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Counting Down the Top 10 Viewed Posts of 2011 – 10 Thru 6

2012 is now in full swing.  Before 2011 is too far in the rear view mirror, I thought I would recap the Top 10 most viewed posts on Beyond Lean for 2011.

New followers of the blog can use this as an opportunity to read posts they might have not seen in the past.  While, long time followers can use this as an opportunity to re-read some of the top viewed posts.

This post will count down the 10th thru 6th most viewed posts of 2011.  Enjoy!

10. Dilbert Leading Transformation (July 2010) – Previous Year Ranked #3 – The Pointy-Haired Boss wants clear responsibilities and employee engagement.

9.   Adding Inventory…A Good Thing? (March 2011) –  Sometimes adding inventory might be the right thing to do based on your business. Take time to understand your business and its needs before deciding.

8.  Making Leader Standard Work Visual (June 2011) – An example of a visual board from a group I worked with.  The board makes the tasks and if they were completed by the managers visual.

7.  Beyond Lean Joins Twitter (February 2011) – Beyond Lean announces the venture out onto Twitter.

6.  Redbox Produced in the U.S. Using Lean (October 2010) – Previous Year Ranked #5 – News article about Redbox manufacturing using Lean to produce the Redbox dispensers close to it’s customers in the U.S.

My next post will count down the Top 5 viewed posts of 2011.

Top Posts of 2010

The wonderful people at and Stats Helper Monkeys provide some great statistics over the year.  I thought I would share the Top 5 Posts based on views from 2010.

If you saw them it might be a refresher.  If you didn’t see the post I thought it might be good to share what seems to be the most popular ones.

These are the posts that got the most views in 2010.


5S in the Office September 2010

This is about applying 5S in the office.  When is it appropriate to use and when is it not.


Comparing Lean Principles to the 14 Toyota Principles (Part 1) July 2010

This is the first of a three part series comparing the 5 Lean Principles from the Lean Learning Center to the 14 Toyota Principles.


Dilbert Leading Transformation July 2010

A funny Dilbert Cartoon from Scott Adams about how employees might react to a boss wanting employee engagement after years of not caring about the employees.


Walmart Changing Transportation Strategy June 2010

Comments on an article about Walmart changing their transportation strategy.


Redbox Produced In the U.S. Using Lean October 2010

Highlights of an article showing what Redbox is doing to use lean and keep the manufacturing in the U.S.

Redbox Produced In the U.S. Using Lean

As I continue to focus on manufacturing here in the U.S. this week, I thought I would combine two of my favorite things…..Lean and movies.  An international company, Flextronics, has a manufacturing plant in Creedmoor, NC.  This plant produces the Redbox movie dispensing machines that are popping up all over the U.S.  It is a small facility that is using lean.

The 250 employees led by general manager John Mainey use the Six Sigma Lean manufacturing techniques designed to cut waste, reduce excess effort, address defects and keep the assembly line moving.

Mr. Mainey seems to be a believer in keeping manufacturing in the U.S.

He contends that American manufacturing declined as firms compared production costs in the United States with production costs in locales like China and Mexico, couldn’t see how to reduce spending — much of it related to labor — threw up their hands and said, “We’ll just send it overseas.”

Instead, manufacturers need to “apply Lean and eliminate waste. Recognize that labor is just one cost, and that they must be flexible. If we can do this, then manufacturing will stay here in the U.S.,” said Mainey.

I’m glad to see that Flextronics sees the total cost picture.  The most intriguing part of Flextronics is they are an international company so doing the manufacturing overseas can be done very easily.  Instead, they see the value in producing the product where the product is used.  Therefore, the manufacturing plant is in the U.S. in North Carolina.

I can’t claim to know this is what they are thinking by deciding to producing the redbox units in the U.S.  But it seems like at least part of the equation, since the Creedmoor plant’s parent company is based in Singapore.

The Creedmoor plant is one small part of Flextronics, a massive Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) firm based in Singapore with 160,000 employees in 30 countries.

The plant is focused on reducing waste with the production of each individual redbox unit.    The unit is produced on an assembly that moves at 4 inches per minute.

Workers use the supplies in the cart to assemble their portion of the kiosk, constantly referring to a station video monitor that details steps for that station. While steps may be memorized over time, the monitor is necessary because workers shift from station to station and the process changes, says Mainey.

“The monitor reinforces the steps for me,” said Sharon Estes, an assembly line worker. “I’ve worked at seven stations in the last year. I couldn’t possibly remember all the steps for each.”

It sounds like the cart is a kitting tool to make sure the kiosk gets all the right parts.  The assembly line worker also states another great reason for standardized work…job rotation.  The Creedmoor plant rotates employees and the standardized work is there as a reminder as to what tasks need to be performed at that station.

“We’ve been doing the redbox for five years. We still look at ways to improve. There’s no end state,” said Mainey.

Sounds like Mr. Mainey is driving the plant to continually improve.  I hope Flextronics keeps with this thinking and lets the Creedmoor plant prove you can reduce total costs while paying higher wages.