Want to learn more about implementing lean and continuous improvement in a job shop environment? You've come to the right place. Job Shop Lean Manufacturing is dedicated to implementing continuous improvement in a job shop environment.
My name is Jason Van Wyhe, and I've been a manager and leader in manufacturing for over 25 years. I have experience implementing continuous improvement in job shop environments, including machine fabrication, printing, automotive, and metal fabrication industries.
There will also be other guest writers and industry leaders providing their insights and alternative perspectives so that this site can become a well-rounded resource.
So why did I invest a huge amount of time to writing and building a website on job shop lean manufacturing? Frustration. For years I was force-fed conventional lean theories in environments that didn't lend themselves to these theories. And when I looked for better answers, I found:
Hopefully this site is a step in the right direction and you can learn from my experiences.
The reader is a manufacturing manager or lean leader tasked with improving their organization. This work isn't meant for academia or consultants, although they may benefit as well. It is meant to be an aid for those who actually have to show results from their lean implementation
The reader has a basic understanding of lean manufacturing. I'm going to avoid rehashing basic lean theory here as there are literally thousands of books and resources that will teach you the basics. If you are new to lean manufacturing, here are some books I suggest:
As of writing this, it is 2018 and nearly every business in the world has had at least some exposure to lean manufacturing. I assume that at some point lean has been partially implemented in your organization, or more likely attempted and failed. I assume this process did not live up to your expectations, or you wouldn't be searching the Internet looking for better answers.
This last one is the most important. I assume the reader actually has a desire to attempt implementing lean, and will not simply make excuses like "Lean doesn't work in Job Shops". Implementing it the way it was done at Toyota probably won't work in your job shop, that much is true. But there is a lot of continuous improvement tools and lean strategies that will help your organization improve if you are willing to open your mind to them.
I use the term "job shop" rather loosely on this site to describe manufacturing operations that are low volume with a high amount of variation. These could be further broken down into the following classes:
Made to Order and Engineered Businesses
Small Lot manufacturers
I hope you enjoy the content I have created, and feel free to comment on articles you like or disagree with. Just because the answers I have found hold true in my experiences doesn't mean they will in your application, so be willing to challenge everything you are told. I am learning just as you are, and any feedback helps me on my journey as well.