Showing posts from September, 2007

The Kanban Juice War

I posed what I believed to be an innocuous problem for the kanbandev group at Yahoo and inadvertently started a bit of a row. The problem was as follows: In a hotel restaurant there is a table with a juice dispenser. Next to the juice dispenser is a stack of trays with glasses. Sometimes the glasses run out, and a queue of customers build up. What is the best way to prevent glass outages? I had a solution, but I wasn't happy with it. It involved using a photocell to detect when the glasses were in danger of running out. One complication was that the serving personnel could not easily see if the glasses were running out. The table with the juice dispenser is in an alcove. The, usually very busy, serving personnel move along paths that make it difficult to see the trays. If there is a queue of people waiting for juice, they obscure the trays, and any simple kanban mechanisms. Of course, if the arrival rate of thirsty restaurant guests is great enough, a queue may form even if there i

A Visit to BNI

A little over a week ago, I visited BNI Spar Hotell in Gårda, Gothenburg. I was invited as a guest by Martin Richards . Last Thursday, I visited again. BNI, Business Network International , is an international business referal organization. The idea is simple. A BNI group consists of a number of representatives for various companies. To avoid internal competition, only one company from each trade is allowed. The members have a breakfast meeting once a week, where they exchange business referals. The members also carry each others business cards, and look out for opportunities to help each other. At my first visit, I was impressed by the well structured and tightly focused meeting. Of course, from my Theory Of Constraints perspective, Throughput is the game, and the group does deliver. I won't mention any figures here, but on average the membership is well worth the cost. I do not know how the Throughput is distributed over the group members, but everyone I met was very happy with