Our goal is to make it exceptionally easy for you to improve manufacturing productivity. With that in mind, this page presents best practices for improving manufacturing productivity. These best practices share four core characteristics:

There are three types of topics ranging from specific manufacturing improvement tools, through to broad leadership strategies:

ToolsBest practices for identifying and eliminating waste in manufacturing. These best practices are drawn from a wide range of methodologies, including Lean Manufacturing, Six Sigma, and the Theory of Constraints.
AccelerantsBest practices for accelerating progress. They are broad in scope and add value to many tools. XL Accelerants are often drawn from the world of coaching, leadership, and self-development. The overarching goal is to teach, motivate, and inspire people to become powerful change agents for improvement. Many techniques for building sustainable processes fall in this category.
Silver BulletsThe very best techniques for achieving quick wins and fast progress. They are packaged combinations of XL Tools and Accelerants that are proven to deliver fast and substantive results. Silver Bullets are a great place to start improvement programs.


Down Time Tips

10 practical tips for reducing Down Time.

Down Time is the largest source of lost production time for most manufacturers. Here are some practical tips for reducing Down Time that don't require a lot of outside support.

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Reduce downtime by categorizing OEE and TEEP losses

Improve the Constraint

Identify. Measure. Improve.

Each manufacturing process has a constraint (bottleneck). Focusing improvement efforts on the constraint is the fastest path to improved productivity.

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Focus Improvements on the Constraint

Overall Equipment Effectiveness

A yardstick for manufacturing productivity.

OEE measures how close you are to perfect production (manufacturing only good parts, as fast as possible, with no down time). It is a great metric for benchmarking progress in improving manufacturing productivity (i.e., eliminating waste).

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Measure manufacturing productivity with OEE loss factors

Single-Minute Exchange of Die

Reduce changeovers to under 10 minutes.

Changeover times can typically be reduced to less than 10 minutes (i.e., single-digit minutes). Analyze each element of the changeover to see if it can be separated (moved external to the changeover), converted (modified to be external), or streamlined.

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Reduce Changeovers by breaking the changeover process into SMED elements

Six Big Losses

An excellent target for improvement actions.

The Six Big Losses are a very effective way to categorize equipment-based losses: Unplanned Stops, Planned Stops, Small Stops, Slow Cycles, Production Defects, and Startup Defects. They are aligned with OEE and provide an excellent target for improvement actions.

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Use Six Big Losses to categorize equipment based losses and align with OEE

Structured Improvement

Strategic. Tactical. Operational.

Deliver superior results by defining an improvement objective, capturing information related to that objective, and using that information in connected meetings (strategic, tactical, and operational) to drive decisions and actions.

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Use Structured Improvement and Connected Meetings to drive decisions and actions



Small tasks. Big focus. Get things done.

Deliver small chunks of business value in short release cycles. For each cycle, choose whatever will deliver the most value and get it done. Do away with complicated master plans and be evolutionary and adaptive.

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Five planning levels of Agile – What can be done next to add the most value?

Be Your Best

Be Inspired. Do Great Work. Change the World.

Select a small number of truly important things and do those things exceptionally well. Challenge yourself to achieve more, perhaps much more, and show up to work every day as your best self.

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Challenge yourself by working within your stretch zone

Great Meetings

Decisions. Actions. Change.

Spend less time in meetings while dramatically increasing their value. Great Meetings are organized, focused, fast, positive, participative, and proactive. Participants come prepared and leave energized. Great Meetings result in decisions and action.

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Characteristics of great meetings – Improve productivity by making meetings more valuable

IDA (Information, Decision, Action)

An important way to improve results.

Most companies place too much emphasis on results (looking backward) and too little emphasis on the factors that drive results: Information (the basis for effective decisions), Decision (making effective decisions), and Action (transforming decisions to results).

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Drive results with IDA – Information x Decision x Action = Results


Inspire others and accelerate change.

Inspire others to do their best work and you leverage your most important resource – people. Leadership is a learned skill. Improve your effectiveness as a leader and you improve your ability to create and accelerate change.

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Appraise your leadership skills

Silver Bullets

Short Interval Control

Small actions add up to large improvements.

Quick and focused reviews of performance data during the shift enable ongoing course corrections and small-scale fixes that collectively result in significant improvements in performance. Look at the immediate past to guide actions for the immediate future.

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Improve manufacturing performance with short interval control

Top Losses

Attack your top sources of lost production.

Time is precious, so spend that time fixing the most important things — your top sources of lost manufacturing productivity. Track your Top Losses. Pick the biggest actionable loss. Fix it. Repeat.

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Top Losses Report helps prioritize lost manufacturing productivity