Tag Archives: continuous improvement

“Mura”

21 Mar

Over the past 5 years I posted about sewing for Days for Girls International 28 times.  What’s new?  Last year I had the opportunity to change my shipments/deliveries to a new local team led by a long time friend.  My work flow shifted as best described in Wikipedia  as:

Lean manufacturing or lean production, often simply “lean“, is a systematic method for waste minimization (“Muda“) within a manufacturing system without sacrificing productivity, which can cause problems. Lean also takes into account waste created through overburden (“Muri“) and waste created through unevenness in work loads (Mura).

There is a second approach to lean manufacturing, which is promoted by Toyota, called The Toyota Way, in which the focus is upon improving the “flow” or smoothness of work, thereby steadily eliminating mura (“unevenness”) through the system and not upon ‘waste reduction’ per se. Techniques to improve flow include production leveling, “pull” production (by means of kanban) and the Heijunka box.

My emphasis has been on “improving workflow” in my attic sewing room.

My usual shipments to Iowa supported 40 kits with 10 items for each kit (Total=400).

With local delivery, I shifted to supporting 10 kits at a time (10 items for each kit/Total=100).

Although I still buy flannel 32 yards at time, 8 different colors/patterns 4 yards each…(this facilitates washing/drying impacting shrinkage)…which I cut into one yard lengths, which makes 10 flannel pads, which is very manageable and are placed in freezer gallon ziplock bags, which makes for easy counting and the ziplock bags are then provided in the finished DfGI kits.

I sew 80 flannel pads with 8 different colors/patterns combined into 10 ziplock bags.  Then I make 20 liners with PUL, pockets and wings in 2 different color/pattern combinations (10 each in ziplock bags), which are delivered LOCALLY to be completed as 10 Days for Girls International Kits.

https://www.daysforgirls.org

Local chapters pack sewn pads and liners with panties, wash cloth, soap, instructions in a sewn drawstring bag with the DfGI logo for delivery around the world.  It is not just about sewing!  Local chapters are encouraged to make deliveries.  Our chapter delivered 50 DfGI kits to Haiti December 2018!

 

Kaizen and DfGI

3 Apr

In my post “Seven Global Concepts”, a fellow blogger explained Kaizen as a Japanese concept for continuous improvement.  DfGI or Days for Girls International grew their global influence by embracing Kaizen.  Their website explains their 25+ design revisions developing their reusable feminine hygiene kits.

https://www.daysforgirls.org

On a local level, Elfcroft applied Kaizen to the sewing room.  My cabinet with two drop leaves spans almost seven feet (great for curtain projects, etc. not so great for hundreds of DfGI items per year).  I noticed that working on DfGI kits would be easier if the machine was several inches lower.  No height adjustment is available in the machine or table.  I had the opportunity to move the machine to a sturdy, small folding table….and did just that!  The sewing cabinet is working as the cutting table (with one leaf down).  So far, so GOOD 🙂

Before

After (1)

After (2) The former coffee table (lower left) is great for staging fabric.

2017 Recycling solution from sewing room

7 Feb

2014, I purchased flannel fabric in one to three yard lengths.  Each Days for Girls International kit includes 8 reversible, tri-fold, flannel pads.  My strategy included sewing pads from 8 different colors and patterns for each kit.  By year-end, I had over 30 types of remnants.   Variation due to cutting, shrinking from washing and fabric width created a significant amount of remnants in strips and block shapes.  I recycled these scraps into two light weight blankets.

In the three years since the original post, I tightened my strategy on purchasing flannel to reduce the waste (given my experience with shrinkage and end of bolt pieces).  The most significant change was to buy 4.5 yard lengths.  My 2017 striped flannel piece represents is a reduction of over 75% scrap.

Stripes

2014 pieced flannel strips, 18 fabrics in 18 different widths

2017 flannel recycling

2017 flannel recycling