Uniform Plant Load
This is the function of addressing the fact that all operations do
not take an equal amount of time to complete. Also, there are
bottleneck work centers or constraints within most manufacturing
processes that must be addressed if a smooth flow of output is to be
achieved. Such things as constraint management and queuing theory
must be employed in order to smooth the flow of work and obtain
A Pull System
This practice represents the first significant change form the usual
MRP II batch lot push process traditionally used in manufacturing.
It provides for a small fixed lot size sometime referred to as a
KANBAN, and a pull method of material movement through the
operation, controlled or driven by demand at the end of the process,
rather than at the beginning.
These partnerships are a grossly misunderstood concept or function
of JIT and one usually attempted at the beginning of implementation
in an attempt to reduce inventory by pushing it back to a supplier.
It should be done at the latter stages of an implementation.
Further, it does not involve all components and all suppliers, but
primarily those whose participation is critical to successful
materials management and availability.
The final phase of our discussion involves the integration of these
two powerful concepts, MRP II for planning and JIT for execution.
Here, a high level of commitment is required. A commitment not only
on the part of top management, but, at all levels of management as
well as hourly directs and support organizations such as
Engineering, Production Control, Purchasing, and Human Resources.
Last, but, far from least, a firm commitment on the part of the
bargaining agent, if one exists, is imperative. Properly structured
bilateral or cross functional teams are required and people
empowerment is essential. This people empowerment must include not
only the permission for people at any level to recommend or suggest
anything in any area that would eliminate waste, but, to allow them
to follow through and make such improvements a reality. In some
cases a specific period of time is requested during which all
titles, labor grades and other such encumbrances are eliminated and
anybody can do anything. Here union approval would definitely be
This cannot be a top-down dictated type of integration. Nor will a
bottom-up effort suffice. Rather, more of a bottom-round environment
is most successful. Once the integration process has begun,
education, support and dedication are required at every step in the
process. Taking small incremental, but related, steps is highly
recommended. The object is to follow a pre-prescribed plan with
clearly established goals and milestones. Here, the bilateral or
cross-functional teams will make their biggest contributions. It is
here that the integration of the best of these two methodologies
comes to a successful culmination. Integration can be accomplished
in one shop, on one product line or in one plant and then migrated
to others. Many World Class Manufacturing Companies have recently
created new facilities that had these concepts and principles
integrated from birth. Here success has been immediate or at least
short in coming.
Integration in existing facilities, especially those who have
neither complete MRP II Systems in place nor JIT principles being
applied, will be more difficult, but more beneficial. Top management
should allow sufficient time for such implementations and
integration. Twelve to eighteen months would be a minimum. Though
MRP II and JIT implementations can and have been done
simultaneously, it is recommended that MRP II hardware/software
selections and implementation of this phase be accomplished first.
The results, as shown at the center of the model, indicate
"PROFITS." Profits on all products produced and the opportunity to
then compete at a World Class level with those products in all
For balance of this article, click on the below link:
Lean Manufacturing Articles and go to Series 02
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