by Dr Will @ Iconic

Scrap Attack

Posted by Amos Hunt on Jan 2, 2014 6:28:00 AM

There's at least one case in which pushing for maximum efficiency can actually slow down an operation. This particular instance involves a certain muda I didn't discuss in my "Lean on the Green" series: defects. If something goes wrong in your process, and you don't catch it promptly, it's going to cost you. When it comes to quality control, it's pay now or pay later. Every step in the process adds to the potential cost of a defect, and the farther along the flow unit gets before a defect is found, the more it costs to start over. This cost is especially bad if you don't catch the problem until after your flow units have passed through the bottleneck. Before that point, each of your resources has some capacity to spare, so that the extra motion won't be too taxing. But the bottleneck by definition is already operating at capacity.

Keep in mind that a flow unit can be anything that undergoes a defined process, whether it's a widget on the shelf or a customer in the store. Just as you would want to inspect materials or ingredients early in a process, you want to verify the quality of your customer's experience before they get too far in.

All of this is one more reason to identify your bottleneck, so you know where to concentrate your quality control, and also to anticipate normal attrition, lest you count your chickens before they hatch. Stay tuned for a complete demonstration of how to make these calculations.

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Topics: bottleneck, flow unit, waste, Process, Advice

Finding the Bottleneck with Complex Flow

Posted by Amos Hunt on Oct 24, 2013 1:45:25 PM

In the last installment of our Operations series, we showed you how to create a process flow diagram, but we didn't show you what to do with it. The usefulness of the diagram is that it makes it easy to see which groups of customers are placing demand on each resource. This information, combined with the inherent capacity of each resource, gives you the "implied utilization" of each resource, that is, the work that each resource would do relative to its capacity, if all the flow units moved unimpeded through the system. Whichever resource has the highest implied utilization is the bottleneck.

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Topics: processes, flow unit, Process

Analyzing Flow with Multiple Paths

Posted by Amos Hunt on Sep 27, 2013 4:00:18 PM

The funny thing about "the average customer" is that no such person exists. No matter how much you learn about this fantastical creature, you still know nothing about any particular person who comes into your store. If some of your customers are spending a lot of time setting up registries, others are making exchanges, and still others are just browsing, the "average customer" might be staying for 20 minutes, while all of the actual customers fall above or below that number.

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Topics: processes, flow unit, customer, Process

Calculating Inventory Turnover (with PostBooks Example)

Posted by Amos Hunt on Sep 19, 2013 3:20:44 PM

Mathematicians developed Little's Law (which we discussed in last week's post) to solve a limited problem of measuring customer flow. The idea was to prove that you could calculate the average time spent by a customer at a location by dividing an average head count by the average arrival rate. But it turns out that this handy formula can be used to calculate the flow rate of any kind of inventory at all.

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Topics: flow unit, Inventory, Technical, operations managament, ERP, Process, postbooks

Glug, Glug, Glug: Bottlenecks and Antagonistic Waiting

Posted by Amos Hunt on Aug 22, 2013 4:31:07 PM

You gently tilt a bottle of wine (or soda, if you’re a teetotaler) and watch a steady, slender stream of your liquid of choice descend into your glass. That’s nice, but you want more, faster, so you turn the bottle up a little more. The stream widens (and so do your eager eyes). But it’s still not enough, so you turn the bottle on its end. Suddenly that steady stream disappears and is replaced by a bursty, messy, series of explosions. Somehow, less liquid comes out of the bottle instead of more, and half of what does come out lands on the table instead of your glass.

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Topics: relationships, bottleneck, customers, processes, flow unit, Inventory, Retail, Process

Customers Are Inventory Too!

Posted by Amos Hunt on Aug 15, 2013 7:18:29 AM

If you’re wary of operations management, the title of this post might sound like just what’s wrong with business these days: customers shouldn’t be treated like anything but people, right? Do you really want to start thinking of them as numbers? Businesses that do that are quite diabolical!

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Topics: customers, processes, flow unit, Inventory, operation management, Process

Iconic BMS is dedicated to helping you make your brewery Iconic ... by providing the techniques and technology to improve your operational excellence.

Your brewery is focused, as it should be, on your beer and your customers.  The "business of the brewery" is that set of activities common to all businesses that make your organization effective and efficient.  Improvements in the "business of the brewery" help you improve by freeing resources to focus on what is most important - the Customer ... and the beer!

This blog will cover more than just techniques and technology, though.  Included will be all manner of information that takes a brewery from fantastic to Iconic.

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