Lean Visual Management of Deviations in Product Development and Production - Coining Physical, Digital, and Hybrid Pulse Methodology
Licentiate thesis, 2015
Lean is a relatively new trend, and every company strives for lean aiming for creating more output while using less input by focusing on the customer via eliminating non-value adding waste. Lean started at Toyota within its production system. From production, it started to be used in product development, and later on to other various sectors. Using lean thinking and lean principles, different tools and methods, which were not originally in the Toyota way, were developed under the umbrella term “lean tools”. Pulse methodology was developed by Scania in 2003 combining the visualization and surfacing problems lean principles, and frequent stand-up team meetings. Despite originally not being a part of Toyota’s lean tools arsenal, since its introduction it took its place in the Swedish industry as a lean tool; a lean deviation management tool. Here deviation encompasses everything that deviates from the wanted state in a company.
Pulse methodology have ben actively used and appreciated by many companies in Sweden. After this long time usage, companies began to feel its limitations. Along with the appreciation for the methodology, instead of going for another methodology, the case companies joined this research project of improving the appreciated pulse methodology toward ruling out its limitations by improving it while keeping the appreciated parts.
The research study that formed the results of this thesis started with checking how the case companies have been working, which shows how pulse methodology have been used, and what are its benefits and drawbacks, and limitations. Forming the problem description from the drawbacks and limitations, a prescription was created. This continued with creating two support tools and processes to solve this problem; consequently this thesis coins two new methodologies based on the baseline pulse methodology: hybrid pulse methodology and digital pulse methodology. Finally both of these new methodologies were tested in the company premises; one of them was fully deployed to be used in daily operations, and the other was only introduced by workshops.
This thesis not only forms the first body of knowledge for pulse methodology, but also gives valuable knowledge and experience about it for the practitioners.