The Seven Rights of Lean Material Management

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There are at least seven things to do "right" to achieve a high-performing Lean material flow system. This article describes each of these rights.

This is a well-known concept know as the “Rights”, or right things to do. In this case we have identified seven right things to accomplish regarding material flow. Let's go through them one by one.

The Right Part

A right part is not only the right part number, but also the right revision level. By “right” we mean that the part number is actually required, and called out in the BOM for that product.

The Right Container

Standardizing container sizes, in order to reduce the need to recontainerize parts, is a high priority. The right container is the container assigned for that part, and using any other size or type of container is “not right”.Standardizing container sizes, in order to reduce the need to recontainerize parts, is a high priority. The right container is the container assigned for that part, and using any other size or type of container is “not right”.

The Right Sequence

Many material items are delivered in a specific order, aligned with the production line-up. The right sequence is to maintain that correct order of delivery.Many material items are delivered in a specific order, aligned with the production line-up. The right sequence is to maintain that correct order of delivery.

The Right Location

An important part of the “Plan For Every Part” analysis that we will discuss later in this Memory Jogger program involves the assignment of materials to the correct Point of Use. Delivering material to the wrong location will at best cause extra effort, and at worst can shut down the line.

The Right Quantity

From a Lean perspective, the right quantity is the calculated or decided-upon move quantity, and it’s usually a small number. Delivering anything other than the pre-determined quantity is considered “not right”. The right quantity also includes planned space for two or more containers of parts, and is therefore related to the Right Container and Right Time “rights”.

From a Lean perspective, the right quantity is the calculated or decided-upon move quantity, and it’s usually a small number. Delivering anything other than the pre-determined quantity is considered “not right”. The right quantity also includes planned space for two or more containers of parts, and is therefore related to the Right Container and Right Time “rights”.

The Right Time

The timing of deliveries is also a part of the design of a material delivery system. Delivering too soon means occupying unplanned space and increasing the inventory on the floor. Delivering too late could potentially mean shutting down the line. Another meaning of Right Time refers to delivery routes, which are intended to run like a streetcar system, to a fixed schedule.

The Right Total Cost

The main point of this right is that it is important to analyze the total cost of material management, and not sub-optimize the system. Reducing material handlers, for example, may reduce the labor cost of material delivery, but increase shortages and inventory levels, increasing the total cost to the company. The main point of this right is that it is important to analyze the total cost of material management, and not sub-optimize the system. Reducing material handlers, for example, may reduce the labor cost of material delivery, but increase shortages and inventory levels, increasing the total cost to the company.

If you can get all seven Rights right, chances are great that you have a high-performing material delivery system. As a homework assignment, pick a small area of your manufacturing facility, and conduct a self-assessment of your plant's level of maturity with the Seven Rights.

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