Lean assessment tools review

Lean manufacturing assessment tools review

Lean assessment tools review

How many times have we looked for Lean manufacturing assessment tools? For my part, often by spending a lot of time on Google or by asking my fellow consultants. With not always satisfactory results.


We hope that this page will save you the trouble and help you find the assessment tool you need. We present you with 4 evaluations that we thought stood out from the crowd. We also offer you the one from Wevalgo, which we hope will become your reference.


AME Lean assessment tool

Short description

This is a 14-question assessment of the maturity of Lean Manufacturing in Excel. The results are presented on a maturity scale from 0 to 5.

The main areas assessed are as follows: Management Support, Culture, 5S, Value Stream Mapping, Setup Reduction, Total Productive Maintenance, Pull Systems, Production Flow, Plant Layout, Standard Work, Lean Product and Process Design, Accounting Support for Lean, Supply Chain, Continuous Improvement.


Who designed it and where to find

It was developed by the Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME). It seems to be for internal use only and cannot be found (easily?) on their site. You can find it at several addresses: AME Lean Assessment form or AME Lean Assessment on Scribd


 

Key features and comments

Each question is scored from 0 to 5, using 6 different maturity level statements that are clearly formulated with several short sentences.

A few Lean acronyms are used, but they are also written in plain English without too much ‘Lean Jargon’. However, they are not always explained, so knowledge of Lean is necessary to answer some questions correctly.

Unfortunately, some Lean drivers are “blended”, so the evaluation of a given driven may be distorted: ‘VSM’ and ‘standardisation’ are included in the evaluation of “Continuous flow”, “Pull” is in the plant layout, ‘Improvement’ is in VSM.

There is no area for participants to make comments or to explain the reason for the assessment.

Key Lean drivers are missing: Respect for People, Teamwork, Quality at the source, Kaizen, Gemba, Visual management.

Scores are displayed both in a table and in two chart types, radar and bar chars. There is a score by area (question) and a total score.

The scores can be compared to companies and how long time they have been in the Lean implementation journey (From less than one year to more than 3 years). It is claimed that 80 companies are in the benchmark but there is no indication at all what they are, what industry, size, location…

Evaluations from several people (assessment of the same scope by different people) or different assessments (different scopes) can’t be displayed, consolidated or compared unless you modify the Excel sheets and create specific graphs

 

Free of use ?

The Lean assessment tool can be downloaded for free without any copyright anywhere in the document. However, it doesn’t contain any mention giving a free license for use or reproduction.

 

Pros

  • Free (supposedly)
  • Short and easy to use
  • Clear graphs
  • Clear criteria and sentences to help scoring
  • A benchmark against the Lean Journey duration

 

Cons

  • Key Lean drivers missing
  • Blended Lean drivers
  • No multiple answers, no multiple assessments comparison

 

Conclusion

Good to get a very quick idea of Lean manufacturing maturity. Too many Lean drivers are blended or missing to get beyond.

 

AME Lean Sensei assessment tool

Short description

It is a 60-question assessment of Lean Manufacturing maturity in Excel. The results are presented on a maturity scale from 0 to 100 as well as on a “Letter Grade” scale (From F to A).

It is meant to be an input to participate to the AME (Association for Manufacturing Excellence) Excellence Award.

It is quite comprehensive and goes beyond simple manufacturing with 11 areas assessed: Management System, Human and Organizational Development, Safety and Environmental Health, Manufacturing, Operations, Business Operations, Product Development, Supplier Development & Procurement, Quality, Cost, Delivery, Profitability.

 

Who designed it and where to find

It has been developped by the Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME). It is the second assessment form from them which may be an improvement or a longer version of the first one.

It can be downloaded directly from their website at AME Excellence-awards.

 

 

Key features and comments

 

The evaluation is quite comprehensive and most, if not all, Lean levers or concepts are tested in one way or another.

For each question, you choose a letter, from A+ to F (but without E???), based on the description of three "maturity levels": Excellent (letters A+, A, B), "On the journey" (B, C) and "Needs Improvement" (D, F).

For each question, the three maturity level statements are clearly formulated in several short sentences. However, we think that 3 levels are not enough because it leaves too much room for interpretation.

Often, "final result" criteria are used to identify maturity levels. It is therefore not the "Lean practice" that is evaluated, but it is assumed that a good result is due to a good practice (Lean?). There are even complete sections on the company's results, included in the overall score.

Some Lean acronyms and 'Lean jargon' are used, without any explanation of what they mean; some knowledge of Lean is necessary to answer some questions correctly. However, a hyperlink to an AME Youtube webinar is often provided to explain some of the concepts of Lean. For each question, applicable Lean tools are also listed. Participants are invited to provide ‘proof’ or reason for ‘gaps’. This is used for the AME award reviewer.

Scores are displayed both in two tables (summary level with the 11 categories and the total score; detailed level with the 60 questions) and in a radar chart (11 categories).

The category and total scores can be compared to the average score of “Past award recipients” companies. However, there is no indication at all who they are, what industry, size, location…

Evaluations of several people (evaluation of the same scope by different people) or different evaluations (different scope) can only be displayed, consolidated or compared if you modify the Excel sheets and create specific graphs.

 

Free of use ?

The Lean assessment tool can be downloaded for free and used for a self – assessment even if you don’t participate to the Award, as stated in the document itself.

 

Pros

  • Free
  • Comprehensive in terms of Lean principles and tools, including people side
  • Goes beyond manufacturing (office, environment…)
  • Clear criteria and sentences to help scoring
  • Link to webinars and list of applicable Lean tool per area
  • Clear result tables at high and detailed level, one radar chard
  • A comparison against previous AME award recipients

 

Cons

  • Only 3 maturity level descriptions
  • Use of ‘end result” criteria instead of actual practice
  • Long to answer, some scope may not be of interest for you
  • No multiple answers, no multiple assessments comparison

 

Conclusion

Good to have a first self-assessment of Lean manufacturing maturity on a comprehensive scope. It takes time to review the 60 questions.

 

Systems2win Lean assessment tool

Short description

It is a 51-area assessment of Lean Manufacturing maturity in Excel. It is quite comprehensive with 9 categories in scope: Lean Management, Lean Leadership, Problem Solving, Visual Controls, Flow, Standard Work, Reliability, Flexibility, Lean Green.

It is part of a set of Lean tools and templates (mainly operational ones, with a few for assessment) sold by Systems2win.

 

Who designed it and where to find

It has been developed by SystemstoWin and you may find it on their website as part of the tools they sell

 

 

Key features and comments 

Each of the 50 area has several short questions. Many times, the short questions are just a word (eg. Current? Visible?) but they combine rather well with the other questions of the area to make the intent very clear.

For each area, there is a dropdown button with 5 choices (1 to 5), each representing a maturity level; a brief description of how the practice looks like for each level is given to help chose the right one.

Though they are ‘only’ 9 areas, the scope covered is quite extensive, including strategy deployment, continuous improvement, 5S, quality, product development, Supply chain, Health safety and environment, people development.

Some areas only have only one question which may be simplistic. It is also sometimes difficult to understand the logic of the categorisation. For example, 5S is in problem solving, Safety and Environment is in Lean Leadership, Continuous improvement is in Standard Work…It may well be correct, but it is not explained.

There are a few acronyms (not only Lean ones eg. OEE, FMEA) or Lean terminology used without explanations; so, some good knowledge of Lean (and other manufacturing concept) is necessary to answer some questions correctly.

To use it, you must first install the software on your computer. Then, you must understand how to get to the actual assessment worksheet. Overall, that is not complicated, but not fully straightforward. Once in the assessment sheet, it is rather easy to use.

There are areas to input your comments.

To see the results, you first need to understand how to add the data into the ‘history’, go to the ‘Scorecard’ worksheet and then go to a menu to select the data you want to import in the sheet to see the results. Again, not complicated, but not straightforward.

Answers from several people can’t be consolidated but you can easily add several assessments with just one click and then see the progress per area in prebuilt graphs.

The results are summarized in nice Maturity matrix showing describing each level for all categories together with the score and a coloured bar chart, which colour depends on the score. There is also a radar chart and a comment box displayed in the same page. They can be printed in nice one pager.

There is no benchmark capability.

 

Free of use ?

It is sold as part of a package of 150+ Lean tools for a minimum fee of $249/year (in 2019). Some templates have a trial period, but not this one.

 

Pros

  • Good quality content with clear questions
  • Large scope of practices covered
  • Scoring guided by maturity level description
  • Ability to enter and compare multiple historical assessments

 

Cons

  • Not free, part of a more complete package that you must buy in full even if you only want to do the Lean evaluation
  • Need software installation and a little training to use it
  • The categorisation of the different Lean topics may be a little confusing
  • Many acronyms and Lean Jargon that are not explained
  • Though the scope is large, some important areas (eg. Strategy deployment) are ‘buried’ in the model and have only 1 question to assess them
  • Not possible to enter and consolidate assessments from several people and no benchmark

 

 

Conclusion

Good to have Lean manufacturing maturity assessments on a comprehensive scope, with capability to compare several assessments over time. But not free and part of an overall package you may not want. Complex to use. 

 

Buker Lean assessment tool

Short description

It is a pdf document with a description of a Lean Manufacturing model and a list of 95 questions to assess Lean Manufacturing within 14 areas.

For each question, there is an evaluation input but also areas to enter the observation made, an action to improve the area assessed with the responsibility and date.

Hence, it is both an assessment form and an improvement plan.

 

Who designed it and where to find

It is on Buker website at the following address.

 

 

Key features and comments

There are 95 questions covering 14 areas: Cultural Awareness, Structured Flow Manufacturing, Small Lot Production, Setup Reduction, Fitness for Use, Employee Involvement, Control Through Visibility, Housekeeping/Workplace Organization, Total Quality Focus, Level Load and Balanced Flow, Preventative Maintenance, Supplier Partnerships, Kanban Pull Systems, Employee Education and Training

Each question is a best practice statement, shortly and clearly formulated in one or two sentences, and sometimes an example to clarify the statement. The evaluation consists of 3 ‘tick box’: A   = Acceptable/Best practice in place; RI = Requires Improvements / the practice is found but process is substandard or not integrated throughout the enterprise; F   = Failed / the practice is not found.

It is simple but a bit simplistic with only three levels and no guideline to choose between levels.

The assessment focuses on plant operational level and Lean tools, though Company culture, Employee Involvement and Development are also in scope.

The Lean model used as a reference is explained briefly before the questions giving some context.

The use of Lean acronyms is limited, and most of the Lean concepts are explained in plain English. However, some are unexplained and difficult to understand: eg. ”Hoshin Teams are more than a few levels deep”.

Sometimes, the practices are a bit vague or generic which may prevent from a good assessment.

The pdf format prevents from having automatic recording, calculations, graphs, multiple answers consolidation, benchmark….

There is a good intent to use it to build an action plan with the actions field embedded in the file. However, there are a few concerns:

  • Focus on details without having the big picture in mind
  • Difficult to see actions that impact several areas
  • The area to fill actions is too small, and you can’t really put several actions

 

Free of use ?

The Lean assessment tool can be downloaded for free without any copyright anywhere in the document. However, it doesn’t contain any mention giving a free license for use or reproduction.

 

Pros

  • The underlying Lean model is explained
  • Detailed and clear questions

 

Cons

  • Pdf format
  • Simplistic scoring with only 3 levels (everything in the middle?)
  • No calculation of score, no consolidation by category, no graph
  • No multiple answers, no multiple assessments
  • No benchmark

 

Conclusion

Good to get a list of Lean manufacturing best practices, but not convenient to make an assessment.

 

Wevalgo Lean manufacturing assessment tool

As part of our own services, we cannot evaluate our Lean Manufacturing Evaluation like the others.

The best thing is certainly that you try it because it is available for free. However, we can mention some advantages:

  • An individual evaluation is free of charge
  • It is possible to make an evaluation by several people, to consolidate and compare them. It is even possible to compare the results over several perimeters, production workshops....
  • The results are displayed on multiple graphs and maturity maps; in detail or in synthesis
  • The evaluation is done on a web interface, accessible everywhere 24/24.

 

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