Lean Design?

Hi group-
I'm a senior in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Illinois. I am currently doing my senior design project. The company I am doing it
for is a manufacturer of custom manufacturing machinery. They think that their design process is taking too long. They want me to come up with a "lean design process" for them. I feel a little overwhelmed. I honestly feel that this is more of an Industrial Engineering project. I was wondering if anyone here has any experience with this topic. I also would like any references that anyone can suggest. Thank You.
Mustafa
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Industrial Engineering is not that hard for an ME. Just as welding is easy; ask any chipper.
Okay, you have little specialized training, but there's no reason you can'd do something useful.
In the context of a manufacturing floor, 'lean' means few people present. Doing that effectively means that every job is covered, somehow, all the time, often with 'teams', in which people are cross- trained. Nobody has to know everything, but everyone needs to be able to do at least two jobs well.
I suspect that your company's design process is 'taking too long', in someone's opinion, because it's too lean already, somewhere, and the heavy hitter with the opinion doesn't know where.
You might be able to help out by identifying the bottleneck. If you can find a high- resolution, e.g., daily, measure of the design operation's output, you may be able to correlate it with the presence or absence of particular people. If the whole shop comes to a halt when Jim is out, you'd better get a second Jim.
Maybe you can work back in time by correlating retained records of your output measure with attendance records.
Better gig: Work forward in time, by establishing a measure, then go around the department a person at a time and give each one a paid day off "starting now, and here are tickets to today's ball game".
Seize the day, and have fun with it.
-Mike-
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The Toyota manufacturing system is a well-known example of lean manufacturing. Their engineering process is much less well known, but is an excellent example of "lean design". Do a web search for Toyota Design System, TDS, Toyota Production System, TPS, lean engineering, lean product development, lean enterprise, etc.
Here are a some links
http://www.leantransformation.com / http://www.leantransformation.com/product_develoment_lean_enterprise.html http://www.coe.montana.edu/IE/faculty/sobek/Toyota_options_paper.pdf
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Group-
Thank you for the replies to my post. I now have some place to start.
-Mustafa
Mustafa Al-Shawaf wrote:

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While you are examining the process, don't forget to examine the tools used in the process. For example, are the tools being used out of date? Tools like AutoCAD 2D are antiquated for doing machine design. By comparison, the latest release of SolidWorks 3D MCAD software (SW2005) has machine design tutorials and specific tools for machine design. I'm not saying SolidWorks is right for the company for which you're doing this project, but you should know what they're using and how well they're using it. Even the best software can be poorly used. Absence of training and/or absence of at least one resident expert would certainly have an impact on the EFFICIENCY and EFFECTIVENESS of the design effort.
Refer to Peter F. Drucker for definitions of "efficiency" and "effectiveness". If you don't know who he is then you'd be well advised to LEARN who he is and read some of his works. That itself would have a profound impact on how well you can complete your project. In addition, if the people asking you to do the analysis aren't familiar with Drucker's work you can even point to that as being somewhere that their organization is coming up short, but you'd have to be somewhat familiar with it yourself to be able to point out just what about his works would be useful if implemented. ON TOP of that, read "The Goal" (Goldrat, ISBN: 0884270610), and find out who else in the organization has (or hasn't) read it.
Mark 'Sporky' Stapleton Watermark Design, LLC www.h2omarkdesign.com
BTW, my opinion is that IF the people in this organization don't already pretty well know what should be done then they are lazy and/or idiotically cheap, and at any rate they're asking more than should be asked of an undergraduate.
Mustafa Al-Shawaf wrote:

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