Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Hi All,

A couple of years ago i came across the Jevons Paradox. It states: when technological progress increases the efficiency with which a resource is used (reducing the amount necessary for any one use), but the rate of consumption of that resource rises because of increasing demand.

Simply put with an example, when the cars became more fuel efficient, more cars were sold and bigger cars were made. Thus more fuel was needed. The latter lets you wonder! You would expect that the total amount of fuel needed would also decrease, but since it increases the paradox is born.

I wonder how this paradox would effect a production system.

Impact on Lean: Most Lean projects lead (sadly only) to more efficiency in production (and not better customer quality). Could it also be that increased labor efficiency thus leads to more total demand of labor? Or is the scale to small?
I noticed that many improvement projects generally have little or low total improvement. Could mean that the effort for doing the project would be wasted?

Impact on technology: Automating production to improve efficiency and reliability results in increase of total automation? Could this mean that the company would have the tendency to install more automation than intended? This reminds of SAP implementations almost always exceeding budget. Could it have a similar explanation?

Have a nice day,
Ives

Sunday, January 31, 2016

What is wrong with added value and non added value?

Hi All,

Over the period i have been thinking about Added and Non Added Value i noticed a lot of problems with categorizing actions in production.

Added value could be defined like 
“Only an activity that physically changes the shape or character of a product or assembly can add value.”
“Any activity that does not change the product or assembly is waste.”
Find discussing here. Lean wants to identify value as perceived by the customer. What does our customer really want? What are they willing to pay for? After all if we are doing something that our customer does not explicitly require we are being wasteful. We distinguish Added Value, Non added Value and Added Cost. The latter is when we don’t know if it is either value or not but we need to do it.
Some remarks:
1. The first one is the breakdown of an action.
Suppose we take an examples in closing a bottle with a cap. How deep do you need to go to define AV and NVA? If i summarize the process as closing bottles this could seem as an AV process. But looking deeper we could find mounting the cap on the bottle, walking to the crate to place the bottle, close crate. Now most Lean experts will suggest that mounting is AV and walking is NAV. Closing the crate is a tricky one. It doesn’t add value but is needed because the customer wants it in a crate (does he really???) so we can suspect it is added value. But looking deeper we could see something like take and place the cap, take and hold the bottle, walk to crate to place bottle, take and place crate and close it. See the picture in more detail. Only the end positioning of an object (cap, crate, bottle) could be seen as added value. The rest is either waste or added cost.
How deep do you need to go in AV? Most Value Stream Maps don’t bother to go as deep as in the example. What is right?


2. Nonsense of NAV &AV :
Now we can have a lot of discussion on what is needed or not. We must notice a difference between the added cost actions and the control actions (check if cap is closed) but both are defined as AC.  We notice a lot of AC actions. But getting to the core if placing cap is added value and twisting is not, then an improvement is to eliminate the closing but then the cap will fall off. Another way to define it then would be to define the twisting as a AV. But then the question is, if the operator would retwist or go a bit longer it would all be AV. If you are welding a product and you can’t be more precise than 4 mm, is the extra weld added value? If I close the tape over a length of the crate and I would call it added value, does a crate of 2 the length have bigger added value?? All these remarks lead me to go away from AV & NVA. Walking is considered as NAV, but try to assemble a product without moving it in a plant J A minimum of transport is needed anyway!
The problem arises from the definition itself. What is the customer willing to pay for. The answer IS the product. We should not try to relate to the manufacturing processes at all!! By the way, if you improve the walking with %, who will benefit? The company or the customer?? So maybe another approach is needed.


Here is my alternative. I call it the Function Value Map as described in my book Grenzeling.
The first thing to do is try to think of the actions the operator is doing as if we wanted to automate the full process. He is taking and placing a cap in order to close the bottle so to mount the cap. One could think of a technology that could replace the manual action. This machine will have the same verbs. Another step is transporting the bottle to the crate. This could be done by another technology such as conveyor. The next step is checking if the cap has been fastened. The machine should contain a control to verifiy if the actions has been performed correct. This is more than placing and the correct torque but also the direction of the cap (straight or not) etc. The last step is using a tape to seal the crate. A packaging machine could be used to do the work. All the actions with the create are done to seal the crate.
Suppose we could have a time study for all the actions. And suppose we have 2 cases, one in which I’m making only 1000 bottles and one I’m making 1 million. For the time study is used MTM-UAS (I also didn’t include the frequantial actions such as filling the caps, getting the bottles, replacing the crates, refilling the tape)  




And now the conclusion:
First question we could ask is if we need all the actions in the first place? Could we eliminate something? Maybe the walking could be reduced as a standard remark. Maybe we could ship the bottle without a crate? Maybe we could perform the action “in the crate”?
If you are producing 1000 bottles a year I doubt if a technology could be found to replace the verbs. This could mean that we have found the best process action in the world. No-one better will be able to do this. Do you believe we could find a technology that could replace the sealing or transporting? Well, the maximum budget to have a payback less than one year is 50.000 euro but than the action for the operator should be reduced to nothing and we gain nothing. So the real challenge is to find a machine that could e.g. seal the bottle with a budget of 35.000 euro and have 50% decrease in time. This machine should be as qualitative as the operator! If this machines is there we have an improvement, otherwise not. Check out my other blogs to understand how to improve further.

That question of what is value added or not is not relevant to me. The amount of money that is needed to perform an action in a manufacturing plant is. If youwant to use the gain to lower the price the customer could be happy. Only quality aspects can change the value for the customer. The customer buys the bottle for the content, and if it is bad he/she will not so anymore. Value belongs to quality. Value belongs to understand the needs of the customer and if time is an aspect you'll need to change the production so the demand is met!!

Have a nice day,

Ives

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Eliminating error (the technical part)

Hi All,

Eliminating error & safety is the main function of a poka yoke. However, for those who have tried to make a poka yoke, there always seems something else possible that doesn't make the poka 100% perfect or mistake proof.

In a couple of blogs i will present some directions for solution, the first focuses on the defining of the poka yoke itself. Although it could be highly questionable if a poka yoke is really needed, let us examine how to come up with a the poka yoke.

A (technical) poka yoke is any system that results in the correction of the action while  performing  it OR a system that detects a error in the making and gives a sign to the person/machine performing the action.

Basically, when no system is present to correct or detect & inform the error,  the so called error is produced through the creativity of an operator

  • by mistakenly altering the sequence or 
  • while mounting using a "wrong" direction of a object, 
  • the one exception the programmer didn't consider yet, 
  • standing in the path of a machined moving object resulting in an incident or accident
 that IS possible to perform but compared to the expected outcome  result in a mistake or error(no harm for safety or expected value for the customer).

What we learn from this is that an error can only be made through action. If the system isn't used or in operation no real issue is at hand. If you can eliminate the action no error can be produced. The action requires a change of "energy".  Labour is needed to perform the action and as we all know labour requires food. Changing the type of energy needed to create the error sometimes help to prevent it. In a later blog i will come back to this.

Let us focus first more on what 99% of the poka yoke result in.The performance of the action together with the possible states of a parameter results in an error. What do i mean with possible states of a parameter?
Let me give you a practical example first. If a person is running fast in a corridor, but the tiles are wet, the person might fall. Unless the shoes don't have a anti-slip parameter. So running (action) + slippery floor results in error called falling. The floor is not always wet. In this case it is wet due to cleaning.
The known poka yoke for this would be to put up a sign saying slippery floor.













So note that the action of cleaning resulted in the parameter change of the floor being wet. Each parameter can be tracked back to a action performed earlier. If the cleaning wasn't performed the person could run without any problem.

To give you a visual of possible states think about the muffin pan. If you through a ball it can fall either in one of all possible holes (or outside of it if you don't aim enough). A poka yoke will try to eliminate all possible outcomes to one clearly predictable outcome.


Well, if you take any object each object can be characterised by a different parameter states. Let us take the example of metal part.
 The metal part has parameters you have learned about in school such as

  1. mechanical aspects such as it's weight, the strength it has to withstand a force, aerodynamic aspects, mathematical & geometric aspects such as it has a curved form, resulting in potential flow distributions, hardness of the surface (thus surface properties)
  2. the chemical composition (steel) such as the amount of carbon in the steel, the tendency to rust, the amount of oil & grease on the surface
  3. thermal aspects such as the temperature it melts, 
  4. acoustics aspects such as at what frequency it resonates, how it absorbs waves
  5. electric properties such as its electrical resistance, the amount of current it can take,
  6. magnetic properties as we know most metals have
  7. the biological aspects eg. the ease in which microbes can breed on the surface

Every object in the world can be defined by the above parameters. The states of the parameter refer to the variation of one specific parameter eg. it can be liquid, solid of gas (or plasma). Below a certain temperature steel is not liquid.

OK, back to poka yoke. Any technical poka yoke uses the concept of asymmetry of an object so that the action on the object with the poka yoke doesn't result in a mistake.

Use any of the above defined parameters in which a clear difference can be used to design a poka yoke.
So what difference do i mean?

Let me give an example first. In a welding environment i encountered that the helping tool to show the position of the weld can be placed in the wrong  resulting in welding on the wrong position. By using the shape difference top and bottom of the part (this part was small below and big at the top) ,  this clear asymmetry,  we redesigned the helping piece that just fits the part. SO if you place the helping tool on the part, and there is only one way to do that, you cannot miss the positioning of the welding.


So designing a poka yoke focuses on finding any difference between the part and how to produce it and uses this asymmetry in designing a system that uses thus asymmetry so the operator will make less mistakes.

The poka yoke uses the difference eg. shape of the product in relation to between a OK production (part versus end product)  and NOK production (wrong direction versus end product). If the shape is used the poka yoke will have the anti-shape countering the wrong action. See second example.


(from source Poka Yoke)


An excellent website of John Grout contains many examples of poka yoke. So check out mistakeproofing.com  Each example will show you what (poka yoke) system was used to detect, correct or prevent an unwanted action. 

The next blog will give you different ways of designing poka yoke and trying to solve the 100% idiot proof issue.

Have a great day,
Ives

Monday, August 4, 2014

What Lean wants to be. In the comfort zone of true Lean, magic begins.

Hello All,

In a recent Linkedin group a question came on what Lean is really about and if it all comes down to "a state of mind".

How Lean was and sometimes still is.

In the eighties, the period before Lean was Lean, i first encountered several techniques like quality circles,  5S, SMED and i found this all to be very interesting. These techniques were applied wherever one thought necessary. Little later Lean appeared together with VSM and its 5 principles. Eliminating waste seemed the thing to do, so that's what i also did.  But where does waste end? I always found the 7, or 8 or even 10 wastes a bit limiting because at the same time i was learning TRIZ.

Pull, Takt time (and time based competition) were the new terms when we, in 1996, developed a hands-on game (JETgame and DIOGAME) to show how pull really works.

We told that adjusting to the customer was really important, although back then it really didn't matter much. Most of the work was done in Europe, China and the United States existed but very far away.
Agility came and went. Team management came and went. TBC, TPM, ISO, EFQM all methods that came and were someway or the other melted down and reforged.
We defined the internal client and made VSM on a department, also because the whole company would not be viewed on one sheet, although so we thought.

PDCA became DMAIC. You were either a quality guy or a production guy.

Times changed and so did Lean. I became more interested in the boundaries of the methods. Waste wasn't enough, muri and mura seemed to exist also. Heijunka, other ways than kanban , conwip, POLCA started to emerge.

Views changed from one production department to the total company. (similar to Total Productive Maintenance changed to Total Productive Management, MRP changed to Enterprise Resource Planning). Continuous improvement (a quality thing) changed to principles of everlasting improvement, always, everybody everywhere on everything.

I have seen many cost cutting project and helped to implement them under the flag of Lean.

But Lean is not about 5S only, not about SMED, only production, or even a set of integrated tools.


Today Lean wants to be:

- Matching the outward world (the clients) to the inward world. Lean is an answer to a certain type of market. Most Lean applications have been done in an automotive environment without really improving anything for the customer. Huge cost savings have been booked. (This is what i call A-Lean). But this is NOT pure Lean. Toyota itself first came from low series, many variation so TRUE Lean should be the same. Understanding the customer is number one, even it was and still is for Toyota.
How to match with outside is however poorly defined. John Seddon helped in this domain by introducing Failure Demand. True Lean first starts here, not with defining processes internally or even with product/process matrices.  Internal clients don't exist. Variation can not (always) be eliminated! So variation elimination is not the focus of true Lean but dealing with it as good as possible. (see other blogs on different strategies to cope with variation)

- Lean is about quality! Not 6 sigma only!! Jidoka, the second pillar of Lean House is not popular because of its more technical background. And thats too bad. Quality (and even safety first) is where it should start with the customer, from customers expectations translated to built in quality in production. The huge storm of industrialisation is what prevents us from real improvement. Not faster, but first better.
If a call centre states to have done 100 phone calls, we can say WOW. But if you understand that only 3 clients were helped and 70% of the callers come back. What is the use of SMED in a hospital MRI scan  if 40% of the people need another picture because the first was enough?



- Creating an adult mature company (company actually comes from companion, what most today are not!). It is about Leadership and knowing how to help people achieve most and matching their comfort zone within the customer minim and maximum boundary.  However most leaders treat their people as children. This is why i chose this as a subject for my next book.

- Using visualisation (such as 5S, VSM) to uncover how we work without focusing on the tool itself.  Standardisation is to quickly see the diffence with OK and NOK so we can act. But Ohno himself didn't want to codify the method for those who would have thought that the codification was the thing to do. Dave Snowden clearly states that people today are looking for a recipe, but it's about being a cook. But for me visualisation has stopped. I believe this to be a ISA (idea sensitive area) where more visual tools (technology translating organisational issues on the gemba)

-  Lean is systemic. It is about understanding the interrelations between all people, tasks and tools needed to produce the service or product fro the customer. A company is like a biotope in nature. It lives. Causes are no always clear to see! For instance plants interact with other plants, ants, birds and everything surrounding it in an never ending chaotic but fruitful livable environment. But did what cause first is difficult to say unless you unlock the total system. A company looks the same. Changing one thing interacts with another. Real Lean improvement increases all, not only. A system evolves and so does Lean. That is why Flow survives the new Lean, and Pull doesn't. That is why current state survives but the future doesn't. We cannot predict the future, only adjust NOW to the customers of NOW and try to stretch our tentacles on what might come. So scenario thinking is true Lean.

- Lean learn and it is safe to fail. Can you be a rider without a horse (?) Yes, but whats the point? The lean attitude is to maximise use of the tools available, or even create new when necessary. It is a "state of mind" about learning and showing, to learn to understand without improving everything first.  Many A-lean companies are not allowed to experiment. there is no budget. That's a pity. Learning and understanding means being where it happens and trying to unlock how something works.  It is like scientific thinking. It is about the interactions of objects, not the objects itself. It is like Sherlock Holmes looking at all detail on what is, logic deduction and abduction. This is why Added value and non added value are rubbish. We should focus on how things work and what is needed for the customers, not codifying work. Change is not needed. Improvement is!

- Lean is Skinnerian. It is about behaviour. All graphs show good/bad.  But people are more than behaviour alone. This is not an adult way to deal with people. That how you handle kids. Here Lean is still adolescent. Psychology has long moved from Skinner to new ways of dealing and observing people.  How we make desicions is crucial in companies that have volatile markets. If the market is stable, almost no decision needs to be made. If Lean would be reduced to only a state of mind there is hardly any difference with Ethics and religions such as Islam, Jewish religion, Catholics,... or ways of living like Budism.

- Lean and Six Sigma brings us a (new) language. It is through new language we can redefine what already existed but never viewed this way. Language is the key to improvement. If you can't name a part of your machine or even your system you can't improve it. That is why my first book is called "borderling", to get ideas from sector alien to you. A dentist might have a extremely good planning system you can apply.

We should be reinventing Lean every time. That is Lean applied to Lean itself.

What is the comfort zone of Lean?

New lean balances between what customers do not find OK (failure demand)  and what the company doesn't find ok (if you spend 5 hours on one task it can be done more than needed for the eye of the customer, but the company will have spend too much resources on this).

I was a real tool head back in the nineties, collecting all sorts of tools i could find and giving them a number. Not i'm not. I compare it with Hegels theory, thesis-antithesis and synthesis. A thesis consultant defends his knowledge/theory, for he knows it can solve everything. A antithesis consultant knows this is untrue. A synthesis consultant learns from both and evolves. He knows that he knows nothing in a new company, so he is humble and tries to understand.  I prefer synthesis.

Have a great day.
Ives








Thursday, December 19, 2013

Why wait for Lean Future State if things are changing now?

Hi all,

Crawford Stanley Holling   - born December 6, 1930 (i have same birthday by the way)- is a Canadian ecologist, and Emeritus Eminent Scholar and Professor in Ecological Sciences at the University of Florida.  Holling has made some very interesting observations in Ecology, and transforming this knowledge to economies. 
One very interesting figure i found was the figure below.  I interpret this as that nature changes slower that the animals.  What if a needle tree would live less than a minute? What if food is only found 10.000 km further, and you're a mouse?

These types of diagrams, Stommel Diagrams called, visualise exactly what is happening today in current markets.


. (http://rs.resalliance.org/2010/02/24/a-history-of-stommel-diagrams/ or http://flash.lakeheadu.ca/~rrempel/ecology/Biodiversity_Papers/PDF0341-OMNR.pdf)

Back in the '90 we talked about customer changes but on smaller scales. If a client changed, it was within days, now its minutes. If the customer can't buy it in the shop, Internet will provide it also and sometimes quicker (even if it comes from 10,000 km).
Customer's needs are scaling all the time. They (might) want it now, free and perfect.

So i ask myself. What is the use of a future state if the economy is changing quicker than 5 years. A future state should be next month or next day in stead of within 5 years or more. So prediction should become probing. probabilities should become plausabilities.
The next question is how can we do this?

Have great thoughts,
Ives

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Goldratts thoughts applied to agility

Hi all,

Following up one of the last blog on accuracy  a similar application of Eli Goldratts theory of constraints is possible for agility.

An company in an agility-like market can not react quicker than it's weakest agility factor.

First let me state that agility and agile are similar things. Agile is now known for methods like Lean Kanban or SCRUM, but I'm talking more about the agility of the external customer / competitor landscape.  In this sense agility is changeability and variability and no stable demand.  Agility should be defined towards the market not to the company.  Agility applies to markets where the customer can ask for very different products and hardly and product families can be defined. If product families can be defined, they can all have an equal probability.
Many companies are coping with unknown demands especially those that deliver a process, not a product. For example a architect, lawyer, marketeer for services or plumber, painter (industrial),.. for industrial applications. These people know what they do but can't specify on which type of product because it always changes.
The way in which the company wants  & can to adjust could be called matching agility.

An company matching agility is able to quickly adjust its internal processes (matching tasks to people and changing this according to needs, changing a machine to produce the new part, ) to match new variable demands. This means now that the PDCA circle and Lean thinking methods overlap with agility because PDCA can be seen as an adjusting method. But, for agility it should be applied to the way the work is done and changing this to macht demand versus in Lean to perfect a standard. Agility is seen as a part of a Lean strategy but this does also mean that the company doesn't have standard procedures for these would limit the variation in customer demand

I can imagine that following agility factors will go a long way already:
- speed of knowledge about market (probing speed)
- level of training of people in the company
- speed of adjusting organisation & tasks to the ones at hand
- involvement of people
- speed of problem solving (amount of creativity)
- degree of understanding processes of company & client
- adaptability of product
- maintainability of product
- limiting factors of legislation
- value- ability of product
- time to come up with new product and bring to market
- decision speed of company
- degree of fragmentation of knowledge
- degree of customer knowledge
- degree of competitor knowledge

Now what is the use of a low time to come up with a new product and a high decision speed of the company? What is the use of a high "level of trained people" if the company doesn't probe into the market?
What is the use of a high adaptability of a product if the involvement of people to act is low?


These aspects of a company can not be treated as if the were islands; They are interconnected.
The interconnections can be hard to visualise (here my try) and differ from company to company. But the weakest link in this model as Goldratt stated will deliver the bottleneck in agility.

Have a comment? Or want to add agility factors, let me know.

Have great thoughts,
Ives

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Comfort zone as mismatch with client needs

Hello all,



Lately i'm astonished with the amount of cases in industry and service that lack an upper limit on quality.
When does a person know when to stop such as 
- a cleaner cleaning  a floor,
- an operator sandblasting a metal piece,
- a secretary checking for errors in text,
- a sales person rethinking an offer,
- software person debugging software,
- a docter trying to find a cause for an illness,
- an engineer trying to solve a problem
- an architect drawing a building
What all these cases have in common is that people who like doing what they are doing haven' t got a upper limit when to stop what they enjoy doing. They are in their comfortzone. But may be over motivated in relation for what the client only wanted.
If they die it incorrect, the client will not hestitate to complain, but too much quality is hardly seen by the customer and this not appreciated. I'm not talking about extra's that you can do for customers but what people like doing and don't seem to stop for. How less time would be needed to get the customer satisfied is not in their dictionairy. They actually enjoy going on endlessly.  How much time and money is wasted this way? Or should we allow people to overdo it? The difficulty is limiting the comfortzone of people to the customer needs.

Have great thoughts,
Ives

Friday, November 8, 2013

The accuracy of any process in a company should not be better than the process with the worst accuracy.

The accuracy of any process in a company should not be better than the process with the worst accuracy.
What i mean is that in a price setting environment (companies that first make an offer and if the price is ok, start with the order) i see companies trying to calculate the prices as exact as possible spending a lot of time. 

But this so called correct price calculation is not accurate, although the cost calculator thinks so!
Mostly it is not coupled to a time study version. Average times are used, estimated times are used, and for those having knowledge of time study understand that this is far from correct.  A time study should provide an accuracy of at least 5%. This means that if person a or b performs a time study the normal time should be within 5% of each other.

But let's not fall into this thinking error! If the calculation is tedious, time consuming to produce a time because of a desired accuracy ask your self how accurate the next step in producing the product actually is.
If the times are not accurate within 10% due to disruptions, changes of orders or whatever reason; why do we try to get the offer more correct?
Besides it is the same as with buying a house. The price is determined not by the number of bricks and pipes, electricity cables or mortar but by what you want to give for it.

The accuracy of a process step should be more accurate that the least accurate process step.

Even consider that many companies use a re-calculation after the work is done. What is the purpose of this? To learn to make prices better? If you are able to change your price to the customer it would be useful, but usually it is an internal check.

Have great thoughts,
Ives

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Generic technology: a form of agility

Hi All,

I would like to point to Generic Technology. A generic technology is a technology that is a lot cheaper than the known technology and delivers the same (or almost the same)  functionality.  This could be a borderling or not. (see more on previous posts)
We all know about generic medicine but seem to forget that a lot of opportunities lies in finding a technology that is similar in functionality but much cheaper.

I first came up with the idea in 2007 when we were asked to solve a not connected heat connector in a car. The company was using a extreme expensive system designed to measure the connection by means of  a current (mA) check. Their customer however used a very simple device on the one hand and on the other had, using a dashboard of the car should provide the same solution.

I was always surprised that people tend to buy extreme expensive technology.

Another example is that suppliers always want to sell the next most expensive machine in stead of providing a cheap upgrade. We once run a project to make a machine "product" independent with a budget of less than 30k€ in stead of buying all product variants for which one product variant new machine costs 300k€.

Another example i came across was a TED one. 

Johnny Lee astonished everybody with his hacking of a Wii to create a smart board and system to create 3D.  This example really demonstrates the fact that we need more generic technologies.
 
A lot of sectors make use of some sort of vision system. They normally pay at least 1400 euro up to 2000 euro for an excellent camera, without the necessary programming and installation of the system. In one industry we were challenged to find a much cheaper alternative technology that could provide the same. It exists, it is even in the portable you are using now: a web cam. We will provide more technical details later on the actual application.See more here. The web cam is 10X cheaper than an industrial one but the performance is similar.

Another example is the apps you can download on your smart phone. Lets' face it who hasn't got a smart phone these days. But did you know you can use it as a metal detector, decibel meter, thermometer, distances, magnify, position... and even translate Chinese text into English on a photo! See more here.

Even a QR reader is provided versus the also failing professional QR readers, but now much cheaper that the professional one!

For me defining and building a generic technology is a process innovation. p41 will deliver more examples later on, keep tuned.

Want to know more, ask for more.
Have a nice day

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Wat na Lean?


Lean is een stroming die al meerdere decennia bekend in de oren klinkt. Nog steeds zijn er bedrijven die de beslissing nemen om dan toch maar Lean te implementeren. Het is een succesverhaal, en menig cases zijn er het bewijs van. Het grootste nadeel hieraan is dat elk bedrijf er intussen over kan meepraten. Iedereen doet er aan mee, dus ook uw concurrent. De vraag die steeds meer bedrijven zich stellen is wat de volgende stap is om de concurrentie voor te blijven. P41 heeft de ambitie om die bedrijven de weg te wijzen naar de volgende verbetering.  
Een van de populaire, gemakkelijk te begrijpen, thema's in Lean zijn de 7+1 verliezen. Het is zeker zo dat door deze in kaart te brengen een bedrijf snel zicht krijgt op onnodige kosten. Deze kosten beheersen en optimaliseren is aangewezen. Toch mag men niet de fout maken om enkel te focussen op de niet-waardetoevoegende activiteiten. In een markt van harde concurrentie zijn het 2 zaken die de winst bepalen: kosten en opbrengsten. Het is door uw product kwalitatiever, sneller, beter te maken dat klanten voor u kiezen. Klanten zijn op zoek naar meerwaarde. Hier trekt P41 de kaart van innovatie: innovatie in productiemethodes, innovatie in marketingtechnieken, innovatie in distributie, innovatie in de producten zelf.
Een hekelpunt van Lean blijft de future state. Zelfs de experts blijven worstelen met de vraag hoe men van de current state naar de future state kan evolueren.. P41 heeft hier een eigen methode ontwikkeld om de current state met al zijn mankementen grondig te begrijpen. Door in detail in te zoomen op de fundamentele problemen, en door het aanwenden van enkele oplossingsformulerende technieken, kan P41 snel verschillende manieren bepalen om over te gaan naar een future, verbeterde state.
De laatste, misschien meest belangrijke, tip die P41 graag aan bedrijven wil meegeven is om Lean niet te  implementeren volgens de letter van de theorie. De praktijk heeft immers uitgewezen dat het elimineren van alle niet-waardetoevoegende activiteiten een bedrijf erg rigide maakt. Inspelen op plotse wijzigingen in de markt lukt niet meer, waardoor het bedrijf op zeer korte tijd in crisis kan verkeren. Een succesvol bedrijf is de dag van vandaag niet alleen Lean, maar ook wendbaar en veerkrachtig. Een wendbaar bedrijf is een bedrijf dat snel kan inspelen op wijzigingen in de omgeving. De voor de hand liggende en minder voor de hand liggende tools hiervoor zijn o.a. de volgende:
- Het gebruik van buffers: capaciteit, tussen- en eindvoorraad, tijd
- Het gebruik van variatie-onafhankelijke technologie├źn
- Het gebruik van polca's
- Dmv kennisontwikkeling kunnen trends (deels) voorspeld worden: zowel intern als extern
 Een veerkrachtig bedrijf op zijn beurt is een bedrijf dat na een tegenslag snel kan herstellen. Hierbij zijn er twee mogelijkheden:
1. Het bedrijf kan snel terugkeren naar zijn oorspronkelijke vorm
2. Het bedrijf kan snel herstellen, maar vindt zijn oorspronkelijke vorm niet terug. Toch is het bedrijf snel gezond in een nieuw evenwicht.