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World Class Manufacturing

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Manufacturing Simulation Game 

Focus for Success
Part 3 of 4


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Lean Manufacturing, Basics, Principles, Techniques

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Results vs. Promises

In our exuberance we may have promised more than we could de­liver. A number of our latest and greatest concepts have proven to be more of a fad than a fix. Tangible results were often lacking and onlybroken promises remained. Our leaders want us to deliver tangible results now.

The cornerstone of the APICS body of knowledge has been MRP. MRP has now evolved through MRP II into ERR To our leaders, the promised results seemed to be just one acronym, software, or hard­ware upgrade away.

Even ERP, the latest fad, has several potential design flaws that have the potential for creating another round of broken promises. The first is a lack of user-friendliness that necessitates excessive training and screen manipulations. The second is a void of seamless processing of information from customer ordering through manufacturing, ship­ping, invoicing, collecting, warranty and product service, and finally profit and loss reporting. Thirdly, there remains in many systems a lack of seamless integration of the ERP world and the PDM world in which the engineers design, test, introduce, and improve products.

Timeliness vs. Excuses

The implementation of new strategies, systems, and technologies has historically been categorized by missed target dates, cost overruns, and operational glitches. Many of these have resulted in lost profits, missed opportunities, and interruptions in customer service.

Our leaders want us to adopt the motto, "There are no excuses." New enhancements should be implemented in such a fashion that they are invisible to the customer. Prior planning should allow new equip­ment or new procedures to be installed, tested, and made operational without the customer realizing from a negative standpoint what is tran­spiring. Moreover, the enhancements should be accomplished on time and under budget.

For example, a manufacturing company has one product line that comprises 40 percent of its total sales. It is an assemble-to-order prod­uct. The present customer service goal is to receive the order on day one, assemble the unit on day two, ship on day three, and mail the correct invoice the morning of day four.

Two of the critical parts are machined from ductile castings in one NC work cell. The NC machine must be replaced due to age. There is no way to run the old and the new in parallel because of space con­straints. APICS leaders must develop a strategy to accomplish improve­ments like this so that they are transparent to the customer. Installation costs must be minimized in order to maximize profits. Can you de­velop and execute the strategy to fulfill the stated criteria? The answer will be yes if that is your focus.

Reality vs. Theory

Customer service-oriented marketing leaders are tired of hearing about lot sizes and time fences. To them this means that APICS theory builds walls to keep their customer from getting what they want, when they want it.

In some environments, APICS theory has been embraced by manu­facturing. The thought process that has resulted is epitomized by sev­eral all-too-familiar comments. "Why doesn't marketing sell what we are making?" "We aren't scheduled to start those for two weeks." "We don't want to tear down a setup for this part until the EOQ has been satisfied, although we already have what we need to meet current cus­tomer orders. The part you need for a customer order today will just have to wait."

To Be Continued


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