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Manufacturing Future 

PART IV. 

 


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Requirements for Success

What manufacturing companies need to have are:

1. Valid and realistic plans. Valid means that they support the strategic, business, and production goals of the business. They will be realistic if adequate resources will be available.

2. A complete, integrated formal system, including:

A. A Core System incorporating master production scheduling, rough-cut capacity requirements planning to test for realism, material requirements planning, detailed capacity requirements planning, capacity control and priority control elements. One principle states, "There is one core system framework common to all types of manufacturing."

B. Supporting systems for activities involved in design, procurement, processing, quality, cost, customer relations, and many other areas.

3. Integrity of all file data. The goal must be 100 percent of data having no significant errors.

4. Fully qualified people who are:

A. Educated to understand the body of knowledge, know basic principles, and be familiar with applicable techniques.

B. Skilled in applying techniques to their business. C. Self-motivated to initiate actions to improve.

They will know the fallacies in the conventional wisdom statements cited earlier:

1. Even complex, sophisticated systems using powerful computers cannot cope with myriad crises. When the causes of the crises are eliminated, as they can be, much simpler systems are adequate.

2. Inventory is a liability, not an asset. The right amount in any company is less. If inputs to it cannot be balanced with outputs from it, inventory cannot be controlled; if they can, inventory is not needed.

3. Increasing work input to a plant builds work-in-process, lengthens lead times, makes priorities less valid, and decreases ability to deliver products on time. Increasing output first does the opposite, achieving desirable goals.

4. Flexible operations, including concurrent engineering design, short setups and small lots, low work-in-process, and responsive suppliers can reduce costs of variety.

5. Idle time is often less wasteful than committing scarce resources making things not needed now.

6. Manufacturing problems are being solved and a cushion of inventory (planning the unplannable?) is a waste.  

Actions to Succeed  

What manufacturing companies need to do to become world-class competitors is clear. The principal actions are:

1. Organize for continuous improvement. This includes:

A. Top management recognition that there are no quick-fixes, they cannot buy their way out of trouble, their people can solve their problems, and there is no valid alternative except company failure sooner or later.

B. Operations can be improved by cross-functional teams working in many areas simultaneously.

C. A high-level champion will insure concentration on important improvements. Patience and perseverance are essential. Nothing has higher priority.

   2. Determine customers' true needs. IBM failed to do this. The goal is no surprises from customers.

3. Make suppliers partners. Certify the best for each commodity, establish long-term contracts for capacity, order specifics in small quantities on short lead times, cooperate on mutual improvements, and share all gains.

4. Cut cycle times. Don't plan weeks and months to do a few hours of real work. Reduce setup times, cut lot sizes, arrange machines in cells, balance operations, smooth out and speed up the flow of work. Change batch operations to process plants. The First Law says everything will improve.

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Manufacturing Knowledge you’ll not find at offsite 
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Lean Manufacturing - Balanced Scorecard 
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Management - MRP Vs Lean Exercises - Kaizen Blitz 
Lean Six Sigma - Value Stream Mapping

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