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Chinese New Year (CNY), the most disruptive event in China, officially begins on February 5th, 2019. The rush, and subsequent slowdown, often much sooner than that depending on the facility.

Most businesses come to a standstill for the holidays as a flood of workers return to their home villages to be with their families. The Telegraph reported in 2017 that the country's authorities expected the nation to make around 2.5 billion trips by land, 356 million by rail, 58 million by plane and 43 million by sea during Chunyun (春运) — the world's largest annual human travel season. 

And after the holidays, many workers stay home and don't return to their factories. General managers are left scrambling to find and train replacements. So even if the holiday itself is only 3 weeks long, companies can take nearly 2 whole months to return to pre-holiday production levels!

It doesn't have to be this way. If a factory plans its operations correctly and makes changes before and during CNY, it can quickly regain full production and be a stronger, leaner manufacturing machine.  


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Topics: Process Improvement, Manufacturing Consulting, Lean Manufacturing, human resources

The Trade Tariff Ceasefire: What is it and what does it mean for you?


Anyone involved in trade and manufacturing knows that the trade row between the United States and China is not good for business. Rising tariffs on both sides create price increases that are felt in almost every industry.

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Topics: Process Improvement, Manufacturing Consulting, Cost Reduction, Lean Manufacturing

The idea of factory process improvement is something a lot of factory owners and managers in China are resistant to, but the truth is that improvement can be effectively managed and scaled up by simply starting out small.


Using “mini-projects” instead of wholesale factory shake-up is a great way to bring the team around to the idea that change can be good.


In this article, we’ll discuss how one can get started on the road to factory process improvement and how to scale it up to larger improvements.

 

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Topics: Process Improvement

How many times do you go to meetings that get nothing done?  


Why is so much time wasted?


Some planner, production manager, or even the boss leads the meeting and only coffee, and sometimes not even that, can keep you awake.


Do you often wonder, “Isn’t there a better use of my time?”


There is!


In this article, I’m going to share 3 easy tips you can put into action today to laser focus your factory meetings around your company’s most important goals: quality, cost, delivery, safety and morale.

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Topics: Process Improvement

Many factories will quickly offer the credentials, such as ISO certification, as proof of their production management systems. However, this is often (not always) a paper facade that masks the real systems and processes in the factory. Let's take a closer look at a recent factory visit to see how simple it can be to get beyond the veil and starting improving systems today.

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Topics: Production planning, Process Improvement

There are two main causes for production bottlenecks:

  1. Poor line balancing – some jobs are running slower than others, and materials pile up in front of the slowest ones.
  2. Poor process control and/or poor maintenance – the equipment does not run as it was designed to run. It is often down or busy re-processing materials.

In this post I'll focus on the first cause...

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Topics: Avoiding bottlenecks, Process Improvement

A few weeks ago I read an article titled; 'Is there a formula to predict or evaluate the success of a lean implementation?' written by Art Byrne. He has led Lean transformations in the US for 30 years at very senior levels, so he has a few ideas about what process improvement goals are realistic. Read on to explore this further...

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Topics: Management/Turnaround, Process Improvement

Tired of improvement initiatives that get everybody excited, but die after 2 months? 
Frustrated by changes that don't "stick" in the long term? 

CMC's manufacturing consultants have formulated a tried-and-tested process improvement framework that we use when working with clients to improve their manufacturing operations.

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Topics: Management/Turnaround, Process Improvement

In the course of our work, we see organizations that tackle ambitious projects, select some lean process improvement tools, and fail miserably.
CMC published an example that combines several of these mistakes in this article about problem solving. I think we see such an example 3-5 times a week, sadly.

Here are 4 common mistakes one needs to watch out for... 

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Topics: Management/Turnaround, Lean Manufacturing, Process Improvement

Many readers shared an article we published two weeks ago, Setting Up A Step-By-Step Process Improvement Plan In Your Factory, and we got some great feedback. By popular demand, we decided to dive deeper into this topic.

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Topics: Management/Turnaround, Process Improvement

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