1st Edition

Thin Air How Wireless Technology Supports Lean Initiatives

By Dann Anthony Maurno, Louis Sirico Copyright 2010
    251 Pages 19 B/W Illustrations
    by Productivity Press

    Although Lean and wireless professionals seek the same goals, few are fluent in each other’s language. Those who are have already helped their companies tap into the competitive advantages possible by integrating wireless technology into a Lean culture of continuous process improvement. Highlighting wireless as a powerful and inherently Lean tool, Thin Air: How Wireless Technology Supports Lean Initiatives proposes practices and paradigms to help you seamlessly integrate these two dynamic resources for virtually effortless process improvements.

    This authoritative resource discusses the application of a wide range of wireless technologies, including RFID, wireless sensor networks (WSNs), real-time location systems (RTLSs), and global positioning systems (GPS). It addresses the modernization of infrastructure, elimination of costly hardware and redundant equipment, the facilitation of e-Kanban, and the provision of real-time visibility into any operation. It also touches upon "airsourcing," the wireless cousin of outsourcing. The book contains a strong healthcare component with a case study on Mercy Medical Center that appears throughout the text.

    Drawing on success stories from dozens of companies, including American Apparel, the US Postal Service, Ford, Boeing, and Motorola, this complete resource also gives you access to a Lean Wireless ROI Calculator you can use to input values unique to your company’s operations and calculate estimated savings in labor and excess capacity. If you are a wireless technology provider or user, this book will help you understand how to maintain a focus on creating value. If you are a Lean practitioner, you will learn how to use wireless technology to fulfill your mission of continuous improvement.

    Introduction: The Confusion of the Tongues

    Lean Wireless is Already Here
    Rules Before Tools
    The Marriage of Lean and Six Sigma
    Lean’s New Neighbor—Wireless
    The Wireless Tsunami
    Surprise—The Modern Network Is Already Here—We Need Only Plug In

    Why Now? Lean Wireless and the Costs of Doing Business
    Doing Business
    The Unbearable Cost of Business
    The Immovable Structural Costs
    A More Inclusive Picture—Variable Costs
    The Lean, Wireless, and Lean Wireless
    Value Propositions
    Information Is Lean
    America and its Companies Require Wireless Strength
    American Companies Require Near-Term Results (Not Solutions)
    Automation Means More Work—Not Less

    The Lean Wireless Missions
    Adopt a New Paradigm: Rules Before Tools = Results
    Overcome the Inertia of Legacy
    Focus First upon Internal Value Streams
    Identify Opportunities for Wireless Value
    Plug Value Streams into the "Internet of Things"
    Ease the Disease of Wireless Ownership
    Manage the Troublesome Social/Enterprise Interface
    Design Effective Interfaces
    Scalability: Use Wireless to Open the Loops
    Case Study: Kanban Replenishment

    The Democratic Frontiers of Lean Wireless
    Crowdsourcing: We All Own (and Drive) Innovation
    The Wireless Library
    The Wireless Athlete
    Extreme Traceability, from Farm to Fork
    The Lean Wireless Election: A Supply Chain Success
    The Lean Wireless Election 2: Web 2.0 and Decision 2008
    Lean Wireless President and Police
    Wireless Justice
    The Significance of iWIP
    iWIP in Lean Manufacturing
    The Healthcare Proving Ground, Part 1: Lean Wireless Inventory Management
    The Healthcare Proving Ground, Part 2: RTLS Adds Value
    Democracy Marches On

    Afterword (and Forward): Lean Wireless 2015
    The Reality

    Appendix A: Lean Glossary
    Appendix B: Wireless Glossary
    Appendix C: Standards Used in Wireless Enterprises
    Appendix D: Lean Wireless ROI

    Each chapter concludes with "Endnotes"


    Dann Anthony Maurno’s 25-year career in business and technology journalism began with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, progressed into engineering positions at Raytheon and Genetics Institute, took a turn into publishing and marketing with Factory Mutual and Lilly Software, and culminated in analysis for such groups as Decisions Resources, the Economist Intelligence Unit, and International Data Group (IDG). He continues to pursue field science as an amateur paleontologist, and his field experience includes digs at Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania at sites developed by Dr. Louis Leakey. He lives in Salem, Massachusetts.

    Louis Sirico is the founder of The RFID Network, a global community dedicated to RFID and related technologies with a distribution of over 100,000 professionals. He is most widely recognized as the host and Producer of The RFID Network video series and has authored over 200 published articles. During his 25-year career, he has developed RFID solutions for Fortune 100 companies both in North America and in Europe as well as the Department of Defense, and the Department of Homeland Security. He is credited with hundreds of professional speaking engagements as well as television and radio appearances and provides industry analysis and RFID subject matter expertise to CNN, CNBC/MSN, CBS News, The New York Times, Fox News, the MIT Enterprise Forum (mitef.org), SAP Information Magazine, Inbound Logistics Magazine, and many others.

    A must read for executives looking to optimize performance while automating traceability in outsourced supplier networks.
    —Raj Saksena, President and CEO, Omnitrol Networks Inc.

    Thin Air clearly explains how wireless solutions can offer sophisticated asset management applications, impact patient flow, and increase staff efficiency thereby playing a major role in helping healthcare administrators improve efficiency, streamline operations, and ultimately help caregivers in their primary mission of providing quality patient care.
    —Jason Howe, CEO, Awarepoint