Pub. Date:
Taylor & Francis
Thin Air: How Wireless Technology Supports Lean Initiatives / Edition 1

Thin Air: How Wireless Technology Supports Lean Initiatives / Edition 1

by Dann Anthony Maurno, Louis Sirico


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781439804391
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication date: 05/05/2010
Pages: 251
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

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 (, SAP Information Magazine, Inbound Logistics Magazine, and many others.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction-The Confusion of the Tongues xiii

Chapter 1 Lean Wireless Is Already Here 1

Rules before Tools 4

Complex Business Environments Require Technology for Visibility 5

Lean Leaders Embrace Wireless 6

To Ignore Wireless Tools Is to Forgo Progress 8

Wireless in Lean and Six Sigma 9

The Marriage of Lean and Six Sigma 13

Lean's New Neighbor-Wireless 14

Wireless on the Value Stream 15

The Wireless Tsunami 17

Wireless = Modern 18

The Wired to Wireless Progression 20

Wireless, Near and Far 21

The Retail Driver 23

Wireless Growth Is a Step-Change Evolution 25

Brace Yourself: Wireless Momentum Will Only Quicken 27

Surprise-The Modern Network Is Already Here-We Need Only Plug In 28

How Lean Is This? 29

Endnotes 32

Chapter 2 Why Now? Lean Wireless and the Costs of Doing Business 35

The Unbearable Cost of Business 35

The Immovable Structural Costs 36

The Tax Burden 37

A More Inclusive Picture-Variable Costs 39

The Lean, Wireless, and Lean Wireless Value Propositions 40

Information Is Lean 41

America and Its Companies Require Wireless Strength 42

American Companies Require Near-Term Results (Not Solutions) 44

Wireless Provides Fast-Track ROT 44

Automation Means More Work-Not Less 45

Endnotes 46

Chapter 3 The Lean Wireless Missions 47

Adopt a New Paradigm: Rules Before Tools = Results 48

Tools Before Rules Is a Mistake 51

Attack Wireless Waste (iMuda) 51

iMuda 52

The iMuda of Complexity and Overkill 54

The iMuda of Choice 56

True Tales of Bad Choices: The Super Bowl Virus 56

True Tales 2: The Accidental Spy 57

The iMuda of Risk 2.0 57

The iMuda of Terabytes 59

Overcome the Inertia of Legacy 61

Focus First upon Internal Value Streams 63

Identify Opportunities for Wireless Value 65

Value from Mobile Workers and Equipment 66

Create Job-Specific and Micro-Value Streams 69

Apply Airsourcing as You Would Outsourcing or Offshoring 70

Return to Processes, and Mobilize Them 71

Plug Value Streams into the "Internet of Things" 72

The Intent of the Internet of Things 73

Redirect the Lean Mission from Making Things to Moving Things 74

The Internet of Computers versus the IOT 75

RTLS and WSNs 76

The 5Ws versus 5Ss 77

Why the IOT Is Not the Internet 78

Devise Lean, Universal Number Schemes 79

The EPC Numbering System 81

Numbering versus Serialization 83

The Challenges 84

The Answer: A Purposeful Lean Rollout 85

Ease the Disease of Wireless Ownership 86

The Answer: Find the Right Tool for the Right Job 87

Focus upon Essential Data 88

Practice Agnosticism-It Is Lean 89

Devices, Processes, and People Become "Nodes" on the Nerve Path 90

If Only It Were That Easy: Connecting the Edge and the Back End 92

Question Integration, Always 94

Smart-Edge Infrastructures 95

Simplified, Lower-Cost Visibility 95

Manage the Troublesome Social/Enterprise Interface 97

The Real Costs of Play at Work 99

So Long, Lunchpail 101

Millennial Learning Is Lean 103

Millennial Question Authority and Policy and Are Not above Defying Them 104

Tales beyond 2000: The End of Secrets 104

Viral Information for Good and for Ill 107

The Answer: Airsource and Automate Decisions and Behaviors 108

The Value of Airsourced and Automated Decisions 109

Not All Decisions Can Be Automated 111

Design Effective Interfaces 112

The Wearable, Always-on Interface 113

Keeping the Interfaces on Mission 117

Harness the Social Utility 118

Scalability: Use Wireless to Open the Loops 119

Scalability, Enterprise wide 120

Scalability into Supply Chain and Open Loops 120

The Requirement: Higher Visibility, Edge Intelligence 122

The Opportunity Finally Exists to Open the Loops 122

RTLS in the Open Loop 122

Case Study: Kanban Replenishment 123

Endnotes 125

Chapter 4 The Democratic Frontiers of Lean Wireless 129

Crowdsourcing: We All Own (and Drive) Innovation 130

The Wireless Library 132

The Wireless Athlete 132

Extreme Traceability, from Farm to Fork 133

The Lean Wireless Election: A Supply Chain Success 135

The Lean Wireless Election 2: Web 2.0 and Decision 2008 138

Lean Wireless President and Police 139

Wireless Justice 141

The Significance of iWIP 143

iWIP in Lean Manufacturing 145

The Healthcare Proving Ground, Part 1: Lean Wireless Inventory Management 148

A Lean Wireless Answer 149

Is This Truly Lean-And How Does It Apply to Other Verticals? 150

Measurements and Metrics 151

The End-to-End Supply Chain 152

Technology as a Tool in Healthcare 152

Pull-from-Demand 153

The Healthcare Proving Ground, Part 2: RTLS Adds Value 154

Controlling Cost and Risk 154

Democracy Marches On 155

Endnotes 156

Afterword (and Forward): Lean Wireless 2015 159

The Reality 160

Endnotes 162

Appendix A Lean Glossary 163

Lean Principles 163

Lean Rules 163

Lean Concepts 164

Lean Tools 165

Appendix B Wireless Glossary 167

Appendix C Standards Used in Wireless Enterprises 189

Appendix D Lean Wireless ROI 191

How Precisely Can We Measure the ROI of Lean Wireless? 192

The Barrier of Distrust 193

The Components of Any Cost 194

Presume Value (for the Sake of Argument), and Forge Ahead 195

Define Your Business with Baselining 197

Step 1 Conduct a Whiteboard Study 198

Step 2 Conduct a DILO Study 198

Step 3 Reconcile Process Maps and DILO 200

Step 4 Target a Short List of Process Improvements 200

Step 5 Choose between Proof of Concept or Full Steam Ahead 200

Conduct a Technical Evaluation 201

Step 1 Conduct an Environmental Analysis 201

Step 2 Select a Suitable Technology 204

Calculate Theoretical ROI 205

Step 1 Quantify the Benefits 206

Step 2 Quantify the Costs 209

Step 3 Calculate the Risks (in Dollars) 210

Step 4 At Last-Calculate ROI 210

Sidebar 1 How Not to Install RFID: 15 Blunders 211

Sidebar 2 How to Select a Wireless Integrator 213

Sidebar 3 WIP Management, RFID, and ROI 214

RFID for Work-in-Process 215

Enter RFID 216

RFID Metal Mount Tags for Work-in-Process 216

Endnotes 217

Index 219

The Authors 231

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

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

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