding of the type of changes they can achieve through the application of a lean enterprise. The Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center-West (The Center) will help guide that learning through a systematized application to achieve improvement in safety, lead-time, and through-put.


Value Stream Mapping

Value Stream Mapping identifies wastes and constraints in your current value stream. It develops a methodology for accurately assessing the current state and future state processes and uses activity-based process modeling techniques to capture cost, time, and other operational data along any given Value Stream.

In this session, participants develop a current state map, future state map(s), and implementation plan. Participants will learn the principles of VSM and create the maps and implementation plan over several sessions. Each session will advance the learning and include homework for the team to practice and collect additional data for the next session.

5S Visual Control/Visual Management

This unit involves the workforce in creating a visual standard and infusing the workplace with information critical to the efficient execution of day-to-day operations. Participants will learn how to create, maintain, and improve the standard so exceptions/variation are visual and action can be swift to identify root cause and correct the problem. Participants will practice the five step process by applying the tool on a selected area.

Work Cells and Continuous Flow

The workshop concentrates on operator-based cells to design and manage simple, inexpensive, flexible, and reliable operator-based processes. Participants will use methods and techniques to create an operator balance chart, identify the key issues causing material to collect, calculating the needed inventory at each location, and determine how to balance the flow of material to the cycle time of the work.

SMED/Change Over Reduction

SMED (single minute exchange of dies) is a four step process to reduce the time a machine is down during change over from the last good part of the last run to the first good part of the next run. The process analyzes the current changeover process, identifies the waste, identifies the internal and external activities, separates the two activities, and standardizes the process. Most companies can reduce down time due to change over by 50% for machines that have not been analyzed without expending capital. Participants will learn about the process and apply the learning by actually analyzing a changeover of a machine at their organization.

KanBan/Pull Systems

Pull system is a tool to convert a current push into a pull scheduling system, leveling inventory and production, and creating a simple direct communication system between the internal customer and supplier. Pull Systems are a visual means of managing customer order flow between processes based on actual demand and consumption. This workshop will tie the either finish goods to production planning in assembly or the assembly to the batch process of stamping depending on what is identified in the VSM.

Kaizen Event

Kaizen Events are a structured and rapid improvement process, one of many tools in a Lean enterprise tool kit. It focuses on achieving high levels of involvement with people impacted by the event. The learning obtained by Kaizen Event participants instills knowledge about the reason change is important and how to use various Lean Enterprise tools to collect data and solve problems. The energy achieved through a Kaizen Event will increase continuous improvement and sustain the gain that may not be achieved through other continuous improvement activities. This learning can either be taught through a hands-on workshop or through conducting a mini Kaizen Event.

Further Training

Some advance topics that would be beneficial to an organization as they progress through the lean journey includes the following:

  • Lean Administration/Office
  • Daily Management and CI Boards
  • Accountability Boards
  • Leaderships' Standard Work
  • Gemba Walks
  • Toyota Kata
  • Production Leveling

To get started or learn more, please contact us.