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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 predictable output.

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.

Vendor Partnerships

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 required.

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 available markets.

For balance of this article, click on the below link:
Lean Manufacturing Articles and go to Series 02


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