Lean In Nike – NOS (Nike Operation System) #4

Pilot lines were designed as a smaller capacity with 480 pairs per day from traditional 2000 pairs. This change was to be flexible to customer demand which were ’many products, small quantity’. Stockfitting (midsole and outsole attaching) and assembly line also were changed with introducing NIR (Near Infrared) heating technology. It helped to reduce the heating conveyor from 6 meters to 2 meters with shorten drying time. Even cement was improved from solvent based to water based. There was a concern for weak bonding with water based cement, but it was proved without any problem and much less harmful to operators than solvent based one.

Lean pilot plant was built inside the VJ(Vietnam Changshin) but the building itself was totally different from existing ones. Ceiling was high enough to have better air flow and it was designed to have natural light when it was sunny outside. And the lighting was bright enough even during rainy season. Side walls were designed with iron mesh type to decrease the heat inside the building with better flow of air. It was a model plant and line for a totally new era of footwear manufacturing. Yet it was just a beginning and there is no finish line.

As a pilot plant, they experimented with extreme level. There was a raw material storage area and finished goods area. So there were frequent delivery from main material warehouse and direct shipment from NOS A. Lead time was shortened dramatically compared to the traditional line. Yet it was not fully proliferated to other factory, it was meaningful to show how lead-time can be reduced as a model line.

On July in 2002, about 25 of #1 NOS wave candidate gathered at NOS Learning Center from leadership partner factories. They were from South Korea (Changshin, Taekwang), Taiwan (Pouchen, Fengtay) and Thailand (Pan Asia Group). All of them were ‘future Lean leaders’ at their factory who would lead the Lean transformation after 12 months mastery course. The course was developed for trainees to go through all manufacturing processes like Upper (Cutting/Stitching), Stockfitting/Assembly, Bottom (PU, Phylon, Rubber outsole), 5S/TPM. Trainees were divided to 4 groups and needed to go through each parts. They were trained on the theory in the morning and then scattered to each parts to practice what they learned. And they were all tasked to find out problems on the shop floor and improve as a team. Though they didn’t heard what ‘Gemba walk’ is at that time, they did it for all day. Some followed through all the process and collected data to map the value stream. Others were standing in an area (aka Ohno circle) to observe and find out non value adding activities (aka 7 wastes). Some did DILO of material handlers or Team Leader and Group Leader.

— Shared by DJ Kim (Source: LinkedIn)