Data versus Information

If you write a report, it is completely data, until someone responds -takes action- to one or more of the items in the report. Those parts than become INFORMATION.

Information is data that is being responded to.

The challenge now is to create reports that invite to fully respond to.
One way would be to eliminate all redundant parts (the data, the parts that are not being responded to) Another – preferred- way would be to transform the report in a way that the data you present invites to respond to.

I suggest to start interviewing the user of the report (or form or whatever it is you produce) and ask what he or she needs and specially in what form: many times the same numbers presented in a different way change the behavior of the reader and thus make him or her respond!

Muda – Mura – Muri

What is ‘Muda’?

MUDA: any activity in your process that does not add value. MUDA is not creating value for the customer. In short: WASTE

  1. Type I muda: Non-value-added tasks which seam to be essential. Business conditions need to be changed to eliminate this type of waste.
  2. Type II muda: Non-value-added tasks which can be eliminated immediately.

What is ‘Mura’?

MURA: Any variation leading to unbalanced situations. In short: UNEVENNESS, inconsistent, irregular.
Mura exists when workflow is out of balance and workload is inconsistent and not incompliance with the standard.

What is ‘Muri’?

Unreasonable, impossible, overdoing and overburdened.

MURI: Any activity asking unreasonable stress or effort from personnel, material or equipment. In short: OVERBURDEN
For people, Muri means: a too heavy mental- or physical burden. For machinery Muri means: expecting a machine to do more than it is capable of- or has been designed to do.

Usually the three of them can not be seen separate. When a process is not balanced (mura), this leads to an overburden on equipment, facilities and people (muri) which will cause all kinds of non value adding activities (Waiting is also an activity!!) thus leads to muda.

To eliminate MURA and MURI larger parts of the system need to be looked upon, not only a process or process step or operation, but at an entire Value Stream. Makigami, VSM or ‘Process Kaizen’ eliminates MUDA.

Peter Schilling suggests:

  1. Design the system with sufficient capacity to fulfill customer requirements without overburdening people, equipment, or methods (MURI)
  2. Strive to reduce variation/fluctuation to a bare minimum (MURA)
  3. Then strive to eliminate sources of waste! (MUDA)

BUT REMEMBER: Quality first, then cost – first stop shipping scrap.

  • Mura and Muri are most of the time the root causes of Muda
  • Muda has also rootcauses itself.
  • Muri and Mura also.
  • Muda type II is easy to eliminate and gives quick results…. but for how long?


  • Take a careful look at your Mura and your Muri as you start to tackle your Muda.
  • Ask why there should be any more variation in your activities then called for by customer behavior.
  • Then ask how the remaining, real variation in customer demand can be smoothed internally to stabilize your operations.
  • Finally ask how overburdens on your equipment and people — from whatever cause — can be steadily eliminated.

This will be hard work and will require courage because it will sometimes require you to re-think longstanding sales, management, and accounting practices that create the Mura and Muri.
However, if you can eliminate Mura and Muri at the outline to create a stable environment for your sales, operations, and supply management teams, you will discover that Muda can be removed much faster.
And once removed it will stay removed.

Muda eliminated only taking in mind MUDA means that the MUDA can come back like a sniper.

Before improving a system, it is essential to first create stability.
Attaining ‘basic stability’ in the 4 Ms (men, machines, material, method) is the essential pre-condition for sustained expulsion of Muda from any gemba!

Without a basic stability, mura will be present due to variance!

This is a reason to implement OEE and even TPM before trying to create flow through lean initiatives.
Why? Well, how can you create flow (= eliminate muda) when machine performance is unstable?

‘Muri’ experienced by machines, gives rise to Mura in their performance!

TPM is your basic Muda reduction toolbox.
Six Sigma is your Mura (variability) reduction toolbox.


What is: Tenuki

TENUKI: An employee is not doing what he should do (he should be adding value, hataraki) because he is doing something else, so wasting his energy (ugoki)

Tenuki could be translated as ‘absence’; we would associate this with illness.
Here the employee is ‘absent’ doing his real job, because he is working (maybe sweating very hard!) on something that creates no value; a complete new perspective, isn’t it?


In short: Load leveling, Production leveling, production smoothing

A technique to produce intermediate goods at a constant rate, to allow further processing to be carried out at a constant and predictable rate.
Ideally production can easily be leveled where demand is constant. Unfortunately this is rarely the case because actual customer demand fluctuates.

If a line is designed to cope with peak productions, it is clear that there will be wast at moments this peak is not needed. If a later process varies its withdrawal of parts in terms of timing and quality, the range of these fluctuations will increase as they move up the line towards the earlier processes. This is known as demand amplification. To prevent fluctuations in production, even in outside affiliates, it is important to try to keep fluctuation in the final assembly line to zero.

Toyota’s final assembly line never assembles the same automobile model in a batch. Production is leveled by making first one model, then another model, then yet another. In production leveling, batches are made as small as possible in contrast to traditional mass production, where bigger is considered better. When the final assembly process assembles cars in small batches, then the earlier processes, such as the press operation, have to follow the same approach. Long changeover times have meant that economically it was sound to punch out as many parts as possible. In the Toyota Production System this does not apply. Die changes (changeovers) are made quickly (SMED) and improved even more with practice. In the 1940s it took two to three hours, in the 1950s it dropped from one hour to 15 minutes, now it takes few minutes.


The Heijunka box allows easy and visual control of a smoothed production schedule.
A typical heijunka box has horizontal rows for each product. It has vertical columns for identical time intervals of production. In the illustration on the right, the time interval is thirty minutes. Production control kanban are placed in the pigeon-holes provided by the box in proportion to the number of items to be built of a given product type during a time interval.
In this illustration, each time period builds an A and two Bs along with a mix of Cs, Ds and Es. What is clear from the box, from the simple repeating patterns of kanbans in each row, is that the production is smooth of each of these products.
This ensures that production capacity is kept under a constant pressure thereby eliminating many issues.


a reduction of the amount of employees, but only if it REALLY leads to a reduction of cost.
This is quite different from our ‘savings on labor’ (which is not rarely NOT a real saving)!


Getting hurt.
The kanji [Ke] [Ga] can be read as “even for me” “it is looks strange”

It expresses accidents happening at moments of Mura and Muri; deviant situations, overburdening the system and leading to un-controlled situations; in the extreme case to an accident where someone gets hurt.


Nemawashi “The preparations for transplanting a large tree”
It refers to the persuasion of related individuals prior to a formal decision making meeting.


A visual control device in a production area,

typically a lighted overhead display, giving the current status of the production system and alerting team members to emerging problems.

Andon Board

Andon Tower at machine


The Japanese word for ‘autonomation’; (Not to confuse with automation!)
Transferring human intelligence to automated machinery so that machines are able to detect autonomously the production of a single defective part and immediately stop themselves and signal for help.


Literally means “load-load” in Japanese. (Not to confuse with Chabu-chabu)
A method of conducting single-piece flow in which the operator proceeds from machine to machine, taking a part from the previous operation and loading it into the next machine, then taking the part just removed from that machine and loading it in the following machine, and so on.