Application of Lean Tools & Techniques to Product Design

What are some of the basic Lean tools?

Lean is the subject of many doctorates and a lot can be read about it online, but here is a quick summary of some of the basics which have been applied to the design of LeanPac® system of products. The foundation lean tools applicable include Workplace Organisation (5S) and Visual Workplace(VM). The below is a quick and extremely simplified explanation.

Workplace Organisation (5S)

Strapline: 1 step 3 seconds, get what you need when you need it

1.     Sort – Limit the space to induce the bringing of essentials and working items only (some will have more “essentials’ than others).

2.     Set – A place for everything and everything in its place. Allocated homes for all essentials, for easy identification and access without over-processing. The flexibility of moving and changing “homes” is fundamental to LeanPac-ing.

3.     Shine – Neat and tidy, always. Making sure essentials are returned to their allocated homes in good order and replenished to reduce having to tidy up all the time. For example, facilitate quick tidying along the way instead of accumulation for a bigger tidy up later

4.     Standardize – Allow easy maintenance of the standard and constantly looking out to improve the packing and travel process

5.     Sustain – Keeping the routine and enhancing the mindset of being lean. This is in order to optimize and enhance the traveling experience, time and time again. Plus, lead by example to empower others surrounding you to do the same.

Visual Workplace

Strapline: Good visual management needs no interpretation and provokes the correct reaction.

●     Quick identification of items instead of rummaging and searching. For example, the ability to see what items are in the bag. Good visual management will allow us to immediately know how many pairs of clean underwear left, and the correct reaction is to either do some laundry or not.

●     Draw your attention to “problem areas” and implement “corrective” actions. For example the need to replenish shampoo in the 100ml container for the next trip? Situation assessment: used/unused, clean/soiled, charged/uncharged etc.

Some more specific application will come through, within the product descriptions.