Knowing what to do is not enough; learning
how to do it is equally necessary. Here are some details:
1. Design products for manufacturability.
Past problems with product designs started with foggy definitions of
the functions needed to meet customers' applications, too much time
in the design phase, overly complex products with low reliability,
processing and service needs not considered, and continuous
The best and most manufacturable designs
contain the fewest parts, the most common components in families of
similar products, and modular design for flexibility in providing
options to customers. They result from Concurrent Engineering,
teamwork among all concerned in designing and making them.
2. Change performance measures. Traditional
cost accounting systems were designed for accountants, not
decision-makers. They use items easily counted, not those that
really count. They provide costs of anything but the value of
nothing. They are precise but inaccurate, are unrelated to formal
plans, and lack focus on vital data.
Effective performance measures show planned
and actual data together, focus attention on the vital few measures,
and stimulate fast corrective actions. Aggregate totals for
families, flow rates in lieu of orders, and trends (as well as
absolute values) are preferable. Physical measures and visual
feedback, being more timely, specific, relevant, simpler, and easier
to get, are better than data from accounting records. They also show
more clearly the causes of problems and which individuals are
3. Simplify the process. The objective is to
keep materials flowing in flow-line layouts or machining cells.
Reduce the number of levels in bills of material by combining
machining and assembly operations when similar. Cut setup times and
run smaller batches frequently. Balance successive operations in
flexible machine groups. Eliminate bulk materials handling by having
operators move individual pieces or small lots.
4. Plan level schedules. Start with level
master production schedules and plan rates of throughput,
controlling work input and mix to match these rates. Move quickly to
make up for lost output to avoid excessive work-in-process, erratic
lead times and missed schedules.
5. Use the formal system. This is the sheet
music to keep harmony among the players. Insist that master
production schedules be realistic and that data errors are detected
and purged promptly. Hold individuals, groups, and departments
accountable for performance to plan. Make the best plan possible and
then focus on executing it, not replanning.
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