Strategos Lean Briefing

The Newsletter of Lean Manufacturing Strategy
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9 June 2004             

Inventory, Variability & Little's Law

How Variability Corrupts The Process

Variability is a devil that corrupts a process and creates waste. It produces defects and complicates material flow. It confuses, unbalances, hinders and panics nearly everyone. Variability also causes the strange relationship between capacity, inventory and delivery discussed previously.

Almost every element of Lean Manufacturing either reduces variability and/or enhances the ability to cope with it. Statistical Process Control (SPC) is the most obvious example, but there are many others on our new page, "Variability & Lean Manufacturing." This page gives another perspective on a complex subject.

Variability and related issues are important in a well-thought-out Lean Manufacturing Strategy. They require considerable reflection at the highest levels. Our page on "Strategic Implications" discusses some salient pints.

Inventory, capacity, variability and strategy are also part of our online/onsite seminar, "Strategic Scheduling." This unique program helps managers think about scheduling as it relates to finance, marketing and other strategic elements.

I hope these new additions bring new insights and understanding. Writing them has certainly helped clarify my thinking on these issues. As a result, I have expanded my previous article that is available as a free download.

All The Best,

Quarterman Lee

Please feel free to forward this Lean Briefing to colleagues or use it in your publication. We only ask that you do so in its entirety. Copyright 2003 Strategos, Inc.

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