HomeNewsArticle Display

AFSO21 Reading list

RAF Mildenhall -- The Gold Mine: Balle

Personal Evaluation: An easy read, truly well written, set in a fictional setting that clearly depicts lean concepts. This book talks about how important it is to the success of a lean transformation to show people respect and to get them involved because your people -- not the experts -- are the ones who improve processes every day.

Overview (from www.lean.org): The Gold Mine: a Novel of Lean Turnaround deftly weaves together the technical and human pieces of implementing lean manufacturing in an engaging story that readers will find both compelling and instructive. Authors Freddy and Michael Ballé have produced the first integrated and systematic approach to a set of ideas that have maximized value and minimized waste throughout the world.
At the heart of the Gold Mine is Bob Woods, a curmudgeonly sensei coaxed out of retirement by his son Mike to help boyhood friend Phil Jenkinson save his struggling company. Despite terrific products and a backlog of orders, Phil's company cannot generate enough cash from its operations to pay its bills. And so Mike enlists Bob to help his pal fix this crisis.
"You're trying to deal with your mess as if it was a technical problem," Bob tells Phil. "Move this machine here, change this design there, which it is to some extent, but ... it's all about people. You have a leadership problem not just a production or business problem." As Phil begins to tackle the key challenges necessary to improve his company's operations, he comes to understand the deeper points of lean. Readers will also draw powerful insights from his journey.
The Gold Mine presents all the key lean principles, ranging from well-known ideas such as pull and flow, to lesser-known yet equally important principles such as jidoka and heijunka. The book also reveals lean as a system--using a realistic story to show how the principles are interrelated and how they lead to useful tools such as kanban or 5S.
"The Gold Mine is the first book to comprehensively introduce all the lean tools by means of a vivid personal story showing how hearts and minds are won over, said publisher James Womack, LEI president and founder. "It will spark ah-ha's from everyone who has been there and provide profound insight for those who are just getting started."
"Reading The Gold Mine is like eavesdropping on a sensei dispensing gems to a client," says co-publisher Daniel Jones, founder of the Lean Academy in the UK. "Readers, especially those individuals working on the shop floor, will gain revelation and inspiration by living through the experiences of the hero. Managers and executives just beginning a lean transformation will learn valuable insights about how to sidestep the technical and people problems that lay ahead. And experienced lean thinkers will discover fresh insights about overcoming resistance to change."
While The Gold Mine represents LEI's first book of fiction, Womack envisions it as a natural complement to the workbooks that have established themselves as the leading guides for learning lean. "The Gold Mine was created on the premise that people have different learning styles, and that a set of ideas based on the shop floor--where the action takes place--can be grasped intuitively by illustrating how one particular company responds," he says. "It complements our established products by presenting a different but equally vital method of sharing knowledge."

Page 25: Quality is designed (built) into a product, not inspected into the product. Also, non-quality is built into a product, i.e. someone or something put it there.

Page 25: Anything that does not add value to the product is inefficient. So when you walk a process, always look at people first and foremost, and count:
· Line operators actually working on a product
· Operators waiting
· Operators moving parts around and
· Operators just walking around, or talking, or asking question of their supervisor

Then check the ratio to see how efficient the process is.

Page 28: Eight types of waste (modified from the book to put in AF terminology):
1. Defects: create rework and more waste.
2. Overproduction: producing ahead of what is needed
3. Waiting: imposed by inefficient work sequence
4. Non-standard and Overprocessing: more than the customer requires
5. Transport: work flow is not direct or smooth
6. Injuries: take people out of the process
7. Motion: don't contribute to value
8. Excess Inventory: waste of space and money

Page 55: Set objectives based on eliminating waste. Look at what the workers do, imagine how it could be done flowing without a hitch and then establish the objective. No pulling figures out of a hat, i.e. don't create "off the hip" metrics--take the time to collect actual productivity measures prior to an event

Page 80: Three types of waste.
Muda: non-value added work
Muri: overburden; all the unreasonable work that management imposes on the worker because of poor organization, such as carrying heavy weights, moving things around,.. Unreasonable work is nearly always a cause of variation
Mura: unevenness...variation due to scheduling

Page 82: The original concept is zero defects accepted. Train people to identify their own defects and don't pass them on. Train people downstream to not accept defect. Bottom line: don't wait until the end - solve defects during the process.
Jidoka: Built-in quality, key concept is to make sure when a defect occurs, for whatever reason, it is stopped as early as possible in the value stream.

Page 105: Forget communication, it is leadership. Most management has no credibility on the work floor. Have the workers work out the problem.

Page 131 - 10 small steps of 10% are easier than one large step of 100%

Page 133: We produce regularly at takt time through pulling one piece at a time through the flow--to do this we must get rid of the variation in the operators' working cycle to get as close as possible to the minimum working content.--then we stabilize the working cycle through standardized work---reduce this minimal working content through kaizen, in order to further reduce the number of people on the line (at the same takt time)

Page 141: Leaders are needed at the very top, certainly, but every hierarchy tends to fill up with staff officers with far too much authority and not enough responsibility. The team leader has no hierarchical rank. He is part of the team. Team leaders are sergeants. One for every 5-7 operators.

Page 145: Team leader role:
· Five minute meetings at the start of the shift about the day's production target and the problems encountered the day or shit before
· Make sure standardized work is applied
· Making sure the schedule of production instructions are working
· Dealing with rework and quality problems
· Making sure 6S is maintained, and
· Doing the line's admin like the required data gathering

Supervisors are a level up and primarily focused on keeping the logistic working and looking out for potential problems.

Page 196: Sequence:
1. Sort out as many of the quality problems as you can, as well as downtime and other instability problems, and you get the engineers to worry seriously about internal scrap.
2. Make sure the flow of parts through the system is as continuous as possible, which involves setting up the U-cells and making some market locations, avoiding variations in the operators; work cycle
3. Drive in the notion of standardized work and make sure the pace of work stabilize through the various processes
4. Start pulling, so that no parts or materials move forward until they're called for. (even if that means setting up the perfect customer)
5. Even out the production flow by reducing batch sizes, increasing the rhythm of internal deliveries, and leveling your internal demand
6. Work day and night on kaizen and quality circles

Page 217: Six rules for kanban
1. The following process comes to withdraw from the previous process
2. The previous process only produces what has been withdrawn
3. Production or withdrawal only happens with corresponding kanban cards
4. No parts are allowed around the place without a kanban attached to them
5. Zero defects in the parts delivered by the upstream process
6. Reduce the number of kanban over time

Page 247: Lean is pragmatic first and foremost. You reason it out, and you figure out what you want to do! There is no set solution, it's just try it and see!

Page 263: Gemba attitude means that you make every decision based on the principle that real improvements only take place through a shop-floor focus based on direct observations...Toyota has more supervision on the floor than a traditional workplace, they just have different roles and perspectives.

Page 280: In most companies, people are ashamed of being linked to problems. In Toyota, it's a learning opportunity with your boss or mentor.

Page 288: Don't talk about problems in the conference room - GO TO THE WORK AREA!

Page 321: Managements task is to solve problems before the next work cycle---80% of time on the shop floor (challenging supervisors on anomalies, discussing counter-measures, looking to improve) -- cuts down on paperwork because you catch problems before they reach your office.