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Lean management is an approach to continuous process optimisation. The methodology involves the entire value chain. The individual links are made more efficient and thus leaner. The main goal of lean management is to use various lean methods, procedures and thinking principles to coordinate all processes and activities in such a way that any kind of waste along the value chain is avoided in a holistic production system. This would result in the following main difficulties: Transporting information quickly and purposefully to the right places in the company. This is where the lean tool of shopfloor Management (SFM) comes into its own. The shopfloor board is the com- munication platform of SFM. Shopfloor takes place very close to the employees in a direct interaction between employees and managers. Staff are directly involved in the process and should and can contribute their own ap- proaches to solutions. The article provides an overview of the structure of shopfloor management (SFM) and proves that the goals set by the introduction itself – namely the optimised flow of information in the company with the involvement of all employees – are achieved through shopfloor Management. The method of a struc- tured interview with 63 respondents is used to obtain data. Key words: lean management, shopfloor board, shopfloor management INTRODUCTION and management consultants. Since the principles of At the beginning of the 1990s, a book entitled "The Sec- "Lean" can and have been transferred in principle to any ond Revolution in the Car Industry" [1, 2] was published. other industry, it can be said today that Lean Manage- In this book, the authors examined the differences in de- ment is a management and organizational concept that is velopment and production conditions in the automotive fundamentally oriented towards Lean Production, but in industry. In the process, the principles of a development extension aims to avoid any form of waste, errors and un- and production system were elaborated that placed par- necessary costs not only in production, but in all areas, ticular emphasis on efficiency and quality. This principle while time striving for the best possible quality at the has been called Lean Production [3, 4]. same . However, Lean Production is not a purely technical pro- cess plan, but rather the principles of a lean organization. The Core Idea Initially, Lean Production was mainly applied in the auto- Lean management means [8, 9] "creating value without motive industry and its suppliers. The methods of lean waste". The goal is to coordinate optimally all activities th management were developed in the mid-20 century by that are necessary for value creation and to avoid super- the Japanese car manufacturer Toyota [5, 6], which suc- fluous activities (waste, Japanese: Muda). This also in- ceeded in creating stable process organizations that are cludes transporting information quickly and presenting the basis for the quality level of its products. While pro- results in a clear form. The results are processes with a duction was originally the focus of interest, a manage- high degree of customer orientation, as the targeted and ment philosophy called "Lean Management" had flexible fulfilment of the customer's wishes is the basis for emerged with the subsequent adaptation by managers © 2022 Author(s). This is an open access article licensed under the Creative Commons BY 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) L. C. WESTER, M. HITKA – Shopfloor Management – a Tool of Lean Management 239 economic work with a high degree of efficiency. Precise C. Implementing the flow principle. One of the most im- process descriptions and descriptions of interfaces, sim- portant design principles of lean management is the ple organizational methods, clear regulations of responsi- continuous and smoothed flow of production, the flow bilities, early reaction to errors (in the product and in the principle. In many organizations, optimization takes process) lead to stable processes from which high-quality place within departmental boundaries, production products emerge [10, 11]. This results in some design ap- units are run at maximum productivity, but this func- proaches for lean management. (The list does not claim to tion-oriented approach does not necessarily lead to be complete and the position in the list does not indicate the optimum. If you look at the production process the necessary weighting in the application). from the product point of view, you notice the many 1. Concentration on the company's own strengths. interruptions to the flow in the form of intermediate 2. Optimization of all company processes. stocks and buffer stocks. From a lean management 3. Continuous improvement process (CIP), especially perspective, there is often considerable potential for with regard to quality. improvement hidden here, which also has a major im- 4. Orientation of all activities towards the customer (cus- pact on the efficiency of the entire value stream [3, 7]. tomer orientation). D. Introduce the pull principle. In many companies, pro- 5. Decentralized customer-oriented structures. duction is based on maximum machine utilization. 6. Internal customer orientation as a corporate mission However, if the company is oriented towards the cus- statement. tomer and the value stream is organized according to 7. Personal responsibility of employees and working in the flow principle, production must only take place teams. when the customer orders or when stocks have 8. Open information and feedback processes. reached a minimum. These order points form the im- 9. Attitude and cultural change in the company (Kaikaku: petus for production. With the pull principle, products Japanese: reform). are pulled through production from the customer's Hypotheses about shop floor management can be derived point of view instead of being pushed into production from points 2, 7, 8 and 9. The aim of the article is to test by planning specifications. and prove the following hypotheses in the course of the E. Aiming for perfection. Perfection cannot be achieved; article: it can only be aimed for. Standing still means going backwards. Since the framework, conditions are con- Hypotheses stantly changing and even bad habits quickly return it 1. The installation of an SFM will optimize the internal is important to ensure continuous improvement in a flow of information compared to the situation before lean production system. the launch. The so-called Continuous Improvement Process (CIP ) 2. By installing an SFM, the existing potential of the em- or Kaizen  (Japanese for change) are methods by ployees will be utilized to a greater extent than before which employees are continuously encouraged to ques- the introduction. tion processes and contribute ideas, thus further develop- 3. By introducing an SFM, employees at all levels are ing their own potential. more closely involved in the process. After all, they have the best view to their workplaces and the daily processes on the factory floor (shopfloor). LITERATURE REVIEW In addition, the lean management concept relies heavily The basis of lean management activities [11, 12, 13], ac- on visualization to make it easier for employees to apply cording to Womack and Jones , are the five core princi- the methods. In this way, achieved progress become ples that form the guidelines for reviewing the existing measurable and visible through key performance indica- system: tor systems. A. Define the value from the customer's point of view. As an example: Defining the value from the customer's point of view • effectiveness of equipment, means examining exactly what is to be produced and • stocks upstream and downstream of equipment, matching the products exactly to the customer's • lead time, needs. • costs, B. Identify the value stream. Identifying the value stream • working time, means examining the processes that are necessary to • number of employees, etc. produce the services from the initial product to the This is where shopfloor management  comes in. Expla- customer in detail. The value stream describes all ac- nation of terms: The English term "shopfloor" stands for tivities that are necessary to produce the product or "place of value creation" in German. Management is un- service. If you focus on these value-creating processes, derstood to mean all leadership and management tasks you avoid waste and support the orientation towards the needs of the customer. 240 Management Systems in Production Engineering 2022, Volume 30, Issue 3 for the production of goods and services, therefore man- • Genchi Genbutsu (Japanese: go and see for yourself) agement at the point of value creation. Shopfloor man- & Gemba (Japanese: the actual place): Leading the agement (SFM) is therefore understood as the optimiza- staff in the actual place. It is to be understood as a tion of management and leadership tasks of a production clear request to the managers to appear more often at or a process. Shopfloor management is applied both in the place of action again, i.e. in the production. Man- production and in the indirect sub-areas of a company's agers should again seek proximity to the shopfloor in service processes. All processes are adapted to the re- order to exchange more with employees (communica- quirements of the customers. The visualization of key fig- tion, knowledge transfer) and to develop a better un- ures and their reporting is not a new invention and has derstanding of the cause of the problem when finding been used in various forms for decades. In larger compa- solutions. nies, visualization boards are usually limited to production • Hoshin Kanri (Japanese: Literally: compass nee- data. However, pure visualization boards have some dis- dle/steering = directional management). Directional advantages compared to the shopfloor board. Previously, management with visionary goals from the top. key figures were not always transparent in terms of their Hoshin Kanri or Policy Deployment is ultimately a goal numerical basis and calculation. Secondly, the key figures management system used to project the long-term cannot be influenced by the employees and those in- goals of a corporate vision and the short – and me- volved can often only react to a problem instead of acting. dium-term goals of a company down to all areas, de- Another disadvantage is that there is no feedback on the partments and teams. key figures. Communication This is one of the real innovations: Communication  is closely linked to the leadership of "With a well-structured shopfloor board, all workplace- employees. "If you want to lead, you have to communi- specific data and information are available in such a way cate". Good communication is a prerequisite for avoiding that even an outsider could quickly get an overview of the misunderstandings. This communication takes place on team's tasks, processes and goals." Shopfloor is not just a equal terms and on the shopfloor. In this context, it is im- new controlling tool, but also a holistic management in- portant to promote and coach the self-management skills strument that aims at an optimal flow of information. of the employees – and thus their potential (see also un- How do you achieve this? der Leadership). One instrument is open-ended questions The employees are involved in the conception of the in which the employees are guided by the manager and shopfloor board from the very beginning. All those in- encouraged to reflect. Using these questions, the employ- volved select important key values. The ability of each in- ees should have the feeling that they have worked out the dividual to influence the value becomes clearer. Ac- success of the solution themselves. Being asked the right ceptance increases as a result. Through daily work at the question can help employees to put together information, point of value creation, those responsible continuously evaluate existing contexts and generate new ideas. Com- improve both in administration and production processes. munication is also an important factor in that the manager Here, the next innovation arises directly: responsibility – can get first-hand information. The flow of information everyone now bears a part of the responsibility, either by takes place in both directions. delegating a task that arises in the workplace or by each individual taking responsibility for achieving the common Visualization goals. [17, 18]. Every employee should be able to answer the following questions at the shopfloor board : Core elements of shopfloor management • What are the team's goals? Leadership • Which key figures are used to measure them? The element of leadership [19, 20, 21] is attributed as one • Is the deviation from the ACTUAL state to the TARGET of the most crucial roles in the context of shopfloor man- state recognizable? agement. The lean approach therefore places three ele- • What processes are running and what problems are mentary requirements on leadership: there? • Hansei (Japanese: The self-reflection). The need for • What improvements/measures are planned (CIP)? self-reflection and an open culture of error. Hansei is Key figures form the basis of the visualization used in this about refraining from assigning blame and developing context. Key figures should reflect relevant relationships a positive error culture. Against this background, mis- in a quantitatively measurable form. takes should be seen as something positive, offering the opportunity for continuous improvement and de- The second step in implementing the shopfloor idea: velopment. Structured problem solving The prerequisite for sustainable and structured problem solving is a systematic approach. The goal is not to imple- ment complicated methods, but to introduce methods L. C. WESTER, M. HITKA – Shopfloor Management – a Tool of Lean Management 241 that are independent of the employees level of education. B: Current facts of the day are constantly entered and sup- The development towards independent problem solving plemented. E.g. in department 12, work is planned by the is a learning process that goes beyond the implementa- company Maxi Mini on the fire extinguishing system on tion of a training course. 18.6.20 from 7:30 am. What is behind the SNQAK logic? Continuous Improvement Process (CIP) S: Safety CIP [16, 24, 25, 26] is an important building block for es- N: Sustainability tablishing a lean culture in a company. Thus, this approach Q: Quality also forms a partial foundation of the presented shopfloor A: Delivery management. The CIP method originates from Japan and K: Costs is known as KAIZEN (Japanese: kai = change, zen = good). S: Safety: under this heading, accidents and fire incidents Kaizen means change for the better and is thus intended of the previous day are documented for the board's area to strive for a never-ending improvement process. of validity and discussed with the board's participants. Questions arising from this: What can we do to prevent Example of a shopfloor board according to SNQAK logic this in the future? All health protection topics (e.g. The SF board shown here in Fig. 1 was introduced and con- measures to prevent pandemics) are also included under tinuously optimized in a company in the West German this heading. steel industry. Of course, shopfloor boards are always N: Sustainability: under this heading, plant malfunctions geared to a specific area of application and can therefore or interruptions to the process are documented and dis- be designed in countless ways – this example is only in- cussed with a view to improvement. tended to provide a visual orientation. Q: Quality: almost self-explanatory: achieved quality goals The respective function is described in the following text or deviations in the sense of errors in and around the based on the letter markings. product/process. Questions that arise from this: What can we do to prevent these errors in the future? A: Delivery: This is the category of performance indicators. R P B S N Q A K I Achieved tonnage/plant utilization/quantities shipped/electricity consumption etc. For a better classifi- cation of the values, they are always presented in a tar- get/actual comparison. K: Costs: An important aspect, e.g. how high are the fail- ure costs for a product if quantities fail due to quality de- fects. At the top of each section are fields for current topics from the individual subject areas whose processing can be as- signed to one or more participants of the shopfloor com- munication. For example: A certain defect has been de- tected in the product. Employee Huber is asked to take care of the correction of the error and to report on the Fig. 1 Shopfloor Board progress of the work the next day (next communication About the procedure on the SF board). I: At the end of the board, there is space for the collection Communication between employees and managers takes of tasks that cannot be completed within a 10-day period. place at least once a day on the shopfloor board [27, 28, If necessary, CIP (Continuous Improvement Process) pro- 29]. However, it can make sense to have the communica- tion take place several times a day in order to enable all jects are derived from the generated tasks. The partici- employees to have the same level of information, e.g. in pants of the SF Board determine the need themselves. the case of a multi-shift system. With good coordination of the shopfloor board and ap- propriate preparation of the participants, communica- R: Every board should start with this: Communication tions are possible in a period of about 15-20 minutes. The needs rules, of course. e.g. All participants arrive at the board in time! advantage of this is that the attention span of the partici- All participants are prepared for the meeting! pants is significantly higher over a short period than it would be the case of a long meeting. Every contribution is important! The Covid 19 pandemic and the resulting distance regula- We let each other finish! tions to avoid contact have meanwhile also produced P: At the beginning of a shopfloor communication, we first document the presence. This symbolizes both the im- purely digital versions of the shopfloor boards [9, 30]. In portance and a certain commitment. this application, a variant was chosen that was realized via Microsoft Teams and Microsoft One Note. However, pure 242 Management Systems in Production Engineering 2022, Volume 30, Issue 3 Microsoft Excel applications are also in use. This is only to The average duration of the interview was about ten be understood as an example – other digital applications minutes. For this purpose, 63 employees, aged between are of course just as possible. The digital form offers a 20 and 61, with different functions (plant operators, crane much higher level of detail, but follows the original logic operators, supervisors, industry master, engineers), who of the analogue board. However, from a wealth of ad- regularly participate in the Shopfloor Board (SFB) commu- vantages of the digital solution, there is also a decisive dis- nication, were asked the following five questions, see Fig. advantage: one of the basic ideas of the shopfloor, to be 2 – Fig. 6. at the place of value creation, has been moved away from The first question of the interview was: Has the flow of again to some extent due to the distance that is currently information (since the introduction of the SFB) been im- necessary. proved? What does information flow mean in this con- text? Employees (e.g. plant operators, crane operators RESEARCH METHODOLOGY and managers) receive more targeted and detailed infor- Interview methods in science mation on the working environment. See Fig. 2: 58.7% of Interview methods have the same goals as those of sur- the respondents answered with "yes" and 31.7% with "ra- veys. The common feature is the form of a conversation ther yes", which results in a positive basic attitude of more between interviewer(s) and interviewee . Interviews than 90%. The majority of respondents thus see a clear play an important role in empirical social research (espe- improvement in the flow of information. cially in qualitative social research) as a basis for analysis and documentation. Empirical social research can pursue different goals: Social societal "macro phenomena" (e.g. unemployment rates, birth rates, etc.) can be described based on systematically collected data and working hy- potheses can be developed on this basis. Social science theories and hypotheses developed from them can be tested by empirical data (deductive procedure). Theories and hypotheses can be developed or modified based on empirical observations (inductive procedure). Quantita- tive social research works primarily with standardized data (such as the results of surveys in which respondents choose between fixed response alternatives, as for this re- Fig. 2 Has the flow of information been improved? port) because standardized information is particularly The second question was: Has the speed of information easy to process with statistical methods. An important transfer increased? In this context, this means that infor- principle of quantitative social research is that research mation reaches the right addressee in 24 hours or less should be independent of the subjectivity of the re- compared to days and weeks before. Fig. 3 shows that searcher in principle. 55.6% answered with yes and 34.9% with "rather yes". Advantages: Rapid data collection possible. This results in around 90% agreement with the perception Comparison of standardized answers possible. of an increase in the speed with which information is Effort per interview is low – no extensive preparation per passed on. The transparent visualization of the perfor- respondent. mance indicator system and the associated presentation Disadvantages: Information limited to questionnaire. of a TARGET and ACTUAL comparison are seen in a posi- There is a risk of generalizing responses. tive way. The method used for this report is a structured interview with 63 respondents. RESULTS In order to prove the hypotheses from the introduction, a survey in the form of a structured interview was con- ducted for this purpose in a company in the West German steel industry where the SFB system was introduced. The company is positioned along the entire value chain from ore to flat steel products. The company's high-quality products are used worldwide, especially in the automo- tive industry and automotive supply industry. The survey was conducted in the form of a structured interview by Fig. 3 Has the speed of information transfer been increased? means of a direct approach, in January 2021, approx. 6 months after the initial introduction of the Shopfloor Board (SFB). Due to the employee structure, the sample consisted of 100% men. L. C. WESTER, M. HITKA – Shopfloor Management – a Tool of Lean Management 243 At position 3 in the interview, the question is asked: Does the SFB involve the employee more in the process? What does this mean in this context: process stands here for the work process/what is organized and how it is organized. Fig. 4 shows that about 33% of the respondents answered this with "yes" and 63.5% with "rather yes". This corre- sponds to a positive basic attitude of 96.79%; the employ- ees perceive a strengthening of the participation possibil- ity in the process design. Fig. 6 How is extended accountability viewed? CONCLUSION Lean management means, "creating value without waste", with the aim of increasing the effectiveness of the company. Lean management enables the linking of pro- cesses with the strategy and goals of the company. These are made visible through key figures, among other things. Nevertheless, despite targeted improvement at all levels, the corporate strategy must be regularly linked to the pro- cesses through operational goals across all levels. Only in this way, continuous improvement of the processes can Fig. 4 Is the employee more involved? take place. This is where shopfloor management (SFM) starts as a component of Lean Management . Fig. 5 shows the result of the question: Is the existing em- 1. The installation of an SFM will optimize the internal ployee potential being used more effectively since the in- flow of information compared to the situation before troduction of SFB? What does this mean in this context: the launch. Employees are encouraged to make their own contribu- 2. By installing an SFM, the existing potential of the em- tions and suggestions for solutions at the SFB. 93.65% of ployees will be utilized to a greater extent than before the employees surveyed feel it as positive that their own the introduction. opinions and potential (employee potential) are used 3. By introducing an SFM, employees at all levels are more in and for the work process. A feeling of apprecia- more closely involved in the process. tion arises. This not only motivates employees, but also The early involvement of employees in the conception makes use of their knowledge. and implementation of the derived measures as well as the sensitization for errors and waste is a new and im- portant element of Lean projects. In previous manage- ment approaches, too little attention was paid to the issue of employee knowledge. Often enough, one could hear in this context: "No one ever asked me, but I would have solved it differently". Another "deficiency" also becomes clear from this state- ment: "the lack of communication". This is where the great advantage of shopfloor management becomes ap- parent: regular communication on the board with em- Fig. 5 Is existing employee potential (since the introduction ployees and managers. All key issues relevant to a process of the SF Board) used to a greater extent? are regularly addressed and everyone can contribute their ideas for solutions. Position 5 of the survey asks the question: Is the extended As can be seen Results Fig. 4, 5 and 6, the employees see accountability from the SFB seen rather positively or ra- the responsibility of this method as fundamentally posi- ther negatively? What does this mean in this context? tive, the employees want to get involved and also take re- Each person participating in the SFB can receive a task sponsibility. from the SFB to complete and is required to make their At the same time, the optimizations in the company cre- own contributions to the SFB. Fig. 6 shows a clear vote, ate new challenges to which the company must adapt. with 93.65% viewing this positively. 244 Management Systems in Production Engineering 2022, Volume 30, Issue 3 Thus, it is a prerequisite for a functioning shopfloor man- A consistently used SFB also supports the implementation agement that management and employees work together of the continuous improvement process (CIP). However, optimally. 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Management Systems in Production Engineering – de Gruyter
Published: Sep 1, 2022
Keywords: lean management; shopfloor board; shopfloor management
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